It seems my recent road trip post has been getting a lot of traffic. First of all, let me clarify. This wasn't meant to be a criticism of EVs. Mainly, it was an amusing story to tell and I want to remember what this trip felt like when I'm driving around with my kids who will have never known a gas vehicle, let alone range anxiety. Second of all, lets be clear... I LOVE my car. I am a 27 year old female with student loan debt who has been in the workforce for less than three years and I somehow let myself be talked into putting down almost 100,000 on the most amazing vehicle I have ever driven, sat in and heard of. Yes, my car payment hurts every month (it's more than my rent), but not nearly as much as it used to hurt when I was putting $500/month into my gas tank. I view it as an investment in something I believe in and an unbelievable ride as part of the package.
As a Model S owner there is something known as Tesla Time. This includes, the double and triple-takes, the nods, waves and thumbs ups and the questions and opinions that are shared with you every day as you go about your business. There are those who are excited by what they see and many constructive, stimulating discussions are born... and then there are those who are not. Perhaps they feel threatened? It's very interesting. Without asking for an opinion, many people will take it upon themselves to tell you that driving an electric vehicle just really isn't feasible. Is it not obvious to them they are speaking to an EV owner? It's feasible. Here we are. It's just a choice. All it takes is a decision.
Back to my woeful road trip. Let's remember, this was my first time driving even more than 50 miles away from my house. There were a number of preventable obstacles which, would just one of them been remedied, I would have made the trip an entire night earlier and not been towed. Also, I'm pretty sure I would have made it without the tow, but I didn't want to even think about risking harm to my battery, so I played it safe (assuming you would consider 3 miles safe).
Yes, everyone, I know about the apps. I use (and used) Recargo, Chargepoint and Plugshare. I also now know about the RV park finders which will be very helpful in the future. One criticism I have is that the EV apps often don't tell you amperage or voltage at the sites -- this would have made a huge difference for me. There are a wide range of J1772's out there. My adapter was already replaced and the new one works flawlessly. Knowing the "30 amp" vs. "50 amp" service lingo will be helpful as well.
I think it's fair to point out that there are a lot of criticisms of the Model S. It's a brand new American company who has just built and produced their first car from the ground up. Yes, there are some glitches. But one thing people (particularly non-EV owners) seem to gloss over is that you never hear an EV owner who regrets their purchase. If anything, if you know or speak to anyone who is a Model S owner... they likely can barely refrain from gushing about how fabulous it is. There is no other car manufacturer right now who could have these sorts of issues (glitchy screen, door handle problems, range anxieties, you all have read the articles...) and not be eaten alive by their owners. Yet Tesla owners are just as willing to wait in the reservation line and do whatever they need to do to get in the drivers seat. Obviously something is working.
Not only is it a new company, new car... It's completely new technology. All of it. The reason why we put up with the 'little' kinks that are being worked out (and they are, rather quickly) is because its the most amazing machine currently on the market. My fiancé and I's viewpoint was if we're going to spend the money and get a new car... and we're going to go electric... get the best. And get one that is actually practical as a one-car family.
There are many places in my story that could have been improved. Learned lessons. Particularly, I don't think we really saved that much energy by going as slow as we did and with as little heat. With some experimentation since then, I think we could have made it a lot more comfortably (though still long) without much difference in energy loss. But the point is, yes, it does take some practice, some planning and some research to be a successful EV owner. I don't think we can really dispute that. Many veteran EV owners have relayed their own 'first road trip woes' with me while having gone on to take numerous successful roadtrips--even 3000 miles in mid January. The environment is not as well prepared as we would like. That will take time. I think that the most ready resolution for this is the supercharger and expansion of CHAdeMOs. But again, we're talking about road trips. I don't know about you all, but outside of the three hours I spend in my car everyday going to and from work, I don't take that many road trips. Day to day I drive to work, visit my friends and run my errands without so much as a thought about range.
It will be interesting to see when the competition starts to pick up... How long did it take for Apple?