Charging Around the West: Part I

We are 700 miles into a clockwise trip around the west in our new electric car. We are working our way along with, we hope, lessening “range anxiety”. In our fancy red car with all the modern conveniences, we still imagine we are as travelers were, 100 years ago, in a new Model T Ford, hoping there is a ‘gas’ station soon down the road in these unpopulated regions across the West.

The car, Leslie calls it “Ruby” for its’ color. I like “Hazel” because it has lovely ‘hips’ that stick out unusually (and quite seductively). (Remember Oscar Brown from the 60’s?) Either way, it is our first new car in 17 years and is quiet and solid and ‘helpful’, we think. Features we have not experienced from back-up camera to radars all over the place reporting things the car thinks we should be interested in. Great for those of us nearly at the eighty-year-old status!

The western landscapes are as dramatic as ever and maybe even more so shrouded in the moving clouds and rain (and sometimes snow on the passes) that have followed us from Seattle.

We have sped by old rocks and new technologies. We have seen stately, tall wind turbines spinning slowly on ridges or tucked into valley entrances. And, we have seen several gigantic solar photovoltaic arrays. Soon, we anticipate many more of these and many, many more electric cars. Fossil fuels should be kept in the ground with the rest of the fossils – except for those big dinosaurs whose calcified bones need to be shown to all to put us humans in proper perspective.

The car attempts to reduce range anxiety with displays that should help. The image below shows a display that shows that we can surely make it to a charging station that the car found out there somewhere – in this case 19 miles away and we can go 48. No problem — but, the car’s discovery turned out to be a wimpy charger in the parking lot of a town administration building and could charge our car at 3 kilowatts which comes out to 10 miles an hour (of charging). What we usually try to find is a charger that can deliver up to 350 kw of electric power. When we do find a fast charger, we just have time for lunch on the back of the car in the Walmart parking lot (where fast chargers seems to have sprouted) before the car is ready to leap back into action.

We are now in Green River, Utah, just where we used to put our family and friends into canoes and float down into Canyonlands National Park. Looking at the roiling big green water we are amazed that we all survived our family adventures.

The Green River at Green River, UT

Today we will “Charge” on to Boulder where we will see old and special friends.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Have you managed to find hotels with overnight charging?

  2. We just finished hosting my brother and his electric car (a Hyundai Kona) from Massachusetts, We would love to host you if you come anywhere close on your way home. Fairfield CA is half way between San Francisco and Sacramento, and exploring the Sacramento River delta from here is fun. It takes me about 30 minutes to get to Berkeley from here, so we could meet you in that area if that works better.
    Hooray for buying an electric car and taking a trip with it. My brother Chris set up for tent camping with his electric car and found that to be a difficult combination for many campgrounds—they were happy to have him pitch a tent OR have good electric service, but balked at the combination. And many places said “more charging stations soon” but had not enough now. He is on his way home now, currently in Milwaukee heading east, and has found it frustrating in some areas. He had to abandon plans to go from Spokane to Yellowstone and on east at that latitude due to too few charging opportunities in that area. He went through Colorado instead.
    Please do contact us for a meal or a stay if you can. Ellen Fisher, 510-292-6444.

  3. You are right on target with Model T travel 100 years ago—almost to the year in the case of my grandparents (Kuerbis) and 4 children. I have a typed journal kept by my aunt (then 13) of a two month move from Houston to San Diego in summer 1920. They replaced springs, shock absorbers, adjusted brakes and carburators, camped in an autocamp in Colorado Springs for three days, siphoned gas from a wrecked T near Thermopolis WY, enroute to Yellowstone and then Portland OR before finding paved roads headed south along Highway 1 to San Diego. Enjoy your Western journey and see you both this Friday and Saturday briefly. I gather Ruby is a KIA EV6 or at least looks like one. ENJOY!

  4. Wow, guys! I love your new EV-6. If I had bought an electric after my Tesla, I would have purchased the EV-6. Though the Tesla was great fun to drive, I hated the two or three weekly updates, each of which required burrowing into several layers of changes. I’m also not a fan of Elon Musk, though I recognize he is a genius. I recommended the EV-6 to our stockbroker/friend in Denver and he bought one in pearl white and loves it! After the Tesla I bought a Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid which is listed as 33 miles of electric range, but often gives me 40-50 with regenerative braking in eco mode. On my first tank I got almost 900 miles on 7 gallons of gas. Of course, I wasn’t really getting 128 miles a gallon, I just seldom drive more than 45 miles a day and I recharge every night.–I’ll be interested in learning more about your EV-6, which has won so many awards and glowing reviews!

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