Jun 22 2019
10:41 am

From the NYT,

To better understand what life with an electric car is like, I hopped into a Chevrolet Bolt recently and traveled from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a 540-mile round trip that many people make regularly.
On top of the eight hours or so that we were actually on the road, we spent close to five and a half hours charging the car.
Of the more than 270 million registered vehicles nationwide, only about 1.1 million are electric, with about half of those in California

Interesting read. We love the several hybrid vehicles we have owned, all Toyotas. Not sure we're ready for a plug-in. There does appear to be a future in electric vehicles. We're waiting on technology, batteries for example.

AC's picture

This article unfortunately

This article unfortunately creates a rather distorted picture - or, at the very least, illustrates why Tesla is so far ahead of the traditional automakers in developing not only electric vehicles, but innovations in the technology to support their development. This is the big challenge that the new electric Audi also faces in terms of range - the vehicles fall short of the essential technology AND support infrastructure to match Tesla's achievements thus far.

My personal perspective:
We regularly drive our Tesla from Knoxville to Charleston, SC, and have done so at least a dozen times in past year or so. It's approximately 400 miles each way, 800 round trip. In a regular car, one should probably allow 6 hours for the drive. We make it in the Tesla in 7 hours INCLUDING charging times. We typically stop twice to charge, averaging about 30 minutes to recharge at each station. Surprisingly, my type-A impulses have adapted to this very well - it's nice to take a short break, catch up on texts or emails if necessary, eat some lunch maybe. It ultimately has made for a more relaxed trip. Tesla Superchargers are conveniently (mostly) located and unlike the charge times reported in the article, will easily charge 200 miles or so in way less than an hour (actual capacity is 300 miles but we seldom push it to the limit).

At home, we have installed a 240 outlet - which was much less expensive than in California as quoted by the article - which are now pretty common in many locations in most cities, including hotels, some restaurants, etc. It is slower to recharge at 20-25 miles per hour, but easily fully charges the car overnight. With a minimal amount of planning when visiting new locations, we've never had a problem at all.

Admittedly, Tesla is the high end of the market and Chevy Bolt is the low end - but to suggest that this article illustrates what "life with an electric car is like" simply ignores or misrepresents the Tesla experience....and Tesla is still very much still leading the way and showing what is possible with this developing innovation.

Factchecker's picture

Agree completely with what AC

Agree completely with what AC states and his experiences mirror ours.

All non-Teslas have an inferior charge network. Most people are just not getting this! The Bolt is limited to something like 50kW maximum charge power. While Tesla just recently upped their supercharger rate from 120kW to 150kW. Also, the cost to charge using the CCS/DCFC system that the Bolt and all other EVs are using is not so cheap. Maybe 12-25 cents per mile (just as a wag from memory). The Tesla SC network is something like 10-20 cents/mile, depending on location. Earlier adopters and certain promotional sale recipients have free supercharging. And charging at home costs about 3 cents per mile in this area (same for Bolt, of course).

We have made several trips in the 250-450 mile range each way. I usually like to stop 2-3 times, mostly to pamper the battery and ensure there won't be range anxiety. But twice is sometimes plenty and one stop can theoretically work. I feel most comfortable going about 200 miles between charging--say 280 miles down to 80 miles of range.

On our stops, we usually need to use the rest room anyway and might enjoy a picnic lunch or snacks, or take a walk for coffee or much needed exercise. We have two awesome camp chairs that we keep in the frunk, and I might even detail the car if weather permits. As AC has found, these breaks are much welcomed after driving for two hours or so and I too have also found them to add only an hour or so to the entire drive each way. Of course driving/riding in the Tesla is far more enjoyable than any other car I can imagine.

I keep reading these Bolt stories and some of the charge stops are pretty stark. One encountered a locked metal shed with a charge cable hanging on the side. Also, there's often only one or two DCFC cables per stop, like the one at the Exxon station at Gallaher View. (Compare that to the SC stalls at Turkey Creek.) What if it's not working or is being used? Teslas usually have at least 8 charge stalls at each supercharger. I've never encountered a full one yet, though I'm often the only one there. The car will plan your route and tell you where to recharge and how long each charge should take before you can safely resume your route. It will also tell you how many stalls are in use at any given time at any SC.

There's not going to be a better, revolutionary battery that suddenly appears in the market. They will just continue to evolve. The new Model S has a range of up to 370 miles and I'm guessing it will be over 400 miles within a year. Does anyone really need more?

Tesla driving is still the best kept secret in the car world. If you can afford to get one, you won't regret buying one.

bizgrrl's picture

It's not just bizgrrl; most

It's not just bizgrrl; most people are just not getting this!

Not getting what?

I understand ev is a growing technology.
I understand evs are more expensive.
I understand there are fewer places to fuel up an ev.
I understand it takes longer to fuel up an ev.

The article was written by someone who traveled in the West where it is not as dense as the East. Having recently traveled out west, it can be hard to find gas much less a plug-in for an ev.

Just sayin. I'm guessing evs are part of the future. I'll wait till they get cheaper and more common from Toyota, Ford, Chevy, etc. and overcome some of the current shortcomings. I'm not yet turned on by Tesla. I kinda like cars that are maintainable by a lot of people/service centers. I do hope there are a growing number of people like AC and Factchecker who will buy evs so they will become more desirable for the rest of us.

Factchecker's picture

No offense intended

Oops, sorry. I had written the previous post before your comment. I just see so many articles that use the Bolt, et. al., as a proxy for EV travel charging. Many articles present them that way. We have visited friends who say that there are some of "those chargers" in town we can use. (They're crappy, expensive, and not compatible.) But they mean well, they truly do.

Sorry for any misunderstanding. I didn't mean to come off sounding like a jerk, as I sometimes do.

michael kaplan's picture

paradigm shift

On my recent trip to Denmark and Sweden, I noticed how few people own cars. Maybe that’s due to the high tax on automobiles, the quality of their public transportation systems, the density of settlement, or the fact that they (especially the Danes) just like riding bicycles. A check shows that the US has 811 vehicles per capita, Sweden 536, and Denmark 497. (Haiti has 11.)

Maybe the answer lies in a paradigm change: small, cheap(er) electrics for city use; larger rental electrics for long distance. Personally, I’d prefer using high-speed rail for long hauls, but - even if we had it - that would be a lifestyle change for most.

Factchecker's picture

As Ed Begley once put it, it

As Ed Begley once put it, it would be best to 1) bike, 2) walk, 3) use public transport, 4) drive EVs. But around here 1-3 just don't work for most people.

One of the reasons I bought one is that I plan to retire in the next few years and this would be a travel substitute for air travel, which is really one of the most horrible contributor to carbon emissions. I also figure I can see more of the country better up close in a car. So there's that.

BTW, I edited my post slightly to try to not sound condescending (sorry for that). It's frustrating that many, I suppose, just get overwhelmed by EV charging and consider Bolt or Audi or Jaguar EV charging to be comparable to trip charging in a Tesla. There's also Tesla destination charging, which, like 240VAC charging for any EV, consists of overnight charging at hotels. So range problems shouldn't exist and Teslas are way out front I would argue.

bizgrrl's picture

You're great. AC's great.

You're great. AC's great. Love all the technology.

R. Neal's picture

If I get a Tesla it will be a

If I get a Tesla it will be a Model X. A couple of years ago we talked to a couple on the Blue Ridge Parkway who were driving one from Minnesota to Florida. The guy gave us the full demo (minus ride). I was blown away. The Mrs. even liked it.

bizgrrl's picture

Yes, I liked it. The couple

Yes, I liked it. The couple were very friendly as well. They rent places to stay in both locations, called themselves homeless. :)

reform4's picture

I enjoy the breaks

Before my Model 3, when I did road trips, I would push to get to the destination, go through drive-thrus for food, etc.

I now enjoy being forced to get out for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours, eat lunch outside of the car, take a short walk, maybe 10 minutes of shopping nearby. I arrive much more rested and in a better mental frame.

AC's picture

I certainly didn't intend for

I certainly didn't intend for anything I've written here about EVs and Tesla to cause offense. But the references and links that bizgrrl has tended to post on the subject do tend to come with a particular spin that is contrary to my personal experience as well as what I think I know.

In reference to the article above, it's worth noting that there at least 5 Tesla Supercharger stations between LA and Las Vegas - in Barstow, Baker, Primm, Rancho Cucamonga, and Yerba. Since the trip is only 270 miles, one quick stop of 30 minutes or so would supply plenty of juice for a Tesla to make the trip. That's how misleading that NYT article's not about "life with an electric car," it's about life with a Chevy Bolt (assuming that even that part of the story is accurate).

On another note, it's interesting to see Tesla ownership increase. A year ago, we often the only car charging at the Superchargers in Asheville, Greenville, Columbia or Santee - which are the four most direct options between Knoxville and Charleston. Yesterday, I pulled into the one Columbia and 8 of the 9 chargers were occupied. There were 2 cars from Florida, 2 from North Carolina, 1 from South Carolina, 1 from Texas, 1 from Ohio, and 1 from Michigan...many of them eager to hang out and talk. It tends to be a friendly group. Everyone is having a love affair with their car and hopes to never go backwards.

If you get a Model X I'll be very envious.

michael kaplan's picture

Truthdig on Tesla

jbr's picture

BMW doubles down on plug-ins and battery-powered cars

BMW is doubling down on electric cars, announcing this week it would have 25 models in showrooms by 2023.

That's two years earlier than its original plans, and reflects a broader industry push to get more battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids to market.

BMW doubles down on plug-ins and battery-powered cars, saying the future of sporty driving is electric

michael kaplan's picture

honda e

back to basics. 200km range with 80% charge in 30 minutes. sort of what i thought the apple car would look like ...

preview_honda e.jpg

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