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A Response to: Stalled on the E.V. Highway

Mr. Broder,

My name is Peter, and I recently very successfully completed a very long, cross country trip from Portland OR -> LA -> NOLA -> Atlanta -> NYC in my Model S. I am only a Tesla customer, and have no other affiliation with the company.

It was great disappointment that I read your article today. It showed quite a number of missteps that could have been easily avoided, had Tesla done a better job teaching you about the car beforehand, and not repeatedly given you advice that was not only incorrect, but sometimes counterproductive. There is a learning curve to taking long road trips in an EV, especially in the cold, and it is a shame that Tesla did not better prepare you for this. Your article includes a bit of a postmortem on your trip, but that seems like Tesla again dropped the ball on giving you valuable advice on how you could have made the trip an easy success. Almost all the mistakes I have outlined below, individually, would have eliminated your troubles. If I may, here is my postmortem. Continue reading A Response to: Stalled on the E.V. Highway

Day 10 NOLA 1-2-13

We readied to head out from Lake Charles with a decent charge, but not the full range charge we would have liked. Unfortunately, we have discovered that charging on most public EV chargers doesn’t quite fit our time line. If we get into a hotel at 10PM (a very early night for us), and get the car on the charger by 10:30PM, then charge at the standard 30A (200V typically), by the time morning comes and you pull the car off the charger at about 8am, you have just under 200 miles in the tank. This varies a bit, as some chargers are 240V (and by 8am you would then by just about full), but there isn’t any good way to know this ahead of time right now, and we found very few of these… Anyway, back to the story:

We headed out knowing that we would need just a quick stop on the way to New Orleans and charge for just an hour or so rather than wait the multiple hours the EV charger would take. After a quick stop over at the McDonald’s to make sure to purchase something as a small thank you for having the EV charger, we where on our way!

Tina was at the helm, and the day was overcast turning to rain. The automatic wipers started wiping as the rain started to fall, and immediately we noticed that there was something a bit strange. Something was under the wiper blade that made it’s way across the windshield with each swipe. First though was we had picked up a parking ticket somewhere along the way, and it was now literally flapping in the breeze. Then just as the next swipe came and a gust of wind lifted it away we noticed the McDonald’s logo! A couple of calls and we were able to find out that it was the owner of the McDonald’s who had left his card with us and wanted to find out a little more about the S!

While had we been able to pick up a full charge overnight we would have simply had a strait drive over to New Orleans, having only a bit under 200 along with a desire to enjoy the power the S has to offer meant a quick stop by an RV park. As we have now begun flying by the seat of our pants a bit when it comes to charging our steed, we pulled up our RV park finding app RV Park Finder we saw we where only a few miles from Frenchmen’s Wilderness Camp with highly rated bathrooms and 50 amp hookups. Minutes later we were pulling in, explaining that we where looking to plug in for less than an hour, and we where charging away. And yes, their bathrooms fully deserved their rating.

The trip into the city was easy, and we where quickly downtown and to The Saint Hotel. As with most places we have been, no-one at the hotel had seen an S before, but they where very happy to work with me to find the best way to charge. I spent about 30 minutes with hotel staff looking including the building engineer looking for the best and most accessible plug to charge from. Unfortunately, all of the 240V plugs where located in underground areas that where unacceptable, and we ended up with only a 120V plug that supplied us 4 miles of charge per hour. We probably should have looked for a better place to charge, but the 120V would get us well outside the city the next day, and we where excited to get out into the city exploring! Off we went to explore Bourbon street, Cafe Du Monde, and amazing live music :)

Continue reading Day 10 NOLA 1-2-13

Day 9 1/1/13

The first day of 2013 caught us oversleeping, but who can blame us, we did revisit our 20s last night. Although it was already later than we would have liked, we couldn’t leave Austin without having some BBQ. So our gracious hosts, Sarah and Chris, took us to Rudy’s. I’m not a huge meat eater, but that place was awesome! First they let us sample all their meats, from brisket to jalapeno sausage. When they give you our order it comes in a plastic basket with plastic silverware and top it all off on wax paper instead of plates. It was the best meal we had so far on this trip! And lunch for the three of us only cost around $20. With what little time we had left, we went up to Mount Bonnell for a great view an some pictures.

 

I think we all wished that we could stay in Austin, but alas the road beckoned and so did Houston. After a top off at a scenic RV park with plenty of deer around, our plan was to charge up at the Tesla store and we arrived to what we thought was near the location right around 6:30 (the store was closing at 7pm). And what followed then was one of the more annoying and looking back, kind of funny parts of the trip. The Tesla store was the Houston Galleria, a fancy shopping mall. We couldn’t find the Tesla store. Peter had called the store and was told that it was in the Green garage we kept circling around and seeing orange, yellow, but no green. Time kept ticking, the mileage kept decreasing and we still couldn’t find Green. We got our phones out in an effort to find a map of the mall but all the links seemed to be broken. I finally found one that showed that the Green garage is right next to Orange. So Peter thought that maybe the Tesla employee meant orange instead of red. But alas, orange was just another maze with no way out. By that point the situation was not looking good because it was past 7pm and mileage was down to about 6. I didn’t really want to be blogging about how after driving from Oregon to Houston in an electric car we ran out juice in a parking garage at at a mall, somewhere less than a mile from the Tesla charge. So I made Peter do the unthinkable, call the store and ask for directions.

 

The Tesla employee walked us through the directions (and yes there really was a Green garage) and we finally arrived at the charger. But alas it was past 7pm and the store was about to close and the employees were worried about leaving the charging cable overnight. But Peter did his magic and we were allowed to charge as long as we wanted (Thanks, Tesla!). We ate dinner at the sushi place at the mall, it was kind of nice to spend a couple of hours in civilization actually, even though it was between Forever 21 and the Gap.

 

The next leg of our journey took us to a magical McDonald’s in Lake Charles, LA. It’s not just magical because their McMuffin is only 300 calories and they have pretty good coffee but because this one had the only public EV charger in all of Lake Charles. The McDonald’s employee were actually excited to see up pull up and plug in, apparently they have never seen anyone use the charger before. Peter happily told them all about the car, like he already had many times on this trip and they said that they would keep an eye on it for us. And they did! We were ready to go the next day.

Luba