The Limits and Joys of EVs

We recently took a drive up to the Appalachian Mountains in our EV* — actually on July 4th. We were ten miles from the next fast charging station when we had to stop with only 2 miles of range remaining. I pulled into a small chain store and parked in front of an outside electrical outlet. It looked to power some sort of vending machine that had been removed. I went inside and asked if I could plug my car in. The cashier looked a little puzzled, but said to go ahead. I plugged in and started recharging the battery in the hopes that I could add a few miles to reach the fast charging station to “refill.”

As we waited for the car to recharge at 110V — a lengthy process — we became the object of curiosity for the staff and patrons of the store alike. The cashier came out several times over the next 90 minutes for a break and each time asked questions about the car. Despite our range problems, she was intrigued by an all-electric vehicle. The stop also allowed the rest of our family who had continued on to send us requests for supplies we would need for our week in the mountains. I made several trips into the store for toilet paper, dry goods, and other necessities that we had forgotten to bring, as usual. It was the fabled silver lining as each text listed something we would need. Each trip ended with more questions from the cashier about our car. I was happy to tell her why I liked it, a lot, despite our range limited event.

As we added about 15 miles of range on the car, I unplugged and headed up the mountain. (By the way, we more than paid for the electricity in added trade for the store. It probably ran about 52 cents, based on national averages for electricity.) We stopped at our planned fast charge station and added another 50 miles to reach our destination with plenty to spare.

Our little voyage pointed out the pitfalls of the US charging infrastructure, but at the same time clearly intrigued a woman who had never seen an EV up close. I suspect that she will consider one when she thinks about her next car.

*For those not current with the lingo, EV stands for electric vehicle — meaning a car that runs on a battery with no ICE (internal combustion engine).

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David Potenziani

David Potenziani

Historian, informatician, novelist, and grandfather. Part-time curmugdeon.