Q: The open road is ready for all-electric cars. We recently took a trip to San Diego and another one to Bellingham, Washington, driving a Ford Mustang Mach-e, essentially covering the length of the entire West Coast. At least 50 percent of our driving on these trips was NOT on Interstate 5.
The San Diego trip was a test drive for the planned trip to Bellingham. It was so easy to find charging stations that we came back via the east side of the Sierra, north on I-395 and over Carson Pass, adding an extra 500 miles to our trip.
On the trip to Bellingham, we meandered up the east side of the Cascades with an unplanned detour through both Crater Lake National Park and Rainier National Park.
Kim Wisckol, Palo Alto
A: How did you do this?
Q: The Plugshare app helped us locate chargers along the routes we drove, and a membership with Electrify America guided us to the fastest ones. While charging, we ate lunch, rode our bikes and chitchatted with other folks charging their cars, comparing notes about our trips, chargers, and cars. The Mach-e navigation system will automatically locate chargers and provide directions.
A: Anything else?
Q: A couple of observations — the number of chargers for non-Teslas is growing rapidly, but there is still an opportunity. Hotels and motels could easily install Level 2 chargers for their guests to use overnight (they don’t need the Level 3 superfast ones) and not just one or two, but lots of them! There were often a dozen or more electric cars at the motels we stayed in. Same for national and state parks. We would have welcomed plugging the car in while hiking at Crater Lake.
Towns along tourist routes are also another great place to have chargers (better to have the fast ones) to encourage folks to meander through town and enjoy lunch. This is what we did on several days, but often, we snagged the last charger available.
Just in time for the summer road trip.
A: Thanks for sharing your experience and tips. A Consumer Reports survey of 8,000 US adults found that the logistics of where and when drivers could charge an electric car is the largest barrier preventing them from owning such vehicles. A combined 36 percent said they would “definitely” or “seriously consider” an electric-only vehicle as their next auto purchase.
When asked about the top concerns that keeping them in a gas-powered vehicle rather than moving to an electric one, 61 percent cited charging logistics, 55 percent said it is the number of miles the vehicle can go per charge and 52 percent said it is the cost of buying and maintaining an electric-only vehicle.
Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com.