It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I have a 200+ mile journey into the mountains looming.
After a couple of beers, it seemed like a really, really good idea.
I have a business meeting in Asheville (NC) in early May. I have a friend who's interested in electric cars. And I have a 2013 Nissan Leaf that has proved to be a great around-town vehicle. Given the fact that charging stations have proliferated, making slightly longer travel a breeze, my aforementioned friend and I thought it would be fun to see how easy it is to do a proper road trip.
Now I'm getting nervous. And I'd love some readers' help on how not to get stuck. The route, specifically, is going to take us from Durham, NC (Elevation: 404') to Asheville, NC (Elevation: 2134'), to cover a total distance of about 224 miles. I've got all day to get there, and will most likely be setting off in earnest after a full battery top up at TS Designs' charging station in Burlington, NC. Most likely, I'll also be pausing in Winston Salem to go test-ride some e-bikes (more on that separately) and will get a full charge there.
That leaves the following challenges that I'd love some reader advice on:
1) I have a 76.6 mile stretch between a fast charger in Winston Salem and another in Hickory, NC—with only a couple of Level 2 charging stations in-between. Given the fact that I can BARELY get 80 miles in absolute perfect, non-highway conditions, how cautious should I be about stopping at the L2 spots along the way to top up?
2) I then have another 77.9 miles to go from Hickory to Asheville with no realistic fast charge options in-between. This leg is going to involve the steepest climbs (Hickory is only 910' above sea level—Asheville is 2134'), so I'm curious as to how much range I should expect to lose on a climb like that? Any advice on how to maximize the range?
3) Finally, I'm going to be sitting around charging quite a bit. Anyone have any good books they can recommend?
Obviously, this is an exercise in silliness. I'm not really trying to prove that a 2013 Nissan Leaf is a sensible option for inter-city road tripping on anything like a regular basis. However, I also think it will make for an interesting story, and one more example that electric vehicles—even old ones—are much more viable and practical than they were when this car was built. Given the fact that the new Leaf goes twice as far, and the Bolts and Model 3s go even further than that, we really are entering an age when electric vehicles are a viable option for most drivers typical needs.
Let's see if I'm singing the same song once I return from my jaunt to the mountains.