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Eco trip--It's a Wrap

Electric vehicle travel will get easier—a brand new charger in Danbury, CT, one of several on our route that became operational in the weeks since I first planned our stops.

Well, we got home the other day, after something like 2,700 all-electric miles with the Leaf. We stopped to charge about 54 times (including charging at night during our stops), and it got to be quite easy on the way back, partly because we retraced our trip and knew where the chargers were. It was also easier because several new fast-chargers came online along our route just in the weeks since I first planned the trip, like the one in Danbury, CT, in the photo above. Our longest leg turned out to be on the way home, an 84-mile section around NYC in rush-hour traffic (we skipped a charger that was in a slightly bad neighborhood). We got to Jim Harte Nissan in Mt. Kisco, NY, with about 12 miles left, which was also the lowest we had the batteries on the whole trip. And, it was fun, we’ll do something like this again. It was also cheap, nearly all of the chargers are free (though I suppose I pay my lease payment to Nissan every month, in return for using the chargers at the dealerships). Just a few final thoughts to close out the Eco-trip subject–

I quit following big trucks. I could get better range by doing so, but it became obvious after a while that it was clearly a more dangerous way to drive.

— As mentioned above, there are more chargers coming on-line all the time. It will soon be pretty easy to travel like this, especially in parts of the country where there is more infrastructure for EVs.

Our last charge on the way home, in Rutland, VT. This was an alternate location—there were quite a few fast-chargers that were down on our return trip..

— I’ve said this before, but have a backup plan. Quite a few of the fast-chargers on the way back were off-line for one reason or another, and we had to adjust our plans (at least three of the Nissan chargers had overheating errors; I think they have a design glitch that they need to work on). This is also a reminder that all of this infrastructure is new; my guess is that these systems will get more reliable over time as they get the bugs worked out.

— And, last but not least, just as we got into Vermont on the way back we stopped in Brattleboro, and happened to meet Bill Rich, one of the participants in the Kick Gas movie about crossing the country with EV’s. He was charging his Zero motorcycle, having just completed a trip to Mexico and back. I’ve posted it before, but once again, here’s a link to the Kick Gas movie trailer. (We tried to figure out where the whole movie is online now, but didn’t have much luck. It’s out there somewhere…)

So, if I had to sum up the whole experience—driving long-distance in an EV is a more sustainable way to travel, and we enjoyed it, but it takes longer than zooming along non-stop in a gas car. But, with more and more charging infrastructure, it should get quite a bit easier. We’ll be doing it more—after this trip, I don’t think we’ll have many qualms about taking off to much closer places like Boston. And I think I’m going to aim for creating much less trash here at home, maybe next time we’ll up the difficulty a bit and do the eco-trip trash-free. I’ll practice that part here at the house first…

Originally posted on July 30, 2015, republished here with permission

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