Traveling via Electric Vehicle has its challenges, but there have been some great developments as illustrated by the recent trip we took from Rutland, Vermont to Atlantic City, New Jersey and back.
DAY 1: RUTLAND TO ATLANTIC CITY
On Friday, April 7th we left home at 8:40 am, fully charged, which this time of year is 212 miles. We traveled 174 miles to our first stop, and had with 45 miles remaining on the charge.
Stop 1 was the Tesla Supercharger at 35 Hannaford Drive, Red Hook, NY at – you guessed it – a Hannaford’s supermarket. This is a HUGE game changer, as Tesla has the nation’s largest network of charging stations and due to their technological edge, the most reliable. They are in process of adapting their stations with a built-in adapter that will work for non-Tesla vehicles that can use a high-speed connector called CCS. Luckily for us, this station is part of the pilot program, so we had access to 8 250kW chargers, able to work for our Chevrolet BOLT EV. When we got there all we saw was the Tesla plug that would not fit our vehicle, and it took us a little while to figure out how to use the Tesla App to “unlock” the CCS adapter. When it worked, it was a beautiful sight to see!
Stop 1: 174 miles Tesla Supercharger $20.91 @$0.51/kWh 55 minutes; charge to 181 miles
We were at the Tesla stop for about 55 minutes and while it wasn’t an ideal lunch stop we would have had to make one anyway. We were still about 225 miles from our destination so we needed one more stop. With 32 miles remaining we stopped in Tinton Falls on the Jersey shore, at an Electrify America station at the Jersey Shores Premium Outlets. This station had 7 150kW CCS charging plugs, so we had no problem there.
Stop 2: 149 miles. Electrify America $19.45@, 38kWh; 45 minutes; charge to 124 miles
Although we only had 75 miles to get to our destination, we were not sure whether we would be able to charge at our hotel, since they did not advertise an EV Charger. Therefore we stayed until we were at 124 miles, so we’d have enough left to get to the nearest high speed charger in the morning. With 49 miles left to the charge we reached our hotel.
When we parked, we asked if they had a charger and was told that they did so asked the valet to plug in. We were not sure if he actually knew that they did, or would be able to plug in (we’ve stayed at hotels where they advertise chargers, but did not plug us in!). Imagine our delight when the car was delivered to us the following morning, fully charged! We went from 49 miles to 213, all for the price of $10 for valet parking!
Stop 3: 75miles. Ocean Casino Resort, 75 miles 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ
Charged overnight $10 valet parking- FREE charging
DAY 2 – ATLANTIC CITY TO BROOKLYN TO RUTLAND
On Saturday, April 8th, we left our hotel fully charged, at 213 miles. We were traveling to Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY to visit family. That trip is 128 miles so we had enough to get there, and we also knew that there were Level II chargers in Brooklyn but were afraid that they would not be available given the population and learning from our apps that non-EVs often blocked them. Therefore, we returned to Tinton Falls to “top off” just in case. We were at 138 miles when we got there, and stayed just long enough to get back up to 187.
Stop 4: 75 miles Electrify America $10.24, 21kWh; 25 minutes; charge to 187 miles
When we arrived in Brooklyn at 2:45pm, we were amazed to see that one of the two Level II chargers right on the corner of 5th Street and Prospect Park West, only ½ a block from our destination, was available! These stations are part of the “Plug NYC” program, a cooperation between Con Edison Electric Company and the FLO Charging Network that brought more than 100 chargers to the city.
These Level II stations are available on a first-come first-served basis are cost $2.50 per hour from 6am to 9pm, $1.00 per hour from 9pm to 6am. It took some doing to unlock with the FLO App, but it worked and since we were having time with our family, we were able to stay on this charger till we left at 6:15pm.
Stop 5: 43 miles FLO Network $11.25; 3.5 hours; charge to 213 miles
For us to get home from Park Slope is about 250 miles. We needed one stop and chose the Schodack Stewart’s Center, 1811 Columbia Turnpike, Schodack, NY 12033. This solar-powered station has become one of our most reliable stops, and contains (3) 150kW chargers, (2) 350kW chargers and one 50kW, partially powered by the sun. We’ve charged here successfully in the past, and it did not fail us this time either.
Stop 4: 95 miles EvolveNY (Shell Recharge App) $10.14, 27kWh; 25 minutes; charge to 135 miles
Approximately 100 miles back to Rutland, we came in with more than 30 miles remaining and fully charged at our home charger for free while we slept.
Our total kWh cost was $72.24 Charging effectively two and a half hours. We note that the time spent charging at the Ocean Casino Resort (overnight) and at the Park Slope FLO Stations do not count as charging time, since we would have been parked anyway.
We traveled a total of 760 miles. Assuming 30 miles per gallon and a 14-gallon tank, we would have stopped twice for gas, with bathroom breaks we will call it 30 minutes. At one of those stops, we would have stopped for lunch. So, driving electric added 1.5 hours to the trip. The cost of gasoline would have been, at $3.90 per gallon, $98.80.
For many people spending an extra $25.00 to save 1.5 hours of their lives may very well seem worth it. You may read this and think, “gas isn’t so bad or electric cars aren’t so great.” And that person may have a point but consider this; it was heavily-traveled Easter and Passover weekend. If only ten million gas powered American vehicles traveled 760 miles in this period that would be more than 250,000 gallons of gasoline burned into our atmosphere. Fifty weekends a year, more than 12,500,000 gallons of gasoline, are not burned by driving on kWhs. This does not even take into account that 90% of the time, we charge at home or work (both powered by the sun) for a total of 0 dollars and 0 minutes spent on fuel.
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