Monday, September 12, 2011

Coast to Coast EV Drive

There have been many highly publicized EV treks: coast to coast, around the world, to the Arctic Circle... You name it, someone has tried to drive it in an EV. Most of these trips have very good intentions to raise awareness of EVs and/or renewable energy.

I laud these efforts, but as I have mentioned in other posts, they are often using EVs for the one thing they currently are not well suited for, long distance treks.

This is not a trek story. I picked up my Nissan Leaf on May 18th and recently crossed the 3300 mile mark. Why is 3300 significant? This is the distance from Seattle, WA to Miami, FL.

I did not drive from Seattle to Miami or NY to LA or any other monumental trek. These 3300 miles were primarily racked up with commuting and errands, trips to pick-up dog food, milk and eggs, or burritos. This is were EVs shine. All of these trips are well within the car's range. With these trips, there is no concern about making it to the next charging location. The car ends each day in my home garage, where it has a dedicated level 2 charger.

This blog post is a celebration of the mundane trips that make up most people's driving. 3,300 miles in just less than 4 months is an average of ~28 miles per day. The Leaf's 100 mile range covers this with ease.

Different cars have different capabilities. If you were going to help a friend move gravel with your vehicle, you should take a truck rather than a sports car. The same is true for EVs. Today the range is too short and the charging times are too long for EV treks to be popular for anyone other than EV diehards to attempt. However, if you have to run to the store, daycare, then soccer with cargo of groceries and kids, then the Leaf is a great fit.

Perhaps, a decade from now the country (or better yet the world) will be dotted with fast charge stations that would make treks simple. Until then, if I want to make one of these epic journeys, I'll rent a Prius and leave my EV at home.


  1. Good post. I think many gas drivers think they are being asked to make ALL trips on electric, and laugh because long trips are not convenient. I don't think they realize that they are still allowed to use gas for long trips.

  2. Agreed Redmond. EVs and car sharing programs complement each other well too for the occasionally needed gasser.


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