EV Road Trip of the Future

» Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in AutoTrader.com | Comments Off on EV Road Trip of the Future

EV Road Trip of the Future

[Originally posted in AutoTrader.com]

With their short ranges and relatively long charging times, all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-MiEV may not seem like the best choice for a road trip vehicle, but given the proper infrastructure and an adventurous attitude, a road trip in an electric car is within reach.

Some early adopters have already pushed the envelope, taking their electric cars on trips that only a few years ago seemed far-fetched. In April of this year, electric car advocate and blogger, Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, took her Leaf almost 520 miles across the British countryside over a span of 48 hours.

She was able to accomplish this feat of traveling more than 7 times the car’s EPA-rated driving range of 73 miles on one charge by stopping at a series of so-called DC fast charging stations, where an electric car can add up to 80 percent of a full charge in about half an hour. In her native Britain, a handful of these types of charging stations already exist at a network of Nissan dealerships.

“Our Leaf behaved impeccably, we saved a lot by not buying gasoline, and it was a success,” said Gordon-Bloomfield after the trip. But she also said the trip was not without some “severe negatives,” noting that they had to drive during business hours to be able to access the charging stations and spent long times waiting at “child-unfriendly” dealerships.

In June of this year, self-proclaimed electric car evangelist, Jerry Asher, took his Leaf on a trip from Santa Monica, California, to Tucson, Arizona – a distance of more than 600 miles – using nothing but the low- to moderate-speed charging available via standard household outlets and a couple of 240-volt charging stations located at Nissan dealerships along the way. Jerry’s trip took him a full eight days to complete, but he had set out to have “as leisurely of a trip as possible” and saw the extra time as a benefit.

“Everyone is traveling so fast these days, they hardly have time to discover things along the way,” said Asher in an interview with AutoTrader. “Taking a bit of extra time enhances the experience and gets us out of that 75 mile per hour mindset.”

While these intrepid EV owners seem to be accomplishing things that the average car owner can’t – or perhaps doesn’t have time – to do, their feats are not all that removed from the ordinary. In fact, in some areas of the United States the ability to almost effortlessly use all-electric cars for longer road trips is quickly becoming a reality. [read the entire article @ AutoTrader.com]