Friday, September 14, 2012

King City to Atascadero

So far I am running behind schedule. I still think I will make it to LA in a day, but I am not going to sweat the schedule too much. Turns out I should have used a 5.8 kWh for 95% of the charge and 2.9 kWh for the last 5% if I need a full charge while the batteries level if I take it to the full 100%. ( or 5.51 + .15 = 5.66 kW) looks like it is a more realistic charge rate even though the internal charge could handle 6.6 kWh. I did get the internal power working in the car, but it looks like my AC inverter is flaking out.

King City is a great location that has been added to the central coast network, but it is in a commercial section of town and with me being there between 1:30 and 5:30 AM, there was nothing to do but sit and sleep in the car, which wasn't too much of a problem, except there was no restroom, so a little bit of dancing going on but when it was time to go, I went to the local McDonalds and all was right with the world again.

The trip has been a little cool and foggy so far. Temperatures have been in the low 50's which appears to be affecting my mileage. The first stretch only produced 3.4 miles per kWh. The 65 miles between King City and Atascadero were also chilly, but seemed fairly flat, so I was able to get up to 3.5 miles per kWh. The sky is clearing so it should warm up for the next 82 mile leg to Solvang.

The Atascadero charger is in a retail location. It is an older Clipper Creek level 2 charger, but it is located at an eco-friendly Rabobank with a pretty impressive set of PV panels on 2 sides of the bank. There are lots of businesses around too. There is a Starbucks, Movie theater, Rite Aid, Dennys, Subway and other points of interest within walking distance. It is nice to be able to walk around and use the wifi at the Starbucks while I am waiting for this charge.

Now that I am in Atascadero and hitting up Solvang next, this is reminding me why I wanted to do this trip in this fashion. I received a few troll comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel article questioning why anyone would want to do this, but I think it has a practical purpose. Yes, there are definitely better ways to get to LA and yes, low end public transportation is faster, but this is more about the journey. Can it be done? What are the challenges? What would make it tolerable? Would it make sense that my next car be a 100 mile range EV like the ActiveE or would I want something with a quick charge capability? What other infomration would I wish I had when I arrived in a town? (Closest public restroom, restaurant, wifi, places of interest). It may be difficult for someone who has not driven an electric car to understand the need to know, but with all the comments, you can't refute the cost of $5 in charging, but the cost of time is a definite disadvantage.

This trip also reminds me of a wonderful trip I had with my family six or seven years ago. We took our X5 up from L.A. to Redding and hung a left into the redwoods. We then used the GPS to find places of interest like Whiskeytown lake and other interesting places along the way. Just being able to stop and look around today and experience the people in a location rather than just blow past it along the interstate making it less of a drive and more of a journey.

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