Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Return of the King (City)

El Camino Real, the Royal Highway. It is the 600 mile road that originally linked the California Mission system. Most of that route betwen San Jose and Los Angeles is now part of Highway US 101 which links Northern California to Southern California. This is the route that I originally wanted to follow on my trip except there was one stretch of 109 hilly highway miles between Salinas and Atascadero that was just too daunting in my 100 mile range BMW ActiveE that I was willing to take on.

In the middle of that stretch is a town called King City. The town was founded after the purchase of the land by Charles King in 1884 who bought the land from the Spanish Rancho San Lorenzo. Charles King transformed the once Salinas Dessert into a fertile wheat farm and later work to harness the Salinas River has transformed the area into a fertile agricultural region. There is an "EV Friendly RV Park" in King City called Ciudad del Rey Motel and Trailer Park, but their gates are only open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM and they charged $25 to charge. Because I planned to drive through the area around 2 AM and also due the high cost, I chose a route that would take me inland to Interstate 5 to the KOA Campground in Santa Nella for $10, then a free charge at the Harris Ranch's Tesla Roadster charger and then pick up my original route in Atascadero on a 90 mile detour where I would actually arrive a few hours earlier than waiting for the Ciudad Del Rey trailer park to open.. Both of the alternative chargers require adapters to charge my BMW with its J1772 connector.

But now, things might be lining up very favorable for my trip. Sharon Sarris, from Green Fuse Energy who is also the Founder and Co-Facilitator of the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Alliance and member of the County of Santa Cruz Commission on the Environment let me know that the installation of a new ChargePoint charger at the Hartnell College campus in King City should hopefully be ready in time for my trip. Sharon has been working with Piet Canin of Ecology Action who was the grant manager of the project which was partially funded by the California Energy Commission. This week George Bent from Clean Fuel Connection has been overseeing the installation and they have been waiting for the concrete to cure. Now the installation should wrap up, then the paperwork just needs to be completed and the charger needs to be provisioned on theChargePoint network and it will be ready to use.

This is not only a huge benefit for me, but to any other Electric Vehicle driver that wants to drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The distance between Level 2 EVSE charging stations will be less than 90 miles. Cars that have 100 mile range can easily make this route. This will also will cut an hour out of my driving time and 2 hours out of my estimated charging time. 

So even if the charger is not ready for some reason, I still have my alternate route and equipment to make the trip. But just like how El Camino Real linked the network of Missions and Charles King transformed a desert into a thriving agricultural town, this charger is the golden spike in the north/south route and the ability for Electric Vehicle drivers to make the journey between California's largest cities without burning gas in an internal combustion engine vehicle while enjoying the towns along this majestic highway.


  1. Hello Jack, No need to make it from Bay to LA in a day. Take time to charge your batteries too with beer in SLO, Danish in Solvang, good food in Santa Barbara, biking in Ventura, etc. If you are in LA for a few days around your old haunts, would like to meet up. Dinesh

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  3. Very much enjoyed reading your articles about your eVehicle trip. What happened to your original, longer article?

  4. Glad you liked it Cam. Scroll all the way to the bottom the page you are on and it will take back and forth. The blocg is over several pages now. I am still writing my last entry on the trip. Hopefully I get time to complete it over the weekend.