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EV Roadtrip Day 2: Traveling with a different mindset

May 23, 2013

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Traveling in an electric car such as a Nissan Leaf requires a different mindset. The location of car chargers dictate your schedule. Just one hour into Day 2 of our Road trip to Malibu, we had to pull off of Highway 101 in King City at 8 a.m. After leaving Salinas an hour earlier. For someone used to traveling in a gas-powered car, it was a little tough to hear that we will be idle here for nearly four hours while the vehicle charges.
There’s wifi so I could sit in the car and work, but that is not the point.
Thanks to Hartnell College for hosting this ChargePoint charger because without it, this trip would be nearly impossible. It is in a strategic location for those heading south to  Loa Angeles.. It is the only charger in the 100 miles between Salinas and Paso Robles . My husband’s 2012 Leaf typically makes about 80 miles on a charge, at best.

Sometimes, drivers like us stop in to chat, says Kimberly Kessler, an administrative assistant at the college. “It’s been kind of fun, ” she said. The college, which was asked if a ChargePoint charger could be installed there, also agreed to put charges in at it’s Salinas campus, says Kessler who drives a Prius. “It’s nice that we are having more (alternative car) options in this country. it is long overdue,” she said.
Without this charger, we would either have to stop and beg someone to let us plug into a household charger. This “trickle” charge would take the rest of the day and more. The other option is to find to try to locate fellow EV drivers who are willing to share their 240-volt chargers with vagabonds such as ourselves. Those kind enough to do so are listed in the PlugShare App. However, there are none available here. Not all chargers are free, but this one is as was the one in Salinas last night. We have driven 110 miles without paying a dime for fuel!
Luckily, I went old school and stopped at AAA before we left. Their guidebooks are great for finding gems in small, agricultural towns such as this (pop.12,874) which are not tourist destinations. The book mentions the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum about 1.3 miles from here. It opens at 10 a.m. and admission is free if you walk there. As one of my colleagues said as I was departing in this trip. All you need are a pair of comfortable shoes, sunglasses and a bottle of water.
We better get going.

These charging times are never precise, and my husband tells me the Leaf app has cut an hour off the estimated charging time.

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