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Electric Vehicle Roadtrip: Reflections in the last miles

May 27, 2013


For the last six days I have sat in the passenger seat watching as the high rises of Silicon Valley melted into the row crops of Salinas to the brown hills of Paso Robles to the counter intuitive forest of  Topagna overflowing into Los Angeles.

I have readjusted my expectations after watching my husband’s estimated 3 1/2 hour charging stops turn into six long hours. And I have found that it is nothing that an afternoon movie or a chat with a friendly stranger could not cure. A movie in the afternoon is like playing hooky is how my husband aptly put it.

I have watched people’s eyes light up when we explained that we were driving my husband’s all- electric 2012 Nissan Leaf from Silicon Valley to Malibu and back. And I have heard others drive by saying way too loudly with a snicker ” they are charging their car. ”

I have whined at our best laid plans being nixed by the limited miles of charge we had in the car and surprised at other times to arrive an hour or two earlier than expected. I have slowed down and found places and people I would have easily overlooked had we been pumping in the gasoline and moving on. I have learned that three- charge days are to be avoided at all costs.

I have considered the improbability and probability of an affordable electric vehicle going mainstream just as I have wondered if we are pioneers or freaks for even attempting this journey.

I have marveled at the innkeepers, city parking lots and colleges that have placed a bet on us EV drivers by hosting a charging station. And I have daily thanked the technology and forward thinkers that have brought us apps which have made it so easy to find the charging stations and to let us know when the car is ready to go.

Every day, I have thanked my old friends as well as my newfound friends in the Bay Area Leaf Owners community for encouraging me, giving me advice and settling automotive marital disputes such as turning on the AC vs windows open.

I have seen my husband smile and relax. And I have looked in the mirror to see the same in myself

There will be plenty to discuss and dissect going forward as I blog about this trip in retrospect, and examine the future of EV driving for better or worse. But for now, I am going to just revel in the simple fact that we made it.





  1. Beasley, Dolores D. (ARC-D) permalink

    Well said and well done!

  2. Rick Karl permalink

    Way to go!….you are pioneers in the use of this very new technology. I am envious….I hope to upgrade my EV experience with a Chevy Spark EV next year…..even now, with my small EV, I can see that this is a future that is still evolving…loved your blogs about the trip…

    • Hi Rick
      I really appreciate your comments. I never thought of us as pioneers, but perhaps we are. I look forward to hear your experiences with the Chevy Spark. Let me know how this blog can help, and what information you are seeking.

    • Tom, thanks. Darn, I think I may have lost on this one. I was so hoping I could convince my husband that we should put the AC on more often. Should we assume that this would be the same result for an EV?

  3. I’d be interested to hear how your trip would have been different had you driven the 280 mile range Tesla Model S. I expect you’d still have long recharging stops, but fewer in the middle of the day.

    • Thanks Donal. I wonder that myself. I also wonder how different it would be in a 2013 Nissan Leaf. A friend just leased one, and I will be interested in hearing about his charging times.

  4. Mitch Dickler permalink

    As the owner of a 2012 Leaf. I love my EV! And don’t see a time when I won’t own one. However, I also own an ICE and don’t see a time when I won’t own one. I use the proper tool for the proper job. I can make several short trips in a day racking up alot of miles and useing alot of my charge. For me long trips require long range. I don’t have your patience and give you alot of credit for being a real pioneer. Thanks for living on the cutting edge!

    • Thanks Mitch. When my husband first bought the Leaf, I never imagined we would drive anywhere overnight, much less go on a road trip. I think it would be very difficult to have the EV as the only car in a family.

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