This is our first electric vehicle (EV) and I really do love it, but there are also some adjustments to my lifestyle that I am struggling with. Not that they are insurmountable, just changes in my thinking and daily routines.
During the initial stage of “Let’s buy an EV as a tow vehicle to take on our Climate Tour,” we found out that the industry is still in the early adopter stage. Western Colorado, where we were living at the time, had very limited supply of used EV’s. In fact, I can say there were none. The Chevy dealer would have one now and then as well as a small supply of new models.
So we knew we had to go to a larger market, and Salt Lake City seemed to have a nice supply of used. As a side note, they also have a larger offering of motor homes, so we made the 6 hour ride to Salt Lake for the week. Fortunately, the family is also there so we fit in a visit.
On the initial visit we just looked at and applied for a loan on the motor home, and then went away for a few days to Yellowstone. Hey, it’s what we do. It was tough being off grid for four days not knowing if our plans were a go or not! The motor home was integral to our Climate Tour.
On our drive back to Salt Lake City we stopped in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and called the dealer to see if we were approved. We were! The image above is where we were sitting when we made the call.
Now we could start looking for the EV.
The Nissan dealers had a lot of 2016 Leaf models apparently because when they came out a few people got one on a lease. This also brought the price way down and more in the range we were looking at.
The range on the 2016 is about 85 miles which is great for city work. The plan is to park in an area for 3 months. So we thought, “That will work. We can plug it in at the RV park at night and recharge during the day if we are out very far.”
This plan will work when we are in Phoenix area (our next stop) but it does not work that great here on the southern coast of Oregon. While Oregon has a great EV charging network, it does not extend here on the coast very well. And maybe just where we are in Brookings. Up highway 101, there is a charging station connected to a pizza parlor in a town 30 miles to the north. But you have to eat there to use it. The next one is another 40 miles or so – too for to be comfortable. What if it doesn’t work?
So we are limited in our travels to the north.
The closest large town is Medford, about 100 miles to the east. No charging stations at all on that route. So no Costco trips while we are here.
We are able to head south to the Redwoods National Park, which is about 60 miles away, but there is a nice Casino along the way that has a free fast charger. There were also a couple in Crescent Junction, but had high fees.
So you see, there is a lot of planning that goes into our travels since the range is rather short for recreational travel.
In two days I go to Minneapolis, and my flight is out of Portland – about 340 miles to the north. No way to drive unless we take the motor home, and that is a bit resource intensive. So tomorrow we drive to Crescent Junction to rent a car that I will drive to the airport the next day. And the rental car gets to sit at the airport until my return next Monday.
Not as easy as jumping into the truck and going wherever we wanted. But change always comes with a little chaos.
A big disappointment is that I cannot get to Crater Lake National Park, which is about 4 hours from here on a route with no charging stations. If you did not know, I have a thing about National Parks and have been to 36 so far with a goal to see them all. So close yet so far away! We would have to drive the motor home, and then we do not know where to park and unhook the car and if the car will make it around in the park.
We are learning the hard way! When choosing locations from now on, we will need to be in or near an urban area. Of course we are assuming there are charging stations. I am sure that will be another lesson down the road.
The best part is that I have not bought fuel since July 7th and do not plan to buy any until September 7th, when we move the motor home to Arizona. It does not mean we have not spent money on transportation, as I have just shared, but I expect those hiccups will stop once we are in the next stage of our journey. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make once in a while because some of the best places are off the beaten path. And our next EV will have a range of over 250 miles which is now available. In a couple of years we hope those prices too will come down.
It’s not easy, but we will do it until it is.