Supercharging Across America, Summer of 2014

Supercharging Across America Tesla

On the morning of July 12th, 2014, a group of Tesla enthusiasts gathered at Newark, DE to embark on a 3,605 mile cross country drive. That summer, the Great American Road Trip was finally electrified — empowered by the newly completed coast-to-coast Supercharger route.

It was California or Bust for the Tesla faithful. The destination was the annual TMC Connect conference held by the Tesla Motors Club in Monterey.

Five cars covered in decals formed a convoy as they left Newark. Others joined the parade as they made their way across the USA. Nightly stops were in Maumee, OH, Albert Lea, MN, Lusk, WY, and Green River, UT.

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Electric School Bus Pilot Coming to Howard County, Maryland

Electric School Bus Wilde Lake Middle School

Zero Emissions to Improve Air Quality

The Howard County Public School System plans to replace two diesel school buses with all-electric buses in a pilot program supported by a grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The two zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) school buses will help improve air quality as well as support students’ environmental education.

The pilot project cost of $812,377 is funded in part by a $494,377 grant from an MDE program supporting ZEV infrastructure projects. Other funding comes from MBG Enterprises, an HCPSS bus vendor, which will contribute the equivalent cost of two conventional school buses. BGE is furnishing the electric vehicle charging equipment and installation.

This program represents an essential first step toward use of more environmentally friendly vehicles, which are so important both for the wellness of our students and community, and the health of our environment.

HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano

Electric School Bus Research and Education

One electric school bus will transport students attending Wilde Lake Middle School, Maryland’s first net zero school building. Students will use the electric school buses for energy research and conservation projects.

BGE will collect and analyze data to monitor the vehicles’ energy use and to assess grid balancing and peak load reduction.

Electric school buses will lead to cleaner air, a lower cost of operations and a stronger and more reliable electric grid for students, families and the entire county.

Divesh Gupta, Director of Strategy, BGE Utility of the Future

Howard County Supports EV Charging

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions of County government operations 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and to reach zero emissions by 2050.

The County has long been a supporter of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. On November 7, 2011, Howard County dedicated its first EV charging stations at their facility on Bendix Road. See: First Public Charging Stations in Howard County.

Howard County’s Office on Community Sustainability is currently collaborating with BGE to increase the number of EV charging stations the county. See: BGE Fast Chargers at Glenwood Library in Howard County.

100% Electric Maryland RTA Bus

Range Anxiety

The Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) of Central Maryland has at least one BYD 100% Electric bus in its fleet. I happened to spot one in Columbia, MD. Unfortunately, it was being hooked up to a tow truck.

According to the tow truck driver, the bus ran out of charge. How does that happen? Wouldn’t they plan it so that a bus has enough range to complete its route before it leaves the depot? Wouldn’t the bus driver notice that the battery gauge was getting low?

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Get Out and Drive… Electric

Map and mug. Get out and Drive Electric
EAT. SLEEP. DRIVE.

Find New Plug In Sites

Ready for a weekend road trip? Sure, it’s the middle of January. But every season — winter, spring, summer or fall — is the season to drive electric. Grab a cup of coffee and a map, find out where the charging stations are, and get out and drive.

Electric road tripping is as old as the dawn of the automobile age. In 1908, Oliver P. Fritchle drove his “100-Mile Electric” from Nebraska to New York City and then to DC. He managed 2,140 miles in the open cockpit of his Victoria Coupe during the months of November and December. Fritchle survived the cold days and frigid nights with only a coat and lap blanket. [Fritchle Arrives in New York in an Electric]

More recently, a reporter for the same newspaper that reported Fritchle’s successful arrival in New York a century earlier, attempted to drive a Tesla up the east coast using the newly opened Superchargers in Delaware and Connecticut. The New York Times then published a photo of the red Model S on a flatbed truck with the headline, “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway.” That controversial trip happened on January 23-24, 2013. Hard to believe it was seven years ago.

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Advocating for EV Charger Reliability at the Maryland PSC

The Maryland Public Service Commission met this morning to approve an implementation of Electric Vehicle Charging Program Offerings by BGE, Pepco and Delmarva Power. Among other things, it will provide rebates for residential charging stations and sets the rate for utility-owned public charging stations at $0.18/kWh for Level 2 and $0.34/kWh for DC Fast Charging.

52-81% of US apartment dwellers with BEVs rely solely on public charging according to a Jan. 2019 report. Reliability is critical for these folks. I spoke to the Commissioners today to stress the need for better accountability for companies that use public or ratepayer funding to provide EV charging. [Link to YouTube Video]

Here’s a transcript of those remarks.

Joint Utilities Compliance Filing Regarding Implementation of Approved Electric Vehicle Charging Program Offerings. Case No. 9478.

My name is Lanny Hartmann. I drive an electric car. I appreciate the opportunity to make a few comments from an EV driver’s point of view.

I want to focus on one segment of people who drive battery-only electric cars and don’t have access to charging at home or at work and who rely solely on public EV charging.

The proposed flat rate of 34 cents per kWh [for DC fast charging] is in a range that I think is fair. I’d point out that the cost to use a Tesla Supercharger is only 28 cents per kWh. And Tesla delivers a very reliable service at that price.

Customers of utility-owned chargers need to have a high degree of confidence that they can rely on them. Otherwise, this pilot won’t succeed.

There was an article Saturday in the Carroll County Times about this EV charging program. There’s a quote from BGE about the maintenance of the chargers saying, “BGE is being held to the same reliability standards as our electric distribution system, so they must be operational at all times.”

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Dealing With Crap at a Charging Station

What a mess. I pulled into a spot near an EVgo charging station at my local Trader Joe’s this morning. Trash was strewn everywhere. Fast food wrappers, plastic sauce containers, a paper bag and napkins. Did someone have a late night party here?

I hopped out of the car for a closer inspection. That’s when I saw it. A big pile of crap laying naked on the pavement. Right next to ERDEM, the anthropomorphic name that EVgo has given to the CCS/CHAdeMO charger. I didn’t come today to charge, I came to pick up a few items at TJ’s that I didn’t get at the MOM’s Organic Market that I had just come from.

I turned away from the poop and hurried toward the store lest I catch a downwind whiff. As I circulated the store to find my groceries, thoughts gnawed at me. What if an unsuspecting EV driver, eager to get a quick charge, hops out of their car and plants a foot squarely into that squishy pile?

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To the Maryland Public Service Commission from an EV Driver


When the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) held a hearing to decide on allowing utilities to provide EV charging, many parties with a vested interest showed up. There were the charging network companies, the utility companies, automobile manufacturers, industry consultants, lobbyists and trade associations, local government officials and more.

What I did not see on the agenda was a list of individuals from the public. Regular citizens. EV drivers. People like us. So, I called and asked if I could come speak. They put me on the “Additional Advocates and Consumer Panel.” I wanted to look the Commissioners in the eye and speak from the heart of the challenges that we face when depending on public charging infrastructure. Here’s a transcript of those comments.

    Maryland PSC Case No. 9478 Hearing Sept 7, 2018, In the Matter of the Petition of the Electric Vehicle Work Group for Implementation of a Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio – Consumer Panel

My name is Lanny Hartmann, I live in Howard County, Maryland. I’ve been driving an electric car since April, 2012. My wife and I have two electric cars, we bought the first, which is an 80-mile all-electric battery-only car, and we also have a Tesla Model S that we’ve driven across the country, coast-to-coast, two times. We’ve driven that car to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado and across Death Valley.

In those trips, we don’t know what range anxiety is. The Tesla private network is highly reliable and if a station happens to be out, it tells you right there on the screen, it will alert you, so that you can make preparations to skip over it.

Now, the question was asked, “has anybody ever pulled up to a station needing to charge and not been able to?” On these other stations that exist out there, unfortunately, the answer is yes.
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Fritchle Arrives in New York in an Electric

110th Anniversary of an Epic Cross Country EV Tour

When Oliver P. Fritchle rode his 100-Mile Electric into New York City on November 28, 1908, it was a sensation.

1,800 miles from Lincoln, Nebraska. In an electric car! How was that possible?

The New York Times published a story under the headline: FROM NEBRASKA IN ELECTRIC AUTO – O. P. Fritchle Accomplishes Long Tour in Car of His Own Make.

The newspaper proclaimed, “Mr. Fritchle’s trip served the useful purpose of establishing the fact that an electric car, capable of going no more than 100 miles average on one charging, can actually be driven across the country and can find sufficient charging stations to keep it going.”

Fritchle staged his trip to demonstrate the long distance capability and durability of the electric car and batteries that his company manufactured in Denver. He had invited all other electric vehicle manufacturers to join him for a race between Lincoln, Nebraska and New York, saying they “should hail this opportunity for proving the efficiency of electric automobiles for touring purposes.” No one accepted the challenge so he set off alone.

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Electric Road Trip Across Maryland – Emmy Winning Program

electric road trip sign
Electric car owners Jonathan Slade and Novia Campbell drove from the mountains of western Maryland to the boardwalk at Ocean City in an all-electric Nissan Leaf in the summer of 2012 when there was very little EV charging infrastructure. The Emmy award winning PBS program they produced about their journey is now available to view on YouTube.


One of the goals of the documentary was to show the viability of an electric vehicle for everyday use. If they could drive an all-electric car from Oakland, Maryland all the way to Ocean City, then perhaps viewers would realize that an electric car could serve their commute and daily errands. Read More …