Get Out and Drive… Electric

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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.

Both Fritchle and the NYT reporter learned a difficult lesson about electric cars during their respective drives. The range, in miles, that a battery can deliver is significantly affected by cold, wind, rain and other variables.

Charging the “100-Mile Fritchle Electric” at Gilpins Falls in Cecil County, MD on Dec. 7, 1908

Our pioneering electrical engineer turned long-distance adventurer discovered “range anxiety” on a cold rainy day in Cecil Co. MD. He had miscalculated the weather. Mud and headwinds sapped the battery. The NYT reporter also miscalculated. Extra range is required in the bitter cold. Fritchle climbed a power pole with an extension cord. The New York Times called a tow truck. [Fritchle 2,140 Mile EV Tour Came Through Maryland]

Range anxiety? Tow truck? Climbing electric poles? All of that is history. Simply keep a bit extra buffer charge in winter, know where the reliable charging stations are and try to plug in over night.

Tips and Trips

Tip: Remember this mantra, ABC: Always Be Charging.

Tip: Look for hotels with EV charging. [Destination Charging Myrtle Beach]

Trip: [Covered Bridges of Perry County – Electric Vehicle Tour]

Have fun and get out and drive! See you on the road or at a plug in site.