Charging on the road

JLong extension cable
I recently had two “first time” experiences related to insufficient range to get home: I was about 12 miles from home on a Sunday evening with an estimated range of 11 miles and I was 35 miles from home with 20 miles in the battery last Sunday at noon.

In the first situation, I had been running errands during the day and knew that I would be cutting it close but was confident I had enough charge to get home after dinner. The evening got much colder and I was surprised that the range dropped below the distance to home while I was eating. I was down the street from a VW dealer and was hoping that they would have a charging station available as part of the roll out of the e-Golf. I pulled in and – voila! – there is was. A car was parked in front but there was room next to it 🙂 I plugged in and tried many times to start the charging but could not – I guessed that the dealership had turned it off at the end of the day on Saturday. I have sent a note to describe this situation and will share any responses.

I was out of options and took a gamble that the estimated range was low based on highway driving I had done earlier in the day and the recommended route home was on the highway. However, there is a good alternative on secondary roads, so I tried that. In fact, driving gently, in ECON mode, without heat, I was able to get home with 4 miles remaining as the estimated range.

In the second situation, I attended a Cars and Coffee meet up in Ramsey. I knew that this round trip was way beyond my range and I had looked for charging options before I left home. Bergen County Community College was my safety net and I saw that there were dealerships for Honda, Nissan, BMW, and VW all within a few miles of the meet up. When it was time to leave, I first stopped at the BMW dealer and I could not find a charging station that was accessible…their back lot was completed fenced in and locked. GULP.

The next dealer I came to was Joe Heidt VW – they were not listed in the ChargePoint app but having recently driven the e-Golf and been locked out of a recharging opportunity (see above) I had mixed expectations. They are on the ChargePoint network and I was able to plug in and charge. It took about 45 minutes to acquire enough electrons to make it home with a safe cushion. I used the time to buy a JLong extension from QuickChargePower. I sent a note of appreciation to the dealer for their support to the EV community.

BTW, I received a letter from Honda of American that offers the lease extension – at $199/month including insurance and unlimited miles. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I have almost a year to decide.

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