We Tesla drivers are so spoiled! 😉 Not only do our cars have a range of around 400km on a single, full charge, Tesla Motors is also setting up a fast-charger network for us, the so called ‘Superchargers’, which let you charge at a speed of up to 600km/hr. This means that most times you’re topping up your charge, you don’t have enough time to finish your coffee before the car is ready to go. We enjoyed both of these aspects of driving an electric car immensely on our 15,000km round trip from Victoria BC to Florida and back. It made that trip fun and super-easy.
What a rude awakening we suffered on our test-run last week, going up North on Vancouver Island! Both of those ‘luxury items’ were suddenly taken away from us. Why? Because we we were towing a camping trailer with our Tesla Model X the 265km from Victoria BC to Campbell River and back. How? Because towing a camping trailer pretty much cuts our range down by 50%; and because Vancouver Island doesn’t have any Superchargers (yet).
So, this is what happened: We left Victoria BC around 9:30am and mostly stayed slightly below the speed limit to help extend our range. Got some enthusiastic thumbs-ups and cheering comments from some of the drivers passing us! Thanks, guys! When we reached Nanaimo, we plugged into a 30Amps/208V charger while we were having lunch. We got about 24km/hr (no trailer) or 12km/hr (with trailer) out of that one. Ohoh…that’s about 575km/hr (no trailer) less than what we are used to…! Could we make it all the way to Campbell River with our rather small top-up? Short answer: probably not. Therefore, we stopped again at the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre in Comox. Pretty nice place! Kye loved his dip in the little pond, though that was not part of my plan 😉 Anyway, the one charger was available and we plugged in, started charging at 24km/12km/hr (without/with trailer) and went for a walk. Since it was getting late, our friends and relatives were waiting for us already, we got restless, so we left pretty quickly, giving up on the super-slow charger. Rolf knew there was a destination charger close by, the Wayward Distillation House in Courtney BC, one that could potentially give us a charge of up to 80km/hr, limited by our on-board charger to a maximum of 72km/hr (no trailer). In the end, we charged at 40km/hr. Keep in mind, us pulling a trailer cut that number in half!
What a great time we had at the Wayward Distillation House! They don’t only have a Tesla wall charger, referred to as ‘destination charger’ since it was put up by a company that supports Tesla drivers visiting their ‘destination’, they also have a regular charger. We got a free tour of their distillery, tasted some espresso & cacao bean liqueur (and ended up buying some, of course! ;-)…) and even met somebody from Royston Roasting Co. & Coffee House, the company that provides the coffee for that particular liqueur. Such ‘spirited’ people! Your honey based vodka and gin rocks. 😉 Thank you, guys, we had a blast, our dog Kye included. No drinks for him, though! 🙂 Thanks for supporting electric cars by providing charging stations!
In the end, we skipped Campbell River and drove directly to Black Creek, Rolf’s brother’s place, which was closer. I cancelled my appointment with my dear friend Lynda, the ‘lady in waiting’ of the Victoria Day Parade, though luckily she came by and we did have a little chat. Not as much as I had hoped for, though. All because it took us so much longer to get to our destination.
I have to admit that we felt pressed for time for most of this trip. That was just because we knew that people were waiting for us. It’ll be different on our 3-months trip, which started last Saturday. (I will post about our great Send-off from Mile Zero in Victoria BC soon!) We will rarely have people waiting, or if they do, then it will be something we set up last minute at a time when we have way more experience with what it takes to drive an electric car with camping trailer across the continent. This is good, because it’ll make our trip more relaxed and enjoyable.
That said, I firmly believe that a long range and a fast-charging network should not be ‘luxury items’. Both aspects should be available to any and all electric car drivers, be it the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul, eSmart, … you name it. Tesla Motors has opened up their patents. And they are willing to share their Supercharger network with other car manufacturers. For a price, of course, because they had to pay for it, too. So far, I haven’t heard any news that any of the other car companies are even considering joing Tesla Motors. I hope it’s not a question of pride that keeps them from doing so, some ‘not invented here’ misplaced attitude. It’s high time for the car manufacturers to unite to work together on the best possible system. It’s nice and dandy to stay local and be able to sufficiently charge in your own garage. But once you want to get out there, enjoy the freedom of travelling the country, you’re hooped. Though you know I’m biased, show me a better system than Tesla Motors’, one that let’s you drive further and charge faster. If you can’t, then you know what that means. Time for other car manufacturers and charging companies to admit it and jump on board.
Rolf will put a video together about our test drive, when he finds the time, which will then also feature Wayward Distillation House, of course. At this point, he’s working on the video of our Send-off. As it’s only the two of us doing it all, we’re often pressed for time. But we try our best, so stay tuned!