I’m not sure if I posted about this before, but I have had a M3 from Tesla shoved my direction from the gold counter this May. I declined and found that it was the only choice. I dutifully picked the extended range and was semi excited about driving an electric car FOR THE FIRST TIME, EVER.
… and then the range anxiety kicked in. I was in a new city, driving a rental and required 96 miles each way to my destination in VERY blue collar central PA.
I asked again if there were any other options, even in other price ranges. “NOPE. It’s 8:20pm and we have only these cars left” was the response from the young woman at the counter.
So, dutifully, I idled (is that even a thing for EV?) to the gate. I almost made it out of the secure area when the exit agent noted that my B pillar cover was sagging away from the frame. Since this contained the seat belt anchor for the shoulder strap, they would not let me out of the yard.
Now, down to alternates of alternates, I found myself in a SRM3 from Tesla.
If your keeping track at home, I lost about 80 miles of range from that little transaction.
So, I left, trying to make it to my hotel for the week’s stay in industrial central PA.
By the time I got to the halfway point of my journey, near Allentown, I looked over to see that I had only 39% battery remaining. I started looking for charging points as I knew that even if I made it to my destination, I would have to find a charge point during the week in order to make it to Thursday. (my ‘week’ was actually only 3 nights and 3 days).
After finding out how to access the right features on that single screen, I finally identified that the charging station was an 11 minute detour and was THE CLOSEST ONE TO MY DESTINATION IN ANY DIRECTION.
I pulled off, plugged the car in and strolled over to the Red Robin, only 54 miles from PHL. The automated screen stated 30 minutes to full charge, which was mildly acceptable since I had no choice.
I grabbed a menu, selected a burger, ate and caught up on email to find my timer had 3 minutes left until the stated 30 minute charging cycle was complete. Without any further delay, I walked briskly back to the charging station to see “charge complete” 2 minutes before the timer was finished.
I noted that the per-minute charge for using the charger, without charging was $1.00/minute at almost 10pm on a Monday evening. (keep that in mind)
The week went relatively smoothly with the car because I had ONLY 4 miles each way to and from the office. I also deferred any touristy things to do (a habit I try to maintain to keep my sanity while on the road). Doing this, and by babying it, I was able to depart on Thursday afternoon with almost 62% battery life remaining.
Inevitably, I knew that I could not make it all the way back to the PHL from my location without a charge. So, back to Allentown I went. And, as expected, another 30 minute delay was needed to charge the car back to health.
Again, I went to an adjacent eatery to biofuel up while I waited. As the timer kicked just under 12 minutes remaining, I journeyed back to the car. To my surprise, the read out stated “Charged”, now incurring $1.50/min blocking fees.
I hurried out of the car to disconnect and stop running the clock. Coming back to my senses, I plotted the course to the airport and finished the trip.
At the counter, I asked how the fees would be handled. The confident agent stated that all fees will come 10-14 days afterwards when all charges settle.
My expense report listed an additional $77 for the privilege and convenience. There were ~$4 in tolls, so the balance was EV charging and the flat fee for bringing a car back with less than 90% on the indicator.
I was not pleased. This trip would have been a one stop fuel up and would have been a dramatically different experience had I had an ICE vehicle. Instead, I spent more than 1 hour, incurred additional costs and needed half a box of Alka-Seltzer to quiet my anxious stomach while en route.
Looking back, I see that there WERE actually chargers closer to my destination, so I could have traded a 30 minute supercharger stop for (hours?) a much longer charge in the evening. That would have possibly been a worse alternative as evening hours are precious while working on the road.
Pencil me in for HARD PASS on future road trips. That is unless it’s an uber and I don’t need to care what happens to the driver beyond my fare.
I am fully aware that all charges I incurred went to the company and not to myself, but I do not take expenses lightly, especially when they are AVOIDABLE.
Now back to your regularly scheduled ICE rental vehicle complaining about mundane door dings, flat tires and other nonsense that could impact any journey.