We are 700 miles into a clockwise trip around the west in our new electric car. We are working our way along with, we hope, lessening “range anxiety”. In our fancy red car with all the modern conveniences, we still imagine we are as travelers were, 100 years ago, in a new Model T Ford, hoping there is a ‘gas’ station soon down the road in these unpopulated regions across the West.
The car, Leslie calls it “Ruby” for its’ color. I like “Hazel” because it has lovely ‘hips’ that stick out unusually (and quite seductively). (Remember Oscar Brown from the 60’s?) Either way, it is our first new car in 17 years and is quiet and solid and ‘helpful’, we think. Features we have not experienced from back-up camera to radars all over the place reporting things the car thinks we should be interested in. Great for those of us nearly at the eighty-year-old status!
The western landscapes are as dramatic as ever and maybe even more so shrouded in the moving clouds and rain (and sometimes snow on the passes) that have followed us from Seattle.
We have sped by old rocks and new technologies. We have seen stately, tall wind turbines spinning slowly on ridges or tucked into valley entrances. And, we have seen several gigantic solar photovoltaic arrays. Soon, we anticipate many more of these and many, many more electric cars. Fossil fuels should be kept in the ground with the rest of the fossils – except for those big dinosaurs whose calcified bones need to be shown to all to put us humans in proper perspective.
The car attempts to reduce range anxiety with displays that should help. The image below shows a display that shows that we can surely make it to a charging station that the car found out there somewhere – in this case 19 miles away and we can go 48. No problem — but, the car’s discovery turned out to be a wimpy charger in the parking lot of a town administration building and could charge our car at 3 kilowatts which comes out to 10 miles an hour (of charging). What we usually try to find is a charger that can deliver up to 350 kw of electric power. When we do find a fast charger, we just have time for lunch on the back of the car in the Walmart parking lot (where fast chargers seems to have sprouted) before the car is ready to leap back into action.
We are now in Green River, Utah, just where we used to put our family and friends into canoes and float down into Canyonlands National Park. Looking at the roiling big green water we are amazed that we all survived our family adventures.
Today we will “Charge” on to Boulder where we will see old and special friends.