‘Cautionary tale’ from first-time owner of an EV is rude awakening; it took 15 hours to drive 178 miles

Alan O’Hashi, who is from Colorado, bought an all-electric Nissan Leaf and then embarked on the first leg of a 2,000-mile road trip across Wyoming, but things didn’t go as planned after the car took 15 hours to charge for an initial drive of 178 miles.

The trip should have taken two-and-a-half hours but that was far, far from reality.

It was a rude awakening for the new EV owner and he calls it a “cautionary tale” for those planning to purchase one.

“I was rudely awakened when I determined that the charging wasn’t as rapid as some people would lead you to believe, likely the dealers,” O’Hashi told “Varney & Co.” in an interview on Friday, “and I think people like myself, we go into it a bit blindly.”

(Video Credit: Fox Business)

He admitted part of the problem was user error and that he just didn’t have enough experience with electric vehicles. But a big part of the snafu was the “lack of adequate infrastructure” and the car’s charging capabilities. There aren’t a ton of charging stations across Wyoming in the first place, but even worse, the car charges very slowly.

“I had done some research. I knew a little bit about electric vehicles, and the charging and potential obstacles, and I did some pre-planning for the trip,” O’Hashi recounted, “but I didn’t actually have any practical experience with that.”

The incident inspired a book he titled, “On the Trail: Electrical Vehicle Anxiety” where he shared the problems he faced during the trip along with his travel log.

It is a cautionary tale, and [tells] how people just need to realize the current limitations and what the potential is for the future,” he commented.

The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Wolfe ran into a similar situation when she drove from New Orleans to Chicago and back in the brand-new Kia EV6 she rented, thinking it would be “fun.”

Not so much.

“Given our battery range of up to 310 miles, I plotted a meticulous route, splitting our days into four chunks of roughly seven and a half hours each. We’d need to charge once or twice each day and plug in near our hotel overnight,” Wolfe wrote in an op-ed.

Following the event-filled four-day trip, Wolfe remarked that she spent more time charging the EV than she did sleeping.

“It turns out not all ‘fast chargers’ live up to the name. The biggest variable, according to State of Charge, is how many kilowatts a unit can churn out in an hour,” Wolfe pointed out. “To be considered ‘fast,’ a charger must be capable of about 24 kW. The fastest chargers can pump out up to 350. Our charger in Meridian, [Mississippi] claims to meet that standard, but it has trouble cracking 20.”

Both drivers seem disabused of the idea that they would take an electric vehicle on another long-distance trip.

“Fumes never smelled so sweet,” Wolfe commented when filling up her 2008 Volkswagen Jetta with gas after returning home from her trip.

“There are other vehicles I could have purchased that were much more expensive that would have made my travels a lot easier, but not everybody can fall into that category,” O’Hashi noted. “So I had to face some limitations based on the charging infrastructure.”

The US Department of Transportation proposed standards and requirements earlier this year for EV charging projects funded under a $5 billion government program to increase the number of reliable charging stations nationwide. But all of that will take time and the experience of long-distance driving is coming as a shock to many new EV owners.

Biden wants 50% of all new vehicles sold to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models and 500,000 new EV charging stations installed by 2030. That goal is not realistic, according to many experts.

“Everyone should be able to count on fast charging, fair pricing, and easy-to-use payment,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement previously.

But remember, this is the guy who feels Americans can just go out and buy a $60,000 vehicle to solve their gas problems.

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