Sunday, June 5, 2022

X-Country Drive in an EV: What's unfamiliar is actually familiar.

Welcome to Day 4 of our cross-country drive in the Mustang Mach-E.

Austin is in our rear view mirror this morning, destination El Paso.  

A great foodie and music town, Austin remains one of my fav cities in America, bringing back tons of fun memories with Bob and Stuart from when we’d visit our clients at Dell. 



Sarah and I took this southerly route to visit my sister and Tesla-driving brother-in-law, Denise and Steve, who planned a great night at Llama Kid, an off-the-chart delicious Peruvian restaurant.  As an added bonus, Sarah got to spend time with Leah and Craig who were up from Houston for a wedding.  


And as much as Bailey is a great roadtrip companion, it was great to take a break from sleeping in dog-friendly hotels. (Bailey is eyeing me with scorn as I type this…)


Days 2 and 3 took us from Nashville to Dallas, followed by yesterday’s short hop to Austin.


I think I learned more about driving an EV these last two days than I had in the last two months. 


For example, late Friday night, somewhere along the long, dark stretch between Texarkana and Dallas, I experienced for the first time the frightening sight of the LOW BATTERY alert.  My palms started sweating.    


Then I recalled how many times the LOW FUEL alert in my gas-powered car would tell me I had only 50 miles of range left in the tank.  Same with the battery alert – 50 miles left.  The alert came on again at the 25 mile mark, and even though I knew this was simply information and not a dire warning, I was on high alert.  


I know what you ICE lovers are thinking:  “Sure, the range warning lights may be the same, but I have gas stations everywhere.”  True that.  But with the Mach-E, the App and NAV system conspire to get your car to a specific charge station with a pre-determined reserve of battery range.  So far, this hasn’t failed us.  (We made it to the Electrify America charging station in Royse City with 15 miles of range remaining – just as the App and the Mach-E had planned.)


There are other parallels to EV and ICE “fuel economy.”  Want to stretch your range in a gas-powered car?  Well, don’t speed, nor do you accelerate fast or brake hard.  Same in an EV.  


The one difference I encountered was the impact of hilly terrain on EV efficiency.  (Is it different than an ICE vehicle?  Not sure, but I know I hadn’t factored this in). There were parts of Arkansas and the Texas Hill country where the power efficiency dropped. (Our midwest friends will never have to worry about that!)


Now, I do recall in my first post from the road that I promised to talk about the “robots.”  We’ll get to that tomorrow, when we witness Sarah’s first experience with hands-free, autonomous driving.  


That, and what Sarah and I believe was a UFO sighting.  (How’s that for a S1E4 cliff-hanger?)

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