Monday, June 6, 2022

X-Country in an EV: Day 5...the home stretch!

Today is Day 5 – and the home stretch! – of my x-country drive in an EV. 


I set out to see firsthand if “range anxiety” is a valid pain-point that will stop broader EV adoption.  After five days driving from Detroit to SoCal in my Mustang Mach-E, EV range and the ability to easily recharge is not a problem. 


Charging stations are everywhere.  


Electrify America and Walmart have partnered well to ensure a fast charger is never out of reach.  (Though there’s so much opportunity to upgrade the CX at the charging stations, as I’ll outline below.)


The connectivity between the FordPass app and my Mach-E’s NAV system is seamless – the app mapped the route and charging stations and sent that itinerary to car’s NAV system.  


Oh yeah, my “fuel” bill is cut by more than half!


But let’s face it:  Driving an EV long distance requires more stops.  

The Mach-E has a 270 miles range, yet I never stretched it to that limit, opting instead to charge every 200 miles or so.  This added time to our trip, but having additional short breaks made the trip less tiring. 


There is so much opportunity to improve the quality of the CX at charging stations.  


I’ll focus on Electrify America, only because, thanks to their network, every single stop I made across the country was at EA, and predominantly at Walmart Supercenters.


Electrify America’s charging stations are well branded, clean and easy to use.  But there are steps they can take to improve the experience and help OEMs scale EV adoption:


Reduce the failure rate:  We typically found two out of eight chargers were not working. That might be an acceptable fail rate, but not if the two that aren’t working are the only two 350 kWh fast chargers.  (To be clear, at no point did we pull in to an EA charging station and not find a working charger.)


Improve night time lighting:  Journey Mapping will likely show that people charging at night find themselves in a remote area of an empty parking lot.  How might EA help people feel secure, perhaps through brighter lighting, a 911 alert button, etc.


Add (and monetize) amenities:  Minimally, vending machines. Ultimately, a waiting lounge with TVs, WiFi, etc.  With eCommerce on the rise, therefore fewer people in the parking lots, I would imagine the shopping center owners will be open to new revenue opportunities. 


For those of you that followed this travelogue, thank you.  I’ll spare you more posts about the EV odyssey.  

Now you’ll just have to suffer through posts about my electric mountain bike.  :)

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