Monday, April 07, 2014

Our Drive Down the East Coast in An Electric Car - Tesla - Part 3

 We continued down the East Coast to the Savannah, GA supercharger. This one is located at the Savannah airport, which is breathtakingly beautiful. This was the first time the superchargers were in a paid parking lot, so we had to get a airport parking ticket (Long Term Parking) and enter the lot at 9:31 am. There were two other Teslas there already, so we pulled up and began to charge. With that taken care of, we headed inside to walk around and have a cup of tea. We were surprised at how lovely it was.

 I saw Piera's Salon inside the airport. Since my sister Piera's name is rather unusual, I thought she'd get a kick out of seeing it in lights, so to speak....
And the fountain outside was another beautiful feature. We walked the stairs around it as well and returned to the car. We departed at 10:28 and paid our $2 parking fee before we left. Next drove through Georgia until we arrived in the Sunshine State.  Of course, it was pouring rain when we arrived, but we weren't discouraged. It was still warm and NOT SNOW! So, what's a little rain.
 We stopped in St. Augustine at 1:00 pm. The superchargers are located at an Outlet Mall and we had plenty to do, walking around. We met a number of people who saw the car and came up to ask questions, take photos and just see what it was about. They were all very kind and even though we were exhausted, it was energizing to talk with others about the car and our trip. We met a couple from Boston who have their own Tesla! Small world. We departed St Augustine at 1:55 for our shortest leg of the journey yet, just 65 miles to Port Orange.
 We arrived at Port Orange at 2:47. Port Orange is near Daytona and there was a huge race happening that day. Because of the rain, the race was delayed and we hit major traffic while there. We stopped for lunch while the car charged and got ready for our final and longest leg. We stopped at Port Orange because in order to get to our central Florida destination, we needed a full charge. We left at 3:55 in the rain and traffic and couldn't wait to get home.
We passed through Orlando and finally Tampa at sunset. It was now 80 degrees on the thermometer and we were just happy to be at the end of the trip. We had 169 miles to get to our destination and aside from some Orlando traffic, we made the trip quite easily, we even had 89 miles to spare!
 We parked the car for the night, showered and fell asleep. The next day we took the car to the charging station at John's Pass and did a slow charge while we had lunch. We didn't have a supercharger near us, but there is one slated to be installed in Tampa sometime in 2014.
In the meantime, we had a standard wall outlet installed in our garage and we can do a super slow charge from there.
We drove over 1500 miles and didn't stop for gas once! All right, we stopped to charge the car, but we didn't have to buy gasoline! The electric car is quieter that a motor engine and the car is comfortable.

Our return trip was a bit different. The trip down was a learning experience. We got to know the car's capabilities, the most efficient speeds to drive on the highway and the fewest stops to make back up the east coast.
We changed the route somewhat. We traveled on a Monday and Tuesday, instead of a weekend and we made a point to get hotel reservations for the night.
Charging Stop 1 - St Augustine, FL. We drove 220 miles from our home in Florida to the first station. This longer trip eliminated the Port Orange stop that we did on the way down. We arrived at 1:00 and departed after lunch at 2:19.
Charging Stop 2 - Savannah, GA - We arrived in Savannah at the airport at 4:45 after driving the 174 miles from St. Augustine. We departed at 5:19.
Charging Stop 3 - Santee, SC - We arrived in Santee at 7:17 pm after a long stretch of traffic due to a series of accidents on the highway. It was 111 miles from Savannah. We departed at 7:50 pm after a quick dinner.
Charging Stop 4 - Lumberton, NC was 125 miles away and we arrived at 9:35 pm. We departed at 10:00 pm and were getting tired.
Charging Stop 5 - Rocky Mount, NC was 121 miles from Lumberton and we arrived at 11:45 pm. We had one more leg to get to our hotel.
Charging Stop 6 - Glen Allen, VA was 132 miles away. We arrived at 2:32 am and dragged our tired bodies into the hotel room for the night. We waited to charge the car until the morning and we departed after the morning commute at 10:15 am.
Charging Stop 7 - We skipped the Bethesda stop and went 211 miles to Newark, DE. We arrived at 12:51 and departed at 1:50 with a full charge. We decided to avoid the George Washington Bridge and instead went up to the Tappan Zee Bridge and cross over to CT.
Charging Stop 8 - We arrived at Darien, CT  at 4:52 just as traffic was getting thick. We charged the car and decided to try a new route on the way home. We had a quick dinner and headed the short trip to the next supercharger in Milford, CT just 30 miles away. 
Charging Stop 9 - We arrived in Milfort in 6:19 and found that the two superchargers were in terrible shape. The first one we tried didn't work and the second one was extremely slow, not a supercharger at all. Jon contacted Tesla to alert them to the condition, but it wasn't going to help up. We had to wait there until the charge gave us enough power to get home. Home is only 220 miles away, but we decided to go up 91 through Massachusetts and Vermont. There were no superchargers past Milford, so we were taking a risk that we would have enough charge to arrive at home.
We made it... by the skin of our teeth. But, we did. We arrived home at 10:30 pm and were exhausted again! Jon plugged the car into our charger and by morning, the car was fully charged and ready to go again.
The trip was great. It was fun to take a trip with Jon and stop along the way. I preferred the return trip with fewer stops, but the final leg was a bit too stressful for me.
Tesla has plans to install many more superchargers in 2014 and beyond and it will be more convenient when we have more options along our trips.

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