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Noted In Passing: “Hey, let’s drive all the way from Chi Town to New Orleans in an electric car. It’ll be fun!”

Leaving Chicago after a full night of sleep, I tell Mack I might write only about the journey’s first half. “The rest will just be the same,” I predict, as thunder claps ominously overhead.

“Don’t say that!” she says. “We’re at the mercy of this goddamn spaceship.” She still hasn’t mastered the lie-flat door handles after three days.

As intense wind and rain whip around us, the car cautions, “Conditions have not been met” for its cruise-control system. Soon the battery starts bleeding life. What began as a 100-mile cushion between Chicago and our planned first stop in Effingham, Ill., has fallen to 30.

“If it gets down to 10, we’re stopping at a Level 2,” Mack says as she frantically searches PlugShare.
We feel defeated pulling into a Nissan Mazda dealership in Mattoon, Ill. “How long could it possibly take to charge the 30 miles we need to make it to the next fast station?” I wonder.
Three hours. It takes 3 hours.

I begin to lose my mind as I set out in search of gas-station doughnuts, the wind driving sheets of rain into my face.

Seated atop a pyramid of Smirnoff Ice 12-packs, Little Debbie powdered sugar sprinkled down the pajama shirt I haven’t removed in three days, I phone Mack. “What if we just risk it?” I say. “Maybe we’ll make it there on electrical fumes.”

“That’s a terrible idea!” she says, before asking me to bring back a bag of nuts.

‘Charge, Urgently!’

Back on the road, we can’t even make it 200 miles on a full charge en route to Miner, Mo. Clearly, tornado warnings and electric cars don’t mix. The car’s highway range actually seems worse than its range in cities.

Indeed, highway driving doesn’t benefit as much from the car’s regenerative-braking technology—which uses energy generated in slowing down to help a car recharge its battery—Kia spokesman James Bell tells me later. He suspects our car is the less-expensive EV6 model with a range not of 310 miles, as listed on Turo, but 250. He says he can’t be sure what model we were driving without physically inspecting the car.

“As we have all learned over many years of experience with internal combustion engine vehicles, factors such as average highway speed, altitude changes, and total cargo weight can all impact range, whether derived from a tank of gasoline or a fully charged battery,” he says.

To save power, we turn off the car’s cooling system and the radio, unplug our phones and lower the windshield wipers to the lowest possible setting while still being able to see. Three miles away from the station, we have one mile of estimated range.

“Charge, Urgently!” the dashboard urges. “We know!” we respond.

At zero miles, we fly screeching into a gas-station parking lot. A trash can goes flying and lands with a clatter to greet us. Dinner is beef jerky, our plans to dine at a kitschy beauty shop-turned-restaurant in Memphis long gone.

Then we start to argue. . .

RTWT AT: I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping. – WSJ

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John Venlet June 9, 2022, 10:48 AM

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Batteries are for flashlights, DeWalt drills, transistor radios, voltage meters, and kids’ toys. Those electric cars are kids’ toys.

  • ghostsniper June 9, 2022, 11:34 AM

    Harry once sed: “A man, and his ride, must know their limitations.”
    He was a durty bastid.

  • Gordon Scott June 9, 2022, 11:52 AM

    Whatever the advertised range, don’t plan on exceeding 60 percent of that. Less in the winter, and cross country is why you rent a car. That’s what I learned from a gal who had an early Prius, and liked it. She only ever charged at home, and had the gas engine backup.

  • KCK June 9, 2022, 12:32 PM


    She’s changing typeset in the basement, now.

  • TwoDogs June 9, 2022, 1:32 PM

    I said this in the comments at Lileks.com the other day and I’ll say it again here : When they build an electric car that gets 400 miles on a charge and charges back up to another 400 miles in ten minutes at a charging station that is available on every corner of every town in the country, I’ll buy one.

    • ghostsniper June 9, 2022, 2:18 PM

      If it had a “no questions asked” 200 mile range, could charge over night at home, could carry 40 sheets of plywood, and (this is the most important part), cost $10,000.00 or less, I’d buy one tomorrow.

      See, I have about $10k in my 2001 Chevy Blazer 4×4 and I only drive it about 2000 miles a year, and I can ratchet strap plywood on the roof, and it’s paid for. Why in the world would I want to take on the monthly payments of a different ride, plus increased insurance cost (full coverage), plus whatever maintenance is required, and in the end still use it like I use my free one?

      My first and last brand new ride was a 1991 Chevy S10 Tahoe and it cost $8,888.88 during a promotion in late 1990, and I still own it. Since then vehicle prices have went through the moon and the only reason, I can see for it, is that there a never ending line of people with no regard for the price of money climbing all over each other to be deeply in debt. A new Chev Colorado, set up like my S10, will cost between $30k and 40k (4 times what my S10 cost) and it won’t do anything better than my S10 will. It’s insanity!

      Oy yeah, my S10 has never had anything major wrong with it and STILL gets 20 mpg all the time. Currently has about 180k on it – all mine! It’s the best purchase of anything I have ever made. Period.

  • Christopher L Hunt June 9, 2022, 3:40 PM

    They charged up at the Nissan dealership in my town. I bought a 1988 Nissan Stanza wagon there in 1989, the last new car I will ever own.

  • Zil Trabant June 9, 2022, 3:45 PM

    Love the old B&W photo of the cut in half Trabant being pulled by a mule somewhere in the Eastern Bloc.
    Coming soon to a fading banana republic near you.
    Muh lithium batteries won’t be saving anything but the bottom line of the manufacturers and good luck with the grid when an entire city charges up for the night.

  • John the River June 9, 2022, 6:13 PM

    Slow charging takes most of the day, fast charging reduces the life of the battery.
    Well before 15% of the country has been forced into switching over to EV the electrical grid will collapse.
    As the cost of Gas/Coal/Oil goes up, the cost of manufacturing wind turbines and solar goes up; if it doesn’t break even now, it never will.

    And for the last time, Human-Caused Climate Change is a lie. And a poor lie at that.
    I’m going to bed. Fuck it.

  • greg June 9, 2022, 10:07 PM

    I watched the WSJ video on several of their reporters driving EV for several weeks.
    Did you notice what was missing from all the reviews?
    The only way they could get one was pay to rent one.
    Tesla doesn’t care what anyone thinks about their cars including owners.
    They don’t loan them out or cooperate with review writers.
    They don’t advertise.
    Tesla new car waiting list is way out there.
    Used Tesla’s are still way expensive and have high mileage.
    If you don’t mind the 250$ a month full coverage insurance
    And can charge at home
    And have a gasoline second car
    And can spend 70k for new
    Then Tesla is a perfect car to run around town.
    For me, since I don’t spend 250$ a month now on fuel, even a free Tesla wouldn’t work.

    Except that all other cars are boring compared to driving a model 3 with 475hp 4wd.

    • John the River June 10, 2022, 7:04 AM

      Your comment on the higher price of EV car insurance caught my eye and I looked it up.

      Annual Premium
      Porsche Taycan
      Tesla Model S
      Tesla Model X
      Tesla Model Y
      Audi E Tron
      Volvo XC40 Recharge
      Tesla Model 3
      Ford Mustang Mach E
      BMW I3
      VW ID.4

  • brinster June 10, 2022, 2:31 AM

    Climate change is a nonsense phrase, implying that climate should stay the same were it not for us humans’ use of fossil fuels. Let’s assume the country goes to all electric vehicles by 2035. What will our betters do when climate doesn’t change back to where it should be? What will they come up with? Cow farts?
    And what will happen to all the workers in the fossil fuel industry, from extraction to retail?
    Brandon said there will be “high paying jobs” to replace them. Doing what, exactly? Toting five gallon buckets of windex to clean solar panels. Lubricating windmills? And how do they propose the disposal of 400 million ICE powered vehicles?
    “Climate change” is the biggest con job in history.

    • ghostsniper June 10, 2022, 4:55 AM

      While all of what you wrote is true, would you, even for 1 second, take the advice of people that are incapable balancing a basic ledger sheet? As a lifelong rule I have a strong tendency to ignore mouthy nitwits, and, if given the opportunity, have no compunction with giving them a sound crack across the yap. I’m busy, so get off my lawn.

    • Bilejones June 13, 2022, 4:32 PM

      Every time I see some one say “fossil fuels” to describe hydrocarbons I want to ask the clown who said it how the evil oil companies shipped all the dinosaur corpses up to Saturn’s moon Titan so they could
      Have Methane Rain.
      Maybe they took the easy way out and used bottled unicorn farts?

  • Snakepit Kansas June 10, 2022, 4:50 AM

    Democrats cannot balance the budget but think they can control earth’s temperature.

  • brinster June 10, 2022, 5:33 AM

    Take advice from humans who are turning this country into a third world hellhole? They couldn’t run a lemonade stand without government subsidies.

  • Dan Patterson June 10, 2022, 5:53 AM

    If you try hard enough you can insulate yourself from the string pullers and bullshit artists that flood the public spaces, and if you try harder you can protect yourself from their pollution when you have it forced on you. But it is a task.

    Two recent examples of not only how hard it is to avoid, but how effective the slop is in permeating the consciousness sharpened the edge of that blade for me recently. A trip to Dallas for business on Delta Airlines was excruciating from the departure to destination, and return — there were barrages of social justice tripe plastered everywhere, displays of forced inclusion and implicit non-voluntary association. And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. “This is normal. Yes!” No, asshole, it is not.

    A visit to the local Bijou to quiet the urging of the spouse was as difficult as expected. Well, they do serve beer in that one so I had that going for me. But the pre-view and commercial segments were absolutely intolerable and disturbing. Manipulation of emotion and presumptive acceptance of myth as truth were rampant. Sly inference from computerized animation engages the immature psyche and displaces nascent logical reasoning with a plea to belong. “You want to belong, don’t you? Why, you could be one of us! We like you, we want you to be in our club. We laugh, we have adventures, we see how the adults have RUINED the world around us. We must SAVE IT! You know what? Since the future holds only bleak extinction, we should make everyone buy a new ELECTRIC CAR! Yeah. Those are soooo cooool. And they don’t use bad ol’ gasoline, they use free electricity! And we will save the world!”

    The messaging is very effective. Name the subject; gun laws, ecology, energy policy, nutrition, international relations. All of it is manipulated toward a goal. Pressure to conform, bias against intuitive conclusions, shunning of independent thinking, acceptance of peer group demands, and the blatant homo-erotic and female-as-warrior mythology is every goddam where. Find a movie that does not portray WASP males as either evile incarnate, or bumbling 2nd fiddles. Watch a TV show, and pay attention to the commercials, and you’ll get a full serving of the New World Shit Show. And it is a show destined for failure.

    The electric car fairy tale does not have a happy ending. But dare say that to anyone outside your circle and you’ll get a hand-wave dismissal. Just like when you questioned the validity of the 2020 election. Remember?

  • Dirk June 10, 2022, 9:35 PM

    You ever see me in an electric car, I’ve been kidnapped, some sort of foul plays occurring.

    I’m sorry I’m not changing how I live or what I do because some douche bag thinks he knows better.

    When I’m dead and gone, somewhere a small insignificant sign will say, “He Definitely Did It His Way”. My life, my rules.

  • DanJ1 June 11, 2022, 8:00 AM

    In Ann Arbor, Michigan where I work, every other car is an EV. I went “Up North” fly fishing this weekend and once I was 45 miles out, there was nary an EV to be seen. Somehow, I don’t think electric vehicles will be replacing our cars and trucks any time soon regardless what Biden and the Leftist think.

  • LTC Ted June 11, 2022, 8:52 AM

    Pressed to define ideal all-electric (fueled by coal, gas, and or neutrons) conditions, it would be driving alone in convertible weather in Kansas — no heat, no A/C, no hills. Any other conditions seems a set-up for grief.