Electric Road Trip – Week One: Tesla, charging hiccups, used-car dealerships


Hi this is Edward Klump from E&E News And I’m Mike Lee and we are just about done with the first leg of the first leg of the Electric Road Trip. Our part of the trip was Houston to Nashville, so that included stops in places like Austin Fortworth and Arkansas. What we also found was that there are some good things about the charging network for electric vehicles and there are some not so good things. We found some chargers that were busted, we found some where the screens were really hard to read. But we also found some that worked really well. Including some from Electrify America along the interstate. Yea, those really would charge your car up in about 30 minutes. One of the highlights of the search for chargers was the Clinton Presidential Library, where we tooled all around the parking lot. and then we finally asked the maintenance man and he told us that he had taken out the charger two days earlier. Right, so we found an orange cone, eventually, with cables underneath it and we had Mike pose with that, To show that we located where the charger had been. The other thing that we discovered is that there a lot of people who are really passionate about electric vehicles And there is a lot of planning going on right now. That was especially true in Austin, we met with Austin Energy, which is the municipal utility. They have an EV team there, they also have a dinosaur mascot called Steve-E, the EV loving T-Rex. And we also met with Pecan Street, which does research on electricity. And that includes some great vehicle to grid research related to electric vehicles. A couple things that we tried to explore were where to people charge. Home, office, or publicly. I think that’s still being worked out. But a lot of home charging. We also looked at who might be affected. So that included a stop in Arlington. To talk to some used car dealers. Yea, we did talk to the used car dealers, We also talked to a lot of people from the utility companies And from the Southwest Power Pool which operates the grid for 14 states. And the thing I was impressed with, because I don’t usually cover electric utilities, Is how much planning and thinking they are doing to get ready for all of the changes that are coming. And of course we can’t forget the fact that on Sunday, the day before the trip We rented a Tesla and we drove it around Houston. Including on the interstate, on roads, and also down by refineries. Yea, the Tesla was a lot of fun though. I think we found at the end of the day, we can down at an important moment, came on this trip at an important time. And that really, at the end of the day, we learned a lot about EVs. We are looking forward to see what the next team finds. So we got seven weeks to go, so please follow along with our colleagues and we look froward to see what they come up with. Bye.

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