This time, that stands for “power shortage”, a bedevilment of electric car drivers much worse than when we see our gas guzzler’s gauges dip into “reserve”. So, what do you do when your fancy Tesla runs out of “juice”? Tesla drivers get a lot of warning. On the top left corner of the Tesla display, near the speedometer, the driver can see the color of the battery icon turn from green, to yellow, to red. That’s how you know your Tesla is in trouble. Red indicates that your car is draining the last bits of power and is about to die. You have 10-20 miles after you hit red. I know from my friend Ken that the last miles of a long trip at the limits of a charge are characterized by frantic scrutiny of PlugShare, an app showing public charging stations, hoping to find one at which to top off. And this was in the LA-San Diego corridor, where charging stations are thick. Chasing charges can consume the better part of a road trip in an E.V (1,2). But what if that fails and the putt-putts are no more as your battery gauge sits at zero? We’ve all had that happen with our regular cars, trudging to the closest gas station to beg a can and come back with a gallon that might get us those few miles home. But you can’t put electrons in a gas can, which got me thinking as to what you actually would do. Well, you can always get towed to the nearest charging station (3). E.V.s can’t be towed like regular cars, requiring a flatbed. So, you’ll need to convey that to the towing company. If you’ve got roadside assistance insurance, you’re covered. Yes, they do make machines that come to you. The best is made by a US company, Blink, a 350-pound gasoline powered unit that can take anywhere from 25 to 50 minutes to deliver 25 miles of range. That’s a little heavier than a full gas can. eCamion, a Canadian company that specializes in battery-based EV chargers, is working on a mobile unit that could charge several dead electron guzzlers (4). The battery needed for such a purpose would fit into a ten-foot shipping container, which is the equivalent of a small-sized U-Haul.
While it seems you can actually could jump start an EV – as all EVs have two batteries, one to run the motors and the other for miscellany, like radio, wipers, heated seats, among other things with the hardest part of the jump start process is locating the auxiliary battery – the boost only works from the larger battery to the smaller one (5). And for sure you can’t jump another EV. So, leave those jumper cables at home.
But we put a man on the moon! Can’t we revive a dead EV on the side of the road? There must be other solutions. Kathy and I thought of a few. Why hasn’t Elon paired with his buddies at Apple to come up with an app that would fire up a Tesla from the iPhone’s lithium battery over a lightening to USB cable? Heck, while there at it, why not make it wireless! And have those zillions we’ve sunk into defense over the decades brought us nothing? We’ve all seen the KC-135 drop its proboscis into a B52 to refuel it in flight. How about some other flying craft trailing power cords to rescue our dead Teslas? Would have to be choppers as they’d be operating in traffic. But since the mission is to restore drivers to saving the earth, could we not get ample volunteers? And, of course, Elon could have one of his many satellites send down thunderbolts. Zap! Talk about post-market service. Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? (6).
Peace, love, dope, and free energy for all!
- Wolfe R. I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping. Wall Street Journal 6/3/22. https://www.wsj.com/articles/i-rented-an-electric-car-for-a-four-day-road-trip-i-spent-more-time-charging-it-than-i-did-sleeping-11654268401?AID=11557093&PID=6415797&SID=bi%7C629e2712601ab110760eae7a%7C1655952505699fggt7f7k&subid=Business+Insider&cjevent=d155a100f2b111ec813d004b0a1c0e0b&tier_1=affiliate&tier_2=moa&tier_3=Business+Insider&tier_4=3861930&tier_5=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wsj.com%2Farticles%2Fi-rented-an-electric-car-for-a-four-day-road-trip-i-spent-more-time-charging-it-than-i-did-sleeping-11654268401
- O’Connell JO. To No One’s Surprise, a Gas-Powered Road Trip Bests One in an Electric Vehicle. Red State 6/23/22.
- Tchir J. If my EV battery dies on the road, can I get a boost?
Globe and Mail 3/7/21. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/drive/mobility/article-if-my-ev-battery-dies-on-the-road-can-i-get-a-boost/
- 3 Things You Can Do If Your Car Runs Out Of Battery. Mach 1 August 2020. https://www.mach1services.com/what-to-do-if-electric-car-runs-out-of-battery/
- Pritchard T. Can you jump-start an electric car? Here’s what you can and can’t do. Tom’s guide 1/16/22. https://www.tomsguide.com/reference/can-you-jump-start-an-electric-car-heres-what-you-can-and-cant-do
- Browning R. Men and women and other poems. London: FB Pinion, 1855