The Secretary Of Energy's Messy EV Road Trip Included A Family Calling The Cops About A Blocked Charger

Image: Liz Hafalia (AP)
Image: Liz Hafalia (AP)

NPR recently rode along on a four-day EV road trip with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm where she got to experience the realities of owning an EV in the U.S. firsthand.

Granholm is no stranger to EVs. The former governor of Michigan was the owner of a Chevy Bolt and recently traded it for a Ford Mustang Mach-E. But on a summer road trip from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Memphis, Tennessee to promote the Biden Administration’s EV and green energy agenda she ran into some issues that EV owners will be all too familiar with.

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Other problems were not as surprising, like having to plan ahead for charging.

The secretary’s trip had been painstakingly mapped out ahead of time to allow for charging. We stopped at hotels with slower “Level 2" plugs for overnight charging and then paused at superfast chargers between cities. That required upfront work that a gas-powered road trip simply doesn’t require. At a stop in South Carolina, Granholm told audiences she recognized the importance of making chargers easy to find on apps.

The group also dealt with stations that didn’t have enough chargers, ones that weren’t fast enough or ones that simply didn’t work at all.

On the secretary’s road trip, that stop in Grovetown included a charger with a dead black screen. At another stop in Tennessee, the Chevy Bolt that I was riding in charged at one-third the rate it should have. Electrify America says that’s not an isolated problem; a faulty component has caused a number of chargers to be “derated” while the company works on a fix.

Still, Domonoske says that, despite the problems, most of the road trip was trouble-free. And with the 777-mile trip costing one of the drivers just $35 for charging, some on it might even call it a success. The whole NPR report is worth reading here.

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