Yesterday morning our daughter texted us at around 10:45. She was going to be riding her bike from her place in San Francisco to have lunch at a fresh seafood place in Sausalito, a town just across the Golden Gate Bridge from the city but about 40 miles north and west of where we live on the East Bay. She asked us if we wanted to join her there.
My wife really wanted to go because we hadn’t seen our daughter for a few weeks, so we got in the car and headed to Sausalito. It was shortly after we hit the road, though, when I noticed that our electric car’s battery was down less than 30% and the range left on that charge was only about 88 miles.
When I mentioned this to my wife, she asked if we should call our daughter, cancel meeting her for lunch, and head back home. But not wanting to disappoint either my wife or my daughter, I said let’s go on, figuring I might have just enough juice in the car’s “tank” to get us there and back home again.
One of the challenges of driving an electric vehicle is that there aren’t public charging stations on nearly every corner, like there are gas stations. So, while my wife and daughter were enjoying lunch, I was a bit preoccupied, frantically looking at my iPhone trying to find the locations of nearby EV charging stations, since I was pretty sure, especially if we ran into traffic on the way back, that we wouldn’t have enough of a charge left to make it home.
Fortunately, there was an EV charging station in the parking lot of a Safeway about a mile from the restaurant. Just so you know, although we’ve had our electric car for 13 months, I’ve always charged it at home in our garage; never at a public charging station. I was nervous about what that experience would be like. Would it be as easy to charge my car at a public charging station as it is in my garage? How long would it take, given that it takes about five or six hours to fully charge my car overnight using my JuiceBox garage EV charger?
When I pulled up to the charging unit in the Safeway lot, I got out of my car and plugged the charging hose into my car. It was almost identical to the plug connection in my garage’s charging unit. Easy Peasy. But would we have to sit in the car for five or six hours to charge it?
The answer was no. The ultra high speed charging station could take my car from 16% to 80% in about 40 minutes! And because there was a Starbucks right next to the Safeway, my wife and I went there to kill some time while we waited for the car to charge up. My wife got a pumpkin spice latte and I got a regular coffee and a slice of frosted lemon cake. Yum!
About ten minutes later we headed back to the car and saw that the battery was charged up to 35%, which would get us back home with plenty of juice to spare. So I hit “Stop” on the charging station, unplugged my car, and we drove off. And yes, we made it home with energy to spare.
And now I can check off charging my electric car at a public charging station from my bucket list.