Published on September 21st, 2019 | by Cynthia Shahan0
2015 BMW i3 REx Goes Long Distance To Find The Heart Of America — Florida To The Appalachians, Day 1
September 21st, 2019 by Cynthia Shahan
To begin, I want to thank my personal patron saint of long-distance small-EV travel, Zachary Shahan. He plotted my trip for me from charger to charger since my MacBook Air took a hiatus and blacked out on me the morning I left the Sunshine State for the Appalachians in a small 2015 BMW i3 REx. My travel log lost, Zach kept me abreast of each charging location on my phone, and updated them as the trip went along and plans changed. I also found some extra stations with the navigation on the dash of the i3.
I set the navigation on Eco and also started to take the back roads for the time being. Slower, smaller roads to save range and avoid traffic are my choice regardless of car or bicycle. Trains would be a first choice — but this is Florida and car culture prevails. What I found is that even the gaps in PlugShare did not present a problem. I found chargers with the GPS on the i3 dash — at Comfort Inn, for one — and other places that did not appear otherwise.
So, back to the beginning, the slow trip to chargers began ever so pleasantly, and I was able to use only electricity from Lakewood Ranch, Florida, to Jacksonville, Florida. As much as I was longing to bid adieu to the Sunshine State and the 100 degree temperatures of the week, going slower was preferred — and I found myself feeling more profoundly that I was going to the heart of America on these slower roads and rolling up to somewhat-out-of-the-way chargers.
I saw lovelier inland fields and horses in central Florida than I would have on the Interstate. The green, green, green of lush Florida is a wonderful sight.
Although I had not heard the song for years, I started hearing Paul Simon’s lyrics,
“They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America.”
My gentle EV, the i3, led me off the beaten trail — and at each stop, I talked to people of diverse persuasions about modern life in America.
The key to travel in my southern neck of the journey — Electrify America. There are many good things to say about this network: the technology is superb, the chargers are so fast (by the time I stretched, walked a bit, and had a bathroom break, there was no time to plug the computer in and work), there are multiple stalls at each station, and the stations are highly visible and easy to find. Electrify America supplied the fastest chargers I have ever used in an EV — I felt this was what Supercharging was about!
The other fortunate EV charging enabler — Clipper Creek. I have always felt Clipper Creek creates wonderful level 2 chargers. To drive up to one at your hotel — tired and weary from a long, hot day — is a wonderful sight. You know it will be working and is easy to use.
We’re not quite out of Florida, but the first day was as easy and smooth as could be hoped, aside from the issue with the MacBook Air. Stay tuned for more insight and pictures from the journey.