Last month, Men's Health (MH) rolled down the red carpet from inside the NY Auto Show and pointed a Focus Electric towards LA for their “race” across America. Except this race was definitely all about the journey and not about getting there in record time. And this is very fitting for an electric car because almost invariably slipping behind the wheel of an EV transforms you from fire breathing speed hound into a more zen like state where you voluntarily and happily drive the speed limit.
You probably doubt this. I know I did. When you’ve driven one aggressive way all your life it is hard to imagine not racing to the next stop and just going with the flow. I had a an Army buddy who used to drive just below the speed limit. It drove me crazy. I mean it was embarrassing being passed by blue hairs, and I had to fight the urge to slap him on the back of the head and say "fly you fool!"
Years of driving around on military bases had trained him that way. The MPs are notorious for giving speeding tickets for merely looking like you were about to go one mph over. There many good reasons to actually drive the posted speed limit. But none were compelling until I drove electric. And not to say the acceleration isn’t there. You just don’t often feel compelled to pull it out of the hat. It is really a pleasant, peaceful way to drive.
If you missed the MH series it is well worth the read. You can follow the journey here.
Reading through I found myself thinking over and over “Good Lord! They are getting paid to do this.” Lucky dogs.
NOT TO BE MISSED, is the first post which is a handling letter of sorts from the wife of the guy organizing the whole shebang. It is riotously funny. Mostly because as a man I like watching other men get served a big dose of humility by their spouses. Especially when they do it with much humor.
From the opening breath she cuts through the malarkey to get to the heart of what this road trip is really all about:
Congratulations on your participation in the Challenge. You may have realized that this “reinvention of the American road trip” is actually my husband’s adolescent male fantasy version of a clown car. It will involve at times a race car driver, a beauty queen, a military hero, a sex columnist, a filmmaker, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, and a television star.
Somewhere around zinger four or five I found my bloodlust for husband bashing sated and started to feel a wee bit sorry for guy. Well ok, probably not that far but I was only laughing on the inside at that point.
His dear wife also realized the horse was dead and the flogging beyond cruel because she made amends with:
You probably know that Eric is an eminently nice guy. He’s also a wonderful husband who steadfastly supports my dreams, and I appreciate your help with supporting his.
One of life's greatest pleasures are the unexpected ones. Often when we get in a gasser the idea is to get there as fast as possible, sometimes "driving straight through" for absurdly long hours. A philosophy I've seen summed up on a bumper sticker that stated "Get in. Sit down. Shut up and hang on." Harsh, but a sentiment that will send many parental head a nodding. The quickness with which we can refuel a gasser encourages this destination focused mentality.
EVs on the other hand, because of the need to recharge every 70-100 miles encourage a different approach. Even if you aren't driving across the country, just contemplating a day trip with an EV can bring you to unexpected vistas, such as the bounce pillow pictured above. They are all the rage at RV parks, which as an EV owner you may very well find yourself stopping at because they have been providing electricity to travelers for decades. In fact given the rising cost of gas, as hauling or driving around massive RVs becomes cost prohibitive, many RV parks may find second life as EV parks. A place where EV owners come to hike trails, take a dip in a pool, or jump on a bounce pillow while the EV gets an electron injection.
The MH series is a nice homage to what road tripping can be EV style. Some random bits from the series:
We had experimented with drafting behind larger vehicles the night before while still traveling together.
We went to see this famous, enormous hole in the ground in a way almost because we had to. Some of us might not have given it much thought while driving down the highway if we had a destination in mind, but because we needed to charge, we took advantage of the opportunity.
The one thing the team unanimously discovered is that they appreciated taking their time when stopping instead of the usual get there as soon as you can pace we inflict on ourselves.
We all know we should take more time to stop and smell the roses. EVs give you the perfect excuse to do just that.