The King of EVs

Guest Blog | August 14, 2018 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles

This is a guest post written by Rudy Beharrysingh, the president of the Blue Ridge EV Club. To read the original post, click here.

I always wondered why Telsa owners never seemed too worried about range.  Previously, I had an intellectual appreciation for Tesla cars, but never owned one myself.   That changed after driving a P85 Model S through the Rockies! I now truly understand the superior performance of the Tesla automobile and the genius of Musk et al.

After many years of promoting electric transportation, it was a dream come true to drive my very own Tesla – even if it were for four days.  The US National Park system is second to none, and what a shame it is that so many people traverse these wonders while emitting a ton of noxious fumes.  Before visiting The Rocky Mountains National Park, I knew that I wanted to have this experience in an EV.  Using a car sharing program called Turo, I was able to secure a Model S for a few days.   The 2014, P85 had over 100,000 miles, but drove like a dream, as if it were new!   We started our trip to the National Park in Denver with 224 miles of range on the car.  After driving 30 miles, we stopped in Boulder, where there is a nice Supercharger.  I picked up about 40 miles and with the touch of a screen, raised the suspension in preparation for the uphill climb.

We then headed up to Estes Park, a small town at the gateway to The Rocky Mountains National Park. Estes Park is about 40 miles from Boulder and an uphill climb to around 7500 feet through some beautiful territory.

There is a Supercharger in Estes Park at the Stanley Hotel.  The hotel was constructed by Freelan Oscar Stanley, who along with his brother, built steam powered automobiles!

We entered the National Park with 230 miles, more than enough for the 50 mile round trip to the Alpine Visitor Center.  The drive is a gradual ascent that would take us to well over 12,000 feet in altitude. The trip through the Rockies is amazing in itself, passing through 3 vegetation zones of Montane, Subalpine and Alpine, each distinctly different.  The icing on the cake was driving through the Park in a Model S. Talk about the epidemy of cool!

After experiencing many beautiful vistas including a herd of Big Horn Sheep in the Alpine region, we reached the Alpine Visitor Center. The Center was overcrowded, so, we decided to go a little further to The Continental Divide and not return, but continue down the Western side of this Range.  The Model S battery had 174 miles left – no problem.

Unbeknownst to me, this would take us further into the interior of the mountains, through some of the most immaculate scenes I have ever witnessed!   We drove down the western side of the trail, and left the national park entering The Lake Grandby area.  Lake Grandby is a beautiful man-made lake at an elevation of about 8200 feet. At this point, we had 150 miles of range left and I was unsure of where we were in relation to Denver.  The large GPS screen on the S indicated that we were about 85 miles from Golden, Colorado.  Golden, the home of Coors beer sits about 10 miles outside of Denver.  I mused, if I were driving my Leaf, I would be scrambling to find a charger, which did not exist here and of course with a plug-in hybrid, we would be gas mode, but with this car, we could make the trip all electric with no worries at all!

We descended about 3000 feet, switch-back after switch-back, mountain after mountain, and ended up safely in Denver with about 95 miles of range left – more than my Leaf!  My wife has indicated to me that she has never felt safer in a car despite traversing some of the most spectacular winding Rocky Mountain roads with what we have now named the “King of Electric Cars”!

A few notes:

The glaciers at the Alpine level are definitely getting smaller.

You will notice that a lot of the pines are dying – a direct result of global warming that is increasing the tree’s susceptibility to the pine beetle.

These are just a few more reasons to drive an EV instead of a gas-mobile when visiting a national park.

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