Monday, September 17, 2012

The Final Leg: Tarzana to Torrance.

The final leg was probably the easiest. I had a short 45 minute commute from Tarzana in the San Fernando Valley to Torrance where my hotel for the weekend would be. After some sushi for dinner, I headed east on the Highway 101 to the 405 to go into LA, through the south bay and finally to the hotel. Apparently it was an interesting day on this route A brush fire had broken out in the Sepulveda Pass between the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles which is a major corridor between the two cities.

While I was charging in Thousand Oaks and Tarzana, others were stuck for 3 hours in the fire suppression and clean up. Luckily while I was charging, most of the mess was cleaned up and I just dealt with construction traffic. Here I thought it would just be best to not go to Canters late at night because I couldn’t get a good picture of the car at that time, so I decided to take the picture in the morning would I would be in the neighborhood to have breakfast with my sister. So I just stayed on the 405. Driving through LA, the traffic was not too bad until I got passed Los Angeles International Airport. Here, there was more of a construction backup, but this time with my Clean Air Stickers where any freeway legal electric car can apply and can drive solo in the High Occupancy Vehicle (aka Car Pool) lane. Standard hybrids used to have this option, but it was taken away recently as the program proved to be successful and there was no longer the need for an incentive for drivers to purchase hybrids.

I breezed by the traffic jam at 11:20 PM and shortly made it to the hotel near the intersection of the 405 and 110 freeways in Torrance. Once I was there, again there was no signage pointing to where the chargers were. However cruising around parking lot, I found the charger in the back of the property. The layout was a little unusual. They had an old style paddle inductive charger and a Clipper Creek non-networked charger. The chargers were 2 spaces apart. There was one parking space between the two chargers with a sign for only that spot that said “Electric Vehicle Parking Only”. But these signs were not at the charging spaces. Again, the cord was short on the Clipper Creek, so I backed in and started the charge. The batteries were hot, over 90 degrees, but hopefully they would get a good full charge while I slept. I checked in and after getting into the room and calling the family, I quickly fell asleep. I was pretty much away for 43 hours with just a couple of quick naps. I woke up the next day and got ready to have breakfast with my sister and unfortunately, the car only charged to 81% and had some sort of charger fault, but more on my charging in the next post.

Free Parking and Free Charging at the Holiday Inn in Torrance

So in all, I met my goal. I charged at all the stations I said I would (plus 1 more), I took longer than expected, but I made it within my goal of 24 hours and my estimates were not terribly off. The drive was definitely challenging, but it was possible. Would I do it again? Unfortunately I had 2 a couple of days later, but I didn’t have the 24 hour deadline, just that I get back to Monterey by 6 PM Monday for a class at the Aquarium.  I hope this journal gives encouragement to others with Electric Vehicles to burst their range bubble and get out and explore. If you have the time, it is an interesting way to turn a trip into a journey.

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