‍The author in a hand-crafted period piece
The author in a hand-crafted period piece

If it is a story you seek about the world of electric vehicles, then you are in luck. 

Here is a true tale of a journey this writer took, in the early times of his EV ownership, for both your education and enjoyment.   

This writer often, when summer graces the New England Lands, travels some hours south of my home in Norumbega (or as you know it, Maine) to the state of Massachusetts to volunteer at an historic house with some Rufis Porter murals. Historic art is my hobby and my joy in life, so a chance to share my knowledge of these murals with the public causes me to brave the summer tourist traffic. Fridays finds this route busy with the homeward rush of commuters. 

One such trip, very early in my EV days, I now relate to thee. 

It is to be noted here that I drive an entry level 2021 Hyundai IONIQ. That means there is NO on board GPS system to find my way to Mass. No bother, say I, confidently, I’ll just plug in my smartphone, find the maps, plug the whole thing into the “Magic Center Screen'' [editor’s note: infotainment screen] and be ready to go.   set up the smartphone and stuck it in the on board charger device, since it was low on power, and since this is a great place for a phone to ‘live.’  

I set off to my first EV charging location, because although my EV gets circa 250 miles of range, giving me enough to get to my destination, I would be near ‘empty’ on arrival. So, first stop: Kittery, Maine to ‘feed’ the EV and for me to seek a mens’ room! 

Festoons! I am off, on a pleasant, smooth, quiet EV journey before me, the GPS ‘magic’ giving me turns and the like—until I am perhaps 10 miles from Kittery and the “Magic Screen” in the EV says - “Danger Will Robinson."  



The danger was that the phone overheated and shut off! “HEY, stupid phone, did you hear of the invention of the fan?” scream I, in useless frustration at the display before me. But the directions, before they went dead, said the destination was “Kittery Premium Mall.’ Great - the blessed sight of an EV charger appears on my left in a parking lot. And I am in the far right lane, two traffic lights from where I need to be, and the road is solid cars as far back as time and eternity. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained: I used the quick response power inherent in an EV, cut off a Lexus, and then a BMW, to get to the ‘left turn only’ lane. And like that, I found the charger and parked. Next trepidation: HOW to make it work. So I walked up to the device, grabbed the electric line and plug and stuffed it to the charge port on the EV. The screen wakes up on the charger, I swipe a credit card, whiz, click and the happy note, ”car is now charging”. Best news of the last hour and now I can find the mens room. 

Mr. Anthony's Kona EV at the Kittery, ME charging station
Mr. Anthony's EV at the Kittery, ME charging station

Nature appeased, I hunted for a vending machine for a beverage, and slogged back to the EV. The EV was charging from circa 35% to 80%, a maximum charge which is considered ‘best practice.” It will take about 20 minutes with my Ioniq EV. When I do get back to my car, a gorgeous KIA EV06 is parked nearby and is being “fed,” as well. I take a few moments to chat with the driver, and the next moment my EV is done. The reader will note here the vast difference in the charging experience vs the gas pump experience with a petrol powered car. 

My EV is now charged, I have bought a bag of ice to lay the phone in to cool it - and I  am off to New Hampshire, my way point for the night. Next stop? An Electrify America ‘feed stall’ right near the motel where I am booked. Dandy, quite an uneventful ride through New Hampshire, except my route takes me through the upper reaches of Mass. OK, fortune favors the bold, here we go. 

Why bold? Recall, readers, it's a Friday afternoon and all the subways are closed for maintenance this weekend. And the weather has gotten HOT, along with the drivers on the interstate. Traffic snarls, accidents, a brand new Cadillac SUV on fire in the slow lane and more. I find I am surrounded by the hot stink of old oil, gas fumes and the like. UGGH! Up with the window, and on with the air conditioner. 

Near my halfway point, ill fate calls on me again. The next exit is in 10 minutes, usual time, or 30 minutes today, in this thickest of traffic. And in this predicament, the center screen lets me know that the “app unexpectedly dropped” and I have no map and no directions. Again. 

“HEY! APP! how about unexpectedly picked up again” I yell to the ghost of the lost, in vain frustration. But sitting in traffic, I remember to write down the exit information as I recall it. And I thank whatever gods there may be that I remember my way to the Electrify America station. I finally get there and find the chargers all are busy, only one open. ZIP and QUICK, grab it or be lost. I got the EV plugged in, and with the courage born of practice, got the charger to function. Next stop, of course, mens room. 

When I return to my EV I find a VW ID4 parked next to me. A look on the charger screen and I have 25 minutes to go. A look at the VW and I see a dominos box on the back seat [ed. note: the game, not the pizza, as was assumed at dinnertime]. A short conversation, and the VW driver and I are having a game (he won) while our EVs are “having lunch.” 

Saturday early AM, I head to a small burg in Mass. and the historic house for a full Saturday of history, fun, and hearthside cooked lunch. At the close of the event, I walk back to my EV, quietly snoozing in the warm afternoon sun, wake him up, and plug in the phone for the maps. And it does not work at all.

I had also brought along my 30yr old Garmin, stand-alone navigation device. HA! Fate, watch this! I type in the return destination, and get a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ROUTE than the one I took here! Nuts, it's getting dark, I do not trust my memory to drive the reverse route, so I’m forced to go with the Garmin. Such a route! Back roads, side roads, roads with no name, roads that god has forgotten about. In the glowering darkness, I think I see a long line of men in long coats, tricorn hats and heavy muskets to their shoulders, walking along the side of the road. Nay, a trick of the light and my age. And all the while my range in miles is ever dropping. No charging points anywhere, which I know from research aforehand. Finally, when I am ready to leap off the nearest bridge in sheer despair I see reflected in the lights— Route 95 NORTH, next right. 

Stock photo of interstate 95 road sign against blue sky

We have a winner! I take the right, and am soon motoring in the peace and quiet of an EV, on a reverse course from Friday, with the well known charging stops. The Kittery ‘feeding station’ was found, the EV ‘fed’ in solitude, and the last leg of the journey to home was done without incident. 

Home! I could almost ‘hear’ my EV - HOME, BED, SUPPER and then go away human, I am tired. I parked the EV in his garage, placed the Level Two home charger device in his port, locked the doors, kissed the EV good night, and shut the door to let him sleep in the knowledge of the good trip we both had. 

All of which brings me to the close of the story and the advice I impart to all readers who are thinking of getting their own electric vehicle. 

  1. First, YES, buy one, new or used 
  2. Second, buy one with the electric range which will suit 95% of your driving mileage  
  3. And last and most important of all— do NOT buy one that has no onboard navigation systems. As we have discovered, thee and I together, you cannot trust a smartphone to do the mapping