Road Tripping with Zero Emissions: The Ultimate EV Journey
Since its inception, ACDI Energy Services has recognized the benefits of electric vehicles as well as the infrastructure required to make widespread adoption possible. However, despite our knowledge and understanding of the rapidly growing EV space, some of our team lacked firsthand experience of what it means to travel long distances in an electric vehicle. With a goal to learn more about the current state of public EV charging and how ACDI Energy Services can continue striving toward improvements, we recently embarked on an electric vehicle road trip across seven states to put ourselves in the shoes of EV drivers throughout the country. Join me as I take you through the ups and downs of more than 2,000 miles and 17 charging station visits during a week to remember.
Understanding the frequent frustrations with broken or inaccessible public charging stations that plague drivers across the country, our team had fears about what we might face along our journey. However, our experience with EV charging stations was mostly positive, a pleasant surprise given the horror stories we’ve heard and read from others’ travels. Prepared to cruise in style in a Ford Mustang Mach-E courtesy of Everett Ford, the adventure began at ACDI headquarters in Benton, Arkansas. We reached Memphis, Tennessee, with just under 100 miles of range left in our vehicle, a perfect opportunity to break for dinner and a recharge.
Utilizing Level 2 and DCFC public charging stations, we resumed our journey later that evening with the car’s battery charged at 90 percent (234 miles), providing enough range to complete the first leg of our trip to Jackson, Tennessee. Hotels and resorts are a logical choice for EV charging stations, and thankfully, we were able to find a location in Jackson with available and working chargers for its guests, allowing us to charge our vehicle to 100 percent overnight.
Getting back on the road the following morning, our next expedition to Lexington, Kentucky, was aided by a slew of publicly available charging stations in Nashville, Tennessee and Elizabethtown, Kentucky. We were only slowed down by just two stops to recharge the Mach-E and reach our destination in time for dinner with the rest of our ACDI Energy Services team.
A downed charging station in Memphis notwithstanding, our smooth sailing got slightly more challenging following our departure from Lexington. It’s also important to note that we chose our hotel in Lexington based on its advertisement for charging stations and two of the three available chargers were down during our stay, highlighting the frustrations that many travelers have encountered. We arrived at our next destination in Cincinnati with fewer than 15 miles of range remaining and in desperate need of a recharge. Thankfully, a DC fast charger was within reach and our team was able to resume traveling with the car’s battery charged at 82 percent.
After an additional stop to charge in Columbus, Ohio, we reached Cleveland – where our team would spend the next two nights – with relative ease. However, our patience would be tested over the next two days with no charging stations available at or near our Airbnb, eliminating the possibility of overnight charging to aid in our travels. Following a few charging stops around Cleveland, we reached our final destination of Lima, Ohio, where the most grueling aspect of our journey would soon begin.
After a productive meeting with an authorized ACDI Energy Services reseller, our team prepared to venture back to Benton with a difficult choice on our hands. We could stop for the night somewhere along the way; or, we could power through and arrive back at home in one final trip. Feeling energetic and perhaps overly optimistic, we decided on the latter and began the last leg of our trip at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Little did we know at the time the adventure had only just begun. After a stop in Lima to charge the Mach-E up to 80 percent, we were 780 miles from home with a (misguided) goal of pulling into ACDI headquarters at approximately 4 a.m. local time. The next 18 hours featured four charging station stops, three driver changes among our team, more fast food than we’d like to admit, and a steady dose of regret for having elected not to stop for the night along the way.
Unfortunately, two charging station visits required us to significantly deviate from the most direct route and each stop lasted at least an hour to optimally charge the Mach-E. Having briefly caught up on rest with a cat nap during our final charge in Memphis, our team arrived back in Benton at 8:30 a.m. CT with a deeper understanding of the trials and tribulations that EV drivers everywhere face and why more charging stations are needed in every state throughout the country.
The ACDI Energy Services Mission
While the trip was slightly more daunting than we might have expected, it also reinforced the purpose and mission of our team. With turnkey operations and intuitive management, ACDI Energy Services is proud to offer a portfolio of premium charging stations to make electrification accessible to everyone. From infrastructure planning to installation, our team and our growing network of authorized resellers are committed to making EV charging effortless for commercial, fleet, and residential environments.