By Jack Phillips
The owner of a popular electric car said it took him about 15 hours to drive 178 miles from one Wyoming city to another, raising concerns about the widespread viability of electric vehicles.
Alan O’Hashi, who drives a Nissan Leaf, said that driving long distances in an electric vehicle takes far longer than driving in a traditional, gas-powered vehicle.
It’s only 178 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Casper, Wyoming. In a gas-fuelled vehicle, that trip, on average, takes around 3 hours.
But for O’Hashi, he told the Cowboy State Daily that it took “15 hours to get from Cheyenne to Casper,” adding, “It was very difficult.”
O’Hashi said that trip took place in May 2022, noting that a month later, it took him 11 hours to travel between the two cities.
Electric vehicles’ battery ranges are unpredictable because owners must factor in extra distances to charging stations, mountainous or hilly terrain, and winds, he explained.
“What I’ve learned from driving this thing is patience,” O’Hashi said.
During one part of his first trip, O’Hashi said that he stopped in the city of Wheatland to use a 220-volt plug-in charger at an RV park. He recalled that his Leaf was down to 1 percent battery life when he pulled into the charging station there.
“So, I could sit there for two hours and get enough charge to get to Casper, but just barely,” O’Hashi said, adding that when he travels, he favors stopping at old motels. The reason, he explained, is that he can run an extension cord out a window to charge his electric vehicle overnight.
While staying at the motel, O’Hashi said he could get enough charge for 40 miles of travel in one night.
Oftentimes, while waiting for his car to charge, O’Hashi said he spends extra money shopping or eating. That’s in addition to the charging cost.
Using an electric vehicle inspired him to write a book, “On the Trail: Electric Vehicle Advice and Anxiety,” he said.
Officials in California and New York have issued rules that require most new vehicles sold in their respective states to be electric or a plug-in hybrid by the year 2035. Concerns have been raised about the feasibility of such plans, including the amount of lithium it would take to manufacture enough batteries for electric vehicles. Currently, the lithium supply chain is dominated by China.
Another concern is the price. Automotive research firm Kelley Blue Book says that the average price of a new electric vehicle as of July 2022 was $66,000 while the average price of a new gas-powered vehicle was $48,000.