Where are the Electric Cars for Travelers?

Today on my news feed, I read some article about how the new Tesla was going to charge extra for an  additional 19 miles range over their standard of 250-ish miles on a charge.  Considering how much hype there is over the newest Tesla, it just makes me sad.  It doesn’t look like I’ll ever buy an electric car.

I’ve always been in love with the idea of an electric drive train.  Even forty years ago, I wrote science fiction that talked about electric cars, although mine were a bit different from what you see today.  My best-selling novel Star Time has an electric vehicle as part of the battle against the aliens.  It’s not that I don’t like EV’s.  I just could never use one.

There’s certainly a market for commuter cars.  Plug it in overnight and you have enough range for the day’s activities.  Many people fit that category.  Not me.  I’m a traveler.

I’m a science fiction author.  My job consists of two parts; stay at home writing and doing my social media outreach, and traveling to events where I spread my books out on a table and talk to people.  If I bought an EV, I’d need a second car to do my traveling because EV’s are a joke when it comes to range.

As I do every year, I’ll need to pack my books and go to St. Louis.  On the range a Tesla gives, I’d never even get across the state line before it ran dry.  How many times will I have to recharge it, to travel the 825 miles to get there?  How far out of my way will I have to go to search for a charging station, and how long does it take to charge a Tesla (I’ve never seen that number).

This is just one example.  Most of my events are in Texas, but half of them are also out of range.  One trip I made to Chicago was extended with an exploration of the western states and I logged several days straight with over 900 miles traveled per day.  This is just impossible in an EV.  A few years back, one trip logged just under 14,000 miles, including many Canadian provinces.  I worried about getting gas in some of those places (like Labrador), and expecting to find EV charging stations is out of the question.

I suppose I could tow a trailer, carrying a generator that was always running—but that’s just a hybrid in different clothes.

As I said, I’ll never get to use an EV.  They don’t make them for travelers.


  1. Come to Indianapolis and you can use an EV for getting around town. The somewhat-controversial BlueIndy electric car rental-by-the-minute project has been proving to be quite popular, and it's definitely economical compared to traveling by Uber.

    It's probably too late to do it this year, but you really should see about getting a booth in the Gen Con Indianapolis writer's section; dozens of independent, small-press, and even some trad-pub writers and comic book artists (especially in the SF and fantasy genres) attend every year to make connections with fans, and with the genres you write in you'd be right at home.

  2. Hey, Chris,

    I've been gradually expanding the range of my conventions. A lot of it depends on how my budget looks at any given time, but I've heard of GenCon and I'll take another look at it.

    — Henry

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