Roadtrip to San Diego for
Fully Charged LIVE
in my Model 3

Mark D Larsen
September 9-12, 2022

Entryway to the EV’ent
(Click to enlarge)

I have been an active Patreon supporter of Robert Llewellyn’s “Fully Charged” for many years. I was thrilled when the group announced that they would hold their first “live” EV’ent in Austin, TX, in February 2020, and planned to attend. However, the escalating COVID pandemic threw a monkey wrench into my plans and I had to cancel the trip. Ergo, as soon as Fully Charged announced its second gathering in San Diego, CA, to be held on September 10-11, 2022, I immediately reserved my tickets and booked a room for three nights at a motel not far from the Convention Center where it would take place. I drove to San Diego, of course, in my Model 3, and these are the EV stats for the trip:

Miles driven: 1,047
kWh used: 267
Mi/kWh: 3.92
Supercharges: 10
Average minutes per charge: 16
Average cost per charge: $11.21
Total cost: $112.08

There is no doubt that Supercharger prices are going up. Nearly a year ago I drove cross-country and only paid an average of $8.61 per Supercharge. Still, given the gas prices I saw in California, I estimate that I would have paid at least $293 if I'd driven my previous Subaru on this trip, so I’m not complaining!

The EV’ent turned out to be a memorable occasion, a fun opportunity to check out other makes and models of EVs, hear informative talks and panel discussions, as well as catch up with EV friends whom I have known and admired for years. Below is my usual annotated photo gallery of the trip and the gathering.

NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.

A few minutes past 8:00 in the morning, I loaded the car and reset the trip odometer. I noted that Correcaminos was about to cross the 60K threshold and made a mental note to record that milestone, but… I forgot: too busy driving when it happened.

I then set the navigation to take me to the Superchargers in Mesquite. I knew I wouldn't need much of a charge there, since I’d still have ~67%, but I hoped to skip the congestion in Las Vegas and plug in the next time in either Baker or Primm.

My usual introductory video as I start the journey.

I arrived in Mesquite nearly an hour later (the car’s clock had updated to NV time), and found that I was the only Tesla plugged in there.

Because there were some fairly strong headwinds as I descended to Mesquite, I arrived with 64% in the battery —3% less than predicted.

I tried to set the navigation to take me to Baker, but it kept predicting that I'd have to stop to charge in Primm regardless, so I simply navigated there directly. Once again, I arrived to find very few other Teslas plugged in.

This time, however, I arrived with more energy than the navigation had predicted, possibly because the winds had shifted in the opposite direction…?

I then set the navigation to bypass Baker and drive to the new Supercharger site in Barstow, where I would arrive with ~43%.

En route, I managed to snap a photo of the exit sign for my favorite oddly named road “Zzyzx.” Did those who named it want to make sure it was alphabetically listed last in any atlas of our highway system…?

I had a helluva time finding the Superchargers in Barstow. The directions took me to a large shopping plaza, but I couldn't find them anywhere around the parking lot. Finally, I zoomed in on the map and could see that the marker was in the middle of a dirt field beyond the plaza. Obviously, the map is now outdated, for when I drove there I found a large parking lot with a long row of Superchargers, plus two more rows partially equipped to expand even further.

This time I arrived with a lower charge than anticipated, only 28%, perhaps because of the higher speeds I had been driving on I-15 to get there.

My next stop was in Hesperia, as I preferred to charge there before dropping down the El Cajón pass to all the traffic in the Los Angeles basin.

Curiously, I spotted a Hyundai Kona electric there, plugged in at a ChargePoint Level 2 charger. It was the first time I had ever seen that particular model. It looked good to me as a hatchback with a rear window washer —a feature I miss from my previous LEAF.

From there, I planned to drive all the rest of the way to my “budget” motel in San Diego, the Seven Seas Best Western, where I would arrive with a ~32% charge.

As anticipated, the congestion on the freeways was horrendous after arriving in the Los Angeles area. These are the times when I bless TACC and AP for helping me navigate such traffic jams with minimal tension and frustration.

I finally arrived at the motel and checked in.

Because of all the traffic, it had taken me 3 hours to get there from Hesperia, having driven a total of 454 miles that day.

I then drove to the nearest Supercharger in San Diego, only a few blocks from my motel, and found a site with a long row Teslas all plugged in. Nonetheless, I was able to find an unoccupied slot and followed suit.

What intrigued me most about this site was that, on the opposite side of the lot was an equally long row of 70A "urban" chargers with slower charge rates. Since the lot was right next to a mall, this made sense to me, for drivers could leave their Teslas plugged into these units and not have to be in such a hurry to finish their shopping.

Early the next morning, the first day of the EV'ent, I had the navigation take me to the Convention Center parking lot.

There were few cars in the lot when I arrived, but by later in the day the entire facility was full. The cost to park there was $20 per day, no matter how long you were there.

I went up to the street to see the impressive area across the street from the Convention Center.

I then climbed several steps to reach the back side of the Convention Center and saw that there was a nice marina in the bay with all kinds of yachts and sailboats moored there.

That area is known as the "Gaslamp" District, with all kinds of shops and cafés and restaurants. Out of curiosity, I meandered into the area and made a mental note to visit the Starbucks there the next morning for the second day of the EV'ent.

Toward the far end of the Convention Center, I could see that exhibitors were already lining up for the Fully Charged EV'ent. For example, Arcimoto was preparing to give attendees rides in their three-wheeled, two-passenger "autocycle" EVs.

The doors wouldn't open for attendees until 10:00, but they were already lining up on the sidewalk to get in.

Once inside, the crowd surged forward to show their tickets, get their wristbands, and enter the convention hall for the EV'ent through the entrance displayed at the top of this page.

Not far from the entrance was the first touted activity on the program, the unveiling of the Gamma prototype of the 2nd generation Aptera. So many were crowded around it that I could only get a photo from over the heads of those in front. Years ago I had a reservation for a 1st generation Aptera, but the company went bankrupt and refunded my deposit. I wish them well this time around and hope they can ramp up production to meet the growing demand for such an unique, extremely efficient EV.

Right across from the Aptera I was delighted to finally meet in person Laycee, a.k.a. "Miss GoElectric," whom I follow in YouTube and Twitter. She is a very active proponent of everything to do with electric vehicles, from cars to e-bikes to batteries. She had reserved a place to display her work and advocacy and was very busy giving interviews, awarding prizes, and answering attendees' questions during the entire weekend.

She also served as organizer and moderator of one of the panel discussions that addressed the role of women in the EV movement. I was especially happy to see that one of the panelists was Chelsea Sexton.

Shortly thereafter, Chelsea also headed up a panel discussion with business leaders who discussed the challenges and benefits of transitioning to EVs in their company fleets.

It had been far too many years since Chelsea and I had first met at a Plug-In America gathering, and seeing her again was the true highlight of the show for me. Indeed, I would have driven there simply to see her again, with or without an EV’ent, for she is someone I deeply respect and admire. She is the quintessential "EV Poster Girl," who had been the main star of the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car," and is currently working for the U.S. Department of Energy to help accelerate the escalating transition to EVs.

I was also able to say hello again to another active EV advocate, Dennis Pascual, whom I had first met thanks to Chelsea's recommendation when he drove through St. George in his Model S several years ago. We have kept in touch via social media ever since.

As I indicated above, the second day of the EV'ent I stopped by the Starbucks in the Gaslamp District to get a java wakeup call.

There was another customer there with a beautiful, extremely smart and well-trained miniature Australian Shepard that caused me to miss Moxie at home.

I had determined to sign up to take an ElectraMeccanica Solo for a test drive that day.

There were several of them lined up, and I waited in line for my turn to take a spin in one.

Here is a movie of the group ahead of me pulling out to follow the lead Solo.

Getting into the Solo that I drove.

Here is the cockpit, complete with air conditioning.

I was now ready to pull out and follow the line of Solos on a short route in front of the Convention Center. It was a fun ride, but I opine that the Solo needs a bit of work to be a real contender as a local commuter EV. For example, its regenerative braking was very minimal and needs one-pedal driving.

Inside again, I attended a panel discussion moderated by Robert Llewellyn himself on how to best respond to the relentless FUD against EVs from the fossil fuel industry. I stood up to make a suggestion on the issue to Fully Charged at the microphone, and will admit —embarrassingly— that I was my usual long-winded self and took far more time than was fair for other attendees.

I then attended yet another panel discussion that Chelsea led, this time on the need to overcome our obsession in this country with huge, dominating SUVs and trucks, unnecessary for the vast majority of everyday driving.

Now here are just some of the EVs that I got to check out at the EV'ent. This one is a fully decked out Porsche Taycan.

This is the first Ford F-150 Lighting that I'd seen, courtesy of Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield who sponsors “Transport Evolved.” She had brought it to the show with all her camera equipment for her interviews and panel discussions at the EV'ent.

There were couple of BMW i3s on display. It made me sad to think that they're no longer producing these, for they were great EVs for local, everyday driving. So cute and zippy!

Ben Sullins had brought his Rivian R1T to display, which I'm sure delighted and intrigued many attendees. I only wish that someone had displayed an R1S also, as I predict the demand for that SUV version will be tremendous.

I saw a cute Fiat 500e, yet another nimble runabout. Sadly, they're not selling them anymore, but I understand that Fiat is developing a newer model in Europe and really hope they will bring it to this side of the pond in the near future.

I had never seen a Canoo before, although I had seen the review that Chelsea had done of it on Fully Charged. I was impressed with its versatility.

This old VW bus converted to electric was so fun to see! I bet it whet the appetite of attendees to finally be able to purchase the new VW ID.Buzz.

I saw the latest version of the Nissan LEAF, soon to be replaced by the Ariya in Nissan's lineup. It made me nostalgic for my LEAF. It was the first one that Nissan delivered in Utah, all thanks to Chelsea Sexton’s intervention and encouragment.

The luminescent green color of this Genesis GV60 was turning a lot of heads. I liked its funky color! It actually has the same battery and drivetrain underneath as the next two vehicles below.

The Kia EV6 is a sleeker, sportier variation on that drivetrain, but doesn't boast as many luxurious, upscale features as the GV60. So far, it seems to be proving a very popular EV, an affordable rival to Teslas, even in my own community.

This photo doesn't do the Hyundai Ioniq 5, justice, as the black color mutes its usually eye-catching lines. I actually like this EV the best among the three drivetrain “siblings,” especially its interior, which strikes me as more open, comfortable, and practical. Perhaps I'll transition from my Model 3 to one of these in the future…?

Like with the Aptera above, there were constant crowds surrounding the Fisker Ocean. It was only toward the end of the second day, after the throngs had begun to dissipate, that I was able to take this photo of it. Obviously a lot of consumers are anxious to see it enter the market.

As the EV'ent wound down, I again wandered to the back of the Convention Center to gaze over the harbor and caught a glimpse of a cool wooden "pirate" ship just about to enter the marina.

I arose the next morning to see a gorgeous sunrise wishing me a safe journey home.

Not keen to enter the fray of the freeways on a Monday morning, I set the navigation to take me on backroads into the hills east of San Diego to a Supercharger in Santa Ysabel.

It predicted that I would get there with 55% left in the battery.

And I arrived with 54%, just 1% less than predicted!

I plugged in to recharge, went to visit the restrooms in a nearby convenience store, and in hardly any time the v.3 Supercharger had restored my usual 80% charge.

I then set the navigation to take me on more backroads to the Supercharger in Palm Springs.

The route certainly did include several smaller backroads, including one that crossed a summit overlooking the Palm Desert below.

I arrived in Palm Springs with 51% in the battery, but had a devil of a time trying to locate the Supercharger. The map kept taking me to a large public parking garage that had DC fast chargers near the entrance, but I couldn't see a Supercharger on either the first or second level.

Finally, I decided to instead drive down into the basement level where —lo and behold!— there was a long line of Superchargers in what can only be described as a dungeon. Surely the navigation map could give better directions to get there!

My frustrations didn't end there, however. Navigation then plotted the route back to Barstow, but… one of those roads was completely closed, with no detour available! I had to backtrack to Palm Springs, then take a different route of my own choosing across the desert, where a lone coyote wished me "Bon Voyage!"

While on that unplanned route, I spotted several wind generators spinning away.

After finally joining up with the route plotted by navigation, I decided to redirect it to the Supercharger in Yermo so that I wouldn't have to backtrack a couple of miles to the site I had used on the outbound trip.

I reset the navigation, and it predicted that I'd arrive there with a 27% charge.

I plugged in at Yermo, visited the restroom, and waited for the v.2 Supercharger to restore my usual 80% charge.

I then decided to skip Primm and stop at the LINQ Supercharger in Las Vegas instead.

From there I would drive home nonstop, after first picking up some dog food at a pet shop for Moxie, and the energy graph predicted that I would pull into the driveway with 19% left in the battery.

While approaching the Utah state line, I saw this ponderous cumulus cloud rising above the thunderstorms to the east.

Here is what the "trip" Control Panel displayed when I pulled in the driveway, the stats from which are displayed in the table at the top of this page.

It was a pleasant trip, despite the times when I had difficulty finding a Supercharger and discovering that navigated roads were actually closed. I enjoyed Fully Charge LIVE, more than anything else because it gave me the chance to again see and chat with other EV advocates. Nonetheless, I would venture to make three suggestions for such EV’ents in the future.

First, Fully Charge needs to schedule fewer sessions for speakers and panel discussions. There were so many that they often overlapped, making it impossible for me to attend and listen to all those that interested me, constantly running from one end of the convention hall to the other. Having that many presentations piled up at conflicting times was overkill.

Second, if at all possible, invite the major OEMs to participate. Most of the EVs displayed were from owners, not automakers, and an EV’ent like this would be a prime opportunity for them to educate the public about their current and future electric vehicles. As only one example, GM most certainly should have been there to show the Bolt EV, the Bolt EUV, as well as the up-and-coming Cadillac Lyric, Equinox, Silverado EV truck, and Hummer EV. It was a shame that they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity!

And third, choose a venue that would allow both OEMs and willing owners to give attendees “Ride-&-Drive” opportunities. Unlike in Austin, the San Diego Convention Center had no “race” track for such test drives, which was a big disappointment to me. A few Tesla owners were giving people rides out front, but I would have really loved to get behind the wheel of some of the latest EVs to hit the market. If there is one thing that can best convince consumers to transition to EVs, it is the old admonition to get… “butts in seats!”