Los Angeles, CA to Indio, CA
Total Miles: 135

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A chilly, wet Arctic storm in southern California in May??? Unheard of, but El Nino rains supreme (pun intended)! Even the less than optimum weather didn't dampen my spirits as the months of planning finally became a reality as I began my

Thanks to Terry Brungard and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the trip was given to an incredible send off. The storm forced the ceremony to the DWP's sheltered garage. DWP's General Manager, David Freeman, and Councilwoman Ruth Galanter told the crowd about the importance of electric vehicles in our transportation future. The Lincoln High School Marching Band led my Charge Across America car and a parade of EV1s out of the DWP's downtown headquarters to the Los Angeles City Hall. A police escort guided our procession to an on- ramp of the Hollywood Freeway where I broke from the parade and began my eastward journey on Interstate 10. I was told that television coverage was presented on several local television stations later in the day. The Wednesday 5/13 edition of the Los Angeles Times had a photo and story as well. Honestly, I never imagined my little trip would attract this kind of attention. I hope that the press coverage will inspire more people to join the growing ranks of happy EV1 customers. Of course, the EV1 is not widely available, but someday even more advanced electric cars may be. I hope to dispel many common misconceptions about electric cars on my trip.

(Thanks to Ken Breslow for DWP photography)

The first day's drive was in constant, driving rain. In the 27 years I've lived in southern California, I can't remember such a nasty, chilly storm in May. Even hail and tornadoes were in the forecast. Hey Mother Nature, we're not in Kansas...yet! Because Interstate 10 crosses over the 2,600' San Gorgonio pass on the way to the desert where I'd spend my first night, I was concerned that the rain and cold would dramatically reduce my driving range. Water on the roadway causes drag (not unlike walking through water) consuming more energy. Also, cold weather reduces the performance of the lead-acid batteries in generation-1 EV1's like mine. Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries available in future EV1's will likely improve the cold weather performance. My fears were calmed when I easily made it to Palm Springs with plenty of charge to spare. The rain was behind me and the desert sky was magnificent.

  My first charging stop after leaving the downtown Los Angeles was at the residence of fellow EV1 Club member Jeff Church. Jeff has a beautiful home in San Dimas, and graciously served bagels and coffee in addition to sharing the use of his 240v MagneCharger. EV1 enthusiast Greg Hanssen stopped by in his EV1 offering good wishes.  
  Immediately after leaving Jeff's home, the downpour resumed. The combination of rain, cool weather, and a nasty traffic jam on I-10 in the Ontario area made me more anxious to get to the desert where better weather was forecast. The grade to San Gorgonio Summit was going to be a good test of my EV1 driving skills with this lousy weather. Rain, cold, and uphill grades lower the EV1's driving range. Thanks to the Walmart in Redlands, I charged the batteries up to 96% full using their free public charging station. I found another red EV1 parked in an adjacent charging space. Good company! Infrastructure is essential to the success of electric cars. Imagine gasoline powered cars with no gas stations! With my car topped off, it's time to get over the mountains into the desert. 
  It rained hard climbing the summit. It's a bit alarming to see the range estimation gauge drop the miles off so rapidly while climbing. There were no problems getting to the summit, then an easy coast down into the Palm Springs area for another free charge at Saturn of the Desert in Cathedral City. Team Leader Richard Pentz at the dealership warmly welcomed me, but expressed pessimism at the ability of an EV1 to conquer the long steep climb on I-10 to the east over Chiriaco Summit. Hopefully warm, dry desert weather would be with me tomorrow as I attempt the drive from Indio (where I spent the night) to Blythe, just west of the Colorado river and the Arizona border. My report on that drive will be posted for May 13. The first day's 125 mile drive in sub-optimal weather was a real confidence builder.
  One big surprise that EV1 enthusiasts will appreciate is the projected driving range shown on the instrument panel after the charge at Cathedral City. Yes, the photo shows 101 mile range - the highest this driver has seen driving this car the last 18 months. 

Trip Log

Stop #1
Stop #2
Stop #3
Stop #4
Town or City Los Angeles San Dimas, CA Redlands, CA Cathedral City, CA Indio, CA
Elevation 150   1536 475 17
Odometer 14333 14359 14397 14451 14468
Trip Odometer 0 26.4 37.7 53.8 17
Driving Notes Rain, heavy at times, 55°F Heavy rain Heavy rain, 5-mile traffic jam -- I-10 construction Downpour, 45°F at summit, light sprinkles on downgrade into desert Local highway, Calif 111. Stop and go.
Grades Encountered Continual rise in elevation traveling eastbound Kellogg Hill Continual rise Climb to 2,616 San Gorgonio Pass, then downhill/coast into Chatedral City Downgrade
Charging Information
Charge Start Time 8:00 AM 10:10 AM 12:35 PM 5:20 PM 10:00 PM
Charge End Time 9:30 AM 11:45 AM 4:10 PM 8:00 PM 6:00 AM
Charge Duration 1h 30m 1h 35m 3h 35m 2h 40m 8h 0m
Charging Facility DWP garage Jeff Church res. Wal-Mart Saturn of the Desert Super 8 Motel
Contact Name -- -- Public Charger (Free Charging) Public Charger (Free Charging) --
Charger Type 6.6kw/240v 6.6kw/240v 6.6kw/240v 6.6kw/240v 1.2kw/120v
Charge Indicator
(In Bars/11=100%)
11 bars on departure 6 4 3 10
Charge Start (%) 85 47 34 27 1.2
Charge Stop (%) 100 94 96 97 100
Ambient Temp (°F)
Weather Conditions
55°F/Rain 55°F/Rain 50°F Intermittent Showers 65°F Overcast Clear, cool overnight charge
Approx. Miles to Next Charging Stop
and Known Grades
26 miles Kellogg Hill 41, constant uphill trend to Redlands 1356' 53 mi, climb over 2.610 San Gorgonio Pass Downgrade to Indio @ -17 feet 53 miles to Desert Center -- steep grade to Chiriaco

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