January 31, 2020


By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Translated from Spanish ~

Traveling in an electric car has been one of the best things I have ever experienced, and not only because of the experience of driving a car that does not require gasoline, but because the trip itself completely changed my relationship with the environment.

A few days ago, I thought I was contributing to the care of the environment, recycling a few plastic bottles and carrying a couple of cloth bags to the supermarket. But, it was a three-day trip to Florida, which really led me to discover, the minuscule of my effort, compared to what others were doing for the planet. To arrive at this reflection, I literally had to travel several paths. My journey began in the city of Miami, where I arrived, with the intention of testing the new Chevrolet Bolt EV 2020, a hundred percent electric vehicle that, according to the description of the company, was able to travel up to 259 miles, With just one battery charge. How will it be loaded? It was the first thing I thought, when I saw it in a photograph. However, as someone who lives attached to the cell phone, I soon assumed that the process would be similar to that of any other electronic device. Another question that immediately came to me was where I could load it. Would there be enough stations during my journey, so that I wouldn’t stay in the middle of the street without a battery? And another doubt, no less important was: Will the car notify me when I need to charge it? Anyway, I wrote down all these questions, to clarify them the next morning, during the official presentation of the Bolt EV 2020. But, once in the hotel room, shortly before I fell asleep, I noticed something else that caught my attention. The lights in the room where I was staying – which worked with a smart touch screen – had an automatic on and off system. After a few minutes, if there was no activity in the room, they turned off to save energy. In addition, the hotel had a point system, quite interesting: For every time you decided not to use the room cleaning service, it gave you points for your next stay. It was the first time I saw a similar initiative, and I liked that! For myself, I thought: “I wish more hotels will implement these types of measures.”


The next morning, I went to the presentation of the Bolt EV, hoping to leave with many more questions than answers (given my little understanding about electric cars) but to my surprise, I quickly learned that, unlike conventional cars, they work with Different types of gasoline, electric vehicles, work with 3 different levels of charge. Level 1 is the most basic and consists of a 120-volt portable charging cable, which can be plugged into any three-pin outlet. This method takes longer, so it is recommended to leave the car charging overnight (around 12 hours) to get a range of up to 48 miles. Level 2 is faster and requires a charging unit installed by a specialized electricity company. This method (which is the most recommended for the house) allows vehicles such as the Bolt EV 2020, get a range of up to 25 miles, in just one hour of charging. And finally, level 3, known as DC Fast Charge, is obtained in a fast charging unit, installed in different parts of the city. This mechanism offers a range of up to 100 miles, in just 30 minutes.

To know where these stations are installed, there are different apps such as Charge Point, PlugShare or, if you have a Chevrolet, the MyChevrolet application, which will help you locate where the charging centers are located in real time, plan routes in around them and check the state of charge and level of your battery. Another important aspect about electric vehicles is to identify the type of connector your car has, since not all fast charging stations are compatible with it. In the case of the Bolt EV, for example, the type of connector (for fast DC charging) is a Combo SAE J1772, one of the most common, so it may be easier to load them at the charging points. As for the cost of having an electric car, you have to consider first, how much you can save on gas. According to the official Chevrolet website, “if compared to an average new vehicle of the same size, the EPA estimates that, with the Bolt EV, you could save up to $ 5,000 in fuel costs for 5 years, or almost a thousand dollars per year, or about $ 70 per month. ” On the other hand, the Drive Change association, Drive Electric, points out that “although the price of the initial purchase is usually higher, it is important to consider rebates, savings on maintenance and gasoline, insurance company discounts and tax incentives.” For example, in the state of New York, you can return up to 2 thousand dollars, for having an electric car. While, through federal tax credits, you could save up to $ 7,500 in the purchase of an electric car, according to data from this same organization.


Nothing! And I say it, in the good sense of the word. The first thing that surprised me when I turned it on is that it doesn’t make any noise. Accustomed to the typical roar that the engine produces when it starts, it was quite strange to know that the car was in on mode, without feeling that it was running. Another feature, which caught my attention, was that speed can go unnoticed by the driver. I am a person, who does not like to use the accelerator, but in this vehicle (which has the ability to go from 0 to 60 miles in just 6.5 seconds), I felt comfortable and safe enough to accelerate (within the legal speed limit), without any fear. I was also captivated that the car was equipped with a single-pedal driving system, which allows, instead of abusing the brake (which impacts the environment more), the car to stop, gradually or completely, with just Raise the throttle foot. For this function to start, the vehicle must be placed in Low (L) mode and, of course, put into practice beforehand, to get used to its operation. Another similar technology in the Bolt EV, is the system called, Regen on Demand, which allows you to slow down – without stepping on the brake – just by pulling the paddle on the steering wheel. What is the benefit of this? This mechanism allows you to convert energy into more electricity, which is transferred back to the battery, which translates into more life of your vehicle. Although, if we talk about battery durability, it is quite efficient, because after having been, more than 40 minutes stuck in Miami traffic, I arrived in the city of Naples (located 125 miles from Miami) two and a half hours later, with 110 miles to spare! This gave me an idea of ​​how far the Bolt EV can take me, with a single battery charge.

SECOND STOP, NAPLES! Now that I knew a little more about electric vehicles, I was able to relax and reflect on all the efforts that both companies and individuals were making to protect the environment. Already installed in the hotel, a warning in my room about the waste of water and the amount of detergent that is used, daily, in all the hotels in the world to wash the towels, caught my attention. “During your stay, we will change the towels every three days. If you do not wish to participate in this program, please leave the towels on the floor and we will change them every day. ” Although, it was not the first time I saw a similar message, it was the first time I really gave it the meaning and importance it deserved. More night, after a short walk along the bright and elegant avenue, 5th Avenue South, I began to understand the true meaning of this trip. I remembered the ecological efforts of the first and second hotel I stayed at, I thought about the innovative technology that Chevrolet was using to reduce its carbon footprint, I remembered the kind of sustainable gastronomy (based on the use of local, fresh and local products organic, to encourage responsible food consumption with the environment) that I had taken in a restaurant before moving to Naples; and I realized that I had to commit much more to the environment.

LAST STOP: BABCOCK RANCH We were not yet at the last stop of the press trip, and I already felt that, returning home, I had to start implementing actions to take care of my planet more. I saw myself harvesting my own vegetables to join the sustainable kitchen movement, I planned to drastically reduce my energy consumption at home, and even, I did not discard the idea of ​​acquiring an electric car, as soon as my lease expired. But it was our visit to Babcock Ranch, which finished opening my eyes. And, this community of more than 400 residents (located 50 miles from the city of Naples), operates based on solar energy, thanks to the more than 300 thousand solar panels that are installed, along 440 hectares. The admirable thing about this “mini city”, (whose vision is to house more than 50 thousand inhabitants, in a land of 6 million square feet), is that all its facilities, including restaurants, shops, the small hospital that houses , the nursery with which they have and other services that they offer to their residents -like charging stations for electric cars-, work thanks to this imposing solar field. “We want to be at the forefront of this, we want to drive innovation, we want to be the ones to do it first, so we are working with our partners to make this happen,” said Syd Kitson, founder of Babcock Ranch, on a tour of the facilities of place. The vision of the FPL (Florida Power and Light Company), who not only works hand in hand with Babcock Ranch, to provide its residents with solar energy, but also has 18 solar centers, located throughout the world. state of Florida, and has committed to install 30 million solar panels, throughout the state, by 2030. “We have committed to the use of electric cars too, we have charging stations throughout the state and currently, we are looking to create 1,200 charging handles, to locate them in 100 locations, throughout Florida, to make it easier to travel in cars electrical ”, explained at the end of the trip, Mariela Quintanilla, a specialist in the Communications Department of the FPL.

CHANGING OUT OF PERSPECTIVE … After hearing this last statement and witnessing all the efforts that these companies were making to protect the planet, I could not help but reproach myself for the following: “Why while others are putting everything on their side, to preserve the environment, other people Like me, many times, we don’t even bother to properly separate the garbage we throw away? ” Now that life had given me the opportunity to see these initiatives, it was time to follow suit, it was time to change and take actions, so that my children could continue to enjoy this planet. And so, with this new perspective, I finally returned home. I was ready to join this mission and do everything in my power, to be part of those who build and do not destroy. Sandra Ortiz Sandra Ortiz Juárez studied Communication Sciences in her native Mexico and obtained a master’s degree in Audiovisual Journalism in Spain. She has worked in radio, television and digital media such as AOL Latino, Mamás Latinas and in the magazine Siempre Mujer y Ser Padres, where she served as digital director. He has interviewed celebrities such as Carolina Herrera, Isabel Toledo, Natalia Jiménez, Luis Fonsi, William Levy, among many other personalities. In his spare time he likes to dance and experiment in the kitchen. Confesses addicted to the internet and sushi.