Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 All-Electric Antelope Island Tour

Several weeks ago I decided to take my truck to a place where (at least to my knowledge) no electric vehicle has driven to, on its own power before.


Antelope Island, Utah. In middle of nowhere in the Great Salt Lake there is a lone mountain that stands high out of the water. Antelope Island. Decades ago they built a 7 mile long causeway from Syracuse, UT, across the Great Salt Lake to Antelope Island. The island now has several miles of paved and un-paved roads. 


I mapped out ahead of time the route I would take in my electric truck. I took the Interstate to Antelope drive and from there drove strait west until I reached the Lake shore. I drove the 7-mile causeway to the island and proceeded to drive around the island. 



 

I took a wrong turn and ended up on top of a high vista looking out over the west shore side of the island. Backtracking, I headed into the direction I originally planed (to a farm-house 11 miles down the road. I knew this 5 mile wrong way turn would cost me in the end but for some reason I continued to the farm house anyway. Against the better judgment of the voices in my head, I kept going onward. I don’t know which is crazier, having voices in your head or not listening to them tell you that you are going to get stranded on an island without electricity while you are driving an electric truck. 


I made it to the farm house and spent a while looking around. 


It was very peaceful and tranquil here.  From my vantage point on the east side of the island, I could see the city sprawl far far away across the Great Salt Lake but it didn't make a sound from that great distance.  It was so quite I could hear my brain.  I felt like I was the last remaining person on earth. 

As the sun was starting to set behind the mountain, it occurred to me that on the other side of the large island, and across the 7-mile causeway, there is a large gate that closes at sunset. “If that gate closes before I go under it, I am spending the night here”.  

Just then, a coyote howled in the distance.  Anxiously, I said to myself, "OK John, it's time to go!"    


I started driving back the way I came. I made it back to the causeway but as I got about ½ way across, my battery pack began to show signs of being done for the evening. I could no longer maintain 50mph, 45, 40, 35. As the sun was quickly getting lower in the sky behind me, I squinted in vain trying to make out the toll shack and gate on the other end of the causeway. After what seemed like an eternity, I passed the shack and drove past the gate. “Whew!, at least I will not be sleeping with coyotes tonight. Where I end up is another story”.


I did it! I am the first person to drive an all electric vehicle from land, across the causeway to Antelope Island and back again.
I let the truck battery pack rest for a few minutes in hopes of gaining some extra range.  
After the battery pack had a 30 minute rest, I drove another 7 miles toward my home before it was absolutely dead and needed to be re-charged.  "Whew, what an adventure!"