The (hidden) Disadvantages of “Splitting” and Going Solo

Georg Khunke

Georg puts on his game face!

by Georg, 10 July 2013

I felt compelled to write a little about my half of the 2013 BC2BC Rally.  In particular after reading some of the excellent blogs from the other participants, and in part to make at least a few observations.  And I am writing in the spirit of kaizen (continuous improvement) for next year’s event.

I appreciate meeting you all … and I just regret not being there from the start.  What I realized only until after the event is that everyone had lots of time bonding at the start of the rally in Blaine, WA, and subsequently in Grants Pass, OR.  I missed out on that.  My apologies to any inadvertent name hiccups I may have made …

One of my objectives after accepting Jack’s proposal to finish the rally for him in Stages 3 & 4 was to minimize my expenses.  I had trouble finding reasonable accommodations for Santa Rosa the night before the start of Stage 3.  I had even considered overnighting at the County Fairgrounds since I had to replenish 130 miles needed to make it to Santa Rosa.  But then Jack came thru and offered frequent guest points he had for the Marriott Courtyard.  This made for a much more relaxed and rested start for me on July 5.  And it was good to meet many of you (and Alan from the local EV club) at the dinner the night before.

For San Luis Obispo accommodations I turned to “PlugShare” … and as I was planning the rally routing, I recalled Tony charging at Linda’s place in Morro Bay.  I contacted Linda, and she was gracious in accepting me at her house for two nights.  I spent quite some time with her, gave her a ride, of course, and also realized it would be great to have a local EV advocate meet the rally participants.  So that’s how the dinner in Morro Bay the eve of Stage 4 came about.

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Ready to Rumble!

For San Juan Capistrano I had my son in SoCal contact a friend of his (Eric), and so my Sunday night accommodation was a couch to crash on in Irvine.  In return I offered Eric an extended ride in a Premium EV and a party in SJC.  This is how I ended up with a “navigator” (not co-pilot) for the final 100 miles of the rally.

Because Jack’s car is Nevada-licensed it does not have the White Stickers for the California Diamond Lanes (one person occupancy allowed to use the commute lane).  This fact hurt a little from Santa Rosa to Redwood City.  I was just lucky that this was a holiday Friday (July 5), so traffic wasn’t too horrible.  But it is obvious that having your own navigator/passenger in the car could make for a HUGE advantage.

Naturally, the other advantage a rally participant with two people in the car has is that the driver can fully concentrate on driving.  This adds a critical safety margin.  Here I was at a distinct disadvantage (as was Jack in Stage 1 & 2).  With the full internet connectivity of the Model S, or the ubiquitous smart phone, the passenger can take time to do “proper research” for all those last minute surprises Tony always had in store for us J !

Again … I did not have this advantage.  And so I relied on my co-pilot (formerly pilot for Stage 1 & 2) to feed me strategy advice, as well as updates on other rally car positions.  All other Model S participants had at their disposal a “built-in” support person.  In my case it was Jack … and at other times a wonderful Model S couple from Stockton (you met Bill & Polly in Santa Rosa Friday morning).  Unfortunately, the fact that my support was not physically present in the car, made for a more distracted driver.  And an exhaustion of my monthly calling minutes on my cell plan in one third of the allotted calendar time !  But in the end it all worked out.

So … what can we improve for 2014 ?  Meet with local EV supporters at dinner on the eve of the next Stage.  Publish checkpoints the night before.  Give “spot” to anyone unable to use Glympse.  Get everyone familiar with Glympse (or then improved equivalent) before the start of the rally.  Always pull poker cards for the completed Stage at the dinner (encourages greater attendance).  Allow checkpoint photos only during the official time frame of the Stage in question.  Allow for “splitting” the tour (like Jack & I did), but *NOT* switching driver/passenger during a particular Stage; this “splitting” option may motivate more EV signups around the middle of the rally, rather than “endpoint” participants only.  Add a small time penalty for DCFC (CHAdeMo or SuperCharging) for each fast-charge event to even out the playing field.

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Jack Bowers was Georg’s co-driver

Oh … and Monday night was a futon at my son’s fraternity house.  Tuesday I drove home 400 miles in 9 hours, SuperCharging twice (Tejon Ranch & Harris Ranch).  And it felt wonderful to sleep in a familiar bed again last night.

I had a ton of fun, and hope you did too.  Greetings and The Best to you all !