Sunday, September 19, 2021

Driving down Baja in a Tesla EV

Despite what many nay-sayers will tell you, even south of the border in Baja Mexico a Tesla can find a place to plug in and charge

Growing up as a kid in Southern California over a half century ago, when I wasn’t at the beach I was often reading up on and devouring anything I could find on the myriad of evolving new technologies.

Personally, I loved the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland back in the 60’s – a revolving theater attraction in Tomorrowland – and even got caught up in the idea that by the year 2000 we’d all be getting around in flying cars.

Old Walt Disney may have been spot on with his technological predictions of what life would be like in the 80’s, but those who insisted that asphalt interstates would become a thing of the past by the start of the 21st century must have been reading too many Flash Gordon comic books.

In fact over two decades later and STILL no mass production of flying Corvettes, Corollas or Caravans, anywhere in sight.

I do think that entire flying car miscalculation stuck in the minds of many like myself, now dismissing out of hand these days the idea that electronic cars are now soon to replace vehicles with internal combustion engines.

All we had to do was consider how fast our smartphone’s battery would discharge on us when we really needed to make another call and then extrapolate that to a vehicle; it was hard to fathom how the battery charge on an electric car – or Electric Vehicle (EV) as they’re called today – could last much more than 30 minutes at highway speeds, much less drive over one hundred miles.

Several well known overseas car manufacturers have collectively invested billions into developing a dependable battery based power train inside a vehicle, including some familiar names like Volkswagen, Nissan, Audi, Renualt, Hyundai and Porshe.

In the US, Ford jumped into the EV market with their new sporty Mustang Mach-E and Chevrolet with their popular Bolt model, now to be accompanied by an SUV crossover model – the Bolt EUV.

Elon Musk: Tesla dejará de aceptar Bitcoin para ayudar al medio ambiente |  Código Espagueti

To a large degree, the EV market today is driven by one man – Elon Musk at Tesla who assures us that his vehicles today can maintain a charge for at least 250 miles and some models/configurations now are able to go over 400 miles on a single charge.

And some of these new Tesla models are in fact quite pleasing to look at – nothing like the simple ergonomic box designs I remember seeing on drawing boards 30 years ago.

It also doesn’t hurt sales that many of these Tesla models come with some standard features that the ICE powered vehicle manufacturing lines today find themselves struggling to keep up with.

Tesla today is breaking sales records and to back that up, the company CEO has pushed investment into building out a network of charging stations; today there are over 10,000 in Southern California and nearly 3,000 in just Los Angeles alone.

But that’s Southern California.

San Quintin Baja Mexico Tourism - www.sanquintinbc.mx

Even dreaming about the idea of driving your EV south of the border into Baja, Mexico is just plain crazy, right?

Well… maybe not so crazy as it may sound at first.

I learned just this morning that there are over 50 Tesla charging stations down the Baja peninsula and even more generic EV charging stations that can connect to a variety of different brand EVs.

While nowhere near the number of EV charging stations available north of the border, that number should provide adequate service coverage with a bit of planning for those adventurous souls wanting to head with their battery on wheels into most areas of Baja today.

Another sign that EVs have arrived and are here to stay was the news that SCORE has introduced a new Baja e-Class for EVs to be able to compete in their world famous Baja off-road races.

Maybe good news to some but just the thought of anyone daring to drive an electric vehicle south of the border with hopes of finding a place to charge seems to have hit a nerve with some Baja old-timers.

A few of them let their feelings be known this morning in a discussion on our Talk Baja group on Facebook where a group member posted a simple and straightforward question, asking “if there is enough chargers for electric cars between San Diego and La Paz?”

The responses came in fast and heavy, with many simply responding “NO” and many posting laughing memes with a few asking the OP if it was a serious question?

Some thought it might be possible but seemed upset at just the thought of en EV daring to cross the border down here into Baja.

One such responder was Bob B, who said:

“…I would not be caught dead driving a Tesla in Baja – LOL. Servicing breakdowns for a gas/diesel vehicle in Baja (unless you only go to the gringo foo foo destinations) is very difficult let alone trying to fix an E-vehicle (Tesla toy).

Most peeps travel to Baja for the adventure and a Tesla/E-vehicle does not allow for that. I guess there are two groups commenting here…the Foo Foos and the adventurers!

Long live the 4×4 adventure spirit!”

I suppose Bob believes that everybody who comes to Baja drives a lifted 4×4 truck with 33 inch tires.

The reality is that while off-road racing remains popular down here, most travelers today who cross the border heading south are driving sedans, mini-vans and factory built SUV’s and pick-up trucks without a lift kit or skid plate.

While I am sure that many of them enjoy watching highlights of Baja 1000 races but probably less than 1 in 4 travelers today are much interested in driving too far off the pavement; probably less than 1 in 10 if you tell them there is a chance that a winch might be needed to get through some off-road trail.

And as far as mechanical reliability, Bob might be surprised to learn that electric vehicles are actually much more dependable to drive than his gasoline/diesel fuel burning 4X4 as EVs on average require less maintenance with statistically few breakdowns than ICE powered vehicles, simply because they have much fewer moving parts.

But I suppose that really doesn’t matter much to Bob and others like him who simply want to keep Baja…Baja. And I get it, believe me I do.

To many of us, Baja gives us a small glimpse into what the old wild, wild west used to be a couple of centuries back. It’s like a world away just a short drive across the California’s southern border.

However much we may love how things once were down here, you just can’t simply ignore the march of progress, even if you don’t wish to participate.

So I chalked up many of the incorrect responses to simple ignorance – in fact I didn’t know the correct answer myself either. I only knew of one charger and that is located at the Santa Maria Hotel in Cataviña.

But a quick Google search took me first to the PlugShare website and then to the Tesla website to find out exactly how many charging stations exist today up and down the Baja peninsula.

I was genuinely surprised to learn that Tesla alone lists over 50 such charging stations between Tijuana and Los Cabos.

Both of those websites are excellent references if you are indeed planning a trip in your EV down into Baja.

And then I went on to read several travel reports of people sharing their experiences traveling up and down the peninsula in their electric vehicles without even a hiccup

I also came across some very good advice including one post that I thought was important – the suggestion to carry different charging adapters that can be used at the different branded charging stations and even one to plug into 110/220 v house current as a last resort.

Reading through the stories it made me think, would I do it?

I don’t currently own an electric vehicle but after today’s discussion I would consider it, even living down here outside of San Quintin in a remote coastal fishing community.

First I’ll need to figure out a way to efficiently rig up a charging system off my solar system and then I’ll consider looking at some of the different models.

And before I would recommend to anybody that they consider driving the length of the Baja peninsula with their new electric vehicle, I would ask them the very same question I ask someone considering driving a gas/diesel fueled vehicle down;

Could you handle an incident where you might suffer some kind of serious mechanical failure 100 miles or more from the nearest fueling station, mechanic or cell phone service?

I know that a lot of people routinely drive the length of the peninsula but I do wonder how some of them would in fact handle such a situation?

To best deal with such a scenario requires planning and willingness to ask good questions BEFORE you go.

Just like our OP attempted to do in our group this morning before being jumped by a band of nostalgia fighting Baja old-timers.

I admit to getting a bit nostalgic too on occasion so I’ll cut (most of) them some slack.

Thinking about the discussion, I spent my lunchtime today looking at more of the new EV models coming out and I can see one Tesla model in particular that might appeal some folks who love to find the road less traveled down here, although probably nothing too extreme.

With a suggested price tag above 100 grand, I won’t likely be buying a new one in this lifetime but I must admit the Tesla Model X 4X4 punches a lot of my buttons. The power, range and all the gismos included make this young lad want to dream about flying cars again.

And with Elon’s new SpaceX program taking flight, I might just yet see a flying car in my lifetime…

😉

I posted below a current list of Tesla charging stations down here in Baja that I will try to keep updated for you.

2021 Tesla Model X – a 4×4 capable electric vehicle

Updated List of Tesla Charging Stations in Baja

(updated 08 Jun 2021)

Baja California

Adobe Guadalupe
Parcela A-1 s/n
Rusa de Guadalupe
Ensenada, Baja California 22750
Phone: +52 646 155 2094
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Bajamar
Carretera Tijuana – Ensenada Km. 77.5
Ensenada, Baja California 22760
Phone: 888 311 60 76
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Bruma Valle de Guadalupe
Carretera Tecate Ensenada Km. 74
Valle de Guadalupe
Ensenada, Baja California 22760
Phone: +52 1 646 189 7788
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Cantina Hussong’s
Av. Ruiz #113
Zona Centro
Ensenada, Baja California, 22800
Phone: +52 646 178 3210
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Casa de Piedra Vinicola
Carretera Ensenada Tecate Kilometro 93.5
San Antonio de las Minas
Ensenada, Baja California 22761
Phone: +52 646 156 5267
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

El Santuario Diegueño
Río Yaqui 798 Esteban Cantu
Tecate, Baja California 21420
Phone: +52 665 654 4777
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Encuentro Guadalaupe
Carretera Tecate- Ensenada Km. 75
Valle de Guadalupe
Ensenada, Baja California 22750
Phone: +52 646 155 2775
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Entre Santos Bodegas de Santo Tomas
Carretera Ensenada – Tecate Km. 94
San Antonio de las Minas
Ensenada, Baja California 22800
Phone: +52 646 174 0819
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Estero Beach
Calle Playas del Estero S/N
Ex-Ejido Chapultepec
Ensenada, Baja California 22785
Phone: +52 646 176 6225
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Fiesta Inn Mexicali
Calzada Adolfo Lopez Mateos 1029
Industrial Centro Civico
Mexicali, Baja California 21000
Phone: +52 686 837 3300
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Fiesta Inn Tijuana Otay Aeropuerto
Rampa Aeropuerto 16000
Tijuana, Baja California 22000
Phone: +52 664 979 1900
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Gamma by Fiesta Inn Tijuana
Blvd. Tijuana 17226
Col. Otay Constituyentes
Tijuana, Baja California 22457
Phone: +52 664 973 7600
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Gran Via Mexicali
Calzada Cetys Manuel Gomez Morin
Mexicali, Baja California 21254
Phone: +52 686 564 5013
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Holiday Inn Ensenada
Blancarte No. 151
Col. Centro
Ensenada, Baja California 22800
Phone: +52 646 977 6602
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Coral & Marina
Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada Km.103 #3421
Zona Playitas
Ensenada, Baja California 22860
Phone: +52 646 175 0000
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Las Rosas & Spa
Carretera Tijuana – Ensenada Km 105. 5
El Sauzal
Ensenada, Baja California 22760
Phone: +52 646 174 4310
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Pueblo Amigo
Via Oriente 9211
Zona del Rio
Tijuana, Baja California 22320
Phone: +52 664 624 2700
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Punta Morro
Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 106
Ensenada, Baja California, 22870
Phone: +52 646 178 3507
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Jaz-Baja
Camino Vecinal sin nombre, fracc. 6B
El Porvenir
Ensenada, Baja California 22755
Phone: +52 646 55 2237
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

La Cabana Del Abuelo
Tijuana-Mexicali Km. 71.5
La Rumorosa, Baja California 21505
Phone: +52 686 575 0152
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Las Nubes Bodegas y Vinedos
Callejon Emiliano Zapata
Ejido el Porvenir
Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California 22750
Phone: +52 646 156 8037
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Malva Restaurante
Km 96 carretera Ens Tecate
San Antonio De Las Minas, Baja California 22755
Phone: +52 646 155 3085
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Marina Puerto Salina
Autopista Tijuana Ensenada KM 73
Abelardo L. Rodriguez
Ensenada, Baja California 22765
Phone: +52 646 155 4188
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Marina San Felipe
Carretera San Felipe km 4.5
Fondeport
San Felipe, Baja California 21850
Phone: +52 686 577 1455
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Mision Santa Maria Catavina
Carretera Transpeninsular 179
Catavina, Baja California 22965
Phone: +52 200 124 9123
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Mision Santa Maria
Camino Playa Santa Maria S/N
San Quintin, Baja California 22930
Phone: +52 616 165 9008
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Monte Xanic Bodega Vini-cola
Calle Francisco Zarco S/N
Valle de Guadalupe
Ensenada, Baja California 22785
Phone: +52 800 717 4633
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Restaurante Heidelberg
Ave. Fco. I. Madero y Calle H S/N
Mexicali, Baja California 21100
Phone: +52 686 554 2022
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Rosarito Beach Hotel
Blvd. Benito Juarez 31
Col Centro
Rosarito, Baja California 22710
Phone: +52 800 265 2322
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Villa del Valle – Valle de Guadalupe
Rancho San Marcos Toros Pintos S/N Km 88.300
Francisco Zarco
Ensenada, Baja California 22750
Phone: +52 646 156 8007
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Vinas de Garza
Carretera Tecate – Ensenada Km 87
Valle de Guadalupe
Ensenada, Baja California 22650
Phone: +52 646 175 8883
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Vinicola Decantos
Rancho San Miguel Fraccion A, S/N
Ejido El Porvenir
Ensenada, Baja California 22755
Phone: +52 646 688 1019
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Baja California Sur

Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos
Km 10.3, Carr. Transpeninsular
Cabo del Sol
Los Cabos, Baja California Sur 23410
Phone: +52 624 145 6200
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Grand Velas Los Cabos
Carretera Transpeninsular Km 17
Corredor Turistico Los Cabos
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur 23405
Phone: +52 624 104 9800
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort
Km. 19.5, Carr. Transpeninsular
Caudillos del Sur
Cd Apodaca, Baja California Sur 23447
Phone: +52 624 145 6500
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Cuesta Real
Carret Transpeninsular Km. 132
Las Huertas
Mulege, Baja California Sur 23880
Phone: +52 615 153 0321
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Doce Ballenas
Blvd Benito Juarez esq/ Belisario Domínguez
Ciudad Insurgentes, Baja California Sur 23700
Phone: +52 6136882222
Roadside Assistance: (877) 798-3752

Hotel La Huerta
34 Profesor Valdivia
San Ignacio, Baja California Sur 23930
Phone: +52 615 154 0116
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel One la Paz
Nicolas Bravo No.590 Esq. Ignacio Altamirano
Zona Central
La Paz, Baja California Sur 23000
Phone: +52 612 123 6530
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Plaza Loreto
Av. Miguel Hidalgo 2
Col. Centro
Loreto, Baja California Sur 23880
Phone: +52 613 135 1731
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Hotel Terrasal
Blvd. Emiliano Zapata s/n
Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur 23940
Phone: +52 615 157 0133
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Maria de Nadie Hotel Boutique
Belisario Dominguez entre Rosaura Zapata e Ignacio Zaragoza
Cd Constitucion, Baja California Sur 23600
Phone: +52 613 132 8236
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Paseo Esperanza
Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 25
Cerro Colorado
San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur 23400
Phone: +52 667 690 5100
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Patio Plaza Los Cabos
Carr. Todos Santos – Los Cabos
Los Aguajitos
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur 23473
Phone: +52 624 146 4547
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Plaza Paseo la Paz
Libramiento Sur Daniel Roldan No. 1515
El Zacatal
La Paz, Baja California Sur 23090
Phone: +52 612 124 1638
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Plaza Patio San Jose
Calle Valerio Gonzalez 137
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur 23400
Phone: +52 624 142 4459
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Puerta Cortes
KM 7.5 Carretera a Pichilingue
La Paz, Baja California Sur 23010
Phone: +52 612 175 0100
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Sheraton Los Cabos
Corredor Turistico Km. 10 Lote D
Cabo del Sol
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California 23410
Phone: +52 624 145 8000
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Solaz Los Cabos
Corredor Turistico s/n, Km 18.5
Cabo Real
San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur 23405
Phone: +52 624 151 6022
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Viceroy Los Cabos
Paseo Malecon San Jose Lote 8
Zona Hotelera
San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur 23400
Phone: +52 624 104 9999
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

Villa del Palmar at The Islands of Loreto
km. 84 Calle Carretera Transpeninsular
Loreto, Baja California Sur 23880
Phone: +52 613 134 1010
Roadside Assistance: 01 800 228 8145

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