02/21/2013 10:30 am ET Updated Apr 18, 2013

Electric Cars and the Value of Thinking and Planning

I am the proud owner of a Tesla Model S.

Yesterday, it asked me when I would like to download the latest version of its software. I set the time to 2:00 a.m. and, without a hitch, the car "woke up" and downloaded the latest revision, version 4.2. When I was just in the vehicle, it showed me the changes from the prior version of the operation system in its clearly understood "release notes" (something I never read when using other software but am somehow compelled to absorb with this auto(mobile) experience). Anyhow, when I entered the time to update the operating system, it required a bit of thought in asking myself the simple question, "when will I not be using the vehicle?"

In that same way, I had to think, a bit, about my journey from Delaware to Baltimore last weekend. I knew that I'd be travelling 82.3 miles (which I found out because I needed driving directions anyway). I also knew that it was a bit cold out (high was 37 degrees Fahrenheit while the low was 26 degrees Fahrenheit). So, the night before my journey, I charged the Tesla using the extended range feature. And unplugged the car moments before the start of my trip.

As I proceeded to Baltimore, I realized that I needed to stop (to get a hot cup of coffee). So, instead of my normal haunt, I chose to get my coffee at the Delaware Rest Stop on I95, where I knew there was a Tesla Supercharger station. I travelled to the Supercharger, topped off the car and proceeded to my destination in Baltimore.

When I got there, my friends wanted to go for a ride and truly test out the torque in the electric motors. Since I didn't want to have any issues on my return trip, we decided to stop at a ChargePoint charging station at the Baltimore Train station, where I could leave the car when we had lunch. That I did.

After lunch, I hopped in the car and drove back home where I arrived safe, sound and with a significant reserve of battery life.

The lesson? With a bit of thought and planning (and the realization that there are other companies beyond Tesla that also allow you to charge your vehicle -- just as there are more than one type of gasoline station), it is easy to take a reasonably long journey in this wonderful automobile.