Somewhere in New Mexico I crossed the halfway point for my goal to cross the country in Project Griffin, or Griff for short. I’m not quite halfway across the country, but having driven across Idaho, through Oregon, and down California to begin the coast-to-coast section the odometer has logged over 2,000 miles. With all that ground covered I wanted to provide a quick update on some of the things I’ve seen and what I’ve learned.
I learned there is a reason no one has crossed America in a large electric vehicle powered by only solar…it is hard! Especially with my budget being nearly exhausted, I’m really roughing it through some of the more desolate sections of the country. Since my range is limited to around 100 miles per day, often I only go 40 or 60 miles so that I end up stopped in civilization…or at least with running water nearby. My daily routine consists of waking up around 4 AM, stretching, walking my dog Ludwig and prepping to drive to the next truckstop or town. I avoid trying to maximize my range, and instead focus on finding a good place to charge or spend the night. Most nights I sleep inside the truck, like the truckers whom I often have as neighbors.
During the day, Griff is charging, and typically I spend my time monitoring things and working online. I post to social and then check the production. If a section of solar is low I adjust the angle or parking position to get maximum solar output. After coming this far I have decided before embarking on a second trip I WILL be upgrading equipment. My initial calculations were accurate as to the production and range, yet with new solar panels and batteries the current numbers would DOUBLE! I could charge in half the time and go twice as far. I had hoped to dedicate more time to writing and reading to educate myself more thoroughly on everything related to the energy industry, but a decent amount of time has been spent learning what works best. This of course was expected, yet only by actually being out on the road and in the truck would I find out the real-world challenges…
CLOUDS! Seeing fun shapes on a cloudy day is enjoyable, but experiencing a monsoon followed by consistently overcast weather can be quite frustrating when trying to charge a fully solar powered truck. I expected some cloudy days, but I had no idea it would be “monsoon season” in Arizona and New Mexico in July. So far two monsoons and related cloudy weather have slowed down the trip.
HOWEVER…clouds only slowed the rate of production around 50-60% on #ProjectGriffin
Which means I spent a little extra time in Eastern Arizona and New Mexico. I will continue on and have so many stories to tell, please stay tuned by following here on the website and @AwakenSolar on social media.
- Joshua Seth Hill