Open Forum in The Villages, Florida

The Unexpected Blend of Magic, Alzheimer's Research, and EV Charging Stations

October 13, 2023 Mike Roth & Guests Season 4 Episode 14
Open Forum in The Villages, Florida
The Unexpected Blend of Magic, Alzheimer's Research, and EV Charging Stations
Open Forum in The Villages, Florida
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Ready to take a deep dive into the world of cyber safety and magic as we navigate through the realities of electric vehicle charging? Buckle up because this episode is packed with insights from our esteemed guests who will widen your horizon on these fascinating topics. Our journey starts at the Enrichment Academy Expo, where we unveil the essentials of their Cyber Safety course, designed for seniors to outsmart online scams. Simultaneously, we pull back the curtain on the enthralling world of magic in an engaging conversation with Jeff Kubler, President of the Magic Club. Plus, we get the lowdown on the latest FDA-approved treatments for Alzheimer's from none other than Dr. Craig Curtis.

Shifting gears to a pressing environmental concern, we plunge into the realm of sustainable transportation. Hear firsthand accounts of the challenges and rewards of electric vehicle charging on cross-country trips. Navigate through the maze of Supercharging, Level two charging, and home charging, as we discuss the potential solutions like a $250 annual road tax on EVs and mileage-based charging. We also shine a light on the problems at Tesla superchargers and the transition period for electric cars. Listen up, because this is a conversation you won't want to miss!

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Open Forum in The Villages, Florida is Produced & Directed by Mike Roth
A new episode will be released most Fridays at 9 AM
Direct all questions and comments to mike@rothvoice.com

If you know a Villager who should appear on the show, please contact us at: mike@rothvoice.com

Emily:

Welcome to the Open Forum in the Villages, florida podcast. In this show we talk to leaders in the community, leaders of clubs and interesting folks who live here in the villages to give perspectives of what is happening here in The Villages. We hope to add a new episode most Fridays at 9am. We are a listener supported podcast. You can become a supporter for as little as $3 per month or you can choose to pay more. To become a supporter, go to openforminthevillages. com and click on support in the black box. There will be shoutouts for supporters in episodes. In season 4, we have made some dramatic improvements and changes. In fact, the show's announcers are now all AI voices, including me, emily. Hope you enjoy. Today's show is a little different. The first couple of minutes were recorded at the Enrichment Academy Expo. There was lots of background noise but good information, as Mike interviews a couple of folks at the Enrichment Academy Expo on September 14, 2023. In part 2 of the show, mike will discuss electric vehicle recharging experiences while driving cross country the plan vs the reality of electric vehicle recharging.

Mike Roth:

Here is Mike Roth. I'm at the Enrichment Academy. What are you here at the Enrichment Academy to teach?

Darrin Richely:

Well, I'm actually teaching the Cyber Safety and a Connected World course. It's really to help seniors understand what actual scams are out there, because they're all so Everybody's so target right. I think seniors are financially well off, so they're more of a target when it comes to the statistics prove that, by the way, exactly.

Mike Roth:

So you teach them how to beat the hackers Exactly and how to beat ransomware.

Darrin Richely:

Yeah, well, really, the course is more about I'm just about done. Yeah, really, the course is about awareness, raising your level of awareness right, because most of the attacks that happen, it catches us off guard.

Mike Roth:

It's a response to something, it's a guttural response that causes you to do the wrong thing. Yes, oh yeah, that looks like a Microsoft email or an Amazon email Exactly, and so I'll respond to it.

Darrin Richely:

Yeah, a lot of times you get those calls that catch you off guard. You know where it's. Hey, this is Microsoft tech support. We found that you have a virus on your computer.

Mike Roth:

What's your social security number Exactly? I need to report you to the FCC so you can get your $5,000, fine, exactly.

Darrin Richely:

Thanks for talking to me. Yeah, no thanks, mike, I appreciate that.

Mike Roth:

This is Mike Roth at the enrichment academy. We're doing the podcast and we're being videoed. I'm going to get a police angle so I can get the screen in Okay yeah, you can get the screen in and you can even shoot from the other side. This is Mike Roth. I'm here with Jeff Kubler. Jeff is president of the Magic Club.

Jeff Kublin:

Thanks for joining us here at the Expo. Jeff, I'm glad to be here.

Mike Roth:

Jeff wanted to tell us about some of the things that the Magic Club has planned for 2023-24.

Jeff Kublin:

We've been working since last April to put together the programs for this coming year and we have some new style programs that provide some in-depth teaching. We've also got some guest speakers coming in, some high profile magicians. We're very excited about it. Now Can anyone attend the Magic Club meeting? Yes, any villager, anybody with a village ID, is welcome to attend. They can attend one time as a guest and then they can make a decision as to whether or not they'd like to join. They have to sign that magic release, not give away any of the secrets. Actually, we do require them to sign an oath, because why ruin magic by telling everybody how things are done? Great Thanks for being with us here at the Expo, jeff. All right, good to be here. Thanks, everybody appreciate it.

Mike Roth:

This is Mike Roth with Dr Craig Curtis. We're talking about Alzheimer's disease for a few moments, Dr Curtis. Several new medicines have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer's. How effective are they? So? The effectiveness so far shows an approximate 30% slowing of Alzheimer's disease when these medicines are used in patients with the very earliest stages of the disease.

Dr. Craig curtis:

With over 20 years of experience studying brain health, Dr Curtis' goal is to educate the village's community on how to live a longer, healthier life. To learn more, visit his website craigcurtismd. com, or call 352-500-5252 to attend a free seminar.

Mike Roth:

This summer I took a couple of road trips in my new Mercedes Benz EQ350 Plus. The first trip was a trip from the village's, florida, to New Jersey and then on to Smithtown, new York. The second trip was from the village's to Savannah, georgia, then on to Amelia Island and then home to the village's. I wanted to tell the story of electric charging along those two trips, recognizing that my experiences may not be representative, but from what I'm hearing and reading on the web it's pretty true to form of what's happening all over the country. Mercedes, with each new electric vehicle, gives two years worth of free charging on a network called Electrify America. I thought Electrify America sounded very good, very American. Well, in actuality it isn't either very good or at all American. It was actually formed under I guess you would call it consent degree requirements for settling the diesel gate evasion of pollution controls on diesel engines by Volkswagen. Volkswagen owns the network and apparently they're doing everything they possibly can to meet the minimum required standards, which for us motorists with electric vehicles is not that great In the electric vehicle world. There are three levels of charging Supercharging, which should charge your vehicle at up to 350 amps. Then there's supercharging at 150 amps. Then there's level two, which is really around 60 amps maximum, and then there's home charging, which is level one, which is more like two amps. So we can forget about level one. Second issue we looked at in planning the trips was the range of the vehicle versus where the charging stations were. Electrify America claims to have one charging station approximately every 70 miles on the major interstates. Well, for the most part I can tell you that's true. What they don't tell you is that at their charging stations not all of the available charging outlets are actually available. Or the cars may be using them or they may be out of service. If they're out of service, in terms of their operability, electrify America doesn't let you know that in advance. On the charging maps they only tell you that there are four charging points at that location and two of them are in use. They tell you that the other two are dead. Major problem, and that's a major problem for all of the networks that we tested, which included Charge Point and several others, duke Electric. There were several others not worth naming.

Mike Roth:

In planning the trip, our plan was to leave each day with 100% charge, which sounded very good. Also in planning the trip, this was the trip to New York when the 95 Interstate fell down in Philadelphia so that instead of going up 95, which may have had better charging stations, we went inland to avoid both DC and Philadelphia. We left in the morning with 100% charge. We were to go to lunch where we were to spend a half hour eating lunch and charging the car back to about 80%. We never wanted to go down to below 30% charge because then we might not have enough power in the car to reach the next charging station, should the one that we planned to stop at be totally down. We did encounter that at least in two occasions.

Mike Roth:

Totally down can mean there is no electricity being dispensed or be in the case of Electrify America, they had a sign on their display that said they were operating at reduced power due to a software glitch or software update. In many cases that may have been caused by the coolant in the power cable to your car not operating and they were afraid to put maximum power to the car. So in a charging port that would have up to a 350 kilowatt charge, which would bring us back to 80% in less than a half hour, they were only putting out 50 kilowatts, thus dramatically increasing the charging time and or crowding the stations, because each car would now take two or three times as long to charge. In fact, in New Jersey, where there were the fewest number of charging stations, we ran into the problem that we couldn't get a charging port. They were all in use and there was no queuing system to get in line for the next port, because you could only go forward into a station or backwards into a station. There was no pull through a major defect in design for electric vehicles. There was no way to queue up or get in line, so you're next in line for the pump. Thus we left and we came back to that charging station in New Jersey at about eight o'clock in the morning when no one else was there and we had no trouble charging.

Mike Roth:

Another universal problem is, if you're not using your manufacturer's network charging port or station, you have to put in a credit card to pay for your charge. Well, some vendors have mounted their screens so low that you have to bend down, almost sitting on the ground, to see the screen. The glare from the sun made it almost impossible to read in many cases. In many cases, while the charging station itself would provide power, the credit card reader was malfunctioning or the tap reader wouldn't work and or you couldn't read the instructions on the screen, rendering that particular charging station useless. Those factors tended to crowd the stations that were working. There were also some questions about what happens if it rains. There's no on none of the stations. On the entire two trips that we ever come to a station that had a canopy cover like a gas station does, so we were always in the bright sun or rain, and in the sun it was almost impossible to read the instructions. At some of the stations, if you called their 800 number and waited on the line for 10 minutes, an operator would come on and reset the station from their end, because it just needed to be reset like a computer. But that's most aggravating.

Mike Roth:

Another aggravating thing that we saw in New York was that the total amount of current available for the four charging stations was divided by the amount of power required by each car. So the only way you could get the maximum amount of power or 350 out of a charger was if your car was low on charge and no one else was charging, because the amount of amperage that the station had would be divided among the number of ports that were in use. So when it says up to 350 amps, what it means is up to 350 amps divided by the number of vehicles that are in use of these ports right now. To keep the charge up in the car, we made round trip, a total of 18 stops. Each one was supposed to be a half hour, but they took longer some 45 minutes, a few, even longer than 45 minutes. We never got trapped, we never ran out of charge, but the scheduling of a route was difficult using the built-in navigation system in the Mercedes and we were told to use a program on our android phone called a better route plan, and that program allowed you to set the charge at the beginning of the trip that you wanted to have at the end of the trip and the minimum that you would accept before recharging during the trip. That seemed to be a much more comprehensive solution than the one provided by the manufacturer. Perhaps the manufacturer's training on their program was insufficient, or perhaps that it happened. Thought about the same way that a better route planner did when we were on Long Island make sure that we're left with close to 100 charge on that.

Mike Roth:

The day before we left we parked the car at the Smithtown, city Hall or Town Hall. They had two low-speed chargers and we plugged into one of them and then I called my daughter and said come pick me up. I'm at City Hall and about four and a half hours later, when the car told us on our cell phone that the charge was full, she drove us back and we picked up the car. We did notice on 95 in Connecticut a very large electric vehicle charging station that had ports for both electric Tesla's and LaCos. The port on the Mercedes is the CSS or the five-pin plug with the two extra pins at the bottom for the DC charge for the high current transfer. We figured that had we taken the trip using a gasoline engine averaging about 30 miles a gallon, we would have spent about $450. Using the Electrify America network, whose ports were usually located in Walmart parking lots or sheet gas stations and Charge Point and several others that we used for our convenience, we spent $100 for electricity, thus saving $350 in fuel costs.

Mike Roth:

The electric vehicle operation was almost spot-on perfect. The vehicle had tremendous acceleration, comfort, quietness and great handling. We both enjoyed driving the car. It was, however, an annoying problem with connecting to Android Auto. The first day it was perfect. The second day it seemed not to want to connect at all, which was aggravating. After some research that night we discovered the way to do a soft reset on the computer system in the car and after doing that a couple of times we were able to get Android Auto working again. But it's fair to say there was at least that bug in the software. Operating the car on a long road trip like that, we both learned a lot about how the systems work, which was important and probably would have taken forever to get it out of the 600 page manual.

Mike Roth:

Had all the charging stations been operational that is, you could plug into them and get some electricity the trip would have been very pleasant and would have gone too planned. But because many of the stations were not delivering current or delivering a charge at a very low, trickle rate, it took a lot more time. I did want to talk for a second about the charging station locally here in Sumter County at the Comfort Inns on 301, just north of the Turnpike. That station had 304 charging ports from Duke Electric. They were different than any others that I had seen. I plugged into them and not one of the four would deliver any electricity.

Mike Roth:

So I decided to call the trouble number and the telephone tree had electric charging difficulties as, like numbers six or seven in the phone tree, not very convenient. They said there would be at least a 10 minute wait. I waited seven minutes on the phone and at that point hung up. I wasn't willing to wait much longer. But this must have been a continuing problem with these Duke chargers because someone had written in magic mock or across the faces of the screens does not work. So I guess service is a real problem. We did stop at another brand of charger outside of Gainesville, florida, and we had trouble getting started with the charge because of the card reader and or the pump and we moved the car from one spot to the next spot, to the next spot until we finally got it going. After we had it going for a while, another fellow young man pulled in with a with an electric car and started to set up cones around each one of the parking spots where there was a charger and I asked him what he was doing.

Mike Roth:

He said oh, I'm the service guy and before I enter the electrical relay area I have to close down all four of the electric chargers so that I can go in there, do what I have to do safely, and then the charger will be working at 100%. Well, I didn't stay around long enough to figure out whether or not they were working at 100%, because by that point we had had lunch and we left. It seems they need more service technicians. They need a system to reset the chargers if they haven't been used in 24 hours, or maybe reset every charger at two in the morning automatically, so you don't have to call service.

Mike Roth:

The other real logistic issue is the fact that there is no way to queue. There's no way to have a line when you have to pull in and out of the space in front of the charging point and there's no area designated in the parking lot for people to queue up, so it's a random arrival. This could cause serious arguments among people. It would be far better if they couldn't deal with the geography, to get more space in the parking lot, to have a key number or queue number that you would be sent to your phone and then you would go to that pump and they've given pumps names like the Loris or Lucky, so you know where to go. The names aren't very big. If a pump is available for service, I feel there should be a green light that comes up on top If it's in use maybe a blue light and, if it's out of service, a red light.

Mike Roth:

Pumps that are out of service on your navigation maps. The maps that are aware of electric charging stations should not show that the four pumps are available when only two are capable of dispensing electricity. Leaving Amelia Island where we didn't find any charging stations, but on the way out we found a very nice station off the road. It wasn't exactly where the map said it was supposed to be. They had four easy access almost to drive through charging ports. They were parallel parked but, try as we would, zero of the four charging ports would work. There may have been a telephone number to call. I couldn't find it. They want to charge more for vehicles that are left at the pump after they're fully charged. I think that's fair, but I think it's not fair for them not to notify us in advance that only two of the four charging ports are operational or that all four ports are charging at a reduced rate due to a software update. We saw that for about four days and then five days later, when we were leaving, they were still doing the same software update Just seems like something is wrong there. I did want to talk about the road tax issue that some of the people in Tallahassee are talking about putting a $250 a year road tax on electric vehicles because we don't pay the road tax in the gasoline price. Let me suggest that the road tax is supposed to be based on the amount you use the road, so they can collect their road tax based on the amount of mileage that we put on our electric vehicles, by charging the tax Not at the time of dispensing the electricity, which might be a way to do it, but they could charge it at the time the vehicle was sold. They could charge it to the person making the sale, based on the mileage, and the mileage has to be recorded on DMV documents, so it may delay collection, but it's a very simple way to get the road tax based on the actual mileage that the person has put on on an annual basis. That's fair. Putting a flat fee on electric vehicles, some of which might drive 3,000 miles a year and others that might drive 40,000 a year, doesn't seem quite as fair. That's enough of my perspectives on charging electric vehicles on an American road trip in the summer of 2023. I hope it gets better.

Mike Roth:

I know Mercedes-Benz is claiming that they're going to invest $30 billion in building charging stations and infrastructure. It's certainly necessary. The headlong rush to the Tesla plug seems, on the surface, to be a good idea, but there are problems At the Tesla superchargers. There are no displays and there are no places to put your credit card. So that means people will everyone will have to register your electric vehicle with Tesla to get a charge out of their pumps, and perhaps the software in the cars may have to be dramatically modified to work with the Tesla charging network. So we are in a period of transition. I don't have the answers, but I thought you'd like to hear firsthand from someone who's been out there using it. When they work, they're great. Never been stranded not good. But we need more charging stations, and those charging stations that are built actually have to operate the way they claim to.

Emily:

Remember our next episode will be released next Friday at 9 am. Should you want to become a major supporter of the show or have questions, please contact us at mike at rothvoicecom. This is a shout out for supporters Greg Panjian, tweet Coleman, dan Capellan, ed Williams, alvin Stenzel and major supporter Dr Craig Curtis at K2 in the villages. We will be hearing more from Dr Curtis with short Alzheimer's tips each week. If you know someone who should be on the show, contact us at mike at rothvoicecom. We thank everyone for listening to the show. The content of the show is copyrighted by Rothvoice 2023. All rights reserved.

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