Tesla Devotees Charging Across the Country to Set Record

Four-man team using only maker's supercharger network for trip.

by on Jan.30, 2014

A team of four is attempting to set a world record by driving a Tesla Model S from Los Angeles to New York using only the maker's network of superchargers in just three days.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, has been threatening to take his family on a cross-country vacation in a Model S using only the company’s recently completed Supercharger network to power up the vehicle.

But before he even powered up his car, one family’s already done it and a team of four is seeking to set a world record for the trip.

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A father-daughter team drove from New York to Los Angeles in five days. Now, the four-man Cross Country Rally team is currently attempting to break the newly established “record” by completing the 3,400-mile trek in reverse – Los Angeles to New York – in just three days.

The team left the Tesla design studio in Hawthorne, a Los Angeles suburb, at 12:01 a.m. today. The trip will take the cars through mid-winter conditions across the middle of the country, with stops only at Superchargers, which will provide a 50% charge in 20 minutes.

As of about 10:15 a.m. ET, the team had made it to the supercharging station in Arizona.

“The sun is just starting to rise over our Kingman, AZ ‪#Supercharger! The team is making good time so far! ‪#DriveFree,” the team tweeted.

The first team to accomplish the feat, John Glenney, 62, and his 26-year-old daughter, Jill, ran into just two problems during their journey: a flat tire in New York and the possibility they wouldn’t make it to a charging station in Pennsylvania.

(Nissan becomes first company to sell 100,000 EVs. For more, Click Here.)

The pair planned to drive form Newark, Del., to the next supercharging station in Hagerstown, Md. However, the Hagerstown station was not complete. So they had to travel more than 100 miles to the next station in Somerset, Penn. The pair made it with 11 miles to spare.

The pair blogged about the experience, much to the delight of other Model S owners, who followed along – some in real time. Glenney set off on his trip with the simple goal of being the first to complete the cross-country journey relying only on Superchargers, but he didn’t expect it to attract so much attention.

(Click Here to see what Bob Lutz wants to do with electric vehicles.)

“One thing I really loved about the whole trip is it inspired so many people,” he said.

When the pair arrived at the company’s Hawthorne studios they were met by a congratulatory group of Model S owners. They traveled through 16 states using 28 Superchargers along the way.

(For more about Tesla’s fourth-quarter revenue increase, Click Here.)

The senior Glenney is no secret to driving a Tesla product cross-country: this was his second time around. Two years ago, he drove his Roadster from Washington DC to San Francisco, charging the car at campgrounds along the way.

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3 Responses to “Tesla Devotees Charging Across the Country to Set Record”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    The ad hype is nice but the reality is this doesn’t change anything for consumers. If consumers can’t drive where they want to go and can only get where they want to go by driving out of their way to a recharging station, it just highlights the impracticality of these EVs for anything other than city use.

    I realize some people are gulliable and will assume that they can buy an EV and just get in a cross the country like in a normal auto. They are in for a reality check.

    I’d like to see how the mpg is on these EV’s in the arctic cold that we have had lately in parts of the U.S. Batteries can lose as much as 50% of their power in cold weather so if that means half the travel distance, some folks are probably getting stranded in this vicious weather – where you can freeze to death literally in an hour’s time.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Point well taken, Jorge. Fast chargers have to become ubiquitous. That said, there were, what, two Level III chargers in the U.S. a year or so ago and soon there will be 100s, possibly a couple thousand? To expect an alternate energy source to suddenly be as ubiquitous as gasoline in short order is, by definition, defeatist. If the growing availability of public chargers, Levels II and III, encourage more users that will, in turn, encourage the set-up of more charging stations, etc. The trendline is what matters…and I am not talking promises by proponents or government advocates…but the real user adoption rate. We need to see what happens over the next 5 years. Recall, the history books tell us there were plenty of early skeptics about gasoline, too.

      Paul E.

  2. Jorge M. says:

    So you feel a 100 chargers across the entire U.S. is a means to try and rationalize EVs being used to travel more than a hundred miles or so? That’s laughable and has nothing to do with a defeatists POV. This was a staged event to deceive.

    Those in the know are aware that until better batteries are produced EVs are impractical for anything but city driving. Tesla is trying to dupe people with these long haul stories as if they are representative of real EV travel and they are not. They are only telling the story they want consumers and the media to hear and believe.

    Objective media would challenge these stories and ask for the cold weather performance since a large part of the U.S. experiences cold weatherin the Winter. Show me the travel range in cold weather…including heater performance when stuck in traffic.