Cross Country Driving on an EV is Very Possible

A Tesla Supercharger found in charging stations.

EV drivers can stop worrying about range anxiety. A duo, Jordan Hart and Bradly D’Souza, recently broke a possible record time driving a Tesla Model S 85D from Redondo Beach to New York City in a time of 51 hours and 47 minutes this past July in 2017. There are no official details yet, but we can base our analysis on the specs of the Tesla car used and the possible route they followed. There are now travel planners for EV owners to use to know where they can stop to recharge their car’s battery along the way. However, this drive was not about sight seeing and enjoying the scenery, it was about breaking a record time driving an EV cross country. According to reports, the duo only stopped to eat once and took turns driving while the other slept. It is not possible to drive an EV in one full charge so the duo have to make stops to recharge along the way. It is roughly around 2,800 miles from Redondo Beach, CA to get to New York City by driving.

Driving anxiety has been an issue for those who had second thoughts about buying an EV, since most don’t have the range to travel > 30 miles in one charge. Higher capacity batteries and new EV models are changing that, but most importantly the availability of newly constructed EV supercharging stations in many locations across the US. The duo would definitely have had to use an EV travel planner to find out where they can recharge along their way since leaving things to chance would not have been optimal. They may have also avoided recharging at certain places if the battery had enough power, and it is actually possible to drive several dozen miles on low power batteries before it drains out. The good thing about superchargers at charging stations is that they charge much faster than conventional outlets. This is to the duo’s advantage in attempting a world record time.

The EPA made an official test rating of the Model S 85D, so I will base the data from that report. The duo used a low end model which we can assume has an EPA range of 265 miles using an 85 kWh battery (not sure on the specs of the actual battery they used, it could be even lower). At a supercharging station, it requires 1.25 hours to reach a full charge. Whether or not the duo actually stayed at each station for a full charge, is not known but the whole trip would require stopping 10.5 times. Total charging time for the trip would be 13.12 hours assuming that the duo stopped every 265 miles to recharge the car’s battery. Thus the duo would have spent a total of 38.66 hours driving or 74.6% of the time driving which makes total sense of how they were able to get to their destination quickly. The least amount of stops and optimal routes for charging was how the duo planned their “cannonball run” trip. Avoiding heavy congestion areas, battery savings with no AC and charging of other devices and sometimes just to continue driving despite warnings were also helpful. Thanks to supercharging stations, EVs can go a long way now and the duo proved not to worry about driving anxiety. The feat shows how much EVs have made progress in recent years. The duo were not the first to accomplish this though, as there were others before them. They just happen to have the fastest time at the moment, which could be broken soon. It is still not perfect since supercharging stations are not as common as gas stations, but with demand things always change.