Apparently it IS a big deal driving an EV coast to coast

People have driven gasoline powered cars great distances for quite a long time. As far back as the 1920′s travelers have packed up their cars, hit the road looking for adventure.

historic-route-66-caravan 1927

Route 66 caravan 1927

Long distance auto traveling really took off in the late 1920′s. With growing demand of the motoring public roadways began expanding. During this rapid expansion the famous Route 66 was designated in 1926.

Fast-forward 87 years, and thanks to several eco-warriors, we are reliving the adventures of the turn of the last century with electric vehicles. The EV, which, truth be told, is nearly as old as the internal combustion engine but lost out to the more practical gasoline engines during the evolution of the automobile.

The EV our intrepid eco-warriors are driving in their coast-to-coast trip is a Tesla Model S (base price of $59,900 before options and federal tax credits). As hyped by treehugger.com:

While range may cause anxiety to some, for others it’s merely a temporary limit, with forward planning and steely resolve allowing some electric vehicle drivers to continue long after others have given up.

One recent electric car is more suitable than most, for such trips. Tesla Motors’ [NSDQ:TSLA] electric sedan, the Model S, has an EPA-rated range of 265 miles in 85 kWh form. What better way to test this than by a coast-to-coast trip through the U.S?

Driving from Portland to New York is a long distance for any vehicle, but for the Electric Road Trip S, getting there via Arizona, Louisiana, Virginia and other interim states is certainly taking the long way around.

Yep, long way around for sure:

Electric Road Trips in an Tesla S

Conveniently, this route avoids all the cold, nasty January weather through the Rockies and Great Pains.

Average temperature January

You know that cold weather can be a real inconvenience  Especially since this type of weather requires running the heater and fan to keep the windshield clear and the vehicle’s occupants comfortable.

Mashing the accelerator on freeway ramps and keeping up with traffic at 75 miles per hour? No butterflies for you. Come winter, running the heater will hurt an electric car’s range, as will cold’s tendency to degrade battery performance. In very cold weather, the chemical reactions that generate electricity slow down. Cars’ heaters run down the battery, too.

Another thing about their trip is it is taking a really long time. As illustrated on their web site, the planned route they are traveling is roughly 4,388 miles. According to Google Maps, this trip should take about 67 hours of drive time. Driving 12 hours a day, the trip should take roughly 5 1/2 days. Our intrepid eco-warriors have only traveled from Portland, OR to Kingman AZ in 5 days. They are still a long way from NYC.

The short-range of the vehicle coupled with a long charging time (it still takes a half hour to charge the vehicle to 50% capacity at Tesla’s Supercharger stations) is stretching the travel time to absurd lengths. However, on the bright side you can enjoy Chinese take-out while waiting for your car to charge.

Of course, to the average eco-warrior, a short range and lengthy charge time is much more preferable than getting 300 miles per tank in an average gasoline powered car (even while running the heater or AC) and taking a whole five min’s to fill up.

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