Print 38 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Feb 26 at 4:48 PM

Tesla employees completed the trek in 76.5 hours

Last week, we brought you the news that Tesla Motors had “built out” its free Supercharger network to extend from coast-to-coast. Although the current cross-country route is extremely limited due to Supercharger locations, it is possible. 
To show that making the trek across the country is now viable, a crew of 15 drivers (all Tesla employees) drove two Model S sedans from Los Angeles to New York City. The team made the journey in just over 76 hours, covering a total distance of 3,464.5 miles. Total energy consumed by the cars during the trip: 1,197.8 kWh.

According to Tesla, the vehicles “recorded the lowest charge time for an electric vehicle traveling across the country,” which should be enough to secure a sport in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The ability to travel across the country using the route that YOU want — which is possible with a gasoline, diesel, or even a hybrid-engine vehicle — won't be viable until Tesla significantly boosts the number of Superchargers available. However, by 2015, crossing the country using just about any major route shouldn't be a problem for Tesla drivers.
You can read about Tesla’s cross-country trip on the company’s blog.

Source: Tesla Motors

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No mention of cost
By scook9 on 2/4/2014 1:44:41 PM , Rating: 3
Something I haven't seen yet in the comments or article is the cost to drive the EV across the country.

Assuming an average across the US of $0.12/kWh that comes out to about $144 for "fuel". In the 2012 model year the CAFE standard mpg requirement is 25 mpg for light trucks and 33 mpg for passenger cars - so we will use that as an average for mileage across gas powered automobiles. As of yesterday the average gas price in the US was $3.292/gallon.

That means that for an average 2012 model gas burning light truck it would have cost $456.14 to do the same drive and for a passenger vehicle it would have been $347.67.

Although right now the buy-in is high for a Tesla, over time the price will come down. As the price comes down though, that will be a drop in range/battery life not a drop in efficiency for the most part so I would expect the comparison I made to stay relevant. There is no ignoring the fact that even with comparable maintenance costs which are unlikely (EVs are just easier/cheaper to maintain) over the life of a car (say 100k miles) that would come out to about $5800 saved for the passenger car and $9000 for the light truck. Those are not insignificant numbers.

I am fully interested in the future of EVs and seeing them scale better to meet consumer needs.

RE: No mention of cost
By Dr K on 2/4/2014 2:43:55 PM , Rating: 2
I also like to look at it based on economics. Here are a couple of additional considerations that make the Tesla less attractive: First, purchase price -- you can by a very capable, similarly sized vehicle and save much, much more in purchase cost than the $5800 you calculate in lifetime fuel savings for the Tesla. Second, battery replacement -- these suckers are extremely expensive and just their replacement cost may ALSO exceed the $5800 saved in fuel costs.
Now on the plus side, technologies are not stagnant. The auto industry is spending lots of money on battery technology, light weighting (like the Ford F150) etc. The US gov't is also funding R&D to improve efficiency of vehicles -- DOE is about to spend $50 million this year to award new technology efforts on the same sorts of automotive technologies. The result is that, for batteries for example, they will continue to improve in capability while the price continues to drop, and likely there will be dramatic changes in both over the next 5 to 10 years (factor of 3 in each?) given the large amount of money/effort being invested.

RE: No mention of cost
By scook9 on 2/4/2014 3:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
I acknowledge that as-is the Model S is not economical to an average sedan but the same math and efficiencies should apply to a $30k 150 mile ranged EV making it much more interesting. The cost of a replacement battery will be interesting as we do not have a good figure for either their cost or endurance at this point. It is probably safe to assume though that these would not be more expensive than the maintenance of an ICE powered vehicle over its lifetime.

RE: No mention of cost
By flyingpants1 on 2/4/2014 3:45:18 PM , Rating: 1
Holy fuck, are you serious? All supercharger trips are 100% free.

RE: No mention of cost
By scook9 on 2/4/2014 4:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
A) For now and B) there is a thing called charging somewhere else if you are not on the one route where they exist

RE: No mention of cost
By flyingpants1 on 2/5/2014 4:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
A) No, they'll be free forever, and most likely for all future Tesla vehicles. The power consumed is offset by solar, and the cost of solar is offset by the $2000 supercharging option in each car.

B) 2015: (and all of western Europe covered as well)

RE: No mention of cost
By StormyKnight on 2/4/2014 11:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
And if all those cars did battery swaps from L.A. to NY, realistically what kind of bill are they looking at if they don't drive back?

RE: No mention of cost
By flyingpants1 on 2/5/2014 4:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
Battery swaps were never intended to be at every station. They will be placed at the most popular routes. The first trial will be placed between LA and SF. I'm guessing most people will not bother.

If you never pick up your original battery, you will have the option to have it shipped to you. No idea what the bill for this would be, but I'm guessing no more than a couple hundred.

RE: No mention of cost
By Redback on 2/5/2014 4:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
Wasn't the power consumption they listed in the article for two cars (total)?

That would make the "fuel" used about $72 per vehicle, rather than $144.

Of course they were actually using Tesla's superchargers, so the cost per se was zero, but I understand the basis of your comparison.

Model S... sedans?
By Odeen on 2/4/2014 1:25:34 PM , Rating: 1
Since there's no trunk that's separate from the cabin, they're not sedans.

And since the distance between the C and D pillars is significantly smaller than the distance between the B and C pillars, they're not wagons.

Therefore, Model S'es are $100K hatchbacks.

RE: Model S... sedans?
By OnyxNite on 2/4/2014 3:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
Since there's no trunk that's separate from the cabin, they're not sedans.

Sure there is. It's in the front though where the engine would be in an ICE car.

RE: Model S... sedans?
By flyingpants1 on 2/4/2014 3:08:42 PM , Rating: 2

Interesting read...
By milktea on 2/4/2014 12:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering how 15 people can fit into two Model S. So upon further research... there were actually other support vechciles that followed the two Model S.

One of the support vechicle broke down during the trip, and it wasn't a Tesla EV. It was a support vechicle powered by gasoline.

By eBob on 2/4/2014 12:57:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have a picture in my mind of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World only with electric vehicles.

By HoosierEngineer5 on 2/4/2014 12:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
a crew of 15

Volt would make it easily.
By foxalopex on 2/5/2014 3:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
The funny part about all this is despite Elron's comments on the disadvantages of the Volt. The Volt could easily do a cross country trip at about 40 mpg. I did a cross country trip last summer well in the 3000 mile range. I even ended up getting a bit of "free power" by asking for permission to plugin at the motel I stayed at (20-40 miles at highway speeds on a topped up battery). No superchargers or waiting for the car to charge. Then when I returned home my daily use meant the Volt was completely EV and the remaining 1/4 tank of gas lasted until the winter when the car burns fuel to generate more heat. Being a heavier car it's more stable on the highway than my former Corolla and the torque from the electrical motor made it easy to pass most cars on uphills.

By Dr of crap on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
By Mint on 2/4/2014 12:22:29 PM , Rating: 3
And when do you think a car manufacturer will commit to that kind of infrastructure for hydrogen?

5 years? 10 years? Or will they never do it and just beg the gov't to build it for them?

Your favored fuel of the future isn't doing so well by comparison. It'll require an order of magnitude higher investment cost compared to what Tesla is doing.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
By niva on 2/4/2014 12:54:09 PM , Rating: 3

You want to say they're not the solution for most of us yet. Pretty soon they will be the solution for most of us.

I have a 6.4L hemi, I love it, but I can see the writing on the wall.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
By Mint on 2/4/2014 3:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
My favored fuel of the future is, of course, gasoline. Where did you get hydrogen?

Where? From your own post:
Hydrogen and biofuels, I believe, will be a reality in the near future.

Pure EVs aren't going to be a solution for most people, and I've never claimed that. PHEVs, OTOH, will.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: 0
By flyingpants1 on 2/5/2014 6:32:42 AM , Rating: 3
Well most people drive less than 30 miles/day, so how about charging once every week at any DC fast charge station?

By Mint on 2/26/2014 4:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
How is plugging in impractical? It takes less time and costs way less to plug in and out 5 times a week than to go to the gas station.

Yeah, some people don't have a garage, but most do:
Especially new car buyers, who are more affluent than the general public.

By FlyBri on 2/4/2014 4:43:35 PM , Rating: 1
They're a small start up car manufacturer trying to make electric cars viable. Of course they are going to glorify every move -- that's what they're supposed to do. (Hint: It's called Marketing!)

It's obviously going to take time to build up their supercharger network and grow as a company. Well, that should seem blindingly obvious, but I guess it isn't to some.

By vortmax2 on 2/4/2014 11:48:34 AM , Rating: 5
Don't be so quick to order to make electric vehicle long distance travel feasible, a network of charging stations need to become available. I applaud Tesla for pushing forward with this.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: 0
By Flunk on 2/4/2014 12:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
10% is being generous, from what I see driving down the road it's 1% or so.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 12:41:19 PM , Rating: 1
argh, I meant top 10% income bracket. That came out wrong.

By Flunk on 2/4/2014 11:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
Would have been more entertaining if they had raced a 1979 Honda Civic. But we all know how that would have turned out.

By bah12 on 2/4/2014 12:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting, I'm sure a more fun experiment would be with a vintage Model T. It would be interesting to see if the Model T's 40ish MPH top speed and small gas tank would be enough to beat the Tesla. That would be a damaging blow, if your 2014 state of the art car took longer than one from 1908. I'll let someone else do the math. 10 Gallon Tank, roughly 40 MPH, and 13-21 MPG.

By bah12 on 2/4/2014 12:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well did the math, given 55 MPH 300 mile range and 30 min charge vs 40MPH 150 (10 gallon * 15 mpg) mile range and 5 min fuel. The tesla wins @ 68.7 hours vs 88.5 however you'd spend 5.7 hours fueling vs. only 1.9 on the Model T.

By bah12 on 2/4/2014 12:50:52 PM , Rating: 2
Before anyone goes off on a rant, yes the tesla could go faster than 55, but it would impact range. Those are the numbers off of their site, so I chose them as a best case. No data release on ho many 30 min quick charges you can do in a row afaik.

By philpoe on 2/4/2014 1:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that Tesla has already demonstrated that they can swap out an "empty" battery for a charged one in about 1.5 minutes. Faster than a gas tank fillup, and much faster than a supercharge session. They need to change their business model to allow for charging for the temporary use of a battery (kind like a propane tank) instead of owning it, reconditioning batteries after a certain number of charging cycles.

I imagine that Tesla would also very happily use their supercharger network to provide services to other full-electric vehicles like the Leaf or large-battery hybrids like Ford's Energi lineup. They could essentially get a unassailable foothold in the charging network market.

By flyingpants1 on 2/5/2014 6:22:57 AM , Rating: 2
You are right that going above 55mph will increase your charging time, but the extra charging time is more than offset by travelling faster.

Assuming we're driving the speed limit here, most people with an ICE will take at least 4 days to make a 2800-mile, 40-hr trip, driving about 10 hours/day, stopping for a break every 3-4 hours or so, and stopping at hotels to sleep at night.

Once the supercharging network is built out, it would be possible to make the same trip in a Model S in ~48.5 hours, or ~12 hours per day. And most of that extra time is supercharging time, which means time to relax, eat food, or go to the bathroom.

So, it's not perfect, but it's not anywhere near as bad as you'd think. And you save about $800-1000 in gas (return trip).

The number of people who would actually make such a trip is infinitesimal.

By M'n'M on 2/4/2014 12:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
Or a 1915 Model T as C&D did but from the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex on Detroit’s Piquette Street to Nikola Tesla’s old Wardenclyffe laboratory in Shoreham, New York, on Long Island.

The T, with it's breakdowns, lost by just 1 hour to the 85 kWh S, without it's supercharging stations.

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