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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.

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