A team from Recargo, PlugShare, and Pluginsights is in the middle of an “Epic Electric American Roadtrip.” To be specific, Recargo Managing Director of Research Norman Hajjar is driving a Tesla Model S approximately 12,000 miles around the United States within about 20 days. The point is simply to show how viable electric driving now is and “the possibilities of America’s electric vehicle charging network.”
To bring the story to as many people as possible, the team has set up a website where people can track stats (regarding charging, miles driven, trip time, speed, power output, etc), see pictures and videos, and enjoy the team’s tweets.
As I type this, Norman and the Model S seem to be resting in South Carolina. Yesterday and today, they charged up at 3 stations in Florida — Port Orange, Port St Lucie, and St Augustine — and in Savannah, Georgia. They’ve spent a total of 90 hours charging since they left the Pacific Northwest. They started in the Northwest and then drove across the US to the Northeast, going all the way up into Maine. They then made their way down to Southwest Florida and are now on their way back up to Maryland, from which they will turn west and head over to the US Southwest. So far, they have directly used renewable energy 24.6% of the time.
At many Tesla Supercharger stations, solar panels power the charging and then also send excess electricity back to the grid. That’s about as clean as it gets. But even the rest of the time, electric cars are a few times more efficient than gasmobiles, so the environmental benefits of driving on electricity instead of gas are considerable. A representative of the Epic Electric American Roadtrip crew noted in an email to TreeHugger: “A gas car making the same journey (getting 25MPG) would burn around 480 gallons of gas at a cost of about $2,000.”
The team is officially attempting a Guinness World Record, and it seems that achieving that won’t be a problem. "The record setting route will touch 28 states and all four corners of the United States: Washington, Maine, Florida and Southern California," the roadtrip page notes.
For more, there’s a stream of wonderful pictures over on the Epic Electric American Roadtrip’s flickr page, you can follow the car via GPS on the main roadtrip page, and you can also follow tweets from the road there.
Also, if you want to go on your own electric vehicle roadtrip, you can use Recargo's free PlugShare app to find charging stations for the route. It includes 25,000+ charging stations in the US and Canada and is available on the iPhone, iPad, Android, and the web.
Since many people still aren't very informed about electric cars, I think it's also important to note that some electric vehicle owners never find the need to charge up at a public charging station. In a PlugInsights study conducted last year, 17% of electric car owners have never used public charging. 51% of those people said the reason was because all driving was within range of home, and another 14% weren't electric car owners long enough to need it. 37% said it was because there weren't enough public charging stations nearby. Of course, the results have surely changed somewhat since then, since the number of electric car owners has increased a good deal in recent months, as have the number of public charging stations.
Lastly, for more cross-country electric driving fun, here's a behind-the-scenes video from a recent cross-country trip taken by a Tesla Motors team: