Tesla planned, for NY Times writer John Broder, a trip using their model S top of the line all-electric car. The plan was to test out Tesla’s newly “electrified I 95 corridor” that has two charging stations along the way. The idea here is that these two station should allow for a trip from Washington DC to the Boston area. Things did not work out.
The model S is a $101,000 vehicle with a 85 Kilowatt-hour battery that Tesla reports has a range of 300 miles between charges. The EPA rates the range at 265 miles. The distance from Broder’s home to the first charging station in Newark, DE was about 114 miles and the distance to the second charging station in Milford, CN is about 200 miles. So the trip should be easy. Below is a NYTimes graphic of the trip. The numbers represent the each new phase of the journey.
Broder charged the car in Newark and the vehicle reported that the range available was 242 miles as he begins his 200 mile trip to the next charging station in Milford. He begins to experience range anxiety shortly thereafter. He writes:
“As I crossed into New Jersey some 15 miles later, I noticed that the estimated range was falling faster than miles were accumulating. At 68 miles since recharging, the range had dropped by 85 miles, and a little mental math told me that reaching Milford would be a stretch.
I began following Tesla’s range-maximization guidelines, which meant dispensing with such battery-draining amenities as warming the cabin and keeping up with traffic. I turned the climate control to low — the temperature was still in the 30s — and planted myself in the far right lane with the cruise control set at 54 miles per hour (the speed limit is 65). Buicks and 18-wheelers flew past, their drivers staring at the nail-polish-red wondercar with California dealer plates.”
He makes it to Milford with the range indicator at zero. After the charging the battery it reports a range of 185 miles. He drives to Groton, CN arriving with a range remaining of 90 miles. He stays there overnight but the next morning the range reading is 25 miles. It gets worse. After several attempts to get enough energy to get back to Milford, the vehicle shuts down reporting no power available. The parking brake locks and can only be released when the vehicle is recharged. It had to be dragged on to a flatbed for transportation to Milford. Recharged for the 71 mile trip to New York, he leaves with a range estimate of 216 miles. He arrives at his final destination with the range reading at 124 miles remaining.
This story reminds me of the Tennessee trip in a Nissan Leaf that I reported on earlier which you can read by clicking here.
There is a lot more to this NY Times story that you can read by clicking here.