If there were a band called SkepticElectric then I might have been the bass player. I’m fascinated by the technology and the possibilities of electric driving, but given the landscape down here in Tasmania and the distinct lack of infrastructure, an electric car just isn’t viable. Even a Tesla.
No such problems in the US, however. The red dots on the map below are Tesla ‘Supercharging’ stations. All 71 of them. Right now, if you’ve got a Model S and you want to cross the continental United States, your route is governed by those dots.
I got that map from Wired, where they outline the story of John Glenney and his daughter, Jill, who just made the first sea-to-shining-sea trip in a Tesla. They went from New York to Los Angeles using 28 Tesla Supercharger stations.
The trip took them six days.
Tesla engineers are reportedly gearing up for their own coast-to-coast trip this weekend. They’re going to try and do the trip in half the time it took the Glenneys – from Friday to Monday. It’ll be interesting to see how they go.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Consider the red dots on that map, above, as individual bites out of the metaphorical elephant that is EV viability. Tesla’s stated goal is to cover the Unites States with Supercharger stations in such a way that 98% of the country will be available to Tesla owners – by 2015.
That’s a massive goal and given that going coast to coast has only taken 15 months from the opening of the first Supercharger, I don’t doubt that Tesla will do it. But I still wonder about the practicality of it.
A road trip isn’t just about point-to-point re-fuelling. It’s about taking a detour when a sign for a certain unexpected attraction catches your eye. Have you got range for that 40-mile round trip away from your main route? That’ll be the question staring down the confidence of Tesla owners over the next few years.
Credit to Elon Musk, though. He’s doing what he said he’d do and when it comes to building a car company, especially building a car company from scratch, keeping your brand promise is absolutely essential.