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Elon Musk Taking the Tesla Model S Cross-Country

Can the Tesla Model S Go Cross-Country? Elon Musk says, "You Bet!"
Can the Tesla Model S Go Cross-Country? Elon Musk says, “You Bet!”

Now that the Tesla Supercharger Network has finally extended, in some parts, to the middle of the country, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk can finally take that Tesla Model S cross-country road trip that we’ve always wanted.

The problem with electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf or Toyota RAF4 EV, is their limited range. The 85kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the Tesla Model S is the largest in the industry, giving the car a unique take on range, up to 265 miles. Of course, that’s only half of the story, after all, what good is 265 miles of pure electric driving if you have nowhere to recharge?

Elon Musk’s answer to that is the Tesla Supercharger Network, compatible only with Tesla Model S, which can fully charge the car in about an hour. This might sound like a long time, but when you’re on a cross-country road trip, it’s not that big of a deal. Think about it, on the six-day journey that Elon Musk is planning, with his family, stopping to recharge, that is, fill bellies, recharge the car, and stretch legs, they’ll need about that much time.

Of course, Elon Musk is taking his family Tesla Model S road trip on a fairly direct route, some 3,200 miles from Los Angeles, California to New York, New York. He expects that he’ll only need to recharge about nine hours for the whole trip, skipping from one Tesla Supercharger to the next, an average of ninety minutes charging each day. I’m not sure if that includes plugging in overnight, even on a 120V line.

Why make the trip? Why not? Actually, the Tesla Model S road trip will be an excellent demonstration of how electric vehicles can fit more closely with our preconceptions, or our accepted version, of what a car driving experience should be like, whether we are planning a trip across town, commuting to work, or driving across the country. The fast-recharging infrastructure that Tesla Motors has put into place is making it possible, and with a couple of personal adjustments, the Tesla Model S is fairly close to driving a conventional vehicle.

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