If you do anything more than the typical thirty miles per day that Americans put on their cars, then the Tesla Model S is the only electric vehicle that you should consider.
With a real-life range of up to 300 miles and some owners reporting closer to 400 miles on a single charge, the Tesla Model S 85kWh is an electric vehicle that delivers. The Tesla Supercharger Network is slowly expanding to get full coverage across the United States by 2014, but still, taking a longer trip requires some planning ahead.
Consumer Reports’ Eric Evarts put the East Coast Supercharger Network to the test on a long-distance test drive recently. In order to get around in an electric vehicle, even with access to free fast charging stations, it takes a little bit to recognize your driving habits, traffic conditions, road conditions, and unfortunate occurrences, and how these affect your range.
Drive hard, and you’ll run through your battery pack quicker than if you drive soft. Driving in New Jersey, you are forced to drive hard. No one, in their right mind, should drive an old Jeep Wrangler upwards of 55mph, in spite of the 65mph legal speed limit [and the 85mph colloquial speed limit]. What I’m trying to say is, New Jersey traffic will suck your electric vehicle range.
In Evarts’ electric vehicle test drive, he took these things into account, having to make a couple of odd detours to get his Tesla Model S to a Supercharger earlier in his trip to make sure he had enough range and leeway to get to the next station with about 20% to spare. That 20% is important, not because the Tesla Model S wouldn’t make it to the next station, but for peace of mind. No one goes on a trip and purposefully fills the tank with only enough fuel to make it to the next gas station.
Basically, the point is this: Consumer Reports’ Eric Evarts drove the Tesla Model S the way an electric vehicle needs to be driven. On the other hand, you can drive like a fool and pay the consequences.