Tesla – Electric Car: SuperCharger across America

Range anxiety has been a hot topic when it comes to electric vehicles. Tesla has fought hard to convince skeptics that EVs remain a viable option for everyone, not just for those that never leave the confines of their hometown. One key ingredient in achieving this is Tesla’s “Supercharger” network — a matrix of free, solar-powered charging docks that provide range for about three hours of highway driving in just 20 minutes. And with 71 Superchargers now in place, the question has been when a Model S owner could drive from coast to coast using only free Tesla energy.

That historic voyage wasn’t completed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk or a group of his employees. The feat was achieved by Model S owner John Glenney and his daughter Jill on Sunday, making the coast-to-coast trip in less than a week.

Glenney, 62, has been a Tesla owner for three years, originally buying a Tesla Roadster and driving it from Washington D.C. to San Francisco in October 2011, charging the car via any outlet he could find while waiting hours between charges.   See a full review on all Green Cars and decide which ones you would like to test drive.  As an owner of three Model Ss, Glenney thought it would be fun to attempt the trip, retracing the journey Musk and his brother took back in college, with his daughter Jill, 26, by his side.

For Glenney, the voyage began in Kentucky, where he drove to Jill’s home in Hoboken, N.J. to pick her up and establish the east coast starting line. From there, the drive required traveling through South Dakota, rather than the more direct route through Nebraska, due to the current location of Tesla’s chargers.

Perhaps the biggest issue faced by the father-daughter duo, though, was the incredibly frigid weather, playing havoc on the Model S’s 85 kWh battery, spending days of their drive below zero degrees. The roughly 270 mile range of the Tesla was depleted, in some case, to around 150 miles. This meant arriving at charging stations with as low as 11 miles of juice left.

One Supercharger was blocked with snow, leaving it completely unusable. After a panicked phone call to Tesla, the man on the phone told the pair to get some sleep and he’d see what he could do. By the time they woke up, the pump was cleared and ready to charge.

During the drive, Glenney posted his journey to Tesla’s online forum, not expecting there to be much interest. But the forum blew up, with commenters offering words of encouragement as well as statements like this below:

“I hope to tell my future grandkids in 20 years that, ‘Yep, the first cross-country trip on Superchargers alone was back in January 2014. And I followed along. I think we knew then what a milestone it would be.”

One section of the route that took him through - in his Tesla S was a beautiful bluegrass filled drive, but few chargers.  Another concern for Glenney was past Denver and up Silverthorne hill. Commenters recommended he charge fully in Cheyenne, Wyoming, before making the severe ascent, while others offered to bring the pair some backup “juice” if need be. In the end, Glenney posted that it was “anti-climatic,” arriving at the next charge station with 35 miles left to spare, “Not including the 17 miles Tesla hides from us for emergencies,” he said.

By now, the news had reached much of the EV community, and many wanted to meet at various stops to buy the duo dinner or simply wish them good luck. After passing Colorado, the road to Los Angeles was calmer. Temperatures rose, allowing Glenner and his happy battery to skip some Superchargers and blast forward, making up time. Upon arrival at the Hawthorn charging station in Los Angeles at 5:45 p.m. on January 26, after leaving New York on the morning of January 20, a dozen or so well-wishers arrived to congratulate them both. With Glenney driving from Louisville, Kentucky to New York first, he traveled a total of 3,619 miles and consumed 1,366 kWh of energy. When the main leg began from New York, Glenney utilized a total of 28 Superchargers during the trip.  One day Used Car lots across America will be offering pre-owned and used Tesla models.

The next day, after Jill had taken the redeye home the previous night, Glenney took a leisurely drive up to Tesla’s facility in Fremont, Calif. Having been promised a brief tour, Glenney was shocked to see hordes of people lining the factory, clapping and cheering for him becoming the first person to travel cost-to-coast using free energy from Tesla’s Supercharger network: “I only wish Jill was still here to see this,” he wrote on the forum.

According to Glenney, there are still some folks who don’t understand why he and his daughter did this: “Because we can,” he says.  For more Information on the Tesla Models, Green Car Reviews and the possibiliity of buying a pre-owned Tesla or Green Car, please see the Global Media Relations Group website at:  www.GMRGinc.com 

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Green Cars – Electric-Car Fast-Charging Networks

Green Cars – Electric-Car Fast-Charging Networks: SuperCharger

Of the cars on sale today, none were launched before 2010. It’s easy too to forget how at that time, a unified fast-charging standard was far from being agreed upon.

Today, there are over 3,500 CHAdeMO fast-chargers worldwide, and the market is finally approaching some kind of standard for topping up your electric car as quickly as possible. Well, for some automakers at least.

Launched in Japan, it’s no surprise that the CHADdeMO standard works with two of the longest-running electric vehicles, Nissan’s Leaf and Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV.

But if you own a Tesla Model S, you’ll already be used to Tesla’s own proprietary Supercharger arrangement, and the countrywide charging stations that come with it.

The opening of a true cross-country route has allowed several owners to drive from coast-to-coast already, and represents a breakthrough in the way electric cars can be used.

Not only are the stations convenient (and the Tesla Model S endowed with a long enough range to make such trips much easier) but they’re also free to use for Model S owners–not something that can always be said of CHAdeMO and its compatible vehicles.

But arguably, CHAdeMO is more important–not least because most electric vehicle drivers aren’t able to use Tesla’s swish Superchargers.

That’s reflected in the numbers. Of the 3,500 global CHAdeMO installations, 554 are located in the United States. By comparison, Tesla’s website currently lists 74 stations active in the U.S.–though more are planned for near-total coverage of the country over the next year or two.

Japan and Europe still dominate with CHAdeMO coverage, however. As of January, reports Charged EVs, there were 1,967 CHAdeMO stations in Japan and over 1,000 in Europe.

Some are sounding the death knell for CHAdeMO in Europe though, since several popular electric cars–the Renault Zoe, Twizy and Kangoo, BMW’s i3, the Smart Electric Drive–don’t use the standard. Nor–unsurprisingly–does the recently-launched Tesla Model S, nor the upcoming Volkswagen e-Up.

Tesla is already rolling out the Supercharger network in Europe–14 stations are currently up and running, and most of Europe’s major corridors should be ‘Supercharged’ by the end of 2014.  Only Ford’s electric cars come close to equalling the charging capabilities of it’s rivals.

For the time being at least, it means we’ll still see several different types of fast-charging available to electric car users.  Toyota offers an electric car and so does Honda.

But the important take-away from this is that fast charging is growing in the U.S. and abroad–and that can only be a good thing for the electric car industry.

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