The great American road trip is every bit as American as apple pie. The open road, with all of its wonders and pitfalls, has been calling to Americans since the days of the great westward migration by wagon train. The advent of electric vehicles would seemingly promise this dream at the most inexpensive of fuel costs. But what about the downfalls? We will specify here one particular brand of electric car and pose the question Is It a Good Idea to Road Trip in a Tesla?
Planning, Planning, Planning!
It is true that on a cross country trip driving an electric vehicle will save you quite a bit in fuel expense. However, the expenditure in money saved is very much offset by the expenditure in necessary planning to prevent running out of charge. As EVs are a fairly new option in the mass production vehicle market, there aren't charging stations available in every town to recharge your car's battery. This is compounded by the fact that Tesla autos accept only their own specific charger.
While there are many of these chargers are in place nationwide, they're not always where you need or want them to be. Tesla tries to offset this issue with its own navigation system that plans routes for you based on availability of superchargers. This certainly does help when embarking on a lengthy road trip but isn't without it's shortcomings.
The route planning of the Tesla navigation system is decent and ever improving, but can't always take into account things like speed driven and round trips made when at a midpoint destination. For example, when stopping at a hotel along the way you may need to drive a distance to eat at the restaurant of your choice. Tesla navigation struggles to take this into account when planning your next charging stop, which could possibly result in a break down.
The speed at which EVs are driven affects the amount of miles that can be driven on one charge more drastically than speed driven affects the amount of miles a gas or diesel powered vehicle can go on one full tank. This can also result in falling short of planned recharging stops. The driver of an electric vehicle may need to slow down to stretch the amount of miles they can drive on a charge, adding time to the road trip.
Another downfall of taking a lengthy road trip in a Tesla is the amount of time added to the trip that is lost during charging. Charging sessions take on average about 30 minutes, but can vary in length due to things like remaining charge and battery temperature. In a long distance trip of a few thousand miles this can add nearly an extra day's worth of driving time, assuming one isn't driving 24 hours a day. This is surely another issue that needs to be planned around, unlike the very quick and uniform fueling times of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.
Benefits of a Tesla
Having said enough about the potential pitfalls of taking a road trip in a Tesla, there is something to be said for driving a Tesla in general. EVs save their drivers a hefty sum in fuel. As everyone knows, this is nothing to be taken lightly in today's world. Also, EV’s, if driven by enough of the drivers around the world, have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the human race, which is great for everyone.
For now the advantages of road tripping in a Tesla aren't as numerous as the disadvantages. Cheapest car insurance and ease of use are still obtained with conventional fossil fueled vehicles. However, the world is changing quickly and EVs are the inevitable vehicle of the future. A road trip in one will soon be taken with ease.