Tesla Model 3
Favorite Tech Feature
The advanced driver's assistance system makes for a less stressful traffic jam
Most of the time, the car’s range outlasted me. I can honestly say that after dozens of road trips in a gas-powered car and now this one in an electric car, I don’t ever want to go back to gas!
A road trip is an American tradition — one that’s getting an electric makeover. An increasing number of people are relying on electric vehicles for more than just their daily commute. While it’s already easy to charge locally thanks to the Clean Charge Network, it’s getting easier to charge up quickly throughout the United States as fast-charging infrastructure grows across the nation’s highways. And, an increasing number of affordable, long-range EV models let drivers go up to 300-plus miles before needing a charge.
Local science teacher Valerie Hough recently completed an 18-day, 4,500-mile road trip in her EV. Her experiences show that an all-electric road trip is strikingly similar to a gas-powered journey — and in many ways, better. Learn more about the adventure in Valerie’s own words.
The Trip“I'm thrilled to have officially joined the EV community. I’m now doing more of my part to reduce my carbon footprint and the car is just dang fun to drive. (Woohoo!) I’ve gotten used to the ins and outs that make driving an EV different from a gas-powered car and am now preparing for a long road trip to visit friends throughout northeastern North America. I will spend almost three weeks on the road, covering about 4,500 miles in 12 states and one Canadian province. I’ll be charging at a variety of locations including superchargers and fast charging stations, along with home wall outlets.”
Driving Efficiency“Yesterday's numbers came in really well. I went 208.9 miles and used 209 miles worth of energy —that’s 100 percent efficiency at highway speeds. When I got to the charger in St. Charles, Missouri, I still had just under 100 miles left on the battery. Range anxiety? What's that?”
Planning and Back-Up Plans“Like any road trip, driving an EV across the country requires planning — and sometimes, back-up plans. Luckily, there are apps that do all the work for you. I was planning to plug in overnight in Evansville, Indiana. I called to make sure it was going to be available, but when I got there the station was not working. Good thing there is a plan B: a charging station in Jasper. But that and one other small hiccup were all the challenges I ran into, and both were easily and quickly resolved.”
Convenient, Quick Stops“The drive from Buffalo, New York to Old Orchard Beach, Maine was great. I stopped once near Syracuse and once in Lee, Massachusetts. The first charger was just off the highway at the Holiday Inn, so I took a bathroom break and then read a little bit of my book while the car was charging. Overall, I was there for about 30 minutes. The entrance back onto the highway was right next to the parking lot, so this was a very easy stop to make — easier than it would have been to go to a gas station up the road.”
High-Tech Solutions for Traffic Conditions“Traffic in Boston was atrocious. On the plus side, this was the least stressful traffic jam I’ve ever been in thanks to the car doing most of the driving. Yay for the advanced driver's assistance system! It did a great job of maintaining my position in traffic, and my sanity. Later in the trip, I drove through the mountains in bad weather and the car performed great. I love the smooth and quiet ride, the instant power when I press the accelerator and the ability to pass up expensive gas stations and giggle as I go by.”
Charging in Canada“I spent three days in New Brunswick, Canada with an old friend. It was also Canada Day (bonus), so we got to see fireworks. So, could I make it without access to fast chargers? Yes! The hotel had a charger just steps from the front door and it was just like plugging in at home — except free. I woke up every morning ready to go with a 90 percent charge, which was the limit I set. I had no problems with range lasting all day and there were a bunch of conveniently-located stations to get a boost should I have needed it.”
Electric Road Tripping for Life“This is one of the best road trips I’ve ever gone on. I visited old friends I hadn't seen in ages, met a ton of new people, shared about EVs along the way, saved a ton of money on fuel, played with wolves and baby peacocks (not at the same time), and had a wonderful time. The trip was low stress and the EV handled great in all situations. While I never really had range anxiety, I was more aware of my electric range than I ever was about my gas, but that is not a bad thing. I spent about 10 to 12 hours on the road during drive days, which is longer than usual because the car is so easy to drive. Most of the time, the car’s range outlasted me. I can honestly say that after dozens of road trips in a gas-powered car and now this one in an electric car, I don’t ever want to go back to gas!”
Valerie’s Road Trip, By the Numbers
- 4,543 miles driven over 18 days
- 12 states visited
- 2 countries visited
- 1,130 kwh used (4.02 miles per kwh)
- $102 cost for electricity
- $543 cost for the same trip using gas
- $441 fuel savings
- 3% range lost due to climate control, weather, etc.
- 97% total trip efficiency