You might think that electric vehicles aren’t naturally suited to driving long distances just yet, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of people giving it a go anyway.
Here then is the GreenCarReports guide to the world of long-distance EV publicity stunts, arranged conveniently by distance, shortest to longest. We’ll keep this article updated when new teams attempt new distance challenges…
313 miles, 2009 – Australian road trip in a Tesla Roadster
Prior to the JEVC’s decimation of the EV distance record, Simon Hackett and Emilis Prelgauskas managed 313 miles from a standard Tesla Roadster at the Global GreenCar Challenge in October 2009. 313 miles is still an EV production record, since the Japanese crew’s car was an EV conversion. The EPA rated the Roadster at 240 miles on a charge, but the record shows what can be possible with empty roads and a feather-light right foot.
480 miles, 2011 – San Diego to Tucson in a Nissan Leaf
480 miles is the sort of distance you wouldn’t think twice about in a regular gasoline or diesel vehicle – in fact, some diesels could do that on one tank of fuel. But what about in an electric car? Jerry Asher didn’t think twice about doing the trip in his Leaf, and although it took the best part of a week in the Leaf, this trip was certainly more about the spirit of adventure and enjoying electric cars than getting there quickly.
600 miles, 2011 – Nissan Leaf around the Emerald Isle
Early adopters of the Nissan Leaf have really been putting it to the test as far as distance runs are concerned, but in a place like Ireland which has a suitable charging network, even an event like the Irish Cannonball Run was no problem. The team in their Leaf became the first competitors anywhere in the world to complete such an event in an electric car.
623 miles, 2010 – Japan Electric Vehicle Club
Most of us would be happy with getting 357 miles from an EV. That’s a good hundred more than the EPA rating for a Tesla roadster and more even than the 2011 ChevroletVolt gets with the help of a range-extending gasoline engine. For the JEVC though, 357 miles was just a test run. Back in May, the team managed a staggering 623 miles from their home-converted Daihatsu Mira, and the team thinks they can do even more…
850 miles, 2011 – One weekend in a Tesla Roadster
Electric car advocate and Tesla Roadster owner Michael Thwaite wrote a special piece for GreenCarReports about two U.K. Tesla Roadster owners completing an 850 mile trip –from tip-to-tip of the U.K. – in only a weekend. He worked out that the Roadster needed ten hours of charging for the trip – but since eight of those hours were spent either eating or sleeping, the trip really took only two hours long than it would have in a regular gasoline car.
2,000 miles, 2011 – European electric road trip
Not just one, but 20 different teams took part in an electric road trip around Europeback in September 2011, starting in Paris and finishing in the Czech Republic, taking in the Alps along the way. They all covered around 2,000 miles in a fortnight, and the trip became something of a rolling exhibit for electric vehicles – everything from home-converted vehicles, to brand new Tesla Roadsters and Nissan Leafs.
2,300 miles, 2011 – Kansas students driving coast-to-coast
Based on a Lola IndyCar chassis and clothed in sleek body panels, Minddrive’s EV prototype certainly looks the part. The team hasn’t yet started their 2,300-mile coast-to-coast trip in the prototype – that should happen some time this year. Currently, the team is working on electrifying a classic Lotus Elise sports car. You can find out more about the team’s projects on the Minddrive blog.
4,000 miles, 2010 – Classic Beetle with 21st century power crosses Canada
Classic cars can make for great EV conversions as they’re so lightweight and simple to work on, and Volkswagen Beetles are very popular conversions. The UBC Electric Car Club from Vancouver took their 1972 Bug 4,000 miles across Canada over winding mountain passes and on deserted highways. The car has a range of 185 miles at 60mph and 340 miles at 30mph, with a top speed of 85mph. You can find out more about the E-Beetle here.
4,000 miles, 2010 – 28 days to cross Canada in an i-MiEV
The car may be newer but with a range of only 100 miles at best, Mitsubishi had a harder time on their Canadian road trip than the students in their e-Beetle. The stops to charge gave them a chance to show the car off to journalists and enthusiasts along the way though. They set off from Cape Spear in St John’s, Newfoundland on August 17th 2010 and arrived in Vancouver on September 16th 2010.
15,500 miles, 2012 – Around the world in a Citroen C-Zero
You may think that the ideal round-the-world vehicle is a large, comfortable off-road vehicle, but French duo Xavier and Antonin are doing their trip in a Citroen C-Zero, an electric city car based on the more familiar Mitsubishi i, or i-MiEV as its known in Europe. The duo will be relying on “Pluggers” to let them charge at peoples’ homes, so if you’d like to help, go to the team’s website as this one is still ongoing.
16,000 miles, 2010 – Driving the Pan-American highway in an electric supercar
If you were driving from Alaska to South America, you might want some creature comforts. Air conditioning? Comfy seats? Err… A windscreen and a roof? Racing Green Endurance from the UK saw fit not to bring any of the above, instead choosing a Le Mans Prototype-style Radical. The car is fitted with EV running gear and has a 300 mile range. Over 16,000 miles in a car more basic than a Lotus Elise. Mad? The Brits prefer the word “adventurous”…
18,650 miles, 2010 – The Zero Race – around the world in 80 days
Jules Verne got there first but the Zero Race is the first attempt to circumnavigate the globe in EVs, and using renewable electricity at that. In the end, the winning vehicle was the “Oerlikon Solar”, an enclosed, two-wheel electric vehicle with its energy usage on the road offset by the production of solar energy. A Vectrix electric scooter finished second when the points were tallied at the end of the event.
25,000 miles, 2010 – The TAG Heuer Tesla: “Odyssey of Pioneers”
Perhaps a little more glamorous than Project EViE or the Zero Race but the mission is the same – drive around the world. The Tesla is a good choice for a road trip given the potential for more than 200 miles from a charge. The journey began back in March 2010 and they drove through Russia in May of that year. Their Odyssey ended in New York on September 2nd. You can find out more about the trip on the website.
66,000 miles, Project EViE – 70 countries, six continents
Project EViE was about busting the range anxiety factor that is currently one of the biggest hurdles to mainstream EV adoption. No better way to silence the doubters than proving that EVs can be confidently used on the mother of all road trips, a global circumnavigation. Along the way they’ll face varied terrain that will push their car to it’s limits. You can read an interview with the project director here. Unfortunately, the team’s website and blog now no longer exist – so we expect this ambitious trip was one that never got off the ground.
Source Green Car Reports