The open roadEnlarge Photo
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 Green Car 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 Chevrolet Volt 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 Europe back 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.