The big worry for battery electric cars is range anxiety, so what better way to shake up that thinking than by driving one cross-country?
That's the idea behind a growing list of long-distance electric-car publicity stunts, and the latest car to join the parade is a 2012 Ford Focus Electric.
Under the aegis of Men's Health magazine, a team of drivers will take the electric Focus from the New York Auto Show to Los Angeles, recharging 40 to 55 times along the way.
Their route will pass through Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, mostly along secondary roads to make best use of battery energy.
While the drivers will use public and commercial charging stations, they'll also crowd-source the reinvented road trip, asking readers and supporters to offer 240-Volt, 40-amp outlets at which they can spend two to four hours recharging the car's 23-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
Because the 2012 Focus Electric has a 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger--double the capacity of those in the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt--it only takes about half as long to charge the battery with a given amount of energy.
Men's Health 2012 Ford Focus Electric & Ford F-150 support vehicle for NY-LA drive, April 2012Enlarge Photo
Being Men's Health, the team will also participate in "engaged adventures, exercise and fitness challenges, culinary pursuits, environmental missions, and more" while the car is charging.
(Sounds exhausting; we like to read while recharging. But that's just us.)
Drivers will include senior editor Eric Adams, X-Games winner Tanner Foust, IndyCar and American LeMans racer Martin Plowman, and retired Navy Seal commander Coleman Ruiz.
The 2012 Electric Car Challenge raises money for Carry the Load, a foundation that supports the families of U.S. soldiers who’ve been killed in combat.
At various points along the route, other drivers will include Men’s Health columnist Naomi Piercey, Miss Indiana 2009 Nicole Pollard, and Katie Cwynar, a spokesmodel for Carry The Load.
2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - charging pointEnlarge Photo
The Focus Electric will leave Manhattan on April 11, and the team hopes to arrive in LA on Earth Day, April 22.
It will be followed by a Ford F-150 pickup truck support vehicle, but the team assures us that its carbon emissions will be offset.
Among other tasks, it will transport drivers ahead of the Focus Electric to ensure that all drivers are properly rested before they take their turn at the wheel.