Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Tesla Model S cars at Delaware SuperCharger location
It all took less than a week.
Just days after the negative review of the Tesla Model S in The New York Times, a group of Tesla owners had finalized plans to re-create the reviewer's trip from Maryland to Groton, Connecticut.
On Saturday, some 30 electric car fans showed up at the Tesla Motors Rockville Service Center on a gloomy, cold morning in the Maryland suburb outside Washington, D.C.
They gave a festive sendoff to a group of three Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedans setting off on a trip to Groton.
The "Tesla Road Trip" would form a rebuttal of sorts to the recent New York Times story written by reporter John Broder, who took the same trip in a Model S and did not have a happy experience.
His review was titled Stalled Out on Tesla's Electric Highway, and the Times illustrated it with a large photo of the Model S being carted away on a flatbed truck.
Much back-and-forth then ensued with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA].
Broder took his late January early February trip at Tesla's invitation. The company delivered a Model S sedan with its biggest 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack to Broder, and invited him to make use of Tesla's Supercharging Network – special high-speed, high-voltage charging stations located along I-95, at rest stops in Newark, Delaware, and Milford, Connecticut.
Saturday morning in Rockville, Tesla owners and other electric-car advocates – many of them members of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater DC – discussed the trip, range-extending measures, and what Broder may have done wrong that would result in a shutdown that required the car to be hauled to a charging station.
Drivers and advocates alike were determined to show that the Tesla Supercharging Network and the Model S could make the trip without problems.
And they did.
The trip's route mirrored Broder's: Rockville to the Delaware charging station, then through New York City to the Connecticut charging station, followed by a leg to Groton, where Broder would spend the night, then to Stonington where Broder had dinner.
After some drivers spent the night in Groton--some plugged in their cars to condition the battery packs, others didn't--they returned along the same route. Broder ended his trip at the Tesla showroom in Manhattan. Four of the Tesla Road Trip drivers went further, since they had to return to Maryland, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere in New York.
The trip was successful: No flatbed tow trucks were needed.
Participants wanted everyone to realize that the trip was in no way sanctioned by, solicited by, or even known about in advance by Tesla Motors. It grew out of grass-roots outrage at a story that, in the eyes of Tesla owners, trashed a remarkable car due to a bad experience brought about entirely by the manner in which Broder operated the car.
Incensed owners put together the Tesla Road Trip in a matter of a couple of days. The plan was announced on the Tesla Motors Club website, and a @TeslaRoadTrip Twitter feed was established so others could "ride along" virtually.