Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Dante Richardson driving Tesla Model S w/sign in windowEnlarge Photo
Had Broder set the charging to Range mode, and plugged in overnight, he very likely would have had no problems. Whether he knew about standard vs. range charging is another question, although it's neatly spelled out in the Owner's Manual.
To test different scenarios, two of the Road Trip cars did not plug in overnight – to replicate the Broder experience—and two did. Those that did had a bit more range in the morning than those that did not. Even so, all the cars made it back to the Connecticut charging station without any problem.
The Road Trip drivers all said that the range issue and subsequent towing could have been avoided by Broder had he managed the car's energy properly, charged fully, and most importantly, charged overnight.
Third, Tesla support is amazing
One Road Trip cars had a problem: It would not accept a full charge at the Supercharger in Delaware, and two chargers stopped working after that car was plugged in. A quick phone call to Tesla support in California resulted in the company pushing new software codes to the ailing car and to reset both Superchargers. All the cars charged, and completed the trip.
Owner Lauren Knausenberger and her husband Erich had bought the car only a week ago. "You have mission control behind you," she said later. "We had an issue specifically with finishing a charge on a SuperCharger."
"If there's a problem with a normal car you take it to a mechanic," she marveled. "We had a choice between driving the car to the 'mechanic,' having someone come fix it, or getting a software patch on real time--which was incredibly convenient, just beyond cool."
Later in the journey, the Knausenbergers got a flat tire. Their Model S actually told them it had a tire problem. After adding air, they were able to drive two hours to Boston.
"Tesla in Boston opened on Sunday, just to replace our tire and charge [the car] us while they did it," Knausenber continued. "Note that we were driving in the snow on 21-inch summer performance tires, and still made it. We passed two Jeeps with flat tires on the side of the road."
But all the Road Trip drivers agree with Broder on one point: The Tesla Model S is a technological wonder.
Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Japanese tourists flock around Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
This trip was really about more than the newspaper story, of course, or even the Model S. It was about people who passionately believe that the era of the fossil fuel-powered transportation is ending – and good riddance.
Road Trip participants – all early adopters of this technology – want to bring others into the fold so that transportation is not reliant on fossil fuels and all the baggage that carries in terms of the environment and national security. It doesn't hurt that Tesla is a U.S. company – another positive point for many.
A final point: Everywhere the convoy traveled, the cars generated great interest. Onlookers stopped to shoot photos of the cars as they charged up. They asked questions, they gawked, they asked to sit in the cars. Other drivers gave the Teslas thumbs-up on the road.
The whole experience was like traveling with the stars in a rock band. But here's to the day that trips like this one will soon be everyday events far from worthy of news reporting.
Elvia H. Thompson is Co-Founder of Annapolis Green, an organization that promotes sustainable living in the area around Maryland's capital city through social media, networking events, a weekly radio program and online information sharing. A long-time public relations professional, she blogs for Patch, the local Conference and Visitors' Bureau, and other organizations. She rode along on the Tesla Road Trip, and she now wishes someone would buy her a Tesla Model S.