The British Broadcasting Corporation, considered to be the center-pin of television and radio in the U.K., has always had a cautious view of the benefits of electric vehicles, often choosing to illustrate the limited range of electric cars in articles rather than the positive benefits.
In typical form the latest BBC feature, a four-day trek from London to Edinburgh in a 2010 MINI E, has not spoken favourably about electric cars. Journalist Brian Milligan has blogged and vlogged about his experiences so far, highlighting the length of time it takes to charge from a standard 13 Amp, 240V U.K. domestic outlet.
But a Tesla enthusiast who is no stranger to long-distance electric car trips set off from London this morning in a 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 to prove that some electric cars are capable of traveling the 400+ mile trip in a single day.
Enter David Peilow, a long-time Tesla fan and active member on the TeslaMotorsClub.com website. Last year, Peilow hit the headlines when he drove a total of 772 miles in a single weekend, charging a borrowed Tesla Roadster at 32Amp charging points en-route.
2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5
For today’s attempt, Peilow left the Tesla Motors London showroom around 6:30 in the morning in a 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 loaned to him for the stunt. He was waved off by long-time EV advocate and actor Robert Llewellyn, whose online show Fully Charged seeks to educate the public about electric cars.
From there, Peilow traced a route north, stopping for breakfast and making use of a privately owned Tesla High Power Charger (HPC) for his first recharge, capable of recharging the Tesla’s 54 kilowatt-hour battery pack in just over 3 hours. His second recharge will take considerably longer, using a 32 Amp supply at a rest-stop en-route.
By contrast, the BBC’s borrowed MINI E has been recharging using available public charging points, mostly capable of providing a measly 3 kilowatts of power and taking 7-8 hours to recharge the MINI E’s pack.
Instead of charging just twice as with the Tesla, the BBC correspondent is charging 8 times, stopping for a few hours in some places and up to 8 in others.
Expectedly, the BBC has cried foul, claiming that the race between a sub 100-miles per charge MINI E which takes 8 hours to recharge and a sportscar capable of at least 240 miles per charge which takes under half the time to refuel is unfair.
MINI E at MTTS 2010 in Denver, Colo.
Unfair it may be, but Tesla owners and enthusiasts aren’t after a straight-forward race: they want to prove the BBC’s biased opinions about electric vehicles wrong.
The whole premise behind the BBC’s four-day trek appears to follow traditional prejudice: that electric cars just aren’t practical for everyday driving and that charging them is painfully slow and impractical.
Just like the Tesla fans, we know that with appropriate fast charging facility, electric cars can be capable of single-day trips well beyond the range of a single charge.
With enough Level 3 fast chargers capable of recharging the 2011 Nissan LEAF’s battery pack to 80% full in under 30 minutes, for example, it is theoretically possible to drive well over 500 miles in a 12 hour period.
Ultimately, that’s the conundrum facing electric vehicle owners and the single valid fact that arises from the argument between the BBC and Tesla owners worldwide.
Unless high-power charging exists, or electric automakers fit chargers capable of drawing higher current Level 2 power, the question of long-distance EV trips will continue to cause the primary argument between EV and ant-EV supporters.
We know David Peilow and wish him all the best on his trip. We hope he arrives before midnight and proves his point. You can follow his trip over at the TeslaMotorsClub forum and on Twitter by following @dpeilow
Will the trip change the BBC’s opinion of electric cars? Probably not. But at least someone is taking the time to prove their rather old-fashioned views of electric cars wrong.