Tesla has gone transcontinental. that its network of superchargers, which currently numbers 71 stations that let Tesla drivers recharge for free, now stretches far enough that a driver could drive a Tesla across America. Over the weekend, founder Elon Musk tweeted that two Tesla teams to set a cross-country EV speed record this week, departing from Los Angeles on Friday, and that he himself would take a .
I hope he loads up with podcasts aplenty before departing. Google Maps tells me that the from New York to Los Angeles requires about 41 hours of drive time. Using Maps to recreate Tesla's path across America, which snakes north from Arizona all the way to South Dakota before heading more or less due east, I get about 55 hours, not including the actual stops at the supercharging stations. It takes 40 hours just to get from L.A. to Chicago on Tesla's wandering Western route:
The situation will improve later this year, according to Tesla, when it will build charging stations on additional routes through the Midwest, including I-70 through Kansas, so that the long slog of I-90 across South Dakota isn't the only way through. Pull up the map of the automaker's planned supercharging stations to be built by 2015 and it looks like the United States has a breakout of the chicken pox. There are enough dots to make just about any serious road trip without going too far out of your way:
Compare the two maps and it's easy to see Musk's dream. Tesla started its big infrastructure build-out by dotting the coasts with supercharging stations, combating the range anxiety that has hampered the growth of other EVs by bragging that its drivers could drive up and down the Atlantic or Pacific. With a cross-country path of highway stations complete, Tesla will now begin the process of filling in the vast interior of America with red dots—and in so doing, it hopes, grow from a boutique to a nationwide brand.
In the meantime, enjoy a stop-off at Mount Rushmore or a Blackhawks game in Chicago while following the Tesla Trail. Just don't die of dysentery, or boredom.