Edmunds Tesla drivers set cross-country record in electric vehicle

(July 22, 2014) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A team from Edmunds.com  shattered the cross-country speed record in an electric vehicle when driving from Redondo Beach, Calif. to New York City in a 2013 Tesla Model S in 67 hours and 21 minutes. The record-setting drive erased the previous record of 76 hours and 5 minutes set by a team of Tesla staffers.

Edmunds.com Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds and Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr completed the cross-country journey in less than three days while stopping at 23 Tesla Supercharger stations across the nation. And unlike Tesla's cross-country attempt, Edmunds.com's duo completed the journey on its own without the safety net of a trailing support staff. Edmunds and Niebuhr documented their full "reverse Cannonball Run." Click here.  

"The key to breaking the record wasn't to drive fast; we had to drive smart," said Edmunds. "Fast, aggressive driving will only succeed in sucking down an EV's battery. We had to drive responsibly to make sure we had enough juice to get from one charging station to the next. And we saved time by charging only a little more than what we figured was necessary to get to the next Supercharger."

The cross-country sprint produced some other impressive eye-popping statistics:

    Total Distance: 3,331.9 miles
    Driving Time: 52 hours, 41 minutes
    Average Driving Speed: 63.2 mph
    Total Supercharger Plug-In Time: 14 hours, 40 minutes
    Average Supercharger Plug-in Time: 38.3 minutes
    Number of Other Stops: 0
    Total Energy Consumption: 1.06 Megawatt-hours
    Total Fuel Cost: $0 (thanks to Tesla’s free superchargers, available to all Tesla owners)

Upon arriving in New York, Edmunds.com's team turned around to head back to Southern California the very next day. Even with a less ambitious return strategy, Edmunds and Niebuhr managed to complete the round-trip adventure in less than a week: 6 days, 23 hours and 4 minutes, to be exact.

The record-breaking trip was the signature moment for Edmunds.com's 2013 Model S, which has been one of the most popular vehicles in the history of the company's Long-Term Road Test fleet. Readers can catch up on all of Edmunds.com's experiences with the Model S — click here.