I’ve written another piece for the Times of Israel about Better Place. This time I’m discussing a long distance road trip that a journalist for the New York Times attempted in a Tesla Model S high performance electric car. He failed to complete his trip for various reasons including extreme cold and inadequate range prediction.
Failing to make this kind of journey and writing about it in the New York Times is a bit of a disaster for the entire cause of electric cars. But the problem stems from trying to make such a journey in the first place. These cars, not even the massively over-batteried 85 kWh Tesla Model S, are just not built for long distance travel without help.
That battery, at 85 kWh is almost four times bigger than my own paltry 22 kWh one yet I can more easily cover long distances in Israel than the Tesla can in the US.
In Israel, with Better Place, I have help along the road. In the US, as this journalist found out, Tesla’s smattering of “Superchargers” is not enough.
I regard Tesla’s Superchargers as more of a marketing tool than a serious option for mobility.
You can imagine the conversation at the dealership in Washington DC.
Customer: “I’d like to buy your car, it looks nice, it drives way nicer than the Mercedes I was considering and my kids will be happy because the polar bears will be saved. But I have one question, can I drive it to New York?”.
Salesman: “Certainly sir, Tesla are installing free Superchargers on the road to New York, stop at one, have a meal and when you’re done you’ll be on your way and able to reach New York”.
Customer: “Sounds great, I’ll take one!”.
The problem here is the correct Salesman’s answer should have been: “Sir, how often do you drive your luxury car to New York and back?”. Because if the answer is anything more than once every other year then a battery car is just wrong. And really, most people buying $100,000 cars would be flying DC to NYC.