Is 2014 the year long distance trips in electric cars becomes possible?

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Two interesting journeys have been taken in recent weeks by electric car users – showing the long-range potential of the vehicles. Does it suggest we’re at a tipping point when the infrastructure is finally in place?

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Over in the states, a story has emerged of a father and daughter taking a trip in a Tesla Model S across the country.

Whilst this may sound somewhat unremarkable, it’s important because one of the major criticisms of electric cars has until now been that of “range anxiety” – the worry that there won’t be enough places to charge your car once you reach your destination. The comparison is with a petrol car, which is fine just about anywhere thanks to the abundance of petrol stations.

They managed the coast to coast drive in less than a week, thanks to there being enough Tesla Superchargers en route – which can charge the car up in only 30 minutes, rather than the hours it would take plugged into a conventional power socket.

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The coast to coast route is new, and is reminiscent of the completion of the First transcontinental railroad in 1869, which played a huge role in knitting together the American nation, as for the first time people could travel across the great expanse at relative speed. Is the 19th century was the century of the railway, could the 21st be the century of the electric car?

Meanwhile over on our side of the pond, the actor and presenter Robert Llewellyn, best known for playing Kryten in Red Dwarf completed a similar journey here – going from Marble Arch in London to Edinburgh Castle in… well, Edinburgh, in a single day.

Llewllyn himself is no stranger to electricity – even producing his own YouTube series reviewing electric cars.

Unlike the £50,000 Tesla Model S, he was behind the wheel of the much more affordable Nissan Leaf, which now apparently costs only £16,000, and completed the journey averaging 68mph, with occasional stops at similar fast-charge stations.

So this is great news for electric cars users – and a sign that slowly but surely, the world is getting more hospitable towards electric vehicles. Let’s hope we all decide to make the switch long before the ice caps destroy half of East Anglia.

James O’Malley
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