Stoney Burke, a Washington, D.C.-based Southern Company employee, had a President’s Day weekend trip planned to New York City but after the Tesla Model S became a hot news item that week, Burke decided to change up his trip a bit. Burke had access to a Southern Company Tesla Model S and decided that this was the perfect time to take the vehicle on a road trip so Burke, a friend from the Edison Electric Institute, and their wives packed up the vehicle and hit the road.
The Model S is one of Southern Company’s fleet vehicles and until that weekend it had only been used on short drives around Washington, D.C., typically no longer than 30 miles a trip. Burke had driven the vehicle before but this was going to be the longest trip that both he and this Model S had taken.
Burke’s goal was for the two couples to take a typical trip from Washington, D.C. to New York City, except this time they’d be making the drive in an emissions-free vehicle. The group didn’t pack light to reduce vehicle weight and Burke drove at typical turnpike speeds. Burke wanted this to be a true real-world test of the Tesla and didn’t take any extra measures to increase vehicle range.
The group’s first stop was the Tesla super charger in Delaware. When asked if Burke made this stop only because he was in the Tesla and needed to charge the vehicle he explained, “When I take that trip, that's a stop I normally make to fill up with gas.” After a bite to eat and a 30-minute charge, the Model S had an additional 150 miles of range and the two couples were off to New York City. Charging in New York City was equally simple thanks to the Recargo app. Burke used this app to find public charging stations, including the garage he parked the car in for the weekend.
Although a long weekend in the city with his wife was great, Burke’s favorite part of the trip was the level of excitement he experienced during his interactions with random people. After driving around Times Square, the group found themselves at Nikola Tesla corner, the namesake of the vehicle he was driving.
While parked at this notable intersection, the vehicle received a lot of attention from passers-by. One individual that made his way over to the Tesla Model S parked on Nikola Tesla corner was a Facebook employee that lives in San Francisco. This Facebook employee owns a Model S himself; instant camaraderie amongst Tesla drivers.
This heightened attention continued on throughout the trip. On the way home, Burke ran into a Tesla owner, this time while charging in Delaware. The New Jersey-based Tesla owner stopped by to introduce himself and say hi. It was another example of the instant bond shared by many Tesla enthusiasts. Burke also fielded questions from curious onlookers, turning these impromptu interactions into opportunities to educate the public about the viability of electricity as a fuel option.
Burke’s biggest takeaways from the trip were that this was an uneventful trip, a story about nothing. Considering the recent media coverage surrounding road trips in the Model S, this story about nothing is really a story in itself. The vehicle performed as expected, the trip was easy and Burke didn’t have to change his behaviors in order to make the trip work.
As an aside, Burke Tweeted his adventures using the #DCtoNYC hashtag, further expanding the educational aspect of the trip. Over the course of the long holiday weekend, Burke’s following more than quadrupled. If this isn’t a testament to the increased level of interest in electrified transportation, then I don’t know what is.