(Image credit: car and driver)
The race is pretty simple. Drive 1000 miles from point A to B as quickly as possible using an EV. This race puts to test how feasible to do long road trips with EVs and how the charging infrastructure is evolving.
The race was organized by Car and Driver. 11 EVs participated. They started from Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can watch the video coverage of the race below.
Why this Race Matters
As EV adoption grows the charging infrastructure also has to grow. Using an EV for regular commutes and around town drives is pretty straightforward. And this is how most people tend to use their EVs.
How ever taking EVs on road trips, takes a little planning. As we can’t just charge up EVs in 5 mins by pulling into a gas station like we can for gasoline cars. The charging infrastructure has grown tremendously in the past few years; but still has ways to go.
To make long distance trips on EVs feasible, we need two things:
- Fast chargers
- Fast charging car batteries
These chargers, also called DC chargers or L3 chargers, can charge a car battery to 80% in about 30-45 minutes. May be not as quick as 5 minute gas refills, but doable for the time to get some coffee or meal break.
This race, 1000 miles, puts the charging of EVs on the road to test.
Race Route Map
11 EVs participated. Check these links below for trip reports for each car on this site!
- Audi etron
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Porshe Taycan 4S
- Volkswagen ID 4
- Tesla Model S
- Tesla Model 3
- Tesla Model Y
- Nissan Leaf
- Volvo XC40
- Kia e niro
- Polestar 2
|1||Tesla Model S long range||16 hours and 14 minutes|
|2||Tesla Model Y||17 hours 45 minutes (+ 1hr 30 mins)|
|3||Tesla Model 3||18 hours (+ 1hr 45 mins)|
|4||Ford Mustang Mach-E||20 hours (+ 2 hr 30 mins)|
|11 (last)||Nissan Leaf||32 hrs (almost twice as long as the winner)|
Teslas swept the podium with first 3 finishes. This can be attributed to their battery sizes and very well established super charger network. Tesla superchargers can charge up to 250 KWh. This is a monster charging speed! The on board Tesla navigation system is also very good about planning the route based on charge and availability of chargers ahead.
All other cars depended on non-Tesla charging infrastructure. And the results show that there is a lot of room for improvement in this charging networks.
For example, Porche Taycan had the fastest charging speed of other cars. It can charge as fast as 250 kwh. How ever using DC fast chargers it was only charging at 50% of its charging capacity. This is probably due to most fast chargers can only do 150 KWH. This is improving as companies like Electrify America are deploying chargers that can charge at 350 KWH.
Most non Tesla EVs in the race – and most in the market now – had charging speeds up to 100 KWH. This limitation is due to battery technology. As the batteries evolve, they can charge fairly quickly. But this evolution will take a few years – it is not a quick software patch fix.
Beyond the Race
All participants of the race said, that they learned a lot of things about taking EVs on long distance drives. Car and Driver will run the EV-1000 every year with the cars in market to see how well the technology and ecosystem improves. And we will be watching.