Skift Take

We drove 2,400 miles and juiced up at 14 charging stations in August on a round-trip journey from New Jersey to Florida, and back. Our experience and my diary of that trip hopefully serves as a playbook for the companies that are still innovating for this still-nascent way to travel.

When Covid-19 entered our lives, people started re-thinking how they vacation and some are choosing alternative modes of transportation. My family has switched entirely to road-tripping post-Covid-19. To date we’ve driven to Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota twice with plans to drive to Cape Cod and Georgia later this year — all in an electric car. Why did we switch? I’ve always dreaded flying with kids. Two young kids, two car seats, a stroller, plus all the luggage. And it’s expensive — four plane tickets plus a rental car can easily cost over $2,000.  If you’ve ever driven a long distance with young kids you know that you need to stop often for bathroom breaks and the stops take some time — with my family these stops can last 15 minutes if we move as quickly as possible or over 30 minutes if we need to eat a meal. It so happens that this is about how long a Tesla takes to charge at a Supercharger — stops average to about 25 minutes each every two to three hours. In our 8,000 miles of road-trips in a Tesla we have had to wait for the car to finish charging a handful of times and when we do have extra time we run around and stretch our legs or boot up Disney+ on the car’s screen and watch something for 10 minutes. If you are traveling alone or with another adult trying to get to your destination as fast as possible the car will slow you down — but this will change soon as chargers get faster. The new Lucid Air is capable of adding 100 miles of range in only 5.5 minutes and 200 miles in 12 minutes on a 250kW charger. Adoption in the U.S. Electric vehicle adoption in the US is still in its early days. According to Yaa, in Q2 2022 BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) had a 5.6 percent market share, up from 2.7 percent in Q2 2021. In 2021 BEV made up 10.6 percent of new vehicle purchases. Tesla’s market share dropped for the first time from 75 percent in Q1 2022 to 66 percent in Q2 2022 despite selling more vehicles (129,743 and 130,047 respectively) indicating an interest in competing BEV. While the sector is still a small percentage of vehicles on the road it is growing fast. Ford came in 2nd place in terms of vehicle output in Q2 2022 with 15,273 but that is still only 11.4 percent of Tesla’s output. When other manufactures are able to ramp production to even one quarter of Tesla’s output we will see a massive new wave of EVs on the road.  Electric Vehicle Market Share in the U.S. Market Share Q1 2021 2.5% Q2 2021 2.7% Q3 2021 3.1% Q4 2021 4.5% Q1 2022 5.3% Q2 2022 5.6% Source: Yaa Electric Vehicle Sales and Market Share (US – Updated Monthly) Tesla plans to open their Supercharger network to other EV manufactures later this year which will pour gas on the fire and allow Tesla to expand even faster than they already do - roughly doubling in size year-over-year. Competing networks like electrify America are undergoing growing pains but will no doubt expand to meet the growing demand as well.  The Tesla Supercharger network in the U.S. as of September 2022 Much has to happen still for electric cars to become mainstream, and a lot of growth needs to happen first. But the miles we logged, and our story (see below) offers some important reminders on why this will be the norm sooner rather than later. Enjoy our journey. The Drive Our latest trip was to Florida from our home in north New Jersey. We drove our blue Tesla Model Y dubbed Elsa by our five-year-old daughter. It has an EPA range of 326 miles and has an average efficiency of 300 Wh/mile. My family consists of my two-year-old son, my five-year-old daughter, and our chihuahua (another benefit of driving is we don’t need to pay for a petsitter) along with my wife and me. We’re based in Bloomfield, New Jeresey, which is about a 30 minute drive from Manhattan. The Tesla navigation inserts charging stops automatically along your route. We left home at 7 a.m. — early enough to get a long day of driving in but not much earlier than we normally wake up so we aren’t overly tired. I put our destination in the Tesla navigation along with a stop at our hotel in Yamasse, South Carolina, and the car told me exactly where to charge and for how long. The first leg of the trip was to Baltimore. We charged the car to 90 percent (the highest recommended state of charge to maintain a healthy battery) and hit the road! The first leg is one of the longest since you have a full battery and this one took exactly 3 hours. We arrived at the Baltimore Boston Street Supercharger at 10 a.m. with 1