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48 States In A Nissan LEAF, + A New Tree For Each State

Editor’s Note: About this time last year, one of our electric vehicle enthusiasts and occasional writers began planning an ambitious challenge for his 2013 Nissan Leaf. Brian Kent hoped to travel to all 48 contiguous states and their capitals en route to a world-record-breaking all-electric road trip, which he expected would take just ~100 days and cover the equivalent of 1000 marathons: 26,219 miles. We recently caught up with Kent for a summary of what happened.

cross country Nissan LEAF 2

CleanTechnica (CT): So, how did things go?
Brian Kent (BK): Better than I could have expected. Better in almost every way.

CT: So you finished? 26,000 miles in a hundred days?
BK: Well, I finished … every contiguous state capital. Planted a tree in every state.

CT: How long?
BK: 235 days start to finish, including brief layovers with the Bollar family in Southlake, Texas, and at Sal “UBUYGAS” Cameli’s place in Roselle Park, New Jersey. 43,339 miles.

cross country Nissan LEAF 3

CT: 43,339 miles in 235 days? In a 2013 Leaf?
BK: Yeah, I averaged almost 190 miles a day despite the rest breaks. For the first 5 months, I averaged over 210 miles daily — two and a half times the EPA estimated “range.” I guess that sort of proves EV range isn’t quite as important as people make it out to be.

CT: Lots of charging stops, I guess.
BK: It comes with the road trip territory. I learned an immense amount about charging stations — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and now I’m working on plans to improve them with the help of a lot of really great EV people I met along the way.

cross country Nissan LEAF 1CT: So, I guess we can now call you our resident EV charging expert. 😀 What were some of the highlights?
BK: Without question, the people. The country is quite beautiful, but the people match it easily. And what’s wonderful about taking an electric car around is you actually stop to see things, small-town America. You talk to people. The people were amazing! Despite worrying about what I’d be doing at charging stations, there were countless people seemingly waiting to talk about the cars and technology. People really want to know about electric cars!

CT: So, what’s next?
BK: Well at the moment I’m dividing my time about equally between writing and planning the second Negative Carbon Roadtrip. I have a few hundred thank you’s left to write, as well as a few months of writing to capture the essence of the first trip in a book. The second trip is tentatively scheduled to kick off on the first of January, 2017.

CT: Wait, what? You’re doing it again?!
BK: Yes and no. This time, it isn’t about proving an electric vehicle can do it. This time, it’s intended as a dedicated effort to publicize the cars in general. The plan is to seriously engage the media on this critical contemporary development; to speak at schools and universities to young people who in some cases may never own anything but an electric. To work with local legislators and familiarize them to some extent with the urban planning dynamics which electrification requires.

CT: Seems ambitious. How are you going to do all of that?
BK: Well, I’ve enlisted some aid — none of us can do it alone. Though, I know I’m saying that to a person who nearly represents the exception. I’m continually thankful for the work you do, Zach. [Zach officially blushing now.] For myself, I had the good fortune to meet a number of council persons around the country who have already planned and installed stations, and each expressed a willingness to share what they learned. I’m also developing a charging station citing methodology and Tony Williams of Quick Charge Power gave me some insights earlier this week which promise to make the second trip much easier.

CT: It sounds like you have a plan, but what should we expect this all to look like?
BK: I’m still in the planning stages, but I suspect I’ll be drawing from a reservoir of information which didn’t exist last year in addition to having a great deal more experience myself. There are many more stations than there were before, and all of these things plus a slightly more capable car will help immensely. There will undoubtedly be countless people asking questions about electric vehicles, and I intend to be much better positioned to answer them. By then, I plan to have written a book on owning your first EV, and with that and a good deal more continued study, I should be well prepared to tackle the questions of another 50,000 miles.

CT: Hmm, what slightly more capable car?
BK: I’ve got my eye on a white Mercedes B-Class over at Hoehn Mercedes in Carlsbad. I think it would do the job nicely. Though, that’s also still in the works. I wonder how many of your readers even know Mercedes already makes an all-electric.

Mercedes B-Class Electric

“Is this the next step?”

CT: Well good luck planning all of this. We look forward to hearing how things are going.
BK: Thanks. You know I’ll stay in touch!

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I'm a pretty average guy—except that I'm bent on changing the world through those little ten-second choices that make all the difference. Things like: *choosing vegetarian foods *recycling/upcycling *saving power/water ... and driving electric. Which in reality is a choice that takes you about 8 seconds. Eight seconds to plug in when you get home. Eight more when you leave your driveway. Stop believing it's harder than it is. Oil doesn't make it easier to drive. It just makes it more costly.


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