Ever since the dawn of the automobile, drivers have embraced the challenge of being the first to complete a specific journey. The first to drive from Boston to Miami. The first to drive from New York to San Francisco. The first to drive from Paris to Rome. Early adopters seem compelled to use their newfangled contraptions to boldly go where no human has gone before.
Wade Anderson of Tucson, Arizona, has set a challenge for himself and his new Tesla Model 3 — drive around the entire circumference of the continental United States in two months or less. During his first two weeks on the road, he drove across the southern states to Key West, the southernmost point of his journey. Then he went up the East Coast to Lubec, Maine, the place where the morning sun touches America first.
He is now in week three and driving through Canada, which is where CBC News got a chance to interview him. “I’m just going on a journey,” he said while charging his Tesla in Woodstock, Ontario. “It’s important to get out there and just live life and have these experiences.”
It’s all well and good for Bjorn Nyland to drive his Model 3 2,781 kilometers in 24 hours, but he had an advantage — a plethora of fast chargers to choose from along his route. During Wade’s 25,000 kilometer quest, he will be venturing to places where EV chargers are unknown, such as Deadhorse, a tiny community in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska — as far north as you can drive and still be in the US.
But first he must traverse Canada, where charging stations are few and far between outside of major cities. Tesla Supercharger locations are not nearly as abundant in Canada as they are in the US. For instance, there are none along the 2,700 kilometer stretch between Sudbury, Ontario, and Fort MacLeod, Alberta.
Tesla is planning on opening several along that route sometime later this year, but that won’t help Wade Anderson. And there are no Superchargers in the great state of Alaska. “Whitehorse has a charger somewhere there — it’s a public charger,” Anderson says. “But after that, I don’t know yet.”
John Dixon, president and founder of the Tesla Owners Club of Ontario, tells CBC News there are more chargers than before but acknowledges there is still work to do. “We’re not quite there yet.” Still he thinks a long-distance trip across Canada is doable. “You just have to plan it out and you just have to be willing to wait a bit longer.” The worst case scenario is plugging into a normal household, which can add a paltry 8 miles of range in an hour.
Anderson says he named his car Eve after the female robot in the animated movie Wall-E. “It’s a white car and I thought she was like this badass robot in the movie and this is a badass car, so I thought the name fit.” He hopes his journey will inspire others to make similar journeys.
“So much is fear, it’s holding us back. We don’t want to go out, we don’t want to do these things, because we’re afraid. We’re comfortable in our life,” he says. “I don’t want to have a lot of regrets at the end of my life when the time comes. So when I’m in good health right now, I need to do these things while I can.” Spoken like a true electric car pioneer.
On his way to Alaska, Anderson plans to stop at Lebanon, Kansas, the geographical center of the continental United States and Balta, North Dakota, the geographical center of North America. On his way home from Prudhoe Bay — assuming he gets that far — he will journey through Cape Alava in Washington, the westernmost point in the continental US, before returning to Tucson through Death Valley, the lowest point in the United States. His trip will not include Hawai’i, however. Perhaps when Elon Musk builds his submersible car, Anderson will include Honolulu in his road trip plans.
Will he finish is his trek in the allotted 2 months? Maybe, maybe not. But whether he does is almost irrelevant. By taking this journey, he will help change the perception that electric cars are only good for around-town driving and will move the EV revolution forward.
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