Florida college professor breaks EV range record in Tesla Model S
It really happened: This driver went a whopping 423.5 miles in a single charge.
David Metcalf, a researcher at the University of Central Florida, decided to take his new Model S on a calculated adventure along the Panhandle. With his 12-year-old son Adam, Metcalf managed 17 nonstop hours before the dashboard flashed "Charge Now." It was a seemingly impossible feat that began as a cocky tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk in May, who promised prizes to the first 10 Model S drivers to exceed 400 miles per charge.
So far, Metcalf is the first and only.
"My professional training is in Information Systems, so my son and I approached the challenge the same way I would validation testing on any technical research project," Metcalf, 43, told MSN Autos. "This kept me mentally alert, as did having a good copilot, my son Adam."
Do the math and you realize there's a big caveat to this story: Metcalf averaged 25 mph. For 17 straight hours.
"We planned the route very carefully to avoid all interstates and stay on slow roads most of the time," he said. "People did pass us and some stretches were four lanes, but we had 7.5 hours where we only saw 20 cars. This was through the central and south parts of wild Florida including the Everglades and other wildlife parks."
David Metcalf poses with his record-setting Model S. (UCF)
Unlike most hypermilers, Metcalf and his son didn't suffocate themselves to break the record, as Florida winters, especially at night, are actually tolerable without air conditioning.
The excruciatingly slow speeds and agonizing hours circling southern Florida didn't bother Metcalf one bit. Basically, the man doesn't have to sleep. In 2011, he ran a 100-mile ultra marathon that took him more than 26 hours to finish. In between training, he surfs.
Metcalf's Model S wasn't exhausted, either. To be safe, he called for a tow from AAA, but the car was still running with the A/C and radio for 45 minutes while they waited. Metcalf says he didn't want to risk ruining the battery by completely draining it.
Currently, Guinness World Records is validating his trip. The previous record was set in Australia three years ago with a Tesla Roadster, which topped 313 miles on a single charge.
While Musk has been silent on the prize (it will be revealed next week), Metcalf doesn't care. He's donating whatever money might be at hand to the university and its Haiti relief efforts.
Some of you guys are way to critical of this story. This was a challenge, jus to see if it could be done. And they succeeded. No one expects the Model S to be able to go 400 miles on a single charge driving it in normal every day conditions, nor do we expect one to tow an 18k lb trailer. Get a grip!
Electric cars are intended for city driving and to be charged nightly, we all know this. Congratulations to Mr. Metcalf and his son, what an awesome thing to accomplish as a family.
17 hours at 25 mph- was that the $50,000 model or the $70,000 one? A horse makes more sense. Saddle sores standard!
Now tell us how many miles you can really go driving like a normal person. I don't see the logic in having a high priced car that you have to stay off interstates and drive 25mph in just to get a flawed 400 mile range in. Put that car in everyday traffic, bumper to bumper start and stops, and driving at normal speeds, that thing would not get anywhere near 400 miles on a charge.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.