• Oct 27th 2009 at 7:03PM
  • 27
Simon Hackett and co-driver Emilis Prelgauskas with the record setting Roadster - click above for high-res image gallery

It's no secret that how you drive has as much – or more – influence on a vehicle's efficiency than any technology. Case in point is this week's Global Green Challenge in Australia. Simon Hackett shipped his 2008 Tesla Roadster down under for the event and proceeded to set a new world record for a production battery-powered vehicle. Hackett and co-driver Emilis Prelgauskas managed to squeeze 313 miles out of the lithium ion battery pack of the Roadster.

As the drivers crossed the finish, approximately three miles was left on the charge at the end of the run south from Alice Springs. That easily topped the 241-mile run by another Roadster earlier this year in the Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives and the 244 miles the car achieves on the EPA test cycle.

Of course achieving those kinds of range numbers means completely forgoing the performance capabilities of the Roadster, just as it would in any other sports car. The 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and 244 mile range is an either/or choice, you sadly can't have both. Tesla's press release is after the jump.

[Source: Tesla]


Tesla Roadster travels 313 miles on a single charge in what appears to be new world record

Competing in Australia's Global Green Challenge, Customer Simon Hackett's red Roadster goes from Alice Springs to Coober Pedy with 3 miles left on the charge.

Coober Pedy, South Australia -- (Oct. 27, 2009) – Tesla Roadster owner Simon Hackett and co-driver Emilis Prelgauskas completed 313 miles (501 km) in a Tesla Roadster on a single charge – a distance that appears to set a new record for a production electric vehicle.

Hackett and Prelgauskas are driving Hackett's red 2008 Roadster as part of the 10th annual Global Green Challenge, one of the most high-profile rallies worldwide for alternative fuel cars. Hackett is providing updates in real time on his blog.

The pair drove from Alice Springs, in the Australian Northern Territory, to the finish marker at a point 183 km north of Coober Pedy, in South Australia. They had an estimated 3 miles left on the charge at the finish marker.

The previous distance record for an electric vehicle was set in April, when another Roadster was the only vehicle to complete the entire, 241-mile Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives. It had an estimated 38 miles left on the charge.

The Tesla Roadster is the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production EV with a range greater than 200 miles (320 km) per charge. Tesla has delivered about 900 Roadsters to customers so far.

Hackett sent Tesla the following note before going to bed last night:

"Emilis and I have decades of experience flying gliders competitively and we applied the same energy conservation techniques to our driving, with significant results! The car had about 3 miles of range left when the drive was completed. We travelled 501km on a single charge. Let that sink in for a minute.

"The security seal was applied to the charge port door when we started the journey. As this is being done as part of the Global Green Challenge, we have a full set of official verifiers here who will attest to the results and to achieving the outcome. We were followed along the journey by our support crew and a documentary film crew - so we have it on film.

"It's late here and we have another 541k to drive (with an intermediate charge stop) tomorrow - and another two days of the event left after that. When we're done, we will have driven over 3000 km's in the Roadster over the course of only six days, from Darwin to Adelaide.

About Tesla

Tesla Motors' goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla sells cars online and has delivered about 900 Roadsters to customers. Tesla operates galleries in California's Silicon Valley and Los Angeles; New York; Seattle; Boulder, Colorado; London and Munich.

Tesla achieved overall corporate profitability in July, thanks to strong demand for the Roadster. The all-electric sports car is faster than Porsche 911 or Audi R8 yet is six times as efficient as conventional sports cars. Tesla services cars in its galleries and through "house calls" so owners can enjoy hassle-free service without leaving their home or office.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The commercial launch of fast charging batteries is just a matter of a couple of years. Some bright heads at MIT have found a clever method to considerably accelerate charging times already a few months ago. It actually surprises me how few people are aware of this.

      With this new battery technology we're talking about a few minutes for a full charge, not hours. (A couple of seconds for a mobile phone btw.)

      Once the battery issue out of the way one would then need to expand the network of charging outlets. Cities like Paris already have quite a few scattered around the city and in the suburbs with free charge and free parking, at least for the time being. Then you'd need to add outlets at petrol stations on the motorway.

      Mind you. This is neither something from utopia nor some exotic pipe dream. It is definitely feasible. The main obstacle, as always in matters of alternative energy policies, is the willingness (or lack thereof) of everybody. Petrol is a quick buck with a multi-trillion $ backing, whereas the profit from power from solar and wind farms usually rolls a bit slower. However, the oil reserves WILL be depleted in a very near future if we keep wasting it on 19th century technology.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and 244 mile range is an either/or choice, you sadly can't have both.True - on the same charge. But the same is true for the 8.5 second 0-60 time and 500+ mile range on my 2009 Jetta TDI. The fact that the range is shortened if you go drag-racing your Tesla doesn't mean that you don't also have a car with practical range for those times when you need it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree up until the last sentence. The recharge time (and availability) kills the practical range. I can drive my ICE car from one end of the country to the other, only making brief stops to refill the car and myself (also empty myself). Can't do that with an EV.

        I don't want this to come off as me knocking EVs and their range. The Tesla's range will serve you well 300+ days of the year. I was addressing "for those times when you need it". For those times that I need it, it's often beyond the range of even the Tesla.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was informed by someone on the Apteraforum that if you really factor in the distance, the travel time and the time to recharge the Tesla, it would be about 3 times slower than the Aptera given the same parameters.

      And when considering the price, the range, the efficiency, and overall speed from point A to point B, normalizing for total time (including recharge) per unit distance traveled, and the cost of power per unit distance, the Aptera is by far the better vehicle than the Tesla.

      And rumors are 0-62 times can be as low as 8 seconds if you drive with 1 person.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it wrong for a rich and successful man to have a sugarbabe? Is it right that he falls in loves with a charming girl? It's human nature for him to have a younger and more attractive partner!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if they can build technology to make you drive in a more fuel efficient way. Of course that might be a safety hazard, so maybe if they used technology to teach you to drive better and score you. So it became a competition of sorts!

      • 5 Years Ago
      So what was the average speed and just how long did it take them? Were they both in the car at the same time? Using one driver would have made it lighter. Where are the details?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Weighing 125 punds I think I could squeeze the battery a buch of miles more ;-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Big deal, My F150 goes twice that far without even trying !

      yeah I know - not the same - but didn't the Solectra Sunrise go 375 a long time ago?

        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi Rick,

        I do believe that you are correct -- and it did it without fancy lithium batteries...


        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, you're just blowing smoke!

        (Ok, just to be clear, I meant that literally, not figuratively.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Calculating the battery size, that's 24 * 12V * 90ah = 26kWh. That's half the battery size of the Roadster.

        I guess the coefficient of drag has a lot to do with it. It is only 0.17 on the Sunrise.

        On the Roadster it's 0.35 if I remember correctly. Frontal area looks about the same.

        Of course the Sunrise was just a prototype so it's a bit different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tesla's PR department should learn the difference between quick and fast. The Tesla Roadster is most definitely not faster than a 911 or R8.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed. Quick and fast are different. At 3.7 seconds 0-60, the Roadster (in sport trim) is extremely, extremely quick. With a 125 mph top speed, it is no where even close to being one of the fastest cars on the road. Fast enough to land you in a jail cell? Yes. Faster than a Porsche, let alone most even semi-sporty cars? No.

        Dave -- keep in mind that for those real driving results you linked to, people are almost always driving the car in standard mode. That gives you access to the middle 80% of the battery capacity. The top 10% of the charge doesn't get filled, and the bottom 10% doesn't get used. To get the EPA-estimated 244 miles of range, you charge and drive the car in range mode, which, as far as the car leads you to believe, is giving you use of 100% of the battery from all the way full to all the way empty. Staying in the middle 80% makes for a longer battery life though, and is what owners use all of the time unless they specifically need to push the range capability for some reason.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LMAO, You do understand that they have unlimited Torque across the entire powerband right? Getting belts strong enough is the issue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      nice picture of ....an electric car on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes didn't the guys think for a moment that this would have given a bit image? Why not take a pic of the car over taking a truck or just a pic of the car in motion on the road???
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd like to know what their average speed was.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder what the 'lowest' millage charge would be if a driver completely abused the Tesla Roadster in an attempt to drain it as quickly as possible - w/ AC, Radio, Wipers, etc. all on.

      I'm sure that isn't a good stat for Tesla marketing purposes, but I'm certainly curious.

      I follow ABG regularly, and I don't think I've seen that number posted in the past... correct me if I'm wrong. (w/ link, please)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jeremy Clarkson tells us that driving the Tesla on their track, they would have run out of juice after 55 miles (about 5:01 left in this video).


        That's being driven about as hard as is mechanically possible, on max throttle or max brake at all times, and with the light and wind-shield wipers (and the heater? It looks like a pretty cool day) on. And of course pushing water out of the way of the tires, and water droplets on the body will all increase resistance as well. I think given the ABG result of 93 miles, getting any lower than 55 would be quite a challenge.

        Of course at that kind of pace the added drain from the domestic loads would be pretty much a rounding error.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Jeremy Clarkson tells us that driving the Tesla on their track, they would have run out of juice after 55 miles"

        Jeremy Clarkson also admitted, under pressure, that the whole thing was a fake. They never ran out of juice, but just assumed it would happen at 55 miles. Why they couldn't be bothered to drive 55 miles to prove their assumption is beyond me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ABG reported in January of last year that Autoweek managed to get only 93 miles of spirited driving on public roads.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for the link - Although, that shows 'real' millage vs. 'marketing hype' millage and still doesn't show the 'total abuse' millage.

        I suppose most Tesla owners don't want to submit their babies to such rigorous testing.

        Maybe I will just have to wait for Top Gear to get their hands on the 2010 roadster --- and hope that this time they don't stage the show and fudge the numbers.

        • 5 Years Ago
        This is as meaningful as a VW Jetta TDI getting 59 mpg on an economy run by the Taylor team. No real person will ever get this range. Frankly, I don't want to see the worst. I am reminded of the Car and Driver Frugal Olympics comparison when a Prius got less than 20 mpg on the race track along with its competitors. Meaningless. Maybe someone should run it through the DOT fuel economy cycle and just give a range for standard city and highway.
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