It's not exactly the Cannonball Run, but, hey, it's for a good cause.

Men's Health is looking to set what it says will be a coast-to-coast record-time drive in an electric vehicle while raising money for military families when it sponsors the drive of a Ford Focus Electric in its so-called Electric Car Challenge across the country starting next week.

Top Gear USA co-host Tanner Foust, IndyCar racer Martin Plowman, ex-Navy SEAL commander Coleman Ruiz and Miss Indiana 2009 Nicole Pollard will be among the road-trippers who will depart New York City on April 11 in a Focus Electric loaned out by Ford and make what looks to be a 10- to 12-day trip across the country. The drivers, who expect to recharge the car every 40 to 55 miles, are shooting for getting to Santa Monica Pier by April 22, which is Earth Day.

Speed won't be paramount since highway driving tends to drain an EV's battery at a quicker rate, and the drivers will be looking to readers and other supporters with a 240-volt electric supply to string their power supply across the country, since much of the nation doesn't have an electric-vehicle charging infrastructure in place (yet). Of course, having a recent Miss Indiana along for the ride probably won't hurt that effort.

Along the way, Men's Health, which is owned by Rodale, will raise money for Carry the Load, a foundation supporting families of U.S. military members killed in combat. Ruiz is executive director of the organization.

The Ford Focus Electric started sales on the U.S. East and West Coasts in November, though won't be available nationwide until this September. Ford, which is base-pricing the car at $39,200 before the $7,500 federal tax credit, has said the car can go as far as 100 miles on a single charge.
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Men's Health Reinvents the American Road Trip

Team of drivers-including IndyCar and American Le Mans racer Martin Plowman and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust-will establish coast-to-coast "speed" record in a 2012 Ford Focus Electric.

The goal: To go fast-by slowing down.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Men's Health, the world's largest men's magazine, announced today the launch of its 2012 Electric Car Challenge, a cross-country adventure designed to help maximize the potential of electric vehicles (EV's), create a healthier, more satisfying, and more exciting road trip experience, and raise money for an important cause. The cross-country course will begin in New York City and end in Los Angeles.

"We created the Electric Car Challenge to demonstrate a more eco-friendly approach to the road trip that will have a positive effect on you, your wallet, and the environment."
The team will leave the New York International Auto Show on April 11 and will stop between 40 and 55 times to recharge the battery of its 2012 Ford Focus Electric, a new electric car that recently earned a 110 mile-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating from the EPA for city driving. This makes it the most efficient 5-seater in the U.S. With each charging stop taking between 2 and 4 hours-and with the drivers progressing in shifts around the clock-the team expects to arrive at Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles 10 to 12 days after the Challenge commences, possibly arriving on Earth Day, April 22. At that point, they will establish the record for the fastest coast-to-coast drive in an electric car, creating a target for others to beat as battery technology improves and charging options expand.

"With gas prices expected to reach nearly $5 per gallon this summer, the Great American Road Trip is poised for a Great American Renaissance," said David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health. "We created the Electric Car Challenge to demonstrate a more eco-friendly approach to the road trip that will have a positive effect on you, your wallet, and the environment."

Though it will use public and commercial charging stations, the team will crowd-source most of the trip, inviting readers and supporters to help make the record possible by offering their 240v, 40-amp outlets, such as those typically installed for clothes dryers. To fulfill the mission of reinventing the American road trip, the drivers will fill the charging periods with exciting, life-changing experiences that you can't enjoy when racing down the highway-they'll be engaged adventures, exercise and fitness challenges, culinary pursuits, environmental missions, and more. All of these will benefit readers thanks to a steady stream of surprising tips and advice across a wide range of subjects. The team will provide updates at menshealth.com/ElectrifyUS, and via Twitter at @MHTechLust (#ElectrifyUS). The team will check in with FourSquare at every stop, and followers are encouraged to come out to meet the team, work out with them, and perhaps score some t-shirts.

According to Eric Adams, a team member and senior editor at the magazine, one of the hardest parts of planning the challenge was simply convincing Ford to loan Men's Health the car for this unorthodox test. "The Focus Electric is designed for urban commuting, so we're asking the car to do something it wasn't intended to do," said Adams, who will be the first journalist to drive the Focus Electric. "We commend Ford for their willingness to put their faith in our planning skills and efficient driving."

In addition to Adams, the team consists-at varying points during the drive-of X-Games gold medalist Tanner Foust, co-host of Top Gear USA; IndyCar and American Le Mans racer Martin Plowman; and former Navy SEAL commander Coleman Ruiz, executive director of Carry the Load, a foundation that supports the families of U.S. soldiers who've been killed in combat. The team will raise money for the foundation throughout the drive. Also on board for several days each, to provide different perspectives on the road-trip experience: Men's Health Girl Next Door columnist Naomi Piercey, Miss Indiana 2009 Nicole Pollard; and Carry the Load spokesmodel Katie Cwynar.

The team's route-extending to Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and Los Angeles, and all points in between-will maximize driving efficiency. While this is a "speed record," no speed limits will be broken, since high speed taxes the battery. The car will mostly be off-highway in order to extend its range and offer better experiences for the team. For safety and practicality reasons, the drivers will have a Ford F-150 EcoBoost support vehicle, which will permit teams to proceed ahead of the Focus to help ensure all the drivers receive full night's sleep daily. The trip will be analyzed and rendered carbon-neutral using ignition's iSES™ sustainability program, via offset donations provided by Carbonfund.org.

Ultimately, the team's true goal is simply to have fun. "We want to see what kind of great experiences we can stitch together while our car is charging," Adams notes. "It's not a fair challenge, of course-the infrastructure for fast, easy charging doesn't exist yet. But that's why we're doing it. If the infrastructure was there, what fun would that be?"

About Men's Health (www.menshealth.com)

Men's Health is the go-to source for men seeking the latest information and expert advice in their pursuit of a healthy and active lifestyle. Published 10 times a year in the U.S. by Rodale, Men's Health is the best-selling men's magazine on newsstands and provides its 12 million readers with up-to-the-minute information on health, fitness, fashion, nutrition, relationships, travel, technology and finance. Men's Health is the largest men's lifestyle magazine brand in the world, offering 40 global editions, a host of smartphone apps, as well as branded books, eBooks and microsites. The magazine has garnered numerous industry accolades, winning National Magazine Awards in the general excellence and personal service categories as well as being deemed by Media Industry Newsletter as the "#1 Most Notable Magazine Launch of the Last 25 Years." Men's Health has also appeared on Advertising Age's "A List" and Adweek's "Hot List." For up-to-date news from Men's Health, visit www.menshealth.com, and get instant updates on Twitter (@MensHealthMag) and Facebook (Men's Health).

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50225768⟨=en

Contacts

For Men's Health
Kate Bittman, 212.808.1676
Kate.Bittman@rodale.com
or
Emily Weber, 212.297.1525
Emily.Weber@rodale.com
or
Kateri Benjamin, 212.573.0510
Kateri.Benjamin@rodale.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another electric road trip: 'Electric vehicle manufacturer Venturi is to venture 4,800km in its electric Citroen Berlingo conversion (as supplied to the French Post Office, but with extra batteries) across Africa. The team will leave on May 11th, 2012 from Nairobi, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. The journey will wind its way through the parks and nature reserves of Tanzania and Zambia, along the edge of Lake Victoria, then through the Okavango Delta to Botswana, finally reaching Johannesburg in South Africa. ' http://www.thechargingpoint.com/news/Venturi-electric-car-to-journey-across-Africa.html
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, they this will make EV's look bad. If you look at the Tesla motors club boards, one guy drove his Roadster ALONE, visiting friends and family from Fremont, CA to Boston, MA in 11 days and he wasn't trying for any speed records for EVs. While I commend supporting military families, that is a noble cause, but using a car that is not designed for long distance travel is stupid. This would be similar to taking a Ferrari on an off roading camping trip (you are going to have to take the "long way" to avoid ditches,debris, and make multiple trips because a Ferrari is not meant to haul things and then publicizing it. I would go so far as to say that this would be a detriment to the EV community and our military families. This little stunt by Ford/Top Gear will turn people off of EVs (I can see people saying "I can make the trip faster on a bicycle", Seriously divide 3000 miles by 11 days; they are averaging around 11 mph IF it takes them 11 days). This will cement our reliance on foreign oil and have your brave men and women go over to the middle east to fight to ensure we have a sufficient oil supply. Just use a Tesla Roadster, seriously. I heard you can rent one from Hertz.
        Greg
        • 3 Years Ago
        You know, sometimes you have to actually do a thing to understand all the problems properly. I don't mind the fact that they are trying it--sooner or later someone has to.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Greg
          I agree, you should know all the problems. But they should not kept it on the down low and not publicized it if it's the first time doing it.. 1. In terms of EV records, it will not be a record on any level so representing it as such is wrong. Roadster owners have already beaten the record 2. If their are problems, it's going to be highly publicized. 3. "Bumming" charges from readers and supports is not reality for the average EV user. I would not let a complete stranger into my garage If they were really wanted to do it to figure out the pitfalls; they should have had a team of engineers or interns that work for Ford- not an actor and a beauty queen. I think the Ford employees documentation would be "better", they would have to use public charge stations, like normal drivers and would identify any problems. Their current test is flawed on so many levels that would make it not an accurate way to drive cross country in an EV.
      kidcharlemgne
      • 3 Years Ago
      The concept and cause is cool, but calling it a record is false since it's already been done and done much faster: http://www.pluginroadtrip.com/washington-sf/
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yet another stupid rally that uses an EV exactly for what you are NOT supposed to use them for. :-(
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        To me it is almost like when they first invented cars. They would have races, with teams of mechanics following, as they were not very reliable. Although it doesn't seem great when they talk of all those recharges, it seems to me that the EV cat is out of the bag, and cheap gas or not, they aren't stuffing the cat back again! :)
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Mechanics following? Heck, the mechanic was often in the car, performing part of the task of operating the car while the driver drove. The mechanic was responsible for keeping the fuel system pressurized with a pump, among other things.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Mechanics following? Heck, the mechanic was often in the car, performing part of the task of operating the car while the driver drove. The mechanic was responsible for keeping the fuel system pressurized with a pump, among other things.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not sure why this is the thing to do. It only highlights the limitations/negatives of electric cars, and does not prop them up to show the good. I would suggest: 1) stop and go in the city efficiency versus equivalent gas cars. 2) acceleration tests, side by side with equivalent gas cars. 3) how much does it cost per mile versus filling up with gas. 4) interior noise volume tests. 5) hill climbing tests versus equivalent gas cars. I could go on. But if you want electric cars to sell, you need to highlight the many, many advantages.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        You ain't gonna stop it. It is the way human nature works, and just like the first trans-Atlantic flights, entirely impractical and outside of the performance envelope of planes at the time, will help to drive on electric cars to better performance. The new Tesla S when fast charge stations are available across the US should actually be able to set a fairly respectable time.
      MTN RANGER
      • 3 Years Ago
      They are planning to stop to charge 40-55 times, not every 40-55 miles. The unique aspect of this event is that they are planning to crowd-source their charging: "Though it will use public and commercial charging stations, the team will crowd-source most of the trip, inviting readers and supporters to help make the record possible by offering their 240v, 40-amp outlets, such as those typically installed for clothes dryers."
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        "They are planning to stop to charge 40-55 times, not every 40-55 miles" Coast-to-coast from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA is 2340 miles. That's actually 40-55 times, every 40-55 miles. So AB could be correct.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        What? ABG got something wrong? I am shocked! :|
      John R
      • 3 Years Ago
      I;m glad they're not using a generator truck ... keeping it fair and honest, and relying on the kindness of strangers :)
      karlInSanDiego
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another record will the be longest distance Tanner Foust has ever driven below the posted speed limit.
      SpeedyRacer
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder where they'll stow their luggage? The trunk in the Focus EV more closely resembles a glove box. Cargo space is almost non-existent.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a devilishly sly move by Ford for PR to push their C-Max line by sacrificing their EV line and EVs in general. Here are the facts so far: In 3 months they have sold 12 of these vehicles They will be be releasing a Volt-like hybrids this year They make them built to order so they don't have a huge amount of inventory invested I'm sure this is what went on in the meetings- Let's get some suckers (who may have good intentions) to take it cross country to completely destroy the reputation of EVs since we are losing sales to EVs and our own EV's aren't selling. This is corporate equivalent of a kid losing a board game and pounding his game piece down to destroy the game instead of bowing out gracefully.
        Greg
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ford is only working on the eFocus right now to keep up with the technology, not to actually make money off of them. They have already expressed that they aren't interested in competing in the EV market right now. The 'sales' so far are more like pre-orders combined with test/demo units. They said they would go on sale in late 2011, and they made these quasi-sales so that don't have to look bad by delaying the launch. But the reality is that even if you went to one of the places where it's supposedly on sale with a fistfull of cash, they won't sell you one until late this year.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Greg
          Exactly my point. If they aren't interested in "competing in the EV market" why have your EV make a coast to coast road trip? All this does is make EVs look bad- pure and simple. Why do it if you are not interested in competing in the market? If you were playing a sport, for myself it's golf, so if the person exposed themselves for not shoot past the women's tee, relieved themselves on the course, interfered with other players' balls, cheated, tackled other players, etc, etc) and publicized it and went on TV and represented their version as the "ideal version", and for golf said "I shot a record par 300 on 18 holes ...beat that " - I would be pretty upset. What would you call that person who made a mockery of it? That is similar to what Ford is doing, they have no interest in competing, but want to spoil the EV community. If you are going to make such a road trip, rent a Tesla Roadster, there's actually a "map" to show how to do it in 5 days.
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should add a gasoline car to this race and compare the time between the bev and the gasoline car to reach the destination and also take account of the motel bills.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        And then they will blow past the things that make a roadtrip great and memorable. If you ever watch a real Cannonball run or Gumball 3000, not too many are in it to 'win' the time portion, they are in it for the parties and the events.
      russellbgeister
      • 3 Years Ago
      Would have been better to wait for a Tesla model s with the big battery and instead of miss Indiana how about a playboy bunny.
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