Florida Professor Sets Electric Vehicle Record In Tesla Model S

The EPA says the Tesla Model S can manage 265 miles per charge, while Tesla says that number is more like 300. David Metcalf, a professor at the University of Central Florida has proved them both wrong by managing an electric vehicle record of 423.5 miles before the “Charge Now” light began to blink.

Metcalf set the electric vehicle record last week on a trip around the Florida panhandle with his 12-year-old son, Adam, as his co-pilot. The two didn’t just hop in the car and go, but very carefully planned their route to maximize their mileage.

They avoided interstates in favor of slower roads that took them through areas of central and southern Florida that are largely rural, although there were a few stretches of four-lane highway where they were definitely not in the fast lane. Their trip took them through wildlife parks and the Everglades, and no, they didn’t hypermile the trip in misery. It’s winter in Florida so it’s comfortable without the AC, especially at night when things can get down right chilly.

The trip took the pair 17 nonstop hours, the thought of which makes me bleary-eyed, but Metcalf says it just wasn’t a problem. He once ran a 26-hour marathon, so this stint was no big deal by comparison. Although, if you crunch the numbers, you’ll see this wasn’t just a long trip, but a very, very slow one that could have put the most caffeinated driver to sleep.

His average speed to set this electric vehicle record was a whopping 25 miles per hour.

Even more amazing is that he didn’t actually drain the battery down to nothing. Once the light started flashing, he pulled over and called AAA to tow the car home rather than risk running it dry and possibly damaging the battery. While he was waiting for the tow, he was still able to leave the car running with the AC on for 45 minutes.

Now, he just waits for his prize.

Back in May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he’d give a prize to the first 10 people to break 400 miles on one charge in a Tesla. The Guinness Book of World Records is currently in the process of validating the record, which breaks the old electric vehicle record of a measly 313 miles, and Musk is expected to announce the prize next week.

Metcalf says the prize doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, he’ll be donating it to the university’s Haiti relief efforts.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. When not drooling over cars, Nicole writes for Wired’s GeekMom.