Behind the Wheel, Putting the Tesla to the Test
CNBC's Phil LeBeau on Tuesday did a one-day test drive of the Tesla Model S from Washington, D.C., to a suburb just outside Boston. He is not the first, nor will he be the last to recreate the same test drive that led to a very public spat between New York Times reporter John Broder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The big questions everyone wanted to know were: Would he make it to Boston? Was he worried?
"Model S test drive; range anxiety? Just a little," LeBeau Tweeted from the road.
"The Model S delivered what @elonmusk promised. A ride to make you re-think going electric," he Tweeted after completing the journey.
Here are Phil's dispatches from the road:
5:23 p.m. ET: LeBeau Tweets: "DONE! @TeslaMotors Model S Test Drive D.C. to Boston. 445 miles, 2 re-charging stops, and a trunkful of impressions on driving electric."
4:53 p.m. ET: What stands out from his trip?
This is a car that you can drive over long distances," he said, "but you have to manage where you're driving and how long you're driving in order to match what the expectation is in terms of battery power."
1:40 p.m. ET: After commenting on "range anxiety" in his last update, Phil put those concerns to rest at the Milford, CT charging station. If you know how far you're going, the car monitors how many more miles you have left. "There shouldn't be range anxiety if you know exactly how far you're going," Phil said. He also said that he'll be charging the car for about 45 minutes before he heads off on the last leg of the drive up to Boston.
11:14 a.m. ET: Phil filed this report halfway between Washington, D.C., and Boston. He's had two key observations. First, you have a bit of "range anxiety" when you get into the vehicle because you know how far you need to go and how far it can go. The other is that as you accelerate the response is immediate so you can develop a bit of "lead foot" if you aren't careful.
9:48 a.m. ET: Phil filed a live report on "Squawk on the Street" while driving shortly after he left the Tesla charging station in Newark, Del. (Yep, he's hands free!). He was just getting on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The next stop is Milford, Conn., about 185 miles away at the time of this update. That's where the next Tesla charging station is located.
8:28 a.m. ET: Phil pulled the Model S into Newark, Del., to plug the car into the Tesla charging stations there, which are part of the company's Supercharger Network.
His first impressions on the drive: "I'll be honest, it took me a while to get used to all the information, but once I did, the instrument panel was no more distracting than the center stack in any other car."'