Electric Road Trip – 4 days in a Tesla Model S

In July we will be taking a drive through through Southern Germany, the Swiss Alps and Austria. 1,600km over 4 days, taking in high speed German Autobahns, twisty Alpine passes and beautiful scenery. But this will be a road trip with a difference – we’ll be doing the journey in a Tesla Model S. For those who don’t know, the Tesla Model S is a large, luxury saloon car (or sedan in the US) which is 100% electric and can go over 250 miles on a charge.

Tesla Model S spotted in San Francisco
Tesla Model S spotted in San Francisco

The route

We are hiring the Model S from greenride.at, an Austrian company which is based in Vienna but offers Salzburg as one of its pick up locations.

Our route through the DACHS region
Our route through the DACHS region

Day 1

Starting from Salzburg on the first day, it’s an easy 3 hour drive to Nuremburg, where we will stop to see the castle and perhaps try the famous Nürnberger sausages for lunch. Then it’s on to Mannheim, where we will stay with an old friend who now lives in the area.

Day 2

On day two we will cruise down the Autobahn to Switzerland, finishing the day at the beautiful alpine resort of Interlaken.

Day 3

The next day will take in some of the most exciting driving, but not before we’ve taken in a visit to the Pilatusbahn, the world’s steepest cog railway. After lunch we’ll be taking on some of Switzerland’s most famous roads as we drive up the Susten Pass, the Grimsel Pass and finally the Furka Pass, finishing at an AirBnB in Breil. The Furka Pass was where James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 took on a Ford Mustang in the movie Goldfinger… let’s see how an electric car handles it!

Now that's a road...
Now that’s a road…

Day 4

On the last day it’s a mere 450km jaunt back to Salzburg, via Liechtenstein and Innsbruck.

What’s so special about the Tesla Model S?

The stated goal of Tesla Motors, the California-based maker of the Model S, is to “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport”. A worthy goal, but to most people, mention of electric cars still brings to mind golf carts, milk floats and boring cars that don’t go very fast and won’t go very far.

The Model S changes all that. The fastest version currently available, the P90D with Ludicrous Mode (yes, really), can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, making it quicker than almost any supercar off the line. It will also seat 5 adults and optionally 2 children in rear-facing seats in the back, making it practical as well as fast.

Test driving a Tesla in 2014
Test driving a Tesla in 2014

I’m not really a car guy – Ferraris and Lamborghinis leave me cold. Especially since learning about the Tesla – it makes any car powered by an internal combustion engine seem like a relic of another age, like something that belongs in a museum. But I do love a gadget, and the Model S has plenty of gadget appeal, with a huge 17 inch touchscreen built into the dashboard to control all the car’s functions, and Tesla’s groundbreaking “autopilot” technology which enables the car to drive itself.

But what really sets the Tesla apart is that it represents hope. Hope for a better future in which we don’t have to poison the air we breathe just to get from A to B. A future where the endless chugging of filthy diesel engines on London’s streets is finally silenced… well, I can dream, right?

Where will you plug it in?

Back to more everyday concerns… like how will we travel 1,600 km in an electric car without the battery running out and leaving us stranded halfway up a Swiss mountain? Well Tesla have thought of that and are building a network of “Superchargers” – their own special charging stations which can charge the car up to 80% in about 40 minutes. This means you can charge the car while stopping for a coffee or for lunch, and the best thing is that Superchargers are free to use. That means zero fuel costs for our trip!

Tesla Model S at a Supercharger
Tesla Model S at a Supercharger

Continue to Tesla Model S Road Trip – Day 1


1 thought on “Electric Road Trip – 4 days in a Tesla Model S”

  1. Thanks for your great blog James. The trip sounds fantastic – hope you get some good weather for it! Looking forward to the updates and following your progress!

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