Tesla shaves range gap between gas, electric cars

roadsterOne of the most consistent criticisms of electric cars is that they’ll never compete with gas-powered cars in terms of their range capabilities. Yet the gap between how far you can go in an gas-powered car and an EV is closing quickly with Tesla Motors leading the charge — the electric charge, that is.

A Tesla Roadster pushed the limits of distance in Australia’s 2009 Global Green Energy Challenge in October.

The fully-electric Tesla set a world record for 501 kilometers (313 miles) driven on one charge during the competition. That’s as far as a gas-powered car with a 12-gallon tank getting 26 miles per gallon on average could travel before having to tank up again.

The electric vehicle was entered and driven by . It was co-driven by Emilis Prelgauskas.

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The record-setting stretch was from Alice Springs in central Australia to a point on the Stuart Highway 183 kilometers (114 miles) north of Coober Pedy.

The run was strictly supervised. The electric charge door was security sealed before Hackett set out, and the Tesla was accompanied by a monitoring vehicle while on the road.

Upon completion of the 300 mile journey Hackett said, “As we drive across this magnificent country we felt our understanding of the driving potential of the Tesla grew. As our confidence increased we knew we could achieve something amazing. We are thrilled to have achieved the world record and are enjoying our drive and the adventure of being involved in the 2009 Global Green Challenge”.

The Global Green Energy Challenge is an annual event to showcase and test ecologically-friendly vehicles. It involves a 3,000 kilometer (1,864 mile) drive from the city of Darwin in northern Australia to the southern city of Adelaide. The 2009 race took about 79 hours for the participants to complete.

The Global Green Energy Challenge has two categories of competitors: the World Solar Challenge for entirely solar-powered vehicles, and the Eco Challenge for manufactured environmentally-friendly cars and experimental vehicles.

The teams participating in the Challenge included universities from around the world, like the University of Michigan, University New South Wales, and Tokai University in Japan. There are also teams from professional solar and electric firms and private individuals.

Visit http://globalgreenchallenge.com.au/ for more information