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Tesla Model S Owner Drives from Texas to Panama

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/14/2014 Christian Seabaugh

Randy Denmon isn’t your average Tesla Model S owner. While many Model S owners spend their time zipping around town, or cruising from supercharger to supercharger, Denmon had grander plans for his Tesla. Wanting to prove that electricity is a viable alternative to gas-powered transit, Denmon and his buddy Dean Lewis pointed their Model S south and kept going until they had almost hit the Panama Canal 18 days later.


While many long distance journeys -- including Tesla’s recent Los Angeles to New York City road trip -- involve a slew of support vehicles, Denmon and Lewis did it alone, with nothing but a spare tire and a bag of electrical adapters. “One of the purposes of the trip was to prove the durability and viability of EV cars, especially in areas where the infrastructure is not in place for rapid charging,” said Denmon in a release. “Having support for this would have undermined the effort, and made it much easier.”

Denmon and Lewis’ days were long, and charging the Tesla Model S 85 reportedly proved challenging as well. The duo reported encountering a handful of 18-hour days, in which they spent half the day cruising around at 25 mph on poor road surfaces, before spending a few more hours after that finding a hotel and place to charge the Tesla.

“We wired up at some interesting places," said Denmon. “Twice, we wired directly to 240 volt power without a plug.”

Tesla Model S Side In Mexico© Provided by MotorTrend Tesla Model S Side In Mexico

The Tesla Model S road trip, which began in McAllen, Tx. ended in Panama City, Panama. Denmon and Lewis spent 18 days on the road and covered 2846 miles on their journey. Denmon says he and Lewis would’ve taken the Model S further, but the Darien Gap in the Pan-American Highway can’t be crossed by the Tesla (or much else, really).

The same journey in a gas-powered car would’ve covered 2430 miles, and only consisted of 49 hours of driving, according to Google Maps.

Despite the arduous journey, Denmon is apparently already planning his next trip in his Model S, which will apparently be longer than his Texas-to-Panama adventure.

Stay tuned for YouTube clips of the trip.


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