One man’s road trip across California revealed many of the inconveniences of driving a non-Tesla electric car

Tesla Superchargers

  • CNBC reporter Brian Sullivan said he faced several difficulties charging his EV on his road trip.
  • Charging times took longer than he expected and the California heat took a toll on his car’s range.
  • Sullivan’s report comes just a week after another driver faced difficulties charging a Mach-E during a trip.

Electric cars may be the future of transportation, but they may not be the best option for a road trip quite yet.

During a trip across California, CNBC news anchor Brian Sullivanfound that long trips can become even more complicated when driving an electric car — in particular, one that isn’t a Tesla.

Sullivan took a Volvo Polestar electric car from Mountain Pass, California near the border of Nevada to San Francisco. In his interview, the news anchor detailed moments when the charging process took longer than he expected and the California mountains and heat put extra pressure on the battery’s range.

“On a road trip of more than 200 miles you are going to have to stop,” Sullivan said. “You may have to stop in an area that you don’t want to stop, where there’s not much to do, where the chargers are not as fast as advertised.”

Ultimately, Sullivan said he found that Tesla owners possess an advantage over other electric car drivers when it comes to charging infrastructure and taking longer road trips.



His experience comes just a week after another reporter came to a similar conclusion. Axios editor Dan Primack said he faced several difficulties during a recent trip from Boston to New York City — even having to stop four times to find a usable charging station for his Ford Mustang Mach-E.

While Primack struggled to find a non-Tesla charging station that could work with his Mach-E, Sullivan found that not only are Tesla stations more prevalent, they are often faster and afford drivers more comfort.

He pointed to the Tesla stations on the other side of the gas station. From his vantage point, the grass was greener on the other side where Tesla drivers relaxed under a solar roof and waited only 15 minutes for a full charge.

“On our trip we would have killed for air conditioning,” Sullivan said, explaining how he waited for 40 mins in triple-digit heat for the car to recharge.

Tesla stations can also provide more opportunities for entertainment. Some Tesla charging stations include lounges with coffee bars, vending machines, and Tesla merchandise. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has even considered building a charging station with a restaurant attached.



Ultimately, Sullivan said the best way to help drivers make the switch to electric cars is to turn stations into destinations.

“It’s actually a better real-estate play,” Sullivan said. “Give people a place to stop, shop. Give them something to do.”

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