We're doing something crazy this fall.
We're driving all over the United States in an electric car to explore how electric vehicles will change the experience of driving — and parking, and fueling, and other things you might not expect.
Because if you're like us, you've been wondering what the deal is with electric cars. Automakers say they're coming: Volkswagen pledged 70 new electric models within a decade, and Cadillac is supposed to be reborn as an electric brand. But the roads are still full of the same old gas cars. So ... are they coming or not? Is buying one worth it or just a hassle? Are they fun to drive?
We'll find out on the Electric Road Trip.
We're going to drive 6,000 miles around this beautiful country — a lot farther than today's electric cars are really designed to go. (Range anxiety? Yep, we're anxious!) We'll get behind the wheel of several electric models that are available today. We'll explore questions like: Do you save money driving one? How is charging a car different than filling it with gas? Does an EV actually help the climate? Or is it all just a lot of hype?
What we're finding is that EVs are going to change a lot more than just the kind of car you buy. The automobile has been running on gas for over 100 years, and when we start to switch to something else, a lot of other things start to shift. It changes how it feels to hit the pedal. It changes how you shop, where you park and the air we breathe. It alters how and where you spend time. It creates new kinds of jobs while sending others to the junkyard.
So, who is doing this trip, anyway?
We're reporters for E&E News. The two E's stand for energy and environment, so if you follow those topics closely, you've probably heard of us. If not, all you need to know is that we're good at making complicated things easy to understand and are committed to journalism, not opinions. We are a subscription-based news operation, but for the Electric Road Trip we're making our coverage available for free, including feature and investigative stories, a blog, a newsletter, and dashcam videos.
We reporters — a total of nine of us will take turns behind the wheel — are curious types who ask hard questions and find the answers. On the Electric Road Trip, we're taking almost two full months, September and October, to drive to the hidden corners and uncover how electric vehicles will change America.
We start in Texas, aka the "Nation-State of Gasoline," to explore how electric cars will transform the experience of fueling. Then to Tennessee, where there's a grassroots move to electric that surprises us. We'll zigzag through the Midwest to places like Detroit, where they've been making internal-combustion car engines forever. What changes when they start making electric cars instead? It's creating some winners, and yep, some losers too.
We'll go to Iowa in the heat of election season and see what the presidential candidates have to say about our electric ride. We'll traverse North Dakota, where there's almost no place to plug in an electric car. Are we worried about being stranded on the side of the road? In fact we are.
Then it's on to the West Coast, where we'll make lots of stops in California, where Tesla reigns supreme. We'll visit the places where pioneers are imagining that EVs could be the solution to all sorts of problems, from urban poverty to a polluted lake.