tesla cannonball run
Driving coast-to-coast in a Tesla, normalized by distance.
High Score
This is a list of all known and documented Tesla Cannonball records. It is current as of the date above.

1. Dec 28, 2017: Driving 56.88 mph, charging N/A seconds/mile

2. Jul 1, 2017: Driving 54.6 mph, charging N/A seconds/mile

3. Jun 18, 2016: Driving 54.4 mph, charging 14.3 seconds/mile (#1 Charging Rate)

  • URL: http://teslacannonball.run
  • Team: Alexei Lebedev & Dmitry Paperny
  • Path: 3,100 miles: Petaluma, CA to Battery Park City, New York
  • Total time: 56:56:48
  • Car: 2016 Tesla P90D. Highway MPGe: 98
  • Gps proof: Yes
  • Charging data: Yes
  • Total Charging Time: 12:22

4. Aug 24, 2016: Driving 52.3 mph, charging 17.22 seconds/mile

5. Apr 16, 2015: Driving 51.1 mph, charging 15.3 seconds/mile

  • URL: http://jalopnik.com/they-drove-a-tesla-from-la-to-new-york-in-a-record-58-h-1699782187
  • Team: Carl Reese, Deena Mastracci, Rodney Hawk, Anthony Alvarado , Johnnie Oberg, Matt Nordenstrom
  • Support Equipment: Chevy Suburban
  • Path: 3,011 miles: City Hall, Los Angeles to City Hall, New York
  • Total Time: 58:55:00
  • Car: Tesla P85D. Highway MPGe: 98
  • Gps proof: Yes
  • Charging data: No
  • Total Charging Time: 12:48 (Drafted behind the Chevy Suburban to increase range)
  • Top Records
The story of a record

It's a pretty simple one: Alexei needed to get his new car from the factory to its new home. He asked his friend Dmitry to help drive it across the US. During the preparations we came up with an idea to try to drive (and charge) faster than the current fastest EV Cannonball Run record.

We drove 3,100 miles in 56:56:48, for a total average speed of 54.4 mph.

Our speed record stood for more than a year.

Our charging record still stands at #1. This is despite the fact that we drove 250 more miles than anyone else!

The previous record (by date), 3,011 miles in 58:55:00, was set by Carl Reese, Deena Mastracci and Rodney Hawk with the help of 3 more support drivers. The record before that was 67:21:00, set by car gurus at Edmunds.com

Alex Roy and 2 co-drivers recently drove 2,877 miles in 55:00:00, for a total average speed of 52.3 mph.

Below is the story of our trip and the enclosed data sets. You can download the GPS data and the trip log spreadsheet at the bottom of the page

Our route

Our tools

Hour -24: Flight from EWR to SFO
San Francisco International Airport

We fly from EWR to SFO to take delivery of the model S at the Tesla Fremont Delivery Center. Alexei bought it sight unseen after doing internet research.

Hour -15: The slightly belated test drive
Tesla Fremont Delivery Center

We take the factory tour, impressed by all the Kuka robots juggling Tesla parts. Both Model S and Model X are made here, and our car rolled off of this assembly line 6 days prior. No pictures are allowed inside, and so we didn't take any.

Alexei listens to instructions on how to open the trunk. Thank you, Tesla delivery specialist.

Alexei tries the autopilot. The autopilot is now tried and tested.

Ludicrous mode acceleration impressions. First, it hits you and splatters you against the seat. Time stops. You get tunnel vision, the world begins to distort like in a movie zoom effect. Closest comparable feeling is pulling Gs in an acrobatic aeroplane.
— Alexei
Hour -12: Can a supercharger be offline?
Tesla Fremont Delivery Center

Waiting for Alexei to finish the paperwork, Dmitry is engrossed in the "Our Inevitable World Domination" map and the Tesla gift shop. No salespeople pushing expensive options or "finance managers" trying to squeeze a few extra bucks. The internet does all that.

The red Tesla hat reminds me of a certain political campaign prop, except this one says ‘America is already pretty great’
— Dmitry
Hour -10: What if we get a flat?
Tesla Fremont Delivery Center

Apparently, Alexei is the first person from New York to take delivery of his car at this factory. Alexei helps the delivery specialist figure out the cross-state tax rebate paperwork. We purchase a flat-tire kit from Tesla service center nearby and leave Fremont.

Hour -5: It takes less than a week to charge this car.
Sonoma Mountain

At Dmitry's mother-in-law's house in Penngrove, we discover the wall charging rate: an encouraging 3 miles per hour. Plug your car in on Monday, you can have it ready by the weekend for that long trip!

Hour 0: The start.
Petaluma Hill Rd & Roberts Rd

We've miscalculated and are not starting that fresh. Alexei has various plans that involve driving in 8-hour shifts and getting tired out of phase thanks to strategic ingestion of melatonin. These plans are   laughable and will be ignored.

At the first street light, we take an iPhone timestamp shot, start the Raah.co GPS tracker and post these to our Facebook group.

Hour 1: The Premium Outlets
Vacaville Supercharger

ALEXEI: We are following the list of supercharger stops provided by evtripplanner.com. The first suggested top-up is at the ironically named Vacaville Premium Outlets. We charge for 11 minutes.

DMITRY: I don't think we needed that charging stop since we had to stop by before the big climb up to the Donner Pass anyway. On-the-job training.

Counter-intuitive fact: Tesla is loudest when it’s parked. During charging, battery cooling fans kick in, and it sounds like the car is revving up. When driving at speed, all you hear is a faint electrical whine
— Alexei
Hour 3: Rocklin to Donner Pass and Lake Tahoe
Donner Pass Supercharger

Driving up Sierra Nevada on I-80 we encounter the only stretch of bad weather for the entire trip. It's foggy, raining and 47 degrees. It quickly gets so cold that the car warns us that we need to get to a charger as soon as possible. Still about 15 mountanous miles to go to the Donner Pass Supercharger.

Hour 5: America is big
Somewhere in the United States

ALEXEI: I am surprised how far ahead the Tesla software is. It really exposes all the pretend improvement activity other car manufacturers engage in. Superkudos for that. I am only slightly disappointed in Tesla for not offering an all-synthetic interior. I don't need my interior to be wrapped in strips of processed cow.

DMITRY: Model X has an all-cloth interior option. Just saying.

Hour 8: Speeding is punished
Elko, NV

ALEXEI: We get pulled over for going 1-10 miles over the speed limit in a 75mph zone. Cops are suspicious of an out-of-state car without plates. We were warned about this kind of thing. In reality, they just want to talk about our car: "Do you like it?" We were not warned about this kind of thing. We lose 12 minutes.

DMITRY: First of all, I've never seen a more sophisticated police cruiser. It was something out of a near-future sci-fi thriller, or FOX's "24". It had enought blinking lights to power a midsize rave party, plus radars, lidars, midars and other ars. We saw no other highway partol cars in the entire state of Nevada, but here near Elko there were at least 6 units within a 10-mile radius. We are given a dollar ticket for going 7 miles over the speed limit, and the ticket is presented to me and signed for on an iPad. Now it all makes sense – that's how Elko police has a nice budget.

I'm offered to contest the ticket by showing up in front of a Judge at Elko Municipal Court on July 18th. I pencil the date in in my "Yeah, sure" calendar.

Hour 12: Utah has the highest legal speed limit of the trip
Bonneville Salt Flats

You can drive 80 mph on the stretch from the Nevada border to Salt Lake City, passing through Bonnevile Salt Flats where speed records are made

ALEXEI: We are 800 miles in, and averaging 375Wh/mi. Fellow Tesla owners report a lifetime average of about 350Wh/mi. Some of the difference can be explained by the elevation change. Plus an extra motor, 2 people in the car, etc.

Hour 14: We may be using the wrong map
Price Supercharger, Utah

I don't think there are railroads on Pluto.

Hour 17: The tip
Grand Junction Tesla Supercharger

ALEXEI: Grand Junction is the longest charging stop of the trip: the next leg is 181 miles; I'll be spending over an hour here. It's 11:30pm; Dmitry is sleeping, or maybe trying to sleep. At the charger to my left is Joe, whom I met back at Price (162 miles west) and who drives around with a puppy dog. To my right is a guy in a Model X. We all talk, because this is what Tesla owners do at superchargers: they belong to a social club of people charging their Teslas. There are still very few of them and they are curious about each other. In a few years, people will be interested in other Tesla owners no more than they're interested in other business class passengers today. But today, everyone talks.

The charge rate is slow: I have another 45 minutes remaining, thanks to my neighbors gobbling up all the electricity. This is when Joe tells me about this very special supercharger which sits nicely halfway between Grand Junction and my next stop. All I have to do is get off the highway at Glenwood springs, drive just two miles up a mountain, and there I'll find it. I thank Joe and take his business card, which reveals him to be organicman123 at some domain (names changed to protect identities). Should I follow our carefully planned stop list prepared weeks in advance? Of course not! Local knowledge always trumps generic plans. I thank the organic man and take off.

DMITRY: Let's see: Joe the Organic Man traveling in a Tesla filled to the ceiling with sacks of something, with a pit bull inside, going from Oregon to Colorado, says he's done this trip many many times... Something tells me that this was a business trip. Stay classy, Joe.

Hour 19: The low point
Glenwood Springs Supercharger

ALEXEI: Glenwood Springs: The parking lot is full, there are Dodge Vipers everywhere. The supercharger is not easy to see. When I find it, every charging spot is occupied by a Viper. The supercharger is a new design -- the one that lights up -- but it hasn't been hooked up yet, so it's dark. I look at the map: I am out of range of all existing superchargers. I need to find a wall outlet; in 9 hours I will get the 27 RMs that I need. My muddled mind tries to conjure up the words I'll use to explain how this was a good idea.

Since I'm still beating the schedule by 20 minutes, I attempt some creative parking. The supercharger works. Thank you, organicman123! I enter the stop times in the spreadsheet, wake Dmitry, and go to sleep.

Hour 23: Moonlit drive through the Rockies
Colorado Rocky Mountains

DMITRY: The road from Utah to Colorado was all super-windy mountains; rolling from side to side on every turn was not helping to fall asleep. And so I didn't. When I started driving through Beaver Creek, Vail and Breckenridge, my spirits were low. 

I engaged the Autopilot. Even with hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, a part of your brain is less stressed about making driving decisions when Autopilot is on. Yes, I had to take over every few minutes, as Autopilot would get confused by pretty much anything from the orange safety cones to shifting lane markings to concrete dividers, but it still helped in a huge way.

Once the sun rises I realise just how much Colorado there is east of Denver.

Hour 26: Kanorado
Kanorado, KS

ALEXEI: On the border between Colorado and Kansas lies the town of Kanorado. Just thought you might want to know that. We did not stop there

DMITRY: The wind was so strong in Kansas that Dorothy's Tesla's on-board trip planner warned us that we have to slow down if we want to get to the next Supercharger. We slowed down, turned off AC and used other tricks to try to conserve energy, but all to no avail: the system warnings grew more insistent. As we had no Plan B (pretty much the M.O. of the entire trip), we had to improvise. Luckily there was no shortage of big rigs on that stretch of the highway, so we drafted behind one that was travelling at a decent speed for about 35 minutes. This saved a few kilowatts and we made it to the next charger with energy to spare.

Hour 35: Still driving
Blackwater, MO

Nothing to say. Where are we? What are we?

Hour 44: A new roadside brand
Dayton Tesla Supercharger

McDonalds, Comfort Inn, Motel 6, Chipotle... Tesla.

Hour 51: You still have to do the driving
Somewhere between Somerset and Harrisburg

ALEXEI: Tesla's Autopilot is two things: a cruise control and a lane keeping unit. Its single-camera system cannot detect street lights.

Lane keeper's ideal environment is the New Jersey Turnpike. In other situations, it can be unpredictable and has a deceptively soft "ding dong" sound, which it makes as it leaves you to clean up a mess. I had mine cross the double yellow line, then correct sharply to the right and give up. Once, it couldn't see any cars because of sun glare. Its steering is jittery at 80mph, it appears optimized for lower speeds. When it doesn't see lane markings, it follows the car ahead instead. If that car is driving unevenly, so will you.

Cruise control uses a radar, which is very accurate and usable, but it also has its bugs. It can accelerate around curves, sensing an open road when in fact there are cars stopped just yards ahead.

DMITRY: This review was not written at hour 51. It was written two weeks after the trip, but neither of us can remember what happened at hour 51.

Hour 52: Submarine mode?
Tesla Supercharger Somerset

Having crossed a good 150 bridges we learned that we could have shaved off at least an hour by skipping a few... Alas, Musk's tweet is a little too late.

ALEXEI: Umm, no. But here's how to change your Tesla into a submarine.

DMITRY: It requires the Air Suspension option apparently. You should have "sprung" for one :) I did feel that the ride was on the stiff side at times. Especially when trying to sleep.

ALEXEI: Actually spring suspension is considered more lively.

Hour 54: The traffic
New Jersey I-78

DMITRY: With 2 more states and a few hours to go, we hit a traffic jam at the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel in Pennsylvania. It gets completely shut down for about 30 minutes as soon as we pull up. Next, I-78 turns bright red on Waze and Google Maps. We bypass it using side roads, apparently saving close to an hour. Thanks, Waze!

Next forehead-slapping moment awaits at the Holland Tunnel toll booth, where we realize we don't have an EZPass. We consider just driving through an EZPass lane, but without valid license plates, there is nowhere to mail the ticket, this looks suspiciously like fare evasion. We sit in the painful cash line instead.

Hour 56: Finish Line
Battery Park City, New York

ALEXEI: And here's the finish line timestamp (and Dmitry's hairy arm). We travelled 3,100 miles in 56 hours, 56 minutes and 48 seconds. The Tesla screen shows that we're in lower Manhattan.

DMITRY: I believe the correct term is "follicle-endowed appendage." Also, while it may appear that I can't stand straight in the following picture – taken just after we got out of the car – it's an optical illusion caused by standing next to someone a good 7 inches taller than you. Essentially a parallax effect.

Oh, and this is the first and only stop without charging. We arrived with 42 RM in the battery (20 city miles).

That's it!
New York City

Thanks for reading! And many, many thanks to our families for putting up with this crazy stunt, actually agreeing to let us do it, and cheering us all along. Special thanks to Arthur Migdal for writing scripts used to analyze the gps data.

We'll keep you posted on our next great adventure: "Finding a monthly parking space in Manhattan for less than the price of the car you want to park there."

The Data

Follow these links to download associated data sets.

Any speeding implied by the GPS coordinates and timestamps is to be considered an error for enforcement purposes ;-)

The Charging Bull: main spreadsheet where we record all stops, rated mile readings, and in/out times (pdf)

Gps tracker data: time, latitude, longitude and altitude (csv)