Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Young Tesla fan plans cross country road trip to visit Tesla factory
For many, the cross country road trip is a right of passage. For nine year old Oliver, it is a dream that became an award winning math project. A dream that just may become reality in the summer of 2016. Oliver’s dream is to travel from his home in Durham, North Carolina to visit the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, California and then home.
This cross country trip would be done in the family’s Tesla Model S. The trip would strategically follow a route along Tesla’s supercharger network. A network of chargers that enables quick charges of the Tesla high capacity battery packs. Along the the way, he would visit some great destinations including New Orleans, the Houston Space center, Route 66, Tucson aircraft boneyards, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite Park, San Francisco and more.
The Math Project
A trip of this magnitude requires lots of planning. Of course, you could take the easy way out and plan the entire trip using the Tesla’s onboard computer. Instead, Oliver decided to do it “old school” and would plan the trip using only a map of the nation, pencils, paper, and the mathematics that he knew. The additional data he needed were the locations of the superchargers, the maximum range of the family’s Tesla on a charge, the best charging practice for such travel, and the maximum time his father would drive in a day. Armed with this information, Oliver proceeded with this project which he titled “Tesla Coast to Coast.”
The project took Oliver a month of Saturdays to put together. After diligently plotting of the supercharging stations on a map of the USA, working out the optimum charge time and related distances, scoping out the locations he wanted to visit, and confirming these with family, Oliver proceeded to outline his plan on a map that was eventually pasted to a standard size project board. The board was colored fittingly in Tesla’s signature red color. The project included his written notes on the math techniques utilized, an itinerary for the east coast to west coast portion of the tour, note cards for a five minute presentation of his findings, and some props to keep the interest of the viewer. It was this plan that he took the local, regional, and state math fairs. He won first place in the elementary division at each. Along the way, he convinced more than a few judges that he’ll be taking the trip.
Making it a Reality
As planned, the trip will take 21 days to complete with several days added to cover the unexpected. To make the trip a reality, careful cross checking of Oliver’s work has been done to ensure the feasibility of the planned route and schedule. While Oliver and I will be forging most of the journey alone, Mom will be joining the portion that starts in Tucson, passes through Fremont, and ends in Reno. For Oliver, the adventure awaits.