Sustainable Touring, Attempt 1

Sustainable Touring, Attempt 1

Minh and I completed a cross-country tour in a Tesla Model S.  It was our first attempt at finding an alternative to carbon-intensive air travel.  By our rough calculations, the Tesla appears to produce 35% less CO2 than a regular car, and less than half of the CO2 that would be created by flying.

Tesla 2020 Tour CO2

Total miles driven: 7648
Total electricity used: 2535.8 kWh
Estimated CO2: 1.8 metric tons

An average gas vehicle (25mpg) would have produced about 2.8 metric tons on a similar tour, and flying to the major stops would have produced 4.2 metric tons.

The takeaways

  • An electric vehicle offers a significant improvement over gasoline and air-travel.
  • Reducing the use of coal in state's electricity generation will further improve the benefit of electric vehicles.
  • Even in an electric vehicle, however, a cross-country tour is a significant source of CO2.  Annual touring is likely not sustainable.