Between a Tesla and an ultra-marathoner, who goes the farthest?

Not sure this is what Elon Musk had in mind when pushing for the development of electric cars…

Apart from the price, the question of autonomy is one of the most decisive elements for the future of electric cars. It has become a major selling point on which manufacturers compete fiercely. But this questioning can be approached in very different ways depending on the person. Rather than wondering how many kilometers he could cover in such a vehicle, an ultra-marathoner wondered if it was possible to do better… on foot.

This is how Robbie Balenger put on his sneakers to embark on an endurance test which pitted him against a Tesla Model 3, one of the most popular models in this segment. Precisely, its objective was to surpass on foot the maximum distance that this model can cover in a single charge.

390 kilometers of effort in the Texas heat

A test of strength that will have required three days of intense effort on a road in the Texas hinterland. In total, he will have run for 76 hours, 54 minutes and 46 seconds at a speed slightly above 5 km/h. According to Runner’s World, which spotted the information relayed by Interesting Engineering, he only allowed himself 8.5 hours of rest over these three days to sleep, eat or change clothes.

The Tesla driver, meanwhile, was instructed to drive at a median speed of 105 km/h. He had to keep going until the previously fully charged battery went flat. A deadline that occurred after 242 miles of road, just under 390 km. The runner finally managed to catch up with the immobilized Tesla and stopped a little further to validate the performance.

The announced autonomy of the Tesla Model 3 is greater than that observed during this test. © Martin Katler / Unsplash

A full load, really ?

But you can’t help but frown when you read the distance the car has traveled. On the technical sheet dedicated to it, the model claims a theoretical average autonomy of 358 miles, or 576 km. On the side of the specialized site EV-Database, this figure is slightly revised downwards with an estimate of 485 km.

A significant difference, but in both cases it is a figure very much higher than that of the Tesla faced by Balenger. Was it an old model with a worn out battery? Is the temperature enough to explain this considerable difference in autonomy? Difficult to say since no technical details on the car itself have been revealed.

Either way, the rider’s performance remains impressive. Especially since the person concerned ran under a blazing sun with an average temperature of 32°C during the day! According to Runners World, he has no plans to stop there. His next challenge: the Three Peaks Challenge, a daunting 725 kilometer course that involves climbing the three highest peaks in Scotland, Wales and England. Not sure that a Tesla succeeds in following him so far!

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