Tesla easily swallows long distances, but not BMW i3, Leaf and other small EVs

Tesla Motors Superchargers at a showroom and service center on Route 17 north in Paramus, N.J. Going north, the next Superchargers are in a shopping center outside Albany, N.Y., about 135 miles away, well within the range of a Model S, below.


3.5 hours.

That's how long it takes to achieve a full charge on the all-electric version of the BMW i3.

Then, 81 miles later, you'd have to spend another 3.5 hours recharging the German car.

The i3 is best suited for urban and suburban driving.

On a long trip, its limited range is crippling.

The same goes for the Nissan Leaf, Mercedes-Benz B Class and every other EV except the Tesla Model S.

The Model S -- the only electric with a range of more than 200 miles -- also benefits from a network of exclusive Tesla Superchargers that already allows you to drive across the country and from New York to Miami.

And recharging is free and fast -- about 30 minutes for a range of 170 miles or enough to reach the next Supercharger, and take coffee and bathroom breaks.

Montreal or bust

Later this month, I will be driving my Model S about 350 miles to the International Jazz Festival in Montreal, Canada.

Leaving my home in Hackensack, N.J., my first stop is Colonie, N.Y., an Albany suburb, where 30 minutes hooked up to one of six Tesla Superchargers will give me enough range to reach my second stop.

Tesla doesn't yet have a Supercharger between Colonie and Montreal.

I could go out of my way to use Superchargers in Utica, N.Y., and Ontario, Canada.

Instead, I'll head for standard electric car chargers at the Basin Harbor Club, a resort on Lake Champlain in Vermont.

We'll stop for lunch and a boat ride on the lake, because I'll need two to three hours to recharge the Model S for the final leg of the trip.

Montreal has a Tesla dealer with two Superchargers available 24/7.

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