On the night of Saturday, July 1, Jordan Hart and Bradley D’Souza left Redondo Beach to make history.
From the Hotel Portofino to the Red Ball Garage, the pair drove a Tesla Model S between California and New York in just 51 hours and 47 minutes.
Hart (“the mastermind behind the project”) and D’Souza (“the only person crazy enough to tag along”)—with remote support from Trent Bamberry (“the computer man”)—beat the previous achievement for fastest transcontinental drive in an electric vehicle—55 hours, set last year by rally race driver Alex Roy.
The journey, which began at 11:30 p.m. PT on July 1 and ended at 6:17 a.m. ET on July 4, was not exactly a joyride.
D’Souza and Hart had to consider everything, like where to charge their EV and how to use the Model S 85D’s air conditioning to stay cool in the desert heat without draining the car’s battery.
And, it’s a good thing Hart is not superstitious, or his two years of planning would have been for naught: The real-life realtor recounted certain “bumps” along the way, like losing his initial driving partner to family responsibilities and his first-choice rental car company. Not to mention a mishap with D’Souza’s plane in Chicago that delayed their departure by “an entire day.”
“We were also VERY focused on our run and only stopped to eat once,” Hart told The Verge. “Even then we told the staff what we were doing and were in and out of the restaurant in about 15 minutes. The rest of the time was healthy low-glycemic snacking and a strict nap schedule for whoever wasn’t driving.”
Real-time tweets and Instagram photos documented the experience and verified locations, while a time-lapse video (below) kept track of dates and times. Notarized witnesses signed official arrival and departure documents at the start and finish lines.
But the duo didn’t travel 2,830 miles in less than three days just for the notoriety: The Freedom 5000 team made the coast-to-coast “Cannonball Run” to raise awareness for victims of human trafficking.
“When a close friend shared her story of captivity in the sex trade, and her subsequent freedom and journey of healing, the seriousness of this issue hit home for me. I felt a deep sense that I needed to do something about it,” Hart said in a statement.
“My passion for electric cars gave me the idea to challenge the cross-country record as a way to compound our efforts,” he added.
As of press time, the project has raised just north of $3,000 and donations “are continuing to come in,” Hart said in an email to Geek. “More importantly we have raised a LOT of awareness about the issue of human trafficking” he added, giving a nod to Tesla and various media outlets who have covered the story.
Folks are still able to contribute to the cause via the Freedom 5000 website.
“I think we would both like to do this again in the future,” Hart said. “It was a very special experience for both of us.”
In 2015, Alex Roy set a new transcontinental record, boasting a time of 57 hours and 48 minutes, which he then broke in August, when he and teammates Warren Ahner and Franz Aliquo drove a Tesla Model S 90D from LA to NY in 55 hours.
“It should be noted,” the Freedom 5000 website added, “that this is also the first time an electric car has surpassed the famous 1933 ‘Cannonball’ transcontinental record,” set by race driver Erwin “Cannonball” Baker.
During his best-remembered drive, Baker made the track from New York City to Los Angeles in a Graham-Paige Model 57 Blue Streak 8, setting a 53.5-hour record that stood for nearly 40 years.
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