YouTuber Marques Brownlee set out to see if an EV or a gas car is the better road-tripping vehicle.
His team took two EVs and a conventional SUV on the 1,000-mile journey.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E hit broken charging stations, while the Tesla superchargers sifted through.
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Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee ran an experiment to find out what’s better for road tripping: a traditional gas-fueled car or an electric vehicle.
The 1,000-mile test exposed how long it takes to charge an EV — but it also highlighted a major edge Tesla has over other companies that manufacture battery-powered vehicles.
Brownlee and his team got three vehicles for a two-day road trip around New York state: a gas-fueled Audi Q5, a Tesla Model S Plaid, and a Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s electric SUV. They all started from the same point with a full tank or battery. The goal was to compare how long each vehicle took to travel.
As expected, Audi put up the best performance, finishing in 18 hours and 39 minutes. It can travel a lot longer on a full tank than any EV on full battery, and it only takes a few minutes to refuel. It took the Tesla only an hour and a half, while the Mach-E took an additional six and a half hours on the road.
Why the huge difference between Tesla and Ford? It was not what you expected.
Tesla’s advantages in charging infrastructure are well documented. The company has spent years building a vast, proprietary charging network that includes more than 1,100 extra-fast Supercharger stations and thousands of slow plugs in the US.
But it wasn’t the quantity of public chargers that Mach-E drivers had, it was their quality. He didn’t have trouble finding the plug He had trouble finding the plug Work.
According to Brownlee, Ford’s navigation system twice routed the Mach-E to charging plugs that were broken or offline for maintenance on the first day, meaning the team had to move out of the way and spend several extra hours on the road. Ford encourages owners to plan trips around its FordPass charging network, which is a mish-mash of chargers from other companies that can be accessed and paid for through Ford’s app.
Although the FordPass app and network are intended to make charger finding and plugging more intuitive — and in my experience, they do — there are clearly downsides to relying on multiple external providers for all-important charging. Brownlee suspects there is some delay when the charger goes offline and that information is relayed to Ford’s navigation system and mobile app.
A Ford spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
It’s possible that because Tesla owns, operates and maintains its own charging stations, it can give owners better and more up-to-date information about where plugs are available, Brownlee said.
The other day, the Mach-E team abandoned FordPass, opting instead to only use other apps to find stations in the Electrified America network. Things got a lot easier, and the Mach-E completed the second stage, right behind the Tesla. Who knows—maybe some human error was involved in the Mach-E’s early charging snafus. On my recent travels in an SUV, it sometimes took a few tries to get the charger to communicate with the vehicle.
Brownlee also noted an important advantage of the Mach-E over its Model S Plaid: Ford was much better at estimating how many miles it had left in a given amount of time. The Mach-E consistently displayed a conservative range figure, while the Model S ran out of battery faster than typically promised, something Tesla owners have seen over the years.
Watch Brownlee’s full video about the journey below:
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