“We wanted to do the road trip because we wanted to tell people that there are electric cars in production, and the more people are aware of it, the more the car companies have the demand to produce these cars,” said Gunawardana, co-founder of the Renew America Road Trip.
They simply believe in the technology. Tesla is not giving them a dime to cover the cost of their trip. Craner and Gunawardana stopped at Penn State because of the Larson Transportation Institute’s efforts toward creating alternative fuel vehicles. An electric car fits that bill.
“Compared to driving a gas car, it is a guilt-free experience. No noise, no pollution and I know I’m not using up too much energy to do this,” said Craner, who co-founded the road trip with Gunawardana.
“The car is sexy. It draws a crowd. It is a ‘crowd magnet’, as I like to call it. So once they come see the car, and they realize you have a pretty reasonable range on it. It is 244 miles per charge and the fact that it is zero emission, then it really peaks their interest,” said Gunawardana.
The couple is also raising money for various charities on their trip. As for Tesla, they just delivered their 500th Roadster, and there is a seven-month waiting list to get one of the sporty cars. Despite the price tag, Craner said it was worth the wait and every penny.
“For the first week I had it, I drove everywhere I wanted to. I was showing people the car and giving them rides. I come home at night and I plug it in like my laptop in my regular 110 (outlet) in the wall, and the next day I’m ready to go out,” said Craner.
Currently, the Roadster is the only car Tesla has in its showrooms. Late next year the company expects to start selling a four-door sedan that can go 300 miles on one charge.