One of the most shocking “races” began last week outside Austin, Texas. But it wasn’t so much a race as it was an endurance test to determine if a human could outrun what industry professionals regard to be the best electric vehicle on the market right now: a Tesla.
Robbie Balenger is an athlete who has built a name for himself by taking on massive tasks to push himself beyond his limit. He picked a Tesla this time because he admires what the company has done to promote the wider adoption of EVs.
This was a tribute, not a race, he explained in a statement. It was inspired by the old tradition of man against horse endurance marathons, he said.
“For many, myself included, Tesla is the most disruptive and exciting thing to happen to transportation since the first horse was broken – so what better opponent for a modern take on the man vs. horse race?” Balenger stated.
Balenger and the Tesla Model 3 headed out early Monday morning, updating the public via Instagram. Balenger started the race with an entire team, including his wife.
The Model 3 and Balenger began the first-of-its-kind event at the exact location, 250 miles (402 km) west of Austin, Texas, the Tesla with a fully charged battery and Balenger with his usual commitment to do it well. The Tesla was driven at 65 mph (104.6 kph) for 242 miles until the battery died (349 km). Balenger started out second and followed the same route as Tesla, beating Tesla’s distance by 100 feet in 76 hours and 54 minutes.
Balenger hoped to complete the feat in 72 hours, but the intense heat ruined the original plan. To be clear, Balenger spent most of the 77 hours running, with only brief stops for sleeping, resting, and changing clothes. The overall length of all breaks was 8.5 hours.
“It was absolutely brutal, but we got it done,” Balenger says. “Brutal” feels like an understatement.