SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A German man wants to set a new world record for the longest continuous road trip taken in an electric vehicle in the United States.
Rainer Zeitlow’s trip is taking him across the country as he stops at every Volkswagen dealership: 35,000 miles in 100 days.
Zeitlow did this same cross-country tour in Germany, and Volkswagen America asked him to do it in the U.S.
Now, he says he wants to prove that electric vehicles can be driven for long distances here in the United States.
Across the street from new Chevrolet trucks and SUVs for sale is the Joe Holland Volkswagen lot with one of Volkswagen’s new all-electric SUVs — the ID. 4.
The dealership currently only has one available as a demo model.
“I’ve done this for 13 years and this is actually the first year that I’m getting a lot of electric, hybrid questions,” said sales professional Joshua Miller.
Miller says he drives a truck, but electric vehicles are the way of the future.
“Back home in Logan, if you don’t have a truck then you don’t have a vehicle mindset,” he said.
But Zeitlow is out to prove otherwise.
“I might look relaxed but I’m quite under pressure because we have to visit 10 to 12 dealers a day and we have to stick on a tight schedule otherwise this project will take two years,” he said when he arrived at the Joe Holland VW dealership.
Zeitlow plans to visit 622 Volkswagen dealerships along his trip.
He says long-distance traveling in an EV can be done.
“You have to find them, you have to locate them – this is the biggest difference between driving through with a combustion engine; with a combustion engine, you just sit in and the gas stations coming here, you have to calculate with your phone on the app where is the next station,” he said of charging stations.
Derek Collins from Missouri is accompanying Zeitlow on the trip.
“We’ve been through about 13 states and I’ve seen so many cities,” he said.
Collins says there’s another difference about the ID. 4 aside from it not burning any fossil fuels.
It handles very well, it’s very very comfortable, you don’t have to deal with the droning sound of a gasoline vehicle,” said Collins.
Zeitlow and Collins now head West and plan to be done with their cross-country road trip in October.