SEMINOLE (FOX 13) - A Seminole man and another driver made a record-breaking cross-country journey. They drove a Tesla Model 3 from California to New York in just over 50 hours, without using a single gallon of gas. It was part of a timed drive known as the Cannonball Run.
"It was awesome," said Daniel Zorrilla. "Really, the adrenaline is pumping the whole time."
The Cannonball Run is an "unofficial, unsanctioned" auto race from New York City to Redondo Beach, California that originated in the 70s. The objective - get there faster than the last driver.
Zorrilla, of Seminole, and Alex Roy, an automotive journalist and rally race driver not only made the journey, they broke the electric vehicle record.
The two teamed up when Zorrilla went to California last December to pick up his brand new Tesla Model 3. Roy asked him if he was up for an electric Cannonball Run from west to east.
"I never knew him before that," Zorrilla said.
But, the two men share a common appreciation for the new Tesla vehicle and were eager to see what it could do. So, they hit the road.
"You don't stop and sleep," Zorrilla said. "You can stop if you need to but if you take too long, you won't break the record."
"The first 12 hours, we thought we weren't going to make it," Zorrilla recalled. "We thought there was no way we were going to get there unless everything went perfectly the rest of the way."
A GPS app tracked their mileage while a camera recorded every second and every charging stop. An electric race comes with challenges. It's not as easy as stopping every couple of hours for gas. These guys had to carefully map out their trek, making sure to hit charging stations all along the way.
"There aren't car chargers on every corner yet, so they are probably every 100 to 150 miles," Zorrilla said.
The camera also recorded some obstacles along the way, such as red and blue flashing lights. The men were pulled over once for a toll pass issue. "We lost a good half hour there but Alex got out of it," Zorrilla laughed.
The cold weather also posed a challenge. Ninety percent of the drive, they did not use heat to conserve battery power. They also ran out of windshield wiper fluid and the windshield froze over.
But, they forged ahead. From December 28 to the 31st, the driving duo covered 2,860 miles.
"Picked up a little bit here, a little bit there, and finally, we were like wow, we might actually make it," Zorrilla said.
When they pulled into the Red Ball Garage in the Big Apple, they clocked in at 50 hours, 16 minutes and 32 seconds. The entire trip of charging expenses was just $101.
"We were elated and jumping up and down and hugging each other," Zorrilla said. "It was like I made a new best friend, a brother while it was on this trip."
As for the Tesla Model 3 that made the journey, Zorrilla actually sold it shortly after the road trip. He said a driver in Ukraine made him an offer that was too good to pass up. But, he's on the waiting list for another Model 3.
Zorrilla said they didn't win any kind of prize or money, for breaking the Cannonball Run electric record, just notoriety. However, he said, being on TV is definitely a highlight.