The first 120 miles are done, from Dearborn to Milan. From the birthplace of Team Edison at Ford Motor Company to the birthplace of inventor genius Thomas Alva Edison. 175 years ago he saw the light of day. No, not a lightbulb, that came much later. For us, this is the perfect reason to travel through the USA in the footsteps of our namesake, who registered over 1000 patents during his lifetime and who, with his inventions for data transmission, power generation, sound and image reproduction, shaped the modern world as we do it today know.
He also worked on electric cars at the turn of the 20th century. Together with his employee at the time, Henry Ford, he developed a nickel-iron battery that was significantly more powerful than the lead-acid batteries of the time. However, ranges of 300 kilometers and more were not possible with this either. That’s why he also came up with a battery changing system. He wanted to save the taxi drivers in New York, to whom he intended to sell his first electric cars, long charging times. But neither the new battery nor the battery changing system caught on. And Henry Ford went into business for himself – with a factory in which, thanks to assembly line production, petrol-powered cars were produced at unbeatable prices.
Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford remained lifelong friends. In 1910 Edison undertook a record drive with two electric cars from New York to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Because “Electrify America” was not even being considered, Edison even took a mobile charging station with him on the tour to the mountains – a generator that produced electricity using petroleum and was able to charge the batteries in the test cars.
On the way to Menlo Park
I hope we won’t need such tools on our tour 112 years later, although the charging infrastructure in the Appalachian Mountains is still significantly worse than between Dearborn and Milan, or between Milan and Menlo Park in New Jersey, where Edison lived until his death October 1931 had laboratory and residence.
Our motorhome, a long-range version of a Ford Mustang Mach-E, also has a completely different range than the electric car that Edison was driving at the time. Up to 490 kilometers or 305 miles, as they say here, should be possible without a stop. Let’s see: After the first 120 miles, the battery is still 60 percent full. It’s still 500 miles to Menlo Park – we’ll have to recharge at least once. Let’s see what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Here is our route to get in the mood, which we want to master in the coming days with the Ford Mustang Mach-E.