Watch Tesla Model 3 Race Amtrak Acela Express

SEP 14 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 9

New York to Boston, station to station

We’ve covered any number of races involving Tesla vehicles over the years, but we’ve never encountered one quite like this. In an interesting experiment, The Drive pitted the Tesla Model 3 against the Amtrak Acela Express in a long distance race from New York to Boston, starting and ending, naturally, at those cities’ respective train stations. Why this high-speed electric train? Well, Because, as trains in America go, it’s an electron-munching, high-tech machine; the rail equivalent, in some (admittedly nebulous) way, of the mid-sized sedan from the Silicon Valley automaker.

Of course, being put into service in December of 2002, this is no spring chicken of a train (the service will be getting an updated version starting in 2021), but it can hit 150 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the infrastructure only allows the Acela Express to hit that pace for relatively short distances.

Its competitor, the Tesla, can go even faster, with some variants of the car able to hit 155 MPH. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), we have laws in this country that prohibit people from driving their cars at those speeds on public roads. Given the circumstances, though, both train and electric car should take about four hours to make the trip, provided there isn’t bad traffic for the car or delays of whatever sort for the train.

We’ve embedded the story just above and don’t want to spoil the ending for you here. We can say it’s an enjoyable watch and will keep you guessing. One thing the piece does do is underline just how bad our passenger rail service is in this country. Japan, for instance, has had high-speed rail since the mid-1960’s to connect a number of its cities to its capital.

The Japanese bullet trains now travel at 200 MPH for some distances and, unlike our  Acela Express, provides for an eerily smooth ride at its top speed. With a ridership of over 400 million, it also keeps a lot of passenger cars off its highways, which provides for a number of benefits: pollution is reduced, less spending is needed for highway expansion, etc. And, while attempts at new high-speed rail services continue to flounder in the United States, Japan, France, and China continue to push boundaries of speed and technology.

Source: The Drive

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9 Comments on "Watch Tesla Model 3 Race Amtrak Acela Express"

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REXisKing

Rural Republicans have always attacked infrastructure project improvements on the East and West coast. Partly because most have never been in a big city. Rural roads don’t need high speed rail. Mindset problems.

Viking79

The opposite happens too, which tends to reinforce the rural mindset.

EUEV

Not fair, The Unite states has third world countries train infrastructure.

dan

Mostly, it is Connecticut. The Acela goes from 150 in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and slows down to 45 when it enters Connecticut. It’s not just money. Most of the blame goes to liberal Nimbys who don’t want a train track to ruin their views. So, the train winds through coastal villages like it did in the 19th century. Once it gets into New Jersey, the speeds are back into the 130s again.

Scramjett

What’s even more embarrassing is that China, a so-called “developing” country, has built thousands of miles of HSR in the last 10 years while “the richest country in the world” can’t even get one 300+ mile system built in anything short of half a century (I’m looking at you CalHR, planned in the 80’s and *slowly* being built today)!

Scramjett

I’m surprised that Elon isn’t more of an HSR booster (his Hyperloop idea not withstanding). I would think that Tesla’s and HSR would be the perfect marriage, especially when you consider the Western US and its far flung population centers.

antrik

I guess the reason is that conventional high speed trains are pretty much at their technical limits. Any further advances on the technical front (as opposed to organisational ones) require entirely new concepts — such as the hyperloop…

dan

California claiming that they don’t want HSR because of its technical limits is like a homeless person declining a mansion because housing technology is already at its limits.

Skeptical

Going 70-80 in a 55 MPH zone will definitely make up the difference on a long trip.