Seminole man breaks cross country record in a Tesla
April 3, 2018 Tiffany Razzano
Seminole's Dan Zorrilla and his partner set an electric vehicle record in
the Cannonball Run. Photo by TURO
Dan Zorrilla has always been a self-described "car guy." Growing up, he had
subscriptions to car magazines, and could recognize the make, model and
engine type of most cars he saw on the road.
So, when Tesla began manufacturing electric cars, Zorrilla became intrigued
by them. He was especially taken with Tesla’s Model S and bought one used in
That was the first step on a road that led him and a partner to recently
break the electric vehicle record for the Cannonball Run, an unofficial and
unsanctioned trek typically made between New York City and the Portofino Inn
in Redondo Beach, Calif. Though the run typically goes east to west,
Zorrilla tackled the race in the opposite direction.
By then he had moved on from the Model S to Tesla’s Model 3, which at
$35,000 had a much lower price point than the Model S. Plus, Zorrilla knew
he wanted "the newest technology."
But it wasn’t easy.
In 2016, he put a deposit down on the car. To increase his chances of
receiving one sooner, he used a friend’s California address on the order.
Tesla is based on the West Coast, and customers there received their orders
first, he said. Through that maneuver, Zorrilla said he became the first
non-employee to have the Model 3 on the East Coast.
After Christmas of last year, he headed west to pick up his car. There he
met up with Alex Roy, a car journalist and rally race driver who has broken
multiple endurance driving records. Roy heard about Zorrilla’s plans to
drive the Model 3 and asked him if he’d like to try to break the Cannonball
The record-setting run was not without its challenges. Zorrilla had to bring
a map of charging stations, which are much less common than gas stations.
And it being the end of December, the weather was frigid. To conserve power,
the duo decided to make the trip without turning on the heater. That meant
fewer recharging stops, but it was tough on Zorrilla.
"I’m a Florida guy," he said. "I’m not used to the cold weather."
Most of the trip was smooth and they thought they had a good chance to beat
Then came Pennsylvania.
It began to snow and they ran out of windshield wiper fluid. While Roy
charged the car, Zorrilla set out on foot in search of fluid. They were out
of it at the first gas station he found, and with little cash on him, he was
forced to hitch a ride with someone getting gas there to another nearby
Eventually, he found what he was looking for. But his phone battery was
about to die, and Roy was having difficulty finding him because there were
several gas stations of the same name a few miles apart.
"I was really worried that we weren’t going to make it," Zorrilla said. "I
thought that was it for the record."
Finally he borrowed a charger and was able to contact Roy. They hit the road
and didn’t stop again until they reached New York.
The pair completed the cross-country drive in 50 hours, 16 minutes and 32
"It was an amazing experience," Zorrilla said.
Since then, he’s sold his Model 3.
"I got an offer I couldn’t refuse," he said.
Plus, with young children, it wasn’t the most practical car for his family,
Still, he’s put his name back on the waiting list to purchase another Model
"It’s a great car," he said.
No word yet as to whether he’ll try to break his own record ...
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