Brian Kent and his Nissan Leaf

Brian Kent and his Nissan Leaf

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is sponsoring a 26,000 mile cross-country trip by Brian Kent traveling in his Nissan Leaf electric vehicle (EV) to promote sustainable energy and a green lifestyle.

Kent plans to leave his Albion, N.Y., home on Aug. 24 and hit the highways for the next 100 days (at least), hopscotching from charging station to charging station. He’s calling it the First Annual Negative Carbon U.S. Road Trip.

His EV has a range of about 84 miles per charge, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He’ll be stopping at least three to four times a day to recharge, and each charging session can take between 30 minutes to six hours.

“I’m shooting for about 260 miles a day, so that means I’ll be basically doing 1,000 ‘electric car marathons’ in 100 days,” said the former nutritionist-turned-freelance writer.

Kent will be stopping and staying at as many KOA campgrounds along the way as possible, since most KOAs can meet his power requirements and give him a great place to rest and recharge his own batteries while his Nissan Leaf takes on more power.

“We are always looking for new ways to make camping and traveling in general a more ‘green’ experience,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “Brian approached us and asked us to help, and we thought it would be a great project to demonstrate what’s possible with electric vehicles, and help educate ourselves and our campground owners along the way.”

Some campgrounds, like the Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Area KOA in Virginia, have installed dedicated EV charging stations, but dedicated stations are still few and far between in most states. While most KOAs and many other locations along Kent’s route will have the desired 50-amp service, he’ll have to carry adapters to allow him to plug into traditional power pedestals and outlets.

Kent also plans to plant a tree along the way in each state — hopefully at a KOA — to make his trip have a net-negative-carbon footprint. He said those trees alone will scrub 100 tons of carbon dioxide in their first 40 years of life.

“I want to find other people who are doing sustainability efforts, and talk to them along my route,” Kent said. “If nothing else, the trip will demonstrate that if you plan it out carefully and take your time, you can use your electric vehicle for travel and find good, friendly people, too.”

Kent will participate in National Drive Electric Week by routing his tour through the coast-to-coast EV celebration’s event in Jefferson, Ky. More than 130 cities will take part in the celebration, with EV ride-and-drivdes and related activities, most organized by electric vehicle owners. Visit http://driveelectricweek.org/index.php for a full list of events or to register to attend.

Kent says he’d like to make this trek an annual event. “It only gets easier from here on,” he said. “The lack of infrastructure is the only thing holding me back right now, and that’s going to get better and better as more people buy electric vehicles.”

Kent has a site explaining his project on indiegogo.com