Tesla round the world trip on Lawton made tires

By Mike Ray

Southwest Ledger

A famous IT consultant and electric car pioneer will make a fourth ’round-the-world trip in a Tesla EVwhile traveling on tires provided by a young Lawton man and produced by a Lawton manufacturer.

Richard Routon, 22, bought the four tires that Rafael de Mestre will be riding on during “80eDays,” the world’s first zero emissions rally in electric cars. The third edition of de Mestre’s epic journey is set to begin next May in Barcelona, where he will prepare to cross 36 countries in 80 days.

“Everyone is welcome to join the journey, organize local events along the route, or support us on Patreon and social media,” de Mestre said.

It evokes images of French author Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” published in 1872, in which wealthy Englishman Phileas Fogg and his newly employed French valet circumnavigate the world in 80 days by train, boat, and wind-powered sledge.

Earlier this year de Mestre launched a promotional trip while in Florida in the same Tesla EV Roadster he drove 11 years ago.

Routon initiated conversation with de Mestre on Aug. 7, asking whether he “ever considered using Goodyear’s ElectricDrive and/or ElectricDrive GT tires” on his Tesla 2011 Roadster 2.5. Routon – a Cameron University senior majoring in information technology who also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in IT – said his interest was drawn to the upcoming race because electric cars “have a lot of technology in them.”

De Mestre was receptive to Routon’s idea, and a week later the Lawtonian purchased four tires, warrantied for 65,000 miles, from a Goodyear dealership on Cache Road. “My family has been going to that store for 10 years,” he said.

Routon spent $1,049.26 from his own pocket. That included $701.82 for the four tires and $347.44 to have them mounted on de Mestre’s Roadster at a Tesla center in Seattle, Washington, following its cross-country trek from Florida. “I wanted to support the Goodyear tire manufacturing plant here, do my part to see that it remains here for another 40 years.”

Routon has been an Oklahoman for 18 years. He was born in Debre Markos, a city in Ethiopia, but was adopted at age 4 by Patricia Routon of Lawton, a retiree who was a school teacher for almost 50 years. He attended Woodland Hills Elementary School and Eisenhower Middle School, and was graduated from Eisenhower High School in 2019.

Routon is one of six children of a single parent; he has one younger brother and four older sisters. He works in the Eugene D. McMahon Library at Cameron.

The story of “80edays” began in 2012. De Mestre drove around the world in a production all-electric Tesla Roadster, completing the feat in 127 days.

Four years later came “Elduro,” when 11 international teams embarked on a 29,000-kilometer (18,020-mile) rally across 20 countries and three continents. They completed the journey in 80 days, sending a message to the industry about sustainable technology.

De Mestre is now in a promotional solo trip; he has already traversed the U.S. and was en route to Hong Kong.

“80eDays” will be his fourth trek around the globe, again with a team.

De Mestre organized nine international electric car races that occurred in 2019 as well as the world’s first 24-hour electric car race in 2018, the Eco Grand Prix. The 2023 season marks the 10th anniversary of the ecoGP series and de Mestre has planned electric car races in France, Romania and Germany