Model X Cross Country Roadtrip

Model X Cross Country Roadtrip

On April 2nd, we will be embarking on a cross country roadtrip in my 2016 Model X P90DL. We'll be heading out from Greenwood, SC going to visit my family in Calistoga, CA to help bottle our family wine. We plan on taking the entire month of April for the trip and expect to cover more than 5,000 miles. Having never undertaken a trip of this magnitude in my Tesla, I was hoping that some of you more experienced long distance trippers could provide me with some tips to help make our journey a bit smoother. We don't have any particular routes set other than some locations where we plan on stopping to catch up with friends. I expect that we'll stop every 150-200 miles at superchargers and will be staying exclusively in hotels with destination chargers.

We plan on chronicling the entire trips on a web site that we set up "". No ads on the site, just info about where we stop, people we meet, along with photos. We'd like to take as many backroads as possible, since time isn't going to be an issue.

Any tips/suggestions to help us out on our epic adventure will be greatly appreciated.

mathwhiz | 5 marts 2018

If you're not already aware of it:

Sounds like a great trip! :-)

David Trushin | 5 marts 2018

Just a comment on charge time. It takes a lot less time to charge from 25 miles to 175 miles than it does to go from 125 to 275 miles on the car. And two charges from 25 to 175 is less time than 1 charge from 25 to 300.

OldMick | 5 marts 2018

Good point. My X has about 19K miles on it, so my max charge is now about 247 miles. But since we won’t be in any kind of hurry we’ll probably max charge it most times. Probably give us some time to walk around, get something to eat, shop, etc. But if the next supercharger is only 125 miles away or so, we’ll probably go for the shorter charge time/less miles.

sbeggs | 5 marts 2018

@Old Mick,
Sounds epic! Will bump the How to Go Cross Country thread for you if I can locate it. A summary of many people's advice and tips.
Travel safely and enjoy!

OldMick | 5 marts 2018

Cool! I would love to read it!

sbeggs | 5 marts 2018

Found thread on Model S forum and bumped it for your trip!

OldMick | 6 marts 2018

Nobody seems to mention using the range extender. What kind of impact does this actually have on range?

OldMick | 6 marts 2018

Nobody seems to mention using the range extender. What kind of impact does this actually have on range?

joemar10 | 6 marts 2018

In my younger days I drove nonstop except for gas from Washington DC to Chicago. I have driven many times from Chesapeake Virginia to St. Joe Missouri. While not miserable, none of them have been considered pleasure trips. This coming September, my wife and I are driving from Chesapeake Virginia to Vancouver Island British Columbia. Since we've gotten our Model X 100D, we are anxiously anticipating the adventure. We've taken a couple of relatively long trips in it already and have had nothing but good experiences. We both commented on how relaxed we are after almost a full day of driving. We take the Super charging stops as a time to walk our dog, stretch our legs and maybe get something to eat. In 20 to 25 supercharger stops the car has always been ready to continue before we were. Tesla's are definitely road trip cars.

Rocky_H | 6 marts 2018

Mmm, “family wine” is the perfect pairing with Soylent Green™.

Listen to @David Trushin and don't try to max charge most of the time. That can be like an hour and a half or so, and is going to get old fast. Set where you're going in Nav and give yourself around 20% arrival margin. That will shrink a little in the first several minutes when you start driving, so try to keep it around 15% the rest of the way. Heat will suck a lot of energy if it's really cold outside, but you can just balance that with longer charging stops to give more energy.

I just did a 5,332 mile trip a few weeks ago and have a couple of thoughts. Good news is that through the middle of the country, most of the Superchargers are empty most of the time--maybe one or two other cars sometimes, so crowding isn't something you'll have to worry about in most places.

I will say this from something bad that the car did during my trip. The car has that "Beta Trip Planner" that tries to pick your stops and charging plan if you select a final destination far away. It is better than when it first came out, but sometimes it gives bad recommendations, and has a glaring flaw that makes me not trust it. On one leg of my trip, it was telling me to charge up to nearly 100% full and was showing me an estimate that I would arrive with 7% remaining. That is awful, and it normally won't ever recommend something so scary unless there isn't another option. I looked at the route and didn't see another choice. What I realized later that was the flaw is that it HIDES the other Superchargers that it is not recommending from the map while the route is on there. It turns out there was a Supercharger right there halfway along the route that would have made it much easier.

So I don't let it pick my stops anymore. When I get to the Supercharger, I just zoom out to see where the next one or two are along the highway, and then pick which one I am going to and set it in Nav to see how much to charge up.

wingit | 6 marts 2018

I vote you bring back a few cases - purely for scientific purposes. :) I go through Greenville and Columbia a lot. I could volunteer my liver for science.

A d good luck with the trip. As soon as our MX comes in, we will be planning a few road trips, including one out to the west, maybe the Grand Canyon.

paul | 6 marts 2018

Another alternative is
Includes support for routing via Chademo if required (very useful for me) and
includes more Model X variants

OldMick | 7 marts 2018

Rocky_H: Great comments and suggestions! Thank you!
wing it: I’ll be bringing back 5 cases of old vine Zinfandel. I’m in Greenwood, about halfway between Greenville and Columbia. Be happy to let you test your liver here. Got to warn you that this is high test stuff - 17.5% ABV but my brother says it’s really good. I’m on PlugShare and have a 72 amp charger available to anyone that wants to stop by.

sbeggs | 7 marts 2018

@Old Mick,
Nice website and photo!
You may want to be careful about bringing back wine. April luckily is a cool month. Center cases behind front seats, bottle neck up. If it is newly bottled wine, it may still be somewhat lively. We have had bottles from Paso Robles stored horizontally pop and drain to our house floor. Package each case in large white garbage bag, just in case.

OldMick | 7 marts 2018

@sbeggs thanks for the tip. In the past I had my brother ship them a case at a time (as required which was fairly often). This is the first time I’ll be bringing any back with me. I would have stored them on their side, probably to my chagrin. Thanks for the great tip!

ZoomieDoc | 7 marts 2018

I just checked out This is a really useful website! Thanks to Paul, March 6 post.

ScooterJim | 7 marts 2018

I am currently on a road trip from GA to LA to SLC to Seattle and have logged 8000 miles. Then returning to SF and SD and back to GA, estimated total will be 12,000+. The car GPS will tell where to charge and about how long assuming ideal conditions. However, if the following condition exists on the way to the next charging station add at least 10% or more remaining charge when you start that leg: Temperatures less than 45F, head wind more than 15mph, large elevation rise, using the heater or AC, rain or snow, and traveling faster than 70mph. I have ended up with less battery charge than the initial estimate, but I charge more to compensate for the bad condtions. My lowest was 6%.

meenacreates | 7 marts 2018

@wingit may I ask which model you're ordering? I ask just because I want to see how many people who own 75D's go on long trips. I myself have an order in for a 75D and I hope I didn't make a mistake because I'm a huge road tripper. I just thought that by the time I got my car and actually planned the trips, Tesla would be expanding their superchargers faster than I would be using them

Uncle Paul | 7 marts 2018

Advantage of the bigger batteries is that they charge faster than the smaller ones. You need to make more stops and stay there longer.

That out of the way, tons of people make long distance drives with the smaller batteries. Start each morning with a full charge if possible, and make your in between charges as time efficient as possible. Much of your charging will happen when you stop for a meal or to walk around. This makes the trips much more enjoyable and you tend to arrive at your final stop much more relaxed than if you took an ICE>

tylerhen | 8 marts 2018

I went on a 10,000 mile road trip(Seattle->LA->Charlotte->Boston->Seattle) 3 years ago in a 60 S. Supercharger network still had a couple gaps on major highways at the time so got a little interesting. Completed a 12,000 mile road trip in our 90 X this past summer(Seattle->San Antonio->Fort Myers->Boston->Seattle) and it was much better. The supercharger network was obviously more filled in this time but with the 90 vs 60, I was also able to skip some superchargers that I couldn't last time and made things a little easier. Both trips were a blast, but I would get the 100KW if I was going to do it again(sadly I ordered the X a couple weeks before they came out with the 100). Moral of the story, the 60 didn't prevent me from doing anything, but the 90 made it faster and more enjoyable.

Only Trons | 8 marts 2018

We did a cross country trip in August 2017 from Wash DC area to Oregon to attend a family wedding. Drove the 2016 X90D. We planned the route using EV Trip Planner and then printed spreadsheets to use while we were on the road. It was a great trip. We never charged to full unless there was a reason to do so OR we were planning on making a longer stop. We drove west across the mid-part of the country -- WV, PA,OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, CO,UT, ID, OR. We came back east via ID, WY, MT, SD, MN, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, WV. We typically planned to charge to a level about 30 - 40 rated miles more than the distance to the next Supercharger stop. So we typically didn't need to stay at a charger for more than 15 - 20 minutes --- just enough time for a bio break or to get coffee.

One thing that really helped us: we purchased a Dometic CF-25 portable freezer/refrigerator to bring with us. It has very low current draw. It plugs in to the 12V outlet in the car -- we plugged it in at the rear outlet. It can also be plugged into a 120 V outlet, but it requires a separate power supply for that. We loaded ours up with deli meats and munchies, water, etc. When we stopped at a supercharger and it was near lunch time, we made lunch right on the spot, which resulted in staying a little longer than 15 - 20 minutes, but the car was charging the entire time. Worked out great for us!

EV Trip Planner (and other planners, I suspect) do a good job of planning PROVIDED you input the correct parameters --- e.g. vehicle model, expected speed, load in the car, etc. The only time we ran into a problem was in CO and UT, where the elevation change, our speed, and unexpected strong winds really hurts our consumption. I was driving at the speed limit (which was 80 in numerous places) or a bit higher. I am aware that speed is a great predictor of battery energy consumption, so I had to slow down to be able to make it to our last stop on that day, which was Green River UT. I believe we pulled into the hotel with about 12 or so miles left in the battery --- but the Supercharger is directly across the street.

I highly recommend you use the in vehicle maps and supercharger locator to see if there is status information regarding your supercharger stops -- e.g. while charging at one supercharger, look at the next one on the map. You don't want to find out, after it's too late, that your next planned supercharger is inoperative. We hit a tough situation in Albert Lea, MN when heading back home The Supercharger site has four stalls, but one power cabinet was down, so two stalls were inoperative. The remaining cabinet was operating at reduced power. And to make matters worse, a Model S with very low battery charge remaining arrived about 5 minutes before we did, so he was pulling the majority of the available power (already reduced!) and we were left with sipping a tiny bit. Our planned 15 minute stop turned out to be over an hour .... and there isn't much there! In this specific instance, the supercharger map in the car did NOT indicate there was an issue with the supercharger, so we were driving there ignorant of the problem. I called the Tesla supercharger team while we were there and got a non-committal response as to whether Tesla understood there was an issue there or not.

Anyway, enjoy your trip!

And by the way, we have spent many a day in the wine country out there. We're jealous that you're going out there. Is your family selling wine? We got to know Vincent Arroyo (in Calistoga) a little bit when we lived out in California .... we still purchase cases of wine from him every year.

Only Trons | 8 marts 2018

Oh, and I forgot to mention ...... at night, when we stopped at a hotel, we carried the refrigerator inside with us and plugged it into the 120V room outlet. It won't stay on in the vehicle, and besides....why would you want to be drawing energy from the battery when the car is sitting overnight?

OldMick | 8 marts 2018

@Only Trons
Thanks for the great write up and suggestions. I also have a portable refrigerator that plugs into the power outlet and has a 120v adapter. Plan on using it throughout the trip.
Sorry to say, our family wine is not for sale. We make a barrel or two every year. It’s just for family consumption (5 siblings), although we always share it with friends. It’s generally quite good.

sbeggs | 8 marts 2018

@Only Trons
Nice report, thank you. We are going to look into that cooler.