Teton - Yellowstone loop for Tesla project

Teton - Yellowstone loop for Tesla project

Originally posted on another topic. I wanted to post this here to get an indication of interest.
Would anyone even be interested in doing this type of vacation with a Model S or Model X?

I am planning an EV access project around Yellowstone for Summer 2014.
Here is the route. The Teton - Yellowstone loop. 262 miles.

My family has a business that has locations in Jackson Wyoming (near the southern entrance of Yellowstone).

We also have a location on the Idaho side of the Teton Pass. That way you could recharge a Model S on either side of the mountain pass (10% grade climb)

I will be putting my personal HPWC in one location and purchasing a CS-100 (J1772) for the other location. I also think I have convinced a top ski resort in Jackson Wyoming to install a NEMA 14-50 for overnight charging.

The final step will be to get a 70-80 amp location in West Yellowstone (Montana). I am still working on that location.

If those 3 locations are covered at 70-80 amps, then the 262 mile loop should be fairly easy. Someone could recharge easily at the western or southern entrance to Yellowstone and enjoy their time in Yellowstone. The distance between West Yellowstone to Jackson Wyoming is about 120-130 miles. So there is plenty of margin there for elevation changes consuming energy. Inside of Yellowstone, most driving is between 30-40 mph so it is very efficient.

When this project is done, Model S owners should be able to handle the 260 mile Teton-Yellowstone loop easily. It is rated as a top 10 scenic drive in the USA. It hits all key spots in Yellowstone, Old Faithful, Mesa Falls, Jackson Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, etc.

If Tesla gets some Superchargers in southern Idaho or Wyoming by Summer 2014, this should be amazing.

PapaSmurf | 09. Oktober 2013

Here is the correct link to the Teton Yellowstone loop map.

Bighorn | 09. Oktober 2013

I'd love to do the loop. You don't happen to know if Chico Hot Springs is amenable to getting amped, do you?

Captain_Zap | 09. Oktober 2013

Awesome. That trip was at the top of my list.

NKYTA | 09. Oktober 2013

Sign me up!

jonlivesay | 09. Oktober 2013

I'm game!

Flyshacker | 09. Oktober 2013

Very likely me too.

skymaster | 09. Oktober 2013

Awesome, we live in Colorado and love that area.

Chunky Jr. | 09. Oktober 2013

We spent a week this summer at Jenny Lake Lodge and did the loop into Yellowstone (in a rental car). That would be an amazing drive in a Tesla!

judimasters | 09. Oktober 2013

We would love to do this. Are you suggesting a group trip or just the charging so individuals can do this trip?

bradslee | 09. Oktober 2013

Wow, if that becomes a reality, I will drive my MS to the beautiful Yellowstone (without driving a rent ICE car)!

PapaSmurf | 09. Oktober 2013


I am just letting everyone know that we are setting up 70-80 amp L2 charging options in this region for summer 2014. Plan your own trip accordingly.

As long as Tesla Motors gets 2 or 3 Superchargers in key areas of Idaho and/or Wyoming, it should be easy to reach Yellowing/Grand Tetons/Jackson Wyoming. It is probably one of the most amazing areas in the world and everyone should do it once.

howsbayou2 | 09. Oktober 2013


PapaSmurf | 09. Oktober 2013

The Supercharger map has Elon's route across the country coming fairly close. But for someone to reach the Yellowstone region, I think an extra Supercharger would need to be in either southern Idaho or southern Wyoming.

We will likely know more in the spring of 2014 if the connection will be possible for summer of 2014.

MacDaddyDude | 09. Oktober 2013

I've never been to Yellowstone, and REALLY want to get there! I'll need more superchargers in TX, OK, KS, NM, and/or CO to get to WY. Probably not until 2015, but this makes it possible!

Tâm | 09. Oktober 2013


That is so cool! I have never been to Yellowstone either. I plan to visit it once Superchargers are rolled out to the area.

As usual, Superchargers are not at the destinations, so your plan is perfect!

See you in 2015!

diegoPasadena | 09. Oktober 2013

That's one of the trips my wife and I have been talking about doing!
Isn't it ironic that we're planning road trips with the Model S - a car which, we keep being told, is supposedly less suitable for that -, trips that we *never* considered doing with our old cars? I'm starting to think that it is actually *more* suitable for road trips, and more healthy ones at that, because they remove the "Let's go, let's go, we gotta make good time" stress factor. We know going in that we'll get a break every few hours.

Brian H | 09. Oktober 2013

Actually, it's the desire to experience more Tesla Therapy while on the road. The longer the trip, the better!

Earl and Nagin ... | 10. Oktober 2013

Sounds great. We plan to use this to visit the region when the superchargers get near.

Flysr20 | 10. Oktober 2013

Sounds great, was planning a trip out there this summer already for a family reunion. Would love to extend it to do the loop. Keep us posted on the progress.

Has anyone seen any trip planning software for EVs that takes elevation and energy burn into account?

Brian H | 11. Oktober 2013

Yes, it exists, but don't have the link handy.

Brian H | 11. Oktober 2013

PS -- I remember reading about some peculiar numbers it got from routing a car across a river, on the bottom!

d_kaufman | 11. Oktober 2013
mvannah | 11. Oktober 2013

Great project James. You should check with the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center about a charger location in West Yellowstone. I would think they would appreciate the added business and that is a place that you could spend enough time to charge up without getting bored. I will definitely be making the trip when chargers are available.

PapaSmurf | 11. Oktober 2013

I will check it out the next time I go to the region. Likely in the spring. Thanks.

If anyone else has ideas on good locations, post them here. I will likely do a very detailed EV access map for the Yellowstone / Grand Teton Loop, similar to the Tesla Highway map that ChadS is building.

The map will include:
1) places of interest to stop
2) 70-80 charging options
3) NEMA 14-50 equipped hotels
4) best Supercharger routes to reach the region

PapaSmurf | 12. Oktober 2013

The cost of a HPWC (80 amp max) is only $1,200.
The cost of a Clipper Creek CS-100 (80 amp max) is $2,200.

Is there any way to use a HPWC and attach a J1772 adapter to it so that other EVs will be able to use a HPWC?

If I install two HPWCs in Jackson Wyoming and on the Idaho side of the mountain pass, that would be cost effective and great for Tesla owners. But we want to also provide for non-Tesla owners in the future that might have a J1772 input on their cars.

Has anyone heard of anything like that?
We have adapters for Roadster RPC --> Model S.
We have adapters for J1772 --> Model S

What about HPWC --> J1772 so that others can use a HPWC?

William9 | 13. Oktober 2013

The Teton Springs Lodge resort is located right at the base of the grade in Victor, Idaho, about 20 miles from Jackson. The Managing Partner is a friend of mine and I'm sure would have an interest in talking. His name is John Marshall.

Bighorn | 13. Oktober 2013

Unless I missed it, what businesses are yours?

PapaSmurf | 13. Oktober 2013

William9, ask him to install at least a NEMA 14-50 for overnight guests and we will certainly add his location to the map.

Bighorn | 13. Oktober 2013

Sorry, I meant the OP, JamesM. What businesses do you operate around Jackson?

jjs | 13. Oktober 2013

Would love to take that trip. Last of the kids leave for college fall of 2014. Plan on lots of road trips. This would definitely be one for us. Might be in my S or perhaps my wife's X (if she doesn't change her mind.)

Best of luck with this.

Captain_Zap | 13. Oktober 2013


Have you taken your idea to the Tesla Motors Club forums? They are much more heavily travelled than these forums.

Roamer@AZ USA | 13. Oktober 2013

Great idea.

Pungoteague_Dave | 13. Oktober 2013

Having done the loop numerous times in cars, trucks, motorcycles and snowmobile, it is really best in a vehicle that doesn't isolate you. If in a car, a top down roadster is the way to go. My wife and I did it this summer, entering over the beartooth pass from the northeast Yellowstone entrance on our BMW K1600 motorcycle. I suppose it would be okay in an S, would at least beat sitting through the massive traffic backups in an RV.

I commend this effort, but still conclude there are some things best left to ICE unless we want the car to take over our vacation adventure vs having it serve us. For example, these trips are often once in a lifetime, especially for easterners. Visitors frequently add in other widely spread parks, such as the Black Hills, Devils Tower, Glacier, Badlands, Canyonlands, Estes, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite, etc. We have done all of these in a summer and would not have the same memories if we had to think twice about turning down an isolated dirt road just to see what is over the next bluff. Right tools for the right job...

Mireille '&... | 13. Oktober 2013

Would love to do this trip in our MS!
We just returned from our 1st real MS road trip (approx 2000 miles) and had a blast :). It was so much better than our ICE road trips. (Yes, there are trade-offs, but no question which we prefer.)
We'll do the Teton - Yellowstone Loop as soon as we can get there via supercharger, or at least mostly via SC.

PapaSmurf | 13. Oktober 2013

@Bighorn, we own a craft distillery. Grand Teton Distillery.

We specialize in vodka distilled from potatoes. The distillery is in Driggs, Idaho near the border of Wyoming. Through the Teton Pass (10% grade mountain highway) about 35 miles from Jackson Wyoming. We are putting a distillery tasting room in Jackson Wyoming.

So we will be able to cover both sides of the mountain pass with HPWCs at 80 amps (208 volts).

Earl and Nagin ... | 13. Oktober 2013

I might recommend you do what we did at Harris Ranch initially (the old Roadster Charger).
I donated the Clipper Creek CS-100 to Plug-In America, a non-profit, and took the tax deduction. They, and Harris Ranch, then officially did the installation.
I'd recommend you also consider that Adopt-a-Charger ( might be a better organization today as they are fully equipped to do the installations as well. They would, of course, prefer the J-1772 as it would attract EVs (or more likely PHEVs) as well as Teslas.

PapaSmurf | 13. Oktober 2013

Good idea. I have my HPWC for my house unused because I installed a NEMA 14-50 at home. So I want to use that for at least one location. I am also hoping that some company eventually creates a HPWC --> J1772 adapter so that other EVs can use a HPWC.

The cost difference is much cheaper than Clipper Creek's CS-100.
HPWC is $1,200
CS-100 is $2,200

Bighorn | 13. Oktober 2013

Fascinating--I was only aware of the Mead's outfit in Wyoming. Didn't realize there was a distillery that close to Jackson--hadn't considered the prodigious potato crop across the border. Thanks for taking the lead on electrifying western WY!

William9 | 14. Oktober 2013

Actually it is Bob Marshall, not John, at Teton Springs. I expect you drive right by it whenever you go to Jackson.

breading | 14. Oktober 2013

We were planning on taking a road trip to Yellowstone in our ICE until the government shut us down.

After reading this thread, we'll just wait until superchargers are in place and take the trip in our Model S.

Earl and Nagin ... | 14. Oktober 2013

That's exactly what we did. We put a 14-50 in at home and put my Roadster HPC at Harris Ranch where we really needed the extra speed to get to the SF Bay Area.
I understand the price difference issue. You'll have to make the call. Of course, for the price of a CS-100, you could buy an HPWC AND an AeroVironment or Bosch 30 amp J-1772 that would serve PHEVs just as well as a CS-100. If you get more than one Tesla, the 30 amp could get the 2nd one started charging while the 80 amp finishes.
Maybe just run the wiring for the 30 Amp J-1772 while you've got the electrician out and add the charger later if the need to serve Volts arises.
Lots of options . . . All good!

rsr | 30. Juni 2014

PapaSmurf -- I just called about the HPWC. Will be planning to travel the Teton Loop in early August. Look forward to the helpful charge and a tour of your distillery. Best regards, RSR

Brp154 | 30. Juni 2014

If anybody has a contact in Red Lodge, MT, that would make a trip to the Yellowstone area possible for those heading south off of Interstate 94.

For those of you that don't know, Beartooth Pass (between Red Lodge and Yellowstone, is one of the most beautiful roads in the world and I can't wait to drive my S on it some day.

Thanks for the great idea and legwork, opening up one of the best parts of our country to EV's is awesome.

wildcatzoo | 07. Februar 2015

So I am planning a trip to Yellowstone this summer and will get to Bozeman SC and rent an RV. My wife will then follow me in the Model S to the park and we will stay at Madison Campground. It is about 120 miles so we would like to find a place to plug in. If pressed we should be able to get back to Bozeman if the car only sleeps for a few days and we drive the RV. Any thoughts on this idea? Any news of even an outlet we could use in the park? There are no hook ups at Madison and we could not get a reservation at Canyon to use the RV hook ups there. Is there another option in the park? Any hotels that would be willing to let us hook up?

Bighorn | 07. Februar 2015

YNP is working on getting some EV charging--you might call to see if they're expecting progress in time for your trip. You might be able to find a place to plug in in Gardiner, at the north entrance, and I've been working with Chico Hot Springs (Pray, MT) to get some power/destination charging.

wildcatzoo | 07. Februar 2015

Thank you Bighorn! I have called a couple of times, haven't got through yet, will try Monday or Tuesday.

wildcatzoo | 12. Februar 2015

Seems there is hope! The FB page for the Xanterra lodges wrote back to my comment with this:

Yellowstone National Park Lodges We appreciate your comments! We are seeing more and more electric vehicles in the parks, which we LOVE! Our Sustainability staff is working directly with Yellowstone National Park NPS to target areas for the installation of EV charging stations and we hope to start adding some this summer. Until then, our hotel or campground staff would be happy to try to accommodate your needs by pointing you in the direction of a 110v outlet that you can plug into.

It can't hurt to add a comment if you are so inclined. There are a couple about this from friends of mine, but the more the merrier!

Bighorn | 12. Februar 2015

That's great that YNP is publicly acknowledging their EV program--it was under wraps not so long ago.

wildcatzoo | 16. März 2015

In response to a post I wrote on the Yellowstone FB page,

Yellowstone National Park "Good news: we just received funding through the Department of Energy for three EV charging stations (as did Grand Teton National Park). No timeline yet, but keep an eye on this page for details."

I encourage people here to go and thank them in whatever form you wish. Comments to the FaceBook page work for me.

manspecial | 29. März 2015

Was the trip complete? I may take the trip next month but don't know where to charge. How to contact @PapaSmurf ?