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First Supercharger-Only Coast to Coast Road Trip in a Tesla Model S 60

First Supercharger-Only Coast to Coast Road Trip in a Tesla Model S 60

Call me Sam. I’ll be your driver for the next week (or so). Guy . . . girl. Doesn’t really matter. This story isn’t about me. This is about a Tesla MS60. And the Supercharging Network.

The smallest battery currently offered by the company, the Model S 60 is the bare bones of their line. Starting at $63,070 (with Supercharging enabled & living in CA), you get free long distance travel, for life. Add in HOV and HOT access (solo) and you are able to drive at a reasonable rate of speed in areas (Bay and SoCal) that rank among the worst commutes in the U.S.

Just so happens that my hometown also offers free metered parking as a perk of living in what some derisively call the Republic of Santa Monica.

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But this is about the drama. What everyone wants to read and see. Cars on fire, stuck on the side of the road, struggling through adversity. If that’s what you are reading ahead here for, then please close your browser, block my tweets and unfriend me immediately.

This is a story about anyone doing a trip across the country (and back). If you’d consider doing this trip in your gas car at least. Most people never drive cross country. I was going to google the actual percentage, but you can do that yourself. If you care. Which I don’t.

But if you do like to drive, there is no better road warrior that the Model S of any flavor. 14K miles since August 2013 delivery.
Cross country is different. A great city car, be it ICE or EV, can turn against you on the open road. Hoses burst and belts snap. Worst of all you run out of fuel. Since the advent of the pure EV, range has been the forbidden five letter word. The MS60 is different.

It has a range of 208 miles which you can extend even beyond that with careful driving. But we’ll come to that later. Can’t get ahead of ourselves. First the route. Hawthorne Supercharger to Virginia Beach VA. And back.

Most people with the 85kWh version (and a range of 265 miles) are over it. They know it can be done. At least it has been twice already. Once by a father and daughter team from NYC to LA. And then a few days after by Tesla Motors team.

This trip isn’t going to break any records for speed or charging. I reckon it’s going to be a bit of a snooze. But if you want to see how an EV works. How the Supercharging Network work. And how, with superfluous laziness, you can still drive cross country for FREE in about 4 days.

There is a purpose to my trip, but I could just as easily have flown. No I’m not telling. Nosy.

This trip is like any other road trip. It’s also the final nail in the coffin of range anxiety when discussing Tesla. Tesla will NEVER have another car that has a shorter range than mine. I can fail. There is no net. I will be posting updates over the next week (or so) and I’ll try to answer as many questions as possible.

I’ll post updates and photos at on Twitter and Instagram: @TeslaMS60

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The first half of my journey is complete. I arrived in VA Beach tonight at 7:45PM EST. I drove ~3800 miles and charged using nothing but Tesla Supercharging Stations.

I want to thank everyone that gave me hints, suggestions, and made me laugh along the way. Most of all I want to thank Tesla Motors for making the best car I’ve ever seen, driven or owned.

Tesla, you are changing the world one drive at a time.

Everything is possible in this new world. Sustainable transportation. Free Cross Country Travel. Most of all, you are changing heart and minds. Not through advertising and manipulation. But my making an incredible product that sells itself.

I’m going to sleep 12 hours (at least) and then turn around and come home. If anyone is interested if it is possible, twice, I will continue to post here. I don’t have the numbers yet, and likely won’t for another week. For that, I apologize.

If anyone is interested in meeting along the way, please email me and I’ll do my best to let you know the route and timing.

Sam

teslams60@gmail.com
@teslaMS60 on twitter and instagram

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Wrap Up: So made it back, 7700 miles round trip, from Los Angeles to Virginia and back to Los Angeles. I learned so much about driving the Model S 60 that I don't think I could have learned any other way.

I experienced almost every single driving condition imaginable:

Heavy rains in Arizona (2 inches/hour)
Heavy winds in Minnesota (50+mph that caused a big-rig to jackknife)
Heavy snow in Colorado
Extreme cold in Wyoming and South Dakota (4-8F)
Big elevation changes (5000ft climb from Denver via the Eisenhower pass)

I also made many mistakes along the way. Fortunately, I was cautious with my speed and kept an eye on my range whenever there was a longer distance that needed to be traversed.

I nearly shot myself in the foot once: heavy rains on the climb to Flagstaff coupled with failing to do a range charge taught me the lesson to only leave with at least 25% buffer.

I also learned to pick my spots. Slowing down on a climb and then allowing myself to go +5-10 over the speed limit on the downhill resulted in significant increase in range without reducing my average speed. If the hill was steep enough, I coasted until I reached a designated speed, and then engaged the motor for engine braking and regeneration.

On the topic of regeneration, it is always more efficient to coast. Unless you start to reach an unsafe speed, and then use regeneration.

I think anyone can make the drive I made in an MS60. But it would also be easy to run out of electrons, too. Try to drive from Cheyenne to Silverthorne at 75mph. Even in an 85, that might be tough.

I called the MS60 a road warrior and nothing I've seen over the past 10 days and 7700 miles changed my opinion. I now have a grand total of 22,000 miles since Fremont pickup in August and I look forward to the next 100,000 with alacrity.

I wouldn't trade my car in for any other model in the world. Not an exotic. Not a classic. And not a collector car.

I've been driving for 25 years and I've never experience the sheer joy of being on the road. It's my hope that the feeling of piloting what I affectionately call the "spaceship" never ends.

Bruce Wayne | 05. März 2014

DC traffic can be jsut as bad as LA

8508BlueS | 05. März 2014

samosam++++++++++++++++++
Fellow S60 owner from the Bay area here. Your trip has definitely inspired me. Just the other night the wife and I were talking about taking S60 and doing a road trip with our 11 yo daughter through the Southwest. Visit the Grand Canyon, 4 Corners, Chaco Canyon, Santa Fe, follow old 66, etc. I have not that since I was a kid, 40 years ago. Following your post for the past 3 days has been thrilling! YOU ROCK! Congrats on a successful trip!

SamO | 05. März 2014

Made it to glen allen and will leave for va beach in 5 minutes.

Tired but excited to complete the journey

sbeggs | 05. März 2014

@SamoSam, you made it! We knew you could!

NKYTA | 05. März 2014

When you get a chance to breath tomorrow, let us know the final stats please!

Way to go!

Shesmyne2 | 05. März 2014

Samo-'thanks for the additional pressure"
Huh. Thought you'd get the movie Airplane reference...:-)

Great job Samo-I think your experience will really open it up for potential 60 owners, as well as those on the fence to buy at all-

"Hmmm, the 85 is too rich for me, but maybe the 60 will suit my needs...."

Well done. Enjoy the beach!

Still Grinning ;-)

Bighorn | 05. März 2014

@Shesmyne
I got your reference:) --Sam is legitimately young enough to plead ignorance, plus he's probably running on fumes at this point.

Brian H | 05. März 2014

NKYTA;
breath - noun
breathe - verb

Not interchangeable.

NKYTA | 05. März 2014

@Brian, indeed. Must...review...all posts before hitting submit.

reitmanr | 05. März 2014

You have inspired me doing this trip with a 60. I have an 85 and was a bit scared of going to NJ this summer. But now, with your experience and new SC Stations opening, it should be relatively easy.
I have a few years on you, being in my 70s and not sure I will have a co-driver. It sure looks like if I take my time, the trip should be great fun, especially if I meet other MS owners along the way.
There is one trip in the fall to Pagosa Springs from the SF Bay Area. Probably go to NJ after that trip as a test run, not so much for the car as for me.
Congratulations! You are a pioneer.

Fasteddie | 05. März 2014

SamoSam,

I've watched your journey from the start and thank you for sharing your story here. I was at the Glen Allen Supercharger about 2 hours before you were there today. I'm sorry I didn't get to congratulate you in person.

J.T. | 05. März 2014

SamoSam Great job. And tell your dad I'm sorry I forgot his birthday.

Brian H | 05. März 2014

reitmanr;
The SC 2014 map suggests the southern route thru Texas may be doable, if you can make it from Oklahoma to Dallas! Probl'y not till next summer, though.

SamO | 05. März 2014

The first half of my journey is complete. I arrived in VA Beach tonight at 7:45PM EST. I drove ~3800 miles and charged using nothing but Tesla Supercharging Stations.

I want to thank everyone that gave me hints, suggestions, and made me laugh along the way. Most of all I want to thank Tesla Motors for making the best car I’ve ever seen, driven or owned.

Tesla, you are changing the world one drive at a time.

Everything is possible in this new world. Sustainable transportation. Free Cross Country Travel. Most of all, you are changing heart and minds. Not through advertising and manipulation. But my making an incredible product that sells itself.

I’m going to sleep 12 hours (at least) and then turn around and come home. If anyone is interested if it is possible, twice, I will continue to post here. I don’t have the numbers yet, and likely won’t for another week. For that, I apologize.

If anyone is interested in meeting along the way, please email me and I’ll do my best to let you know the route and timing.

Sam
teslams60@gmail.com
@teslaMS60 on twitter and instagram

Joe H. | 05. März 2014

Congrats and welcome to Virginia Beach.

Michael_Bluth | 05. März 2014

I keep trying to think of something smart to say, but I can't do it. I revel in all the positive Tesla news and testimonials about the car, but to me, this trip is simply amazing. Watershed moment in my rather meaningless opinion. Well done, Sam.

Michael_Bluth | 05. März 2014

One other thing that occurred to me - Sam made the trip without being stranded, although he came close ;), so I don't think the story will be heard anywhere beyond here and TMC. However, if he ran out of charge at any point, it would be the lead story on every stupid business channel on Earth.

How's your Tesla failure now, Mitt?

Tâm | 05. März 2014

@SamoSam

Congratulations for being the very first 60kWh Model S owner driving from coast to coast.

Not, only that, it looks like Sam is the fastest Tesla Owner driving Coast to Coast.

John and Jill left JFK on Monday, 1/20/2014 at 09:45 EST or 6:45 PST and arrived to Hawthorne, CA on Saturday, 01/25/2014 at 20:35 EST or 17:35 PST for duration of 130 hours and 50 minutes.

Sam set his departure from Hawthorne, CA on Monday, 03/10/2014 at 08:00EST or 05:00 PST

and arrived to Virginia Beach, Virginia on Thursday, 03/05/2014 at 19:45 EST or 16:45 PST

for a duration of 107 hours and 45 minutes.

(Tesla staff is still fastest with 76:05 but owners can't beat an army of Tesla team, can you?)

SamO | 05. März 2014

@Tam,

Not sure who is fastest but I left Hawthorne CA at 5:30AM on Saturday March 1. Arrived VA Beach at 745PM March 5.

Tâm | 05. März 2014

Hmmm!

Where's Brian H to catch my typo :)

My bad, it's Saturday, I was dyslexic.

Thus, the revised duration is :

107:15 !!!!!!!!!!

@SamoSam

You're fastest Tesla Coat to Coast driving Owner!!!

NKYTA | 05. März 2014

@Samo, you da man!

Congrats you crazy fool, so glad everything worked out!!

60 owners probably want numbers, 85's too!

Epic for sure!
And a slow....Wow. Might as well tell Guiness, you've got the logs.

"But my making an incredible product that sells itself."

You drove it there, so yep. Total Win.

I hate to repeat BrianH, but give that girl a bath! ;-)

Thanks for your story.
+ ~3800

Well done. well done.

diegoPasadena | 05. März 2014

Congratulations, Samo!
Now: Go West, young man!
I'll be watching your drive back.

models60 | 05. März 2014

Woohoo Sam. Congratulations, raising the glass in your honor Sam. Take good rest in VA and have a good trip back home.

johnanniegibson | 05. März 2014

Samo great to see you made it. Continue to travel safe. It depends on what day you arrive at Hawthorne, but it wood be nice to greet you and go to dinner like we all did for myfastlady. I'll keep checking on your posts for your arrival.

Bighorn | 05. März 2014

Congrats! Way to represent. Glad our paths crossed. Good luck on the return!

Doug H | 05. März 2014

Well done Samo. You make the rest of 60 owners proud. You prove we can do it all. I hadn't planned to do a cross country trip, but you inspire me. I'll do it in the summer though, thank you very much.

Rest well Samo. I know how you feel right about now.

SamO | 06. März 2014

@Nu2Ecar When I got to VA, I was able to drive 75 mph at 310Wh/m

I probably average 325Wh/m at 63mph for most of the Wyoming to Ohio portion of the trip.

@8508BlueS

That portion of the trip, although it had crazy rain, was some of the most beautiful. My first trip to Moab and I'll definitely go back again when I have some time to relax. Please post details of your trip when you make it.

sbeggs@attglobal.net Thanks for following the thread and knowing I'd make it even when I wasn't always so sure. ;-)

@Shesmyne2 I did miss the reference even though I've seen it at least 10 times ;-)

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

@reitmanr

If you can't find anyone to be a co-driver on your trip, you aren't looking hard enough. You'll get offers, but if not, I'll be your co-pilot!

@Fasteddie

I wish you had been too. I'll be there this morning (likely) around noon today. I'll update here when I depart VA Beach.

@jtodtman@gmail.com

My dad says he understands, but he expects a double gift this year.

@Joe H

Sorry we didn't get a chance to have that dinner/drink. I expect that when you drive coast-to-coast and end in LA, you'll give me a chance to make it up to you.

@Michael_Bluth

I hope you are right this is a watershed moment. All praise goes to my MS60. She's the real hero of the story. I'm just the narrator.

@Tam

I hope you can make it to Hawthorne and we can have a bite to eat like we did with @myfastlady. That would be really excellent.

@NKYTA

The car is being washed as we speak (not by me). Thanks for all the comments of support along the way.

@diegoPasadena

Thanks for watching the trip.

@models60

My first glass of wine last night (the first since the trip started) hit the spot!

@johnanniegibson

I'll repeat what I said to Tam above. I'd be pleased as punch to meet fellow MS owners in Hawthorne on my return. I'll post here as I get closer.

@Bighorn

Glad you made the effort and we could talk, too! Please PM me when you come out to visit the kids in CA.

@Doug H

Please post your cross-country trip details this summer when you do the trip. I (and others) enjoy your posts and would read about your trip with interest.

sbeggs | 06. März 2014

@SamoSam, that's so nice of you to thank your supporters! We'll continue to cheer you on, westward!

Mathew98 | 06. März 2014

@SamoSam - This great adventure is not completed yet.

Kudos for being a maverick running across the land in an S60. I might do the same for my S60 going from NYC to Orlando at some point.

What prompted you to take this C2C run? Why are you only taking a 12 hours sleeping break before return home?

If swap stations were available along any/all of the SC stops, would you pay and use them at any point? Say if it were getting late and you still have another 180 miles to go.

SamO | 06. März 2014

@fasteddie

left va beach 830am and will arrive glen allen 1008am.

RedShift | 06. März 2014

Samosam,

Great to see you made it! Lowly 60s are as able as the 85 in a cross country trip!

ccbldg | 06. März 2014
Nu2Ecar | 06. März 2014

Thanks for then information Sam. You've proved the utility of the 60S for long distance. Enjoy your rest - such that it is. I would want more time but your pressures, desires and interests will differ.

Brian H | 06. März 2014

RS;
Not as able, but adequately able!

SamO | 06. März 2014

Had a great stop in Bethesda Maryland. The store manager Julia happen to be in the garage when I walked in and she obviates us to the store and give us some really cool hats. We are now stopped in Somerset Pennsylvania and this will be the longest range charge we have to make during the entire trip. 178 miles.

My posting may be limited so thanks in advance for everyone's support.

SamO | 06. März 2014

Invited not obviates. (Damn speech to text)

J.T. | 06. März 2014

A man received an e-mail from his neighbor:

"Sorry Jim, but I have been using your wife... day and night whenever you're not at home. In fact, probably more than you. I'm confessing now because I feel really guilty. I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies. I will ask your permission in the future."

Upon reading this, Jim gets his gun and, without uttering a word, he shoots his wife.

A few minutes later he received another e-mail: "Sorry Jim: I meant 'wifi,' not 'wife.'"

(Auto correct has become my worst enema.)

NKYTA | 06. März 2014

NKYTA chuckles

SamO | 06. März 2014

So the longest leg is complete Somerset to Macedonia Ohio. Starting charge was 201 miles ending charges 39 miles ground covered 178.1 miles.

247Wh/m

DTsea | 06. März 2014

where all the guys who say a 60 is just a town car?

flyjeffva | 06. März 2014

Sam, what was your average speed from Somerset to Macedonia?

Brian H | 06. März 2014

Magi-flaw, the current peak in AI. Siri-all stupidities.

SamO | 06. März 2014

61 mph

NKYTA | 06. März 2014

@Samo, that's impressive at 61mph and 247Wh/m! I'm guessing the midwest isn't below 0F anymore?

NKYTA | 06. März 2014

Oh, and BTW, call up Guinness with your final result...most ICE folks won't be that impressed with what you've done with merely a MS60, but everyone should take note of total time, in an EV, coast to coast...AND BACK!

:-)

Are the Tesla crew that hit New York still there? ;-)

J.T. | 06. März 2014

The crew might not be there but one of the cars was on display at the Syosset opening event on Long Island last Friday.

SamO | 06. März 2014

Currently supercharging in Maumee Ohio. Planning to skip Angola IN supercharger.

Will stop to to sleep some day ;-)

Bighorn | 06. März 2014

No sleep till Brooklyn, or something.

SamO | 06. März 2014

Quick charge at Mishawaka and maybe a quick nap!

SamO | 07. März 2014

Super charging at Pleasant Prairie. Also went over to the Radisson for bio break. I am going to sleep well as my copilot will be driving for a few hours. I will update more later.

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