On the road charging nightmare

On the road charging nightmare

Day 3 of owning my new 2017 Tesla Model s 60w. I fully charged it and drove the next morning (0430)to Coronando CA (from LA) for military duty. I arrived on base 134 mi trip (0645) with 21 miles left. Had to do a little driving on base for lunch and go to the one and only Charge Point on base for 2. One was perpetually occupied and the other staton was broken. Now I'm stressed i have 14 mi left and the closest Supercharger is 18 mi away. After my work day, I drove to a Blink station on the island and charged it to 23mi, Shirley enough to make the 18mi SC. I got a warning to drive less than 55mph to make it. Then 5 minutes later (as i was going uphill) the car said i was 1% then 4% short. I pulled off the Freeway and found another Blink station. Charged it for an hour. Now i had enough to go to the SC, which, by the way is 36 miles out of my way round trip. I went to the ONE AND ONLY SUPERCHARGE STATION IN S/W SAN DIEGO COUNTY Sorreno Valley. I had to wait 20 min in line to get to a free charger. Now I'm heading back to the Base A 5 HOUR 4 CHARGING STATIONS LATER, back on base for the night.

My dream car has become a *()(*U curse.

Buyer beware, buyer beware

Earl and Nagin ... | 06. Mai 2017

Yep, San Diego got seduced early on by the EV project from the DOE and got stuck with a lot of pretty much useless 3.3 kW Blink charging stations. They're hardly worth bothering to plug in.
Next time, I recommend you try to top off at the San Diego Supercharger for about a half hour on the way in so you'll have enough electrons to get to your duty station and back to another Supercharger. I also highly recommend trying to find a hotel that has a charging station so you can charge overnight. Unfortunately, this can be tough if you're on government duty since the hotels with chargers tend to be the high end ones that exceed the per diem rates.
A CHAdeMO adapter will also make more stations available.
I hope that you can find a way to make this work less painfully in the future. Remember: That which does not kill us only gives us great stories to tell in the future. I've driven EVs with less range than your S60 from LA to San Diego for business several times over the past 15 years. With a bit of careful planning, it can be done relatively painlessly.

Bighorn | 06. Mai 2017

Sounds like you need to unleash the 75kWh and learn from your mistakes.

compchat | 06. Mai 2017

That's why Tesla stopped making the 60. Under powered and not enough distance. Trade up especially if you have unexpected stops/destinations and/or you have difficulty leaving the car on cruise control (autopilot).

SamO | 06. Mai 2017

60 is a phenomenal road trip car. But it's not for the faint of heart or fill and forget crowd.

KP in NPT | 07. Mai 2017

SamO drove cross country in a 60. Road trips in it are fine - you just need to plan accordingly. It sounds like you made a rookie mistake - charging strategy has a learning curve especially with the smaller batteries (we have a 70D). take Earl and Nagin's advice and your next trip will be stress free.

I also agree with unlocking to 75 if it will bring you peace of mind.

J.T. | 07. Mai 2017

I have all the confidence in the world that you will figure out a workable plan even without the upgrade. It's nothing but a puzzle. Once you learn the solution it is no longer puzzling.

The surest cure for range anxiety is experience.

bish | 07. Mai 2017

Years from now when fast chargers are everywhere, you will have a great story about when you first started driving an electric car. And after this experience you can now call yourself an early adopter of the transportation revolution. Congratulations.

And as others have already stated, you will figure it out and feel a great sense of satisfaction. And you will love your Tesla. I have a 60 with 110,000 miles. There may be occasions when you need to plan a little extra time for charging on a trip. But for me it is worth it to drive the future.

And thanks for serving our country.

J.T. | 07. Mai 2017

@bish>>>>And thanks for serving our country.


RedShift | 07. Mai 2017

I have had a 60 for the last 4 years. Taken many long road trips including a SF Bay Area to Phoenix, AZ coming back via San Diego. Never had range anxiety or spent time at level 2 charging the way OP had to. It's because I've learnt to plan ahead and use

Definitely more planning is required with the 60, but I reap the rewards of a lighter, more nimble handling car. I don't even want to trade in my car as a result.

Different folks, different strokes..

Should_I | 07. Mai 2017

Thank you for your service.

134mile trip with 21miles left says you had terrain, traffic or DRIVING STYLE issues, I suspect this is likely to improve as you learn to use the regenerative braking and such better.

I only took a 10 minute test drive so far and I could tell right away to get the most of the car it will take some practice.

SO | 07. Mai 2017

Another OP disappearing act.

Silver2K | 07. Mai 2017

Where are you stationed in Coronado?
When I was station at NASNI, my squadron was VS38 (Red Griffins)

Silver2K | 07. Mai 2017

Where are you stationed in Coronado?
When I was station at NASNI, my squadron was VS38 (Red Griffins)

Silver2K | 07. Mai 2017


Bighorn | 07. Mai 2017

I wasn't impugning the capabilities of a 60 when I suggested a 75 upgrade. Out and backs can be difficult if there are a dearth of charging options at the midpoint. I've been similarly affected on Coronado before the Qualcomm supercharger. There were Chargepoint options on the island, but too slow for commuting purposes and not close to the base, at least the one I used.

Rocky_H | 08. Mai 2017

So the summary of this is that third party charging networks generally suck. We knew that.

Also, I still kind of roll my eyes at every time someone decides to drive past and not use Superchargers, the fastest and most convenient method of charging that exists on the planet, and then runs short of range and gripes that it is the car's fault. I've traveled routes without Superchargers, and you have to be on your game. Having Superchargers just takes away all the challenge...unless you decide not to use them.

finman100 | 08. Mai 2017

magchog? where art thou? would love to hear more about this 20 min wait at a Supercharger. Really, the only thing I can relate to is the broken, slow, or perennially occupied 3rd party chargers out there. I'm looking at you Blink, Chargepoint, even Aerovironment. What I wouldn't do to use a Supercharger by Tesla and leave those other charging companies behind. Soon...

Captain_Zap | 08. Mai 2017

Blink, Chargepoint and other networks got a reputation early on for their charging stations being out-of-order, overpriced, blocked or offering slow, low power. That resulted in them being skipped over when trip planning. The result was less revenue for maintaining and upgrading their systems. From this perspective they need to get their act together ASAP or they will be circling the drain even faster.

Earl and Nagin ... | 08. Mai 2017

To the OP's credit and contrary to finman100 and Rocky_H's chastisement, he did go into perhaps the most charger-challenged metropolitan area in CA and possibly any coast. I have to contradict Bighorn's comment about Chargepoints: The public chargers on Coronado Island are Blinks. San Diego was ground zero for Blink since the city went all-in with the EV Project who went with the lowest bidder - Blink, leaving them with a lot of barely useful, expensive 3.3 kW junk. There is also a dearth of CHAdeMO stations anywhere near downtown and only the one Supercharger 30 miles from downtown that's about a mile from I-5 in a very busy area. It is logical that the OP might have chosen to skip that stop on the way down, not knowing the ultimate time cost it would result in. I'm sure he won't make that mistake again.
The 20 minute wait for a station is also not surprising, given the shortage of Superchargers and the large number of Tesla drivers at Qualcomm and nearby.
On a positive note about Coronado Island: Look at:,-117.1873736,523m/data=!3m1!1e3 for the most awesome parking lot solar canopy I've ever seen. It's next to the North Island Commissary.

Bighorn | 08. Mai 2017

You are correct--it was a Blink. My memory after 3 years--what was I saying?

Rocky_H | 08. Mai 2017

@E and N, Well, contrary to your disagreement, he did skip BOTH San Juan Capistrano AND San Diego Superchargers. My lack of sympathy remains intact.

RJW | 08. Mai 2017

magchog, on your next LA-Coronado trip top-off at the San Juan Capistrano on the way down and again at the San Diego SC on the way back to LA.

Rocky_H | 08. Mai 2017

I don't know that it needs both, but stopping at one or the other would be called for.

sklancha | 08. Mai 2017

Rough crowd here. I just hope that the OPs defeated tone was just a reflection of his frustration, rather than real buyers remorse.

I think it was pretty reasonable for him to expect to be able to charge when he got to his destination, and there was no reason for him to expect otherwise. That'd be like stopping to grab a bite to eat before you get to the mess hall, just in case they won't be able to adequately feed you. It was a pretty unfortunate rookie fueled challenge (a bit more experience, and he could've just plugged in at a 50 amp location while he was in post).

sklancha | 08. Mai 2017

P.S. I am not sure I would have been any less frustrated if I planned a trip in which I couldn't charge at the destination as planned AND the next best thing was a wretched BLINK station. I don't know if they've changed any from the slow charging high priced system I had the displeasure of experiencing in Tennessee a year or two ago- but that is just insult added to injury | 08. Mai 2017

Better than getting locked in a Nissan dealership. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

sklancha | 08. Mai 2017

LOL- I thought about sharing a misadventure or two of my own, but decided against it. Thanks for the flashback!

Earl and Nagin ... | 08. Mai 2017

Yes, you are right. I'm sure the OP gets it now too but it would be nice if you gave the newcomer somewhat of a break and maybe a little encouragement instead of disdain. None of us were taught how to deal with EV charging by our parents when we were growing up. We have all had to learn it on our own.

J.T. | 09. Mai 2017

@E&N >>>None of us were taught how to deal with EV charging by our parents when we were growing up.

Truly one of the best comments I have ever read on this forum. Thanks for the wisdom and the smile.

Bighorn | 09. Mai 2017

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

J.T. | 09. Mai 2017

@Bh I refer to that book every time someone tries to cut the line. :-)

Earl and Nagin ... | 09. Mai 2017

Some day, I'll come clean on my own misadventures with EV charging on the road but for now, I'm keeping mum. :-)
You're most welcome.
. . . except EV charging and etiquette.

Rocky_H | 09. Mai 2017

@E & N, I guess that's true, that people don't know how bad other charging systems are until they find that out firsthand or spend enough time on the forums to hear about it.

finman100 | 09. Mai 2017

hmmm, no magchog after 3 days? must still be at non-Tesla charger.

I get wanting to vent when this stuff happens. I question the validity when it's a one and done.

Just saying. Buyer beware seems, er, "off".

Please, chastise away. I'm a pessimist when it comes to these types of posts. Lots at stake with Tesla disruption.

Earl and Nagin ... | 09. Mai 2017

You may be right.
The OP may also have just wanted to vent but does not intend to spend much time on this forum. It is still good for us veterans (both military and of EV roadtrips) to help with the 'problem' so that others can see how it really isn't a big problem.

MitchP85D | 09. Mai 2017

Hey magchog, my first Tesla was also an MS60 back in 2014. My wife and I had a range anxiety event as well during our early days of ownership. My wife wanted to drive from Northwest Houston to a beach house in Galveston to attend her granddaughter's birthday party. We mapped and planned it all out. It was 74 miles one way, which made it a 148 mile round trip. We charged the 60 to max range - 190-200 miles. My wife should have been able to make the little trip problem. Well, the real world happened. MY WIFE GOT LOST ON HER WAY TO THE BEACH HOUSE! So, she ended up using a lot more of her range to get to the beach house than what we planned. My stressed out wife called me and reported the problem that she might not be able to get back home. YIKES! So, I had to figure something out. I was working a night shift that night. Where I work is halfway between my house and Galveston. So, I told her to drive to my work and we would exchange vehicles. I drove the Honda Pilot to work and my wife left me the Tesla short a few electrons. My work is 35 miles from home. I had 35 miles of range left. After my night shift, I found a blink station to get some charge. I stayed there for one hour to get 12 miles of range. Then I drove home with 12 miles of range to spare.

Here was the rookie mistake. I should have loaded the charge cable in the 60 before my wife took off for Galveston. That way, she could have plugged into a 110V outlet at the beach house and get some precious slow, but sure electrons to get her safely back home. She stayed there for 8 hours. She could have gotten 32 miles of extra range while she was out there and easily make it back home. And again, I could have plugged into an external 110V outlet at work while I was working a 10 hour shift. That would have been 40 miles of range added to the 35 that I had.

These kinds of things you learn with ownership. After 3 years of Tesla ownership, my range anxiety is non-existent. You made a great choice in the MS60. Don't let anybody convince you that you have to trade up. All you have to do is plan your trip, AND TAKE YOUR CHARGE CABLE WITH YOU when you go out of town.

A Tesla owner here I call "SamO 60 buddy" is probably the best one here to correspond with concerning MS60 range issues. Your dream car still is your dream car. It is a whole new experience and there is a learning curve that goes along with it. Congrats on your Tesla ownership and thank you for your service!

Bighorn | 09. Mai 2017

carrying the UMC is a good security blanket if you're venturing away from the SC network

finman100 | 09. Mai 2017

Excellent story Mitch.

I'll consider these one and dones with a more "educate them" eye and know that all the good info from owners in the real world is the most positive one can be.

KP in NPT | 09. Mai 2017

+1 Earl and Nagin - and Mitch.

I always have my charge cable with me - primarily because we don't have a garage so it's kept in the car. But yes, if going on a road trip - take it! We've used it at a house rental on just a 110v plug and even the trickle charge was beneficial given we were 45 miles away from a supercharger and had no plans to be in that area until we were leaving.

MitchP85D | 09. Mai 2017

Having a range anxiety issue can be frustrating at the time. My wife told me, "I'm never going to leave Houston ever again in the Tesla!" She was angry and pissed off when she had her range anxiety issue. She got over it. She has driven down to Corpus Christy with her grandkids in the Model-S since that happened. No accidents, no incidents, no drama.

MitchP85D | 09. Mai 2017

Correction - Corpus Christi. | 09. Mai 2017

@finman100 +100

sklancha | 09. Mai 2017

I've definitely had my share of misadventures, as @George so kindly eluded to. And since our sense of adventure increased as our comfort increased- we still seemed to find misadventures even after almost 100,000 miles.

I just dont think I've ever felt it was due to TESLA being subpar, or somehow letting me down. I'm sure some of you old timers can (and will) correct me if I am wrong. This OP isn't the only person posting in this sort of tone, either. It seems like quite a few new owners have posted a variety of dramatic disappointments. Was I to gentle in Tesla? Are the new owners to harsh?

Uncle Paul | 10. Mai 2017

Classic error of arriving at your final destination with only a few miles in the batteries, and no plan to charge up for the return trip.

First option is to use your adaptor and plug into any 110v outlet, and scrouge all the juice you can, while planning for your next closest faster charger. Might only get about 4 mph, but that is better than nothing.

You can check on your display to see how many Supercharger stalls are available before going to one with a waiting que.

Plug Share often has local owners that will allow you to charge up at their homes or businesses in an emergency, or you could also contact a local service center or showroom that might allow you to use their chargers in such an emergency (knowing that policy does not allow owner plug in's)

There is also a service center near the Miramar airbase that has a bunch of chargers, and that they allow customers to plug into.

bish | 12. Mai 2017


How is the 2nd week of ownership going? Is your tesla a dream car or a nightmare?

Al1 | 13. Mai 2017

A few years ago these stories were norm. Now they are more of exceptions.

Really how many spots are left uncovered with superchargers?

bikeandsail | 13. Mai 2017

"A few years ago these stories were norm. Now they are more of exceptions.

Really how many spots are left uncovered with superchargers?"

Lots in Ohio!

vperl | 13. Mai 2017

60 kw, what do you expect, range ? Cry me a river.

SamO | 13. Mai 2017

Go crawl back under your rock van perl necklace

vperl | 14. Mai 2017

SamO, go back in your closet..

Padded and just perfect for your anti social attack. No one wishes to talk to you.

I will ignore your hate filled remarks.