How to charge while on vacation

How to charge while on vacation

OK, while I love that it seems like this Supercharger network is being built out...what do people do once they get to their destinations?

For instance, if I drive from from SF to LA and stay in LA for a week? Where am I supposed to charge my car if I'm staying at a friends house? staying at a hotel?

What are people's plans/practices for charging once they stay somewhere for more than a day (that's not home)?

Carefree | 12 February, 2013

Public charging stations are plenty, household 110V outlets are plenty and you can use a dryer outlet as well. It takes some more planning than an ICE vehicle but it is doable.

Superliner | 12 February, 2013

Your friends house most likely is wired and HAS electricity and multiple outlets. Even if only 110v It can keep your car alive in unison with whatever public charging stations you can find "LA has plenty"

If you are booking a motel / hotel, ASK about the possibility of charging, The more "we" ask the more motels / hotels etc. will add the infrastructure especially if they see their competitors rooms rented and EV charger spots "full"

Electrical outlets are more plentiful than gas stations many thousand times over, Heck even Gas stations have them! lol!!

And you have to realize not all trips are doable in a Model S without extensive planning and charging delays. Some trips will be easier than others. This is no different when we made the switch from horse drawn to horseless carriages.

Those who can envision something different and those who embrace it and are willing to try the new offerings will push the technology forward if it has merit. Electric transportation is a better mouse trap but it is in it's infancy.

Being an early adopter can be a rough ride, If you're not ready to "run with the big dogs" perhaps you should stay on the porch and look at Hybrid ICE offerings.

Just promise me this... Is you buy a Model S and it does not do "everything" you want it to do "just like your current ICE" DON'T BLAME TESLA!! Nobody is forcing you to buy an S.

jat | 12 February, 2013

Many hotels have L2 chargers available. Your friend's house probably has a dryer outlet you can use for 14mi/hr charging, and there are lots of public chargers you can use. If you aren't driving much at your destination, even a 120V outlet will fully recharge from 0 in about 4 days.

brooklynrab | 13 February, 2013

Super liner, why does your tone have to be so condescending to a guy who is asking a simple question? Do you think that tone makes non-early adopters feel good about joining your "fraternity"?

rd2 | 13 February, 2013

JR's Dad - I would just take it to the Hawthorne Supercharger once you arrive in LA. Charge up and then park at your friend's place, plugged into a 110 to keep it primed (to avoid the vamps), and you'll be good to go for the return trip. I imagine you'll be taking some folks for test rides while you're there, so you may end up going to Hawthorne more than once.

HansJ | 13 February, 2013

I keep an extension cord in the trunk and plug in to a 120V outlet. They are everywhere. The only time I had trouble was when I was visiting a very old cottage that didn't have grounded electrical plugs and the mobile charger refused to charge (shows red light vs green light). The next morning I just drove three blocks away and plugged into a 240V Blink charger and was good to go in an hour.

JR's Dad | 13 February, 2013

Thanks for the great input everyone…you too, superliner (wow). I hadn’t realized there were all these alternatives to the Supercharger and your home charger.

gimp_dad | 13 February, 2013

Last weekend I went down to Santa Cruz from the bay area for the AT&T ProAm Golf tournament. I had enough range to make it there, drive around everywhere I wanted (lots of driving) and drive back.

However, our friends whose beach house we stayed at wanted us to try their driver plug for charging my car. It was the older Nema 10-30 style outlet but I have built my own pigtail adapter already. It was close to their garage so I didn't even have to use my 40' 6-50 welder's extension cable.

It charged like a dream and none of the connections ever got the slightest bit warm. I started at 24A and slowly turned it up as far as I dared (28A). At that rate it was charging significantly faster than all of the J1772 charge stations I have used it was incredibly convenient.

This was a pretty old beach house and I was impressed that the dryer outlet was so clean and delivered such good current and voltage. It sure felt great to know that I could go there and have a really convenient way to top off my charge in case I wanted to go somewhere else from there.

I also have a cabin in the mountains a little over 150 miles away from home and I would never drive there without feeling like there is a way to charge remotely. There are a lot of third party options even though it is pretty remote because of the presence of RV parks. But once again because of the fact that my mountain home has both a 10-30 dryer outlet and a 10-50 welder outlet (previous owners did this) charging is a dream.

I never intended to take my Model S on longer trips because I have plenty of cars but I really like driving it and I am finding that there are more options than I expected for increasing the radius of drives that I can do with zero sacrifice in convenience compared to an ICE car.

Nexxus | 13 February, 2013

@JR's Dad

Whenever we go on vacation we've stayed at the Hampton Inn or one of their subsidiary hotels (Doubletree, Hampton Inn Suites, etc...) and everyone of them has at least three or four light poles with 120v outlets in their parking lots. So, at a minimum you'll get 6 mph charge at least. Higher amp chargers won't bew too far into the future for most hotel chains.


Docrob | 13 February, 2013

Charging away from superchargers can be done at any of the over 6,500 dedicated Public EV charging stations around the US, a number which is growing rapidly and includes a huge number of car parks, entertainment venues, hotels, motels etc allowing you to opportunity charge whilst out and about or do a complete charge whilst you sleep. The next option would be any of the thousands of camp sites and RV parks around the country almost all of which have high current connections for RV's and finally in a real pinch any home dryer socket will give you a decent rate of charge and any 110v socket can give you some slow electrons if nothing else is available.

For public charging stations see
For campsites see And others
For dryer and 110v sockets wander over to the nearest house and offer them $10 to use their garage for a few hours.

David M. | 13 February, 2013

@JR's Dad
I just completed my first "road trip" in the Model S. It was only a 2 day trip, but the distance required me to charge overnight while at my destination. I simply used the ChargePoint app, and found a hotel that had a charging station on premises. They reserved the EV charging spot for me, with a red cone, and a sign with my name on it. I got fuel, and valet parking for free. When I checked in at the front desk, they also thanked me for being environmentally conscious, and upgraded my room.
FYI - Make sure you take your J-1772 adapter!

shs | 13 February, 2013

@David M.

I'll bite. What was the hotel (chain)? Sounds like a place I may want to stay!

Brian H | 13 February, 2013

Many are finding they get only 2mph at 120V outlets, 5mph at most. Don't promise 6! ;)

nickjhowe | 14 February, 2013

Raw math says 120V * 12A = 1.44kW, which is c. 2 miles of projected range per hour of charge. Highly unusual to get anything more than that.

Superliner | 14 February, 2013

brooklynrab | FEBRUARY 13, 2013 NEW
Super liner, why does your tone have to be so condescending to a guy who is asking a simple question? Do you think that tone makes non-early adopters feel good about joining your "fraternity"?

@ brooklynrab

My apologies to all.. Did not mean to offend, just a feeble attempt at brevity. Guess I'll have to stay on the porch! Anyone have any salt and pepper to sprinkle on the crow I'm eating now whilst sitting in the dog house.

@ JR's Dad

Thanks for not taking me too seriously "I don't", Did not mean to offend or be condescending ... My sense of humor can be a bit dry. As has been said elsewhere once you get on the road in your Model S you may find that you no longer care about such things and will do whatever it takes to drive the car MORE!!

shop | 14 February, 2013

Is that math correct? You seems to be saying around 700w per mile? I thought is was about half that.

edavis008 | 14 February, 2013

So how do I get adaptor plugs for dryers? Tesla is not offering them on their "shop" page yet. I especially need one for an older style NEMA 10-30 recepticle. Is there any help for this non-engineer? I could probable make one if I had detailed instructions.

Brian H | 14 February, 2013

To be brief, I think you mean 'levity' rather than 'brevity'. It's even one letter shorter, if brevity actually is a concern! ;) ;p

Superliner | 14 February, 2013

@ Brian H;

Nope Meant "Brevity" short "relatively concise" to the point and perhaps a little too sarcastic for this venue. Note how the points are broken into short paragraphs.

jat | 14 February, 2013

@edavis008 - see other threads for the details, but basically you will have to make your own adapter to 14-50, and then dial the car down to 24A (when using 10-30 or 14-30 outlets). The 14-30 is pretty straight-forward, and if you don't mind the risk you could just cut off the neutral connector on the official Tesla 14-50 adapter as the car doesn't need neutral and the other pins are the same. The 10-30 is tricky, because there is no ground -- you will have to wire neutral on the 10-30 to ground on the 14-50 -- they are bonded at the main panel, but it isn't up to code and you should label it as only used for the Tesla, as other use might leave dangerous currents on ground which might be exposed.

If you don't know what you are doing, don't try it.

Mel. | 15 February, 2013

Superliner, no apologies are necessary. Tesla owners are steps above the PC crowd. But a nice gesture on your part.

mkh1437 | 15 February, 2013

I mentioned this in another thread, but it seems like good info here as well. Recargo has released a web page optimized for the Model S browser. Just navigate to: and bookmark it in your car's browser.

Brian H | 15 February, 2013

Yes; used it to discover that the Sun Country stations across Canada will be 90A, not 70A like I thought!

eq1 | 18 February, 2013

On 120V outlet use, isn't this the math?:
Most 120V outlets are on either 15 or 20 amp circuits (if newer home or facility, probably 20 amp). You need to use a little less than the rated amperage. So, for example, the wattage for a 20 amp circuit would be 120V X 20A= 2400 watts -- IF you could use the rated amperage. Let's just assume it's 2000 watts (16.7A).

2000 watts divided by watt-hours per mile = how many miles of charge you could get out of a 120V outlet on a 20 amp circuit.

Assume 350 watt-hours per mile: you get 5.7 miles per hour of charge... Plug in your own watt-hour per mile average, adjust the other variables for your own situation. If you can, find out what circuit breaker the outlet you'll be using is on, such as at your friend's house or wherever you might charge, and visually confirm whether it's a 15 amp or 20 amp (they say so on the breaker)...

eq1 | 18 February, 2013

One more thing: there might be an adjustment for charging (in)efficiency - I thought I read it was 85-90%. So if you burn 350 Wh/mi on average, you might need to adjust that up to convert it to a charging equivalent. If the efficiency rate were 90%, it'd be 350/0.9=389. In the above example you'd get 2000watts/389Wh/mi=5.1 miles per hour of charge...

jat | 18 February, 2013

@eq1 - you can only draw 15A from a regular outlet -- you need a special 20A outlet (the right blade is horizontal), and then you would need the corresponding adapter for the Model S (people have made them that go to the 14-50 plug, then manually dial the current down). Since this is a continuous load, you have to derate by 25%, which is why the car will only draw 12A from a 15A outlet or 40A from a 50A outlet, so you need to dial the current down to 16A on a 20A outlet.

Aside from inefficiency (which might vary at low currents or with voltage), charging speed is also diminished by the computers draw of about 100W (8mi/day), which becomes noticeable at such slow charging rates.

Other than that, your math is correct.

shop | 18 February, 2013

Lots of houses have plugs on 20a circuits, and you don't need a special right blade horizontal plug. but you would need to build your own adapter as tesla doesn't have a 20a 120v adapter yet for the model s.

jat | 18 February, 2013

@shop - yes, the breaker and wire may be 20A, but the outlet is only 15A. You can't draw 20A without risking damage to the outlet, which is why if you are using Tesla 120V@15A adapter it won't let you go higher than 12A. If they do offer a 20A adapter, it will have the horizontal blade on it -- look at the Roadster charging adapters for 5-20.

shop | 18 February, 2013

Jat, I stand corrected. Thanks.