Help me plan a 1000 mile road trip

Help me plan a 1000 mile road trip

Well, I'm supposed to be getting married soon and we have called off the wedding due to differences. Instead of sitting here sad, what better way to clear my head than to take a 1000 road trip in my new tesla. I'd like to pick up the car this week at the service center in STL, see my family there, and then head off to wrightsville beach nc. Help me plan my adventure!

Directly, there are no service centers or superchargers on my route. But if I alter my route, I could stop off at my house in Nashville, and the service center in Atlanta. Or is it cheating to use my house as a stopover? ;)

Here's what I have so far:

So it looks like I need a mid day stopover in Paducah KY or somewhere between STL and Nashville. Then a very short stop in Chattanooga to get 30-50 miles to make it to the Atlanta service center (228 miles direct, seems cutting it). Then what about the Atlanta to Wrightsville leg - will one overnight stop smack dab in the middle work, or will I be cutting it too close, looks like it will be 220 miles each of those. I'm guessing cutting it too close. So I need two stops?

I'm open to other routes too, even if not stopping at any service centers or my house. Maybe one that uses Raleigh instead of ATL.

Thanks in advance!

shawns | August 19, 2013

Sorry would help to mention for range planning, it is a p85+.

Andrew_OH_S60andS70D | August 19, 2013

I recommend looking for KOA campgrounds along the way. They have 50 amp circuits, and are the next best thing to a HPWC. For long trips, I take a couple of folding chairs and my bike as the campgrounds are usually located near a lake or someplace else worth exploring.
This is my Model S charging at a campground:

Make sure you call ahead, as not every campsite will allow you to plug in. I also bought this 50amp extension cord just in case.

jbunn | August 19, 2013

Well, if it makes you feel any better, it's good you decided now rather than 5 years from now.

I collected all the adapters that Tesla has for sale, and also carry a 50' very very heavy gauge 110 extension cord. I've already had to use that once.

You might want to check the Roadster network. See if you can borrow a roadster adapter for the week. I drove between Seattle and San Francisco with my S on the Roadster network, with only one stop at a non-tesla charger.

shawns | August 19, 2013

Thank you all so far! Yes, it's better now than later, and better a road trip than becoming an alcoholic hah!

I checked KOA and do see a couple that would work. I will call them. I guess I could just walk around while it charges or get some work done on a laptop. A 50A should get about 30 MPH right? So I guess for a 340 mile stretch, I'll need to charge for like 4-5 hours midway somewhere? That's a long walk :)

Regarding the roadster network, what is that? I'm guessing you mean chargers for the roadster, but I'm unsure where you even find that?


jbunn | August 19, 2013

I only know about the ones on the west coast.

For where you are at, go to the Recargo mobile app on your phone or tablet, click Settings, then click Charger Connectors. Unclick everything other than Roadster Charger, which is the last item on the list. This should show you all the roadster sites.

Note - filtering is not enabled on the web site. You will need to use the mobile apps.

shawns | August 19, 2013

Got it thanks. Doesn't look like there are any :(. I only see 5 or so outside of California.

So I'm planning stopping points and looks like I might be stretching it. I read somewhere not to schedule more 177 miles per stop. On some of these I'm seeing 220 miles in between. Should I schedule a stop somewhere midway to get some extra juice?

hfcolvin | August 19, 2013

That is a bold trip and I applaud the idea. I don't have much in the way of specific advice other than the Raleigh Service Center is pretty convenient to I 40. Make sure you have a charging plan for when you get to Wrightsville beach so you're topped off for the trip back home.

If you're patient, keep a sense of adventure and bring stuff to keep yourself entertained while charging, it could be a really fun trip. Bring some good books, a bike to ride or running gear, etc.

Brian H | August 19, 2013

'Grats on the narrow escape!

220 miles per leg with an 85 should be very feasible. Remember that you control rate of use with speed at every step.

shawns | August 19, 2013

Thanks Hcolvin! WB - I live there part time, so already have a 14-50 installed :) I'll be hanging out there for a bit to unwind and relax and of course charge.

Great idea about bringing stuff to do, I definitely plan to try to make the best of it, and go exploring, catch up on some work, go for a walk etc.

Speaking of the Raleigh service center, I have to go there now anyway. This was a little hiccup with the wheels on the car. They are the wrong ones. So they are letting me take the car with the wrong wheels, drive on them to Raleigh and get new wheels added there. Actually kinda works out. I get a fresh set of wheels near the end of the trip! A little inconvenience, but assuming they can get them to the Raleigh store by the time I arrive there, it'll work out just fine.

Ok, I think I have it planned!

Tuesday - Arrive in STL, take car...grin
Tuesday afternoon 2pm STL head to Paducah KOA - KOA Kampgrounds and charge for 4 hours. (202 miles driven, 120 miles added back)
Tuesday night be in Nashville - Sleep and charge at home. (130 miles driven, full range charge added overnight.)
332 miles driven.

Wednesday 9 am head to Chattanooga, stop at whole foods, eat and charge for like 2 hours (120 miles driven, 30 miles added).
Wednesday afternoon stop by Tesla Atlanta and get a full charge, arrive around 3pm (103 miles driven, full charge added)
Wednesday night stop in Greenville hotel with EV plug, sleep. (153 miles driven, overnight full charge added)
385 miles driven

Thursday am head to Charlotte / Fort Mill KOA for 2 hours (102 miles driven, 60 miles added)
Thursday afternoon head to Tesla Raleigh, get full charge get wheels replaced etc. (168 miles driven, full charge added)
Depending on time, Sleep in Raleigh or head to the beach (which would be 144 miles driven)
248-392 miles driven depending on final leg.

So my longest stretch without a charge is 200 miles which is the very first leg of the trip (all farm land it seems). Next longest is 168. So I will just need to adjust charging times possibly depending on miles used and range left, and I'll try to keep speeds to 60ish which could be difficult, but I'l have to. But hopefully all will go well.

Starts tomorrow, fingers crossed :)

shop | August 19, 2013

Good luck! While waiting at charging points, it would be prudent to identify fall back charging locations in case the original ones are not available for some reason. While at Tesla Atlanta, buy all the charging adapters you don't already have. And bring a heavy duty extension cord just in case.

shawns | August 19, 2013

Thanks shop! Good points, I'll probably get the adapters at Tesla STL and an extension cord from home depot (hopefully) in STL before I even hit the road. Definitely good points about the alternate chargers. At the hotel for instance, I'll need to call and see if they can make sure that space will be available, same for the campgrounds. Gotta call them tomorrow too. andrewggilmore - thanks for the link, hope HD has one similar I can use.

shawns | August 20, 2013

Rough start this morning, missed my original flight due to a bridge closure. Running a few hours behind, but am on my way. Tesla rep is picking me up, in Tesla of course! How obsessed am I...logging onto the site from gogo inflight?? :)

Brian H | August 20, 2013

You musta crossed your fingers the wrong way. The index finger must go on top, or you get bad luck. >;p

dtesla | August 20, 2013

Many campgrounds have 50 Amp plugs... Not just KOA (I'm not knocking KOA). Got to for a map of all campgrounds with 50 Amp service in Georgia.

You may also want to try

rswerts | August 20, 2013

A good rule to remember on any long trip is that it's always better, in terms of total time spent, to slow down and save energy than it is to have to spend more time stopped for a charge--unless you find a Supercharger or a good place to enjoy the time spent for charging.

shawns | August 20, 2013

Picked up the car. It is awesome!! I can't wait to get on it, but right now I have precious range to preserve:) going 62 and being passed by everything.

Love love love the car so far. The center screen is just incredible.

Drives like a dream. This is truly the car of the future. Gas powered cars can't hold a candle.

Well on my way to break her in! First leg is 180 miles to a campground. Then 150 miles after that tonight. This is my first charging experience. Hope all goes well.

shawns | August 20, 2013

Made it fern lake campgrounds. Charging at 27 mph. What a cool place. Owner charged me $10 to charge and gave me her car to run to the mall and stores. Going to give her more for that for sure. Crazy how nice they are.

First leg went fine aside from only going 63mph on average. Got here with 73 miles range. Next stop is 160 miles away so I'll be here for a few hours but I need a break. Only lost 10 miles from rated range to actual.

Brian H | August 20, 2013

What wh/mi are you showing on that first leg?

shawns | August 20, 2013

Like 296. Tried drafting but was too inconsistent of speed. Not sure how to upload pics but I uploaded to recargo. Wrong wheels remember, can't wait for the dark Grey ones. Pic is at bottom of the s charging

shawns | August 20, 2013

Stayed for about 3 hours and added about 90 miles. Next leg was 152 miles and I had 163 rated miles. So I mapped out some emergency stops just in case and went on my way. Today was rough because I flew to get the car and drove it 350 miles. Long day, but fun.

This time I kept it at 55mph the whole way. Rated miles actually increased. .. by 1. Wh/mile at 55 was about 182.

Made it home with 12 miles left. At no time was I worried because it was consistently 10-12 miles over my gps. Worked out great. At Nashville home now charging. Tomorrow heading to Chattanooga, Tesla Atlanta, and Greensville SC.

jbunn | August 20, 2013

When I am driving my 60, I like to keep the miles remaining about 20 miles higher than the navi system estimates the distance. That's my 20 mile buffer. So long as I can keep that, I drive like a bat out of hell. If it drops below 20, then I start worrying. For example if the speedo says 150 to empty, and the navi says less than 130 to go, I'm in good shape (not including mountain ranges).

I assume you passed through Cape Gerardo and possibly Southern Illinois to get to Kentucky? Lots of great country down there.

Hope you are having a good trip.

shawns | August 21, 2013

Makes sense. So if you start out the trip with a 20 mile buffer you just adjust your driving to make sure you keep it? What kind of speeds does bat out of hell equal? :) I can't wait to the final leg of my trip - that one's only 150, I'm gonna have some fun on that one!

I think for mine, my 11 mile buffer would have been gone if I drove 65 or more. My first leg I went 63 and lost about 7 rated miles. But also had the AC on. Th second leg no AC since it was in the 60's outside.

pencil2man | August 21, 2013

Welcome to the club. I too live in nashville and am glad to help/chat anytime. Rated range is not the whole story. I drove from my house to Marietta service center with 3 miles rated range remaining, but only used 75kw. so I had about 5kw remaining good for 15 miles. The return trip showed a consistent 25 margin between gps distance and rated range ie no problem.

Koa's in GA were not willing to let me charge (backup) but may change soon.

Good luck.

shawns | August 21, 2013

Thanks. Yeah I thought *maybe* I could make to tesla Atlanta. But figured I'd stop in Chattanooga for a bit to eat and just to be sure. 3 miles range would scare me lol. Whole foods has a j1772.

Any good spots you've found in the Carolinas? My plan was to stay the night in greenville sc.

Brian H | August 21, 2013

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jbunn | August 21, 2013


On the highways here in California, you're likely to get rear ended by Yugos or old ladies if you're doing 70. So for highway speeds I keep it between 70 and 75 with the air on. Excluding occasional bursts for fun, that for me is about as fast as I allow myself to go.

I used to live in Southern Illinois and got my license yanked as a college student for three tickets in two months in my Datsun 240Z. Straightened up my act after that, and have not had a "Performance Award" for 20 years. I try to fly under the radar, blend in with traffic, and not attract attention.

As you take more roadtrips with your car, you'll learn to trust it more and understand how it uses power.

shawns | August 21, 2013

Brian Thank you! :)

Ok well left a little later than expected, ran some errands and worked out this morning. And I met a nice guy who wanted to talk forever hah.

But had a lot of fun driving around town. So fun to zip around the back roads.

Heading to tesla atlanta now with 21 miles spare on rated over gps. Didn't get a full range charge but I may be able to make out straight there! Will see. Going 65 mph will adjust if needed.

shawns | August 21, 2013

Jbunn Thanks. Man, I would love to go 70 to 75 on these road trips. Hopefully I'll learn like you said. Supercharger would really help. I'm happy I'm taking this trip. People think I'm crazy but I figure what better way to learn about the car.

shawns | August 21, 2013

Well good news is I made it to tesla atlanta non stop and went 63-73 mph. Arrived with 9 miles of range left. It was a nail biter. If I got stuck in rush hour I would have been in trouble, but did see tons of j1772 stations on recargo if I really needed to.

Got here later then what i told them and someone eke was using the HPWC so they hooked me up to a 14-50. After 30 mins or so they switched me to the HPWC but my phone tells me it's only an 80 amp so 48mph charge.

Bad news is they are leaving in 90 mins so I won't be able to get the range I need to make it it greenville. So I called a koa on the way they want $20 to charge. Looks like I will have to stop there for an hour or so after I leave Atlanta. I may look for a movie theater here in Atlanta that has chargers instead. Man where are those superchargers at?

shawns | August 21, 2013

Well the service guys are staying late to work on some cars and offered I stay as late as they do to get as much of a charge as I need. Very nice!

Also asked about v5.0 and they said a few new cars came with it installed and the whole sleep mode thing was so slow he had to revert back to 4.5 and said that's probably why its not rolled out yet to everyone. I sure hope they fix the sleep mode thing as I would love the map orientation and also the wifi. But not if it takes 10 seconds or more to be able to move the car.

jbunn | August 21, 2013

Get a hotel near a charger, and go out and enjoy yourself in Atlanta. It's a cool town. Road trip does not always involve getting from point A to B in the minimum time. ; )

shawns | August 21, 2013

I should have! But already booked the hotel in Greenville SC and it's past the cancelation period. 153 miles away. I'm at 130.3 right now, getting close :)

jbunn | August 21, 2013

I talked to a Service Advisor at the factory service center Monday. He said cars to Europe were shipping with 5.0, but new cars from the factory to the US were not yet. They were not installing the upgrade at the service center, either.

Goes to show you, never install any software that ends in a .0

shawns | August 21, 2013

Good point!

Ok, Tesla Atlanta let me stay 90 minutes past close to get 163 mile charge for my 153 mile trip. I sure hope they actually were staying late working and not just for me. But super nice people there, had lots of Teslas there. Said there is a supercharger opening in Chattanooga soon and a service center in Nashville in the next 2 months.

Made it to the hotel with 7 miles range left. Did about 60 the whole way. Wish I could have done more, but I knew this one would be tight. Charging now for free at the hotel. I called and asked them to reserve the spot for me. They did and put a cone there. Charging at 18/19MPH. Which is great, but not going to be enough to make it to Raleigh (246 miles) unless I sleep for 14 hours.

Off to Tesla Raleigh tomorrow and possibly onto Wrightsville Beach, depending on how the day goes. Will probably stop off somewhere around Charlotte to get a charge.

shawns | August 22, 2013

Heading to Tesla Raleigh and trying my first plugshare charge! Called a fellow tesla owner that has a 14-50 in Charlotte so I can grab an extra 90 miles to make it. Hoping to make it to tesla by 5 and have the wheels replaced and car charged and head to my final tonight.

Dripps | August 22, 2013

@shawns Love watching your experience. Thanks for the updates. It sure does teach you to think differently about travel and it's amazing how the Tesla experience makes it all acceptable. I do believe your trip will be easier when Superchargers are in place.

shawns | August 22, 2013

Out to lunch right now with a fellow tesla owner while my s charges up. Fun talking shop. He's got a signature and a full solar setup. Pretty awesome to see.

Leaving in about an hour heading to Raleigh.

Dripps thanks, I read several before I took mine and loved reading them as well. Really helpful to see what the cars can do.

jbunn | August 22, 2013

Makes us all nostalgic for our first road trip...

jai9001 | August 22, 2013


As a fellow TN owner I'm enjoying following your travels.
Keep up the updates.

shawns | August 22, 2013

Thanks both.

Left his house with 175 miles for my 160 mile trip to Raleigh. Very cool meeting another owner. Was funny we joked that once these are mainstream we will tell people that things weren't always this easy. We used to have to charge at people's houses haha.

Onto to tesla raleigh. I called and asked if they have a cf spoiler in Stock in addition to the wheels. I doubt it but fingers crossed!

shawns | August 22, 2013

Rough start to the trip. Big accident. Moved about 1 mile for a good hour. Lost about 6 miles of range just sitting there. And will be late getting to tesla so will either stay the night in raleigh or stop at a koa after. Turned on range mode to cut down on ac draw since I'm only 9 miles or so as a buffer.

shawns | August 22, 2013

The drive went great after the traffic. I took her off cruise and tried drafting again closely behind trucks. So for the last 100 miles I was going 70-78mph and even with that speed I gained 7 more miles back to my rated range. Much more easy doing the trips going that speed.

Here at Tesla Raleigh. Once again crazy friendly. They are replacing the wheels, installing a carbon fiber spoiler (yay), doing some kind of repair on the sunroof (that he said was just released) and also getting a charge.

Depending on how it goes I still may be able to make it to my final destination tonight!

Brian H | August 22, 2013

Astonishing how much you are learning and experiencing in that one trip! Thanks for the detailed updates, they're a treasure.

shawns | August 22, 2013

Thanks Brian. I'm definitely learning more and more! Happy I took this trip. Makes me think it's like a private pilot license. You fly by yourself everywhere ever before you think of flying with passengers.

The other tesla owner I charged at today while has a different opinion on driving the tesla. He's had his almost a year and only has 400 miles on it. I'm two days old and have 1100. He almost had a heart attack ;)

jbunn | August 22, 2013

400 miles on a Sig!?! Did he buy it for an investment? That's less than two "tanks of gas". I probably put 400 miles on mine the first week just making up fake errands for myself as an excuse to drive.

shawns | August 22, 2013

I agree!!

Ok, all work is done and they are allowing me to stay and charge outside. Just left the garage door cracked with the HPWC connected. They actually did not do the sunroof fix because they said it's 3.5 hour fix and mine is so new and not exhibiting any symptoms and would rather not tear apart the car. He thinks because it's so new it probably has the fix.

Unbelievably crazy nice here. They even drove me to a sub shop to grab a bite to eat before heading out. Also got to see a test drive happen and see the customer's ear to ear grin when walking back into the service center haha. It made me think does anyone ever not love it after driving it. I asked, they said "actually no" and laughed.

Staying for another hour then onto my final!

ian | August 22, 2013

Great road trip report indeed! What a fun adventure!

Great looking car to! I really like that gray!

Thanks for sharing shawns!

ian | August 22, 2013

Ugh. *too

Brian H | August 22, 2013

Wunnerful. Those TM employees must really look forward to coming in to work! What an environment.

shawns | August 23, 2013

Final update to my trip :)

Made it to my final destination in Wrightsville Beach last night! Drive home was fine, no issues. Although a lot of grade changes. And was fairly windy.


Total miles driven: 1167.3
Total Time: 2 days 10 hours (with 2 overnight stays)
Total energy used: 338.7 kWh
Avg energy: 290 Wh/mi

Now that my long range driving is over, I plan to have some fun with the car around town. I'm sure my Avg Energy will be a lot higher than 290 the next week or so! Here's my experiences on campgrounds and travel charging. I've gotten a vast range of responses about asking to charge an electric car on a 50 amp circuit for 3 hours from campgrounds:

Fern Lake Campgrounds - $10 (and let me use their car)
Charlotte KOA - no discount at all.
Smithfield/Raleigh SE KOA - no discount at all (Like $50!).
Greensboro campground - $20.
Country Boy's RV Park - $20.

Most of the places I call have either no idea what to charge or just want to charge the full rate. I usually then say well it's only for a few hours I just need a little charge added. Then I'm usually presented with the $20 price.

Hotels with EV charging is my favorite and first choice (not counting superchargers once in place), then a Tesla dealer on a HPWC (some may leave a cord outside for you like Raleigh did which is great). Then fellow Tesla owners (if they are on plugshare), then campgrounds, then blink/chargepoint or other j1172 connectors. The biggest problem with campgrounds are 1) gravel lots most of the time; 2) in the middle of literally nowhere and things to do; 3) the lack of willingness to charge a fair price; 4) Safety (areas seems more sketchy than say a tesla dealer, or a hotel etc.)

I was also worried about Blink and Chargepoint as my cards haven't came yet, but while sitting at the first campground I called both and they both said they can do it over the phone as well. One of them has a code you can get from the app also. Haven't used either yet.

All the Tesla service centers I've been to said that Nissan dealerships have chargers outside and have never heard of anything but positive things from the dealer when the car is there.

My 14-50 in Nashville at home the first night of the trip and also here in WB charged the car completely overnight no problem.

On my trips, I've noticed if I am running low on a cushion, I drop the speed and that will give me more. 55 I'll gain miles. 60 I usually stay about rated miles. 65 maybe drop a few, 70 dropping more than a few. As mentioned earlier following closely behind a truck seems to help a ton. I am scared of rocks though doing it.

Overall I LOVE LOVE LOVE the car. Love the high tech-ness of it. Love being able to control the car from a phone! Love saying "Play+any song" and it just starts playing. Love updates over the air just like smartphones. Love the touchscreen and the maps integration. Love being able to talk to it like a phone. I've complained about that for years in cars. I just want to say "Navigate to 123 Main St, Anytown USA". No other car does that. You're always, doing, United States, wait for beep, Tennessee, wait for beep, Nashville, wait for beep….etc etc. Love that you can raise and lower the car for steep driveways (I was nervous about that, but the tesla is no prob). Love lowering the fan speed for the AC from a wheel on the steering wheel. Love the door handles auto presenting themselves. Really it's incredible.

My wish list? Orient the map on the main display the direction you are heading. Add any kinds of charging stations to the map. Guide lines on the backup camera. 4G, or wifi. And 5.x should be fixing half of these.

The handling of the p85+ is just amazing. This is coming from a "car freak". I love cars and have a GT-R now and love that too, but dare I say I love this more. The GT-R is an amazing track and racing car, but it's more of a one trick pony. Around town in stop and go or low speeds it's very clunky and it has a tremendously good transmission and it's still clunky. You drive a lamborghini gallardo and you'll think you're driving a 20 year old car as clunky as those e-gears are.

The smoothness of this car is incredible. Never a delay in power, no matter the speed. Hardly any body roll in turns unless you take it crazy fast. So you've got handling that rivals sports cars, but luxury that rivals or beats luxury cars. And space and safety that rivals…what... I guess maybe a tank? ;)

As far as Tesla as a company and all of the employees I have met - simply incredible. Willing to go out of their way for you. Extremely nice. Literally the opposite of typical car dealers and manufactures.

You can tell I'm a fan. But for road trips, you can also tell I'm an early adopter and can also tell I was traveling solo. Had I had kids or a wife with me, they'd of got out and called a cab when I told them we have to charge for 4 hours now at a campground! For around town and shorter road trips (sub 200 miles) this car is simply amazing. For 250-400 mile road trips, if you don't mind staying the night somewhere in between and charging it's perfect. For cross country 1000 mile plus trips, it's not ideal. Yet. Once the superchargers are installed and once electric cars in general become more mainstream and every mall has chargers, every star bucks has chargers etc, cross country road trips will be amazing just as in town trips are now.

But I'll tell you, it feels almost special to take a road trip like this. Really taught me patience and I've learned a lot about the car. I'll definitely never take things like the superchargers for granted either (you listening California guys!) and will always remember this trip. Thanks for everyone's help!