Made it! Portland to Yosemite (Wawona)

Made it! Portland to Yosemite (Wawona)

Just wanted to share that I drove down from Portland, OR to Yosesmite without any problems!

This was my first trip using the super chargers and I was carrying my 3yo and 1yo daughters, so I was a bit nervous. But thanks to I had ample confidence about what to expect in terms of rated range and in fact each segment ended up using only about 80% of the estimated range provided from the website.

Here are some of the stats:

Portland, OR -> Springfield, OR (skipped Woodburn SC)
Estimated: 162 miles range
Actual: 120 miles range used (74%)

Springfield, OR -> Grants Pass, OR
Estimated: 232
Actual: 168 (72%)

Grants Pass, OR -> Mount Shasta, OR
Estimated: 202
Actual: 157 (78%)

Mount Shasta, OR -> Corning, CA
Estimated: 157
Actual: 110 (70%)

Corning, CA -> Vacaville, CA
Estimated: 197
Actual: 150 (76%)

Vacaville, CA -> Fremont, CA
Estimated: 118
Actual: 95 (81%)

// I stayed in San Jose with family and then headed over to Gilroy for a full charge

Gilroy, CA -> Wawona, CA (destination)
Estimated: 246 (!!!)
Actual: 178 (72%)

I'm now getting ~3.3 miles per hour trickle charging at a cabin (rented by the Redwoods Cabins). With 67 miles to spare pulling in to the driveway, it only took 2-3 days to get the full charge necessary to get back to Gilroy and head back up to Portland.

I'm sharing this because there aren't too many stories of trips to Yosemite/Wawona and I wanted to help give future travelers confidence that it's easily doable from Gilroy. Some additional details about my trip:

- My conservative estimates were assuming 1.3 speed factor, 90 degree outside, 68 degree inside, and 600 pounds of weight.
- On the final Gilroy -> Wawona leg, I stayed close to the speed limit the entire time, just to be safe.
- Oddly, when I arrived in Oakhurst to do some shopping, I had 89 miles of range left. When I got back in the car after an hour of shopping, it said 105 miles of range! The temperature outside was ~92F.
- Going uphill obviously kills range. I found I could do much better if I allowed myself to decelerate slightly on the uphill and then regain my speed on the downhill.
- I kept Range Mode enabled the entire trip.
- The only two super chargers that weren't entirely empty were Fremont and Gilroy. Fremont had pretty slow charging (~100mph) while Gilroy still went pretty fast despite all the cars there.

Anyway, I hope this gives future Yosemite visitors the confidence to take their Model S! | August 12, 2014

Cool. I went the other way last weekend Corning, CA to Centralia, WA and also found the SCs mostly empty. BTW, Mt Shasta is in CA, not OR.


aaronw2 | August 12, 2014

I look forward to when there are superchargers along the route to Yosemite. I would love to be able to drive up and through Yosemite then north along 395 and come back either over Sonora Pass (highway 108) or through Lake Tahoe. A supercharger in Oakdale or Jamestown would be nice, maybe another in Bridgeport along 395.

EVTripPlanner | August 13, 2014

@lightbody_s - thanks for EVTripPlanner kudos. Surprised it underestimated so much and so consistently. Did you go slower than the estimated road speed in the plan? Set the car to your model? While I'm glad it was under and you made it, we try to be closer than that!

BTW: the new version is now up and running, includes European chargers, metric units and some other cool features at

Brian H | August 14, 2014

cliff, I think they were feeding it exaggerated and handicapped data to be on the safe side, sorta like setting an engineering margin of error!

Bighorn | August 14, 2014

Yeah, why put in a speed factor of 1.3 when you're doing the speed limit and not expect wildly inaccurate results? Makes no sense.

centralvalley | August 14, 2014

Maybe that was the way the user built in his "buffer." Rather than add 30 miles for unexpected weather conditions, he just decided to increase his speed factor. :)

lightbody_s | August 16, 2014

@bighorn - because some legs I went 1.3 and some legs I went 1.1 and because when you've got a 1yo and 3yo sitting in your back seat you want to be really conservative and not run the risk of running out of power. It makes perfect sense.

@cliff - yes, I gave it pretty conservative data so it didn't surprise me that it overestimated. This was my first long distance trip so I didn't want to cut it close.

I do have one question if you get this in the next 24 hours: on my way back it looks like I should be able to go from Wawona to the Folsom super charger, but the site always wants to route me through Gilroy and Fremont. Folsom cuts it close, but it looks doable to me (the tool quotes 243 rates miles with my conservative inputs). When does the the tool decide it's too far?

centralvalley | August 16, 2014

lightbody, have you considered taking SR120 west through Groveland (there is a HPWC there) to stop for an hour for lunch and then proceed to the best SC (either Roseville, folsom or Vacaville)?

You could continue north on SR49 to where SR16 splits off and then take a road directly to Folsom off SR16.

Just food for thought..

shs | August 16, 2014

Where is the HPWC in Groveland?

lightbody_s | August 16, 2014

@centralvalley -- that's a good idea! I'll consider it and follow up with a reply on which route I took and how it worked out.

@shs - according to PlugShare it's at the Groveland Hotel.

jchangyy | August 16, 2014

Good summary. Wish there was a faster charging option at Yosemite. Like driving near Yosemite rather than taking the shuttles.

nickjhowe | August 17, 2014

@lightbody_s Any reason you didn't use the Level 2 charger in Yosemite Village?

EVTripPlanner | August 19, 2014

All, note that Speed Factor is the ratio to the current average speed on the road per Google at the time the trip is planned (not the speed limit). Of course that means that for roads with rush hours you'd need to run route near time of departure :-(

For routing through SCs, if the SC is right on the road along the way we'll suggest stopping at it - if it isn't quite on the route, the algorithm is a bit more complex and hard to explain. You can always delete an SC from the waypoints and then click 'Route Direct'.

(Sorry I didn't see this sooner, but the discussion doesn't send email alerts or anything)

lightbody_s | August 20, 2014

@nickjhowe - I considered it, but I was only there twice: once on a day trip to the valley, when I didn't need it (only consumed 68 rated miles round trip from Wawona), and the second time passing through and Groveland was more convenient.

lightbody_s | August 20, 2014

Grrrr! I am trying to post an update to my trip home and I keep getting this error:

The spam filter installed on this site is currently unavailable. Per site policy, we are unable to accept new submissions until that problem is resolved. Please try resubmitting the form in a couple of minutes.

It seems like something in my post is triggering the spam filter but I can't figure out what!

Brian H | August 20, 2014

It's a random "annoy the users" feature. Call Ownership and complain.

Red Sage ca us | August 20, 2014

I think it is sometimes activated when you mention a popular website without including its dot-com or leading hypertext markup for a link... So mentions of: The giant woman/river in South America... Or the publication with visages... Or the resounding cry of awesomeness... activate the spam filter with a vengeance.

RedShift | August 21, 2014


Thanks for the write up. I made it from Gilroy to Oakhurst with only 32 miles remaining, thanks to a full load of 5 people and their luggage. At Gilroy I had 199. The navigation made an error by taking me thru a route that had 8 miles extra distance, (thru Merced instead of Madeira, which means actual distance was 147 miles than 139 otherwise) and I took a small detour to charge at Rezzari Ford in Merced which cost me 6-7 miles. I have a 60kwh.

RedShift | August 21, 2014

BTW Rezzari Ford lets you charge for free, but the wiring is bad, so the charge was 4 miles in one hour from a J1772. I advise others not to use this location.

mvannah | August 22, 2014

I made it from Barstow to Oakhurst (284 miles) up the 99 last summer, but I really had to slow down at the end. The hotel we stayed at in Oakhurst had a 30A 240V dryer outlet they let us use, which allowed us to use the car for going places in Yosemite and a full charge for the drive home. It would be great to have a supercharger on the 99 that allows easier access to Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs too, maybe in Visalia. It would probably only need 2 stalls, but that also wouldn't allow for backup if the unit servicing the 2 stalls went down.

RedShift | August 22, 2014

It would be great to have a supercharger at one of the entrances to the park. Or, somewhere on the periphery where a major artery road intersects. Destination supercharging at large national parks is really something Tesla should consider.

I have been staying in Oakhurst and charging nightly at a local RV park which is luckily just 6-7 mins by walk. It's awesome to have a lifeline like that.

BTW, the car has behaved fantastically w.r.t the peaks and valleys of Yosemite. I was using a multiplication factor of 1.1 for the distances on the map, but it does not work quite like that. Going up to higher elevations (Oakhurst to the Yosemite valley) should have eaten up a lot of range, but the speed limits did us a favour. Only 35, and mostly 25-30 owing to slow trailers and no overtaking. So the multiplication factor ended up being more like 0.9! (Recharging on the down hills on the way back more than compensated for the uphill slow driving)

RedShift | August 22, 2014

Oops should have written 'factor of 1.0' not '0.9'

txakoli | August 22, 2014

I believe there is a need for a supercharger on the CA99 corridor between Tejon and Manteca ("coming soon").

I vote near Madera. This would benefit valley dwellers for trips to Gilroy via CA152. Additionally Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon visitors would have access via CA 41, and CA180.

james.ruhmel | November 29, 2014

My parents have a RV rentals on the way to Yosemite. They are located 15 miles from the entrance on highway 41.5 minutes from oakhurst. They have a nema 14-50 plug on their property near where the rvs sit. If you're looking to rent an rv for a trip into Yosemite you can just leave your car there at the house and charge. It's possible if available they could rent you the rv for the night on property. Maybe even just leave the car for charge overnight incase where you're staying doesn't have a charger.