ROAD TRIP - Houston to Austin in a Model S 60 kWh - Done!

ROAD TRIP - Houston to Austin in a Model S 60 kWh - Done!

A quick post to say that I just took a quick road-trip from Houston to Austin (170 miles) in my Model S 60. I charged up to 100% the night before and 212 miles of Rated Range when we left. I drove directly to the Austin Tesla Store at The Domain in order to use their HPWC and made it there with 22 miles of Rated Range left. On the return trip the next day, I had 208 miles at start and ran into traffic just outside of Austin. It was a bit of a nail-biter and made it home with only 7 miles of Rated Range left.

Trip stats:
345.1 miles driven 112.5 kWh of electricity used 326 Wh/mi

Drive safely, everyone!

TexasYes | July 7, 2013

That is great to hear. I make that trip all of the time in my current, non MS car, but look forward to doing it in my MS. Any news on exactly where the Supercharger will go between Austin and Houston and exactly when it will open? I need to do Austin to Houston round trip in the same day and can't always make it to the Galleria in Houston for charging in between. The Supercharger will be a great solution!

bp | July 7, 2013

I've made that round trip once in my P85.

On my trip from Houston to Austin - did a MAX RANGE charge - and drove very conservatively - no faster than 60 MPH the entire way. [Surprisingly, was pulled over by a trooper for not having a front license plate, though the trooper seemed much more interested in looking at the car than warning me about the missing plate!]. As I recall - I had quite a bit of range left when I got to Austin.

On the way back, I drove at the same speeds I would have done in my previous ICE - 5-7 MPH over the posted speed limit - and used only a STANDARD charge - and got back home with 10-20 miles of range left.

By my estimates, driving conservatively vs. typical highway speeds was around a 20% difference in range.

Should be able to make the trip in a 60 - but may have to drive close to or below the speed limit to ensure some cushion.

mlnewman1 | July 8, 2013

"Should be able to make the trip in a 60 - but may have to drive close to or below the speed limit to ensure some cushion." - bp

You're right. I had the cruise control at 72-74 on the trip out to Austin, along with the A/C at 72, radio on, etc. For the return, knowing we were short on range, I slowed it down to 70, set the A/C a little higher, etc. As much as I'd have loved 80 on some stretches, the 60 kWh care just doesn't have the range for that.

TexasYes - I haven't heard about a Supercharger between Austin and Houston. I heard they were planning one between Austin and Dallas, though. If you take I10 there's an RV park in Columbus and another in Bastrop. If you take 290, there's an RV park between Burton and Brenham with a public plug.


mrspaghetti | July 8, 2013

@mlnewman: On the supercharger page ( they show one going b/t Houston and Austin by the end of this year. I think there's a Buccee's about halfway - I bet it's going there, but that is just speculation.

dallas.dunlap | July 8, 2013

Its been mentioned before, but I highly recommend the Field Store on Field Store Road on 290 outside of Houston. They have a blink station and some of the best pulled pork sandwiches and good pies. They also have free wi-fi, so on workday trips, I'll stop for thirty minutes and do some email and have lunch while I grab 10-12 miles of charge. I go for the food more than the electricity, but its nice to have the extra miles. My thinking is that 290 will never get a SC, only I-10/71 in Columbus. I think the 150 miles on 290 is too short, so once columbus (or Sealy) gets one I'll go that route. In the meantime, its nice to support the local guy rather than than the new over-the-top Buccee's they are putting in across the HWY.

Safe Travels.

Andrew_OH_S60andS70D | July 8, 2013

Over the weekend I made a 260 mile trip with my Model S 60 from Dayton OH to Pittsburgh, PA. I found a KOA campground about halfway that was familiar with the Model S. I charged for 3 hours at 40 amps. I had my bike in the back and some chairs so my son and I took in the sites around the lake.

Our destination was the convention center in downtown Pittsburgh. They have two free Level II chargers. One was busy, but I was able to charge overnight with no problem. I had 22 miles to spare when I pulled in. I moved the car in the morning and it sat for two days. I should have topped it off before we left yesterday as I started the trip back with only 217 miles of ideal range from vampire loss.

The next part of the story gets interesting. I pull into the campground with 18 miles of range left, primarily because the trip back was mostly downhill. I pulled in and the very nice people at the campground told me they had lost all power due to down power lines in town! They said it might be 3 hours or more to get power back.

I found a Chargepoint Level II charger on Plugshare that was close enough. When I got to the address, I could not find the charger. Luckily, I saw a Walgreens across the street. That's where the charger was. The address in both Plugshare, Recargo. and the DOE site was incorrect (I submitted a report to get it fixed). I had 3 miles of range left when I plugged in. I later went back to the campground and completed charging as it was faster than the Level II.

There are a lot of chargers out here, but my recommendation is to have no less than 30 miles remaining when you get to your midpoint just in case of problems with the intended charger.

dvm | July 9, 2013

I'm making this very trip from The Woodlands to downtown Austin in two days. Since I've only got 300 miles on my car, I'm not planning to make the trip EV so it will be my trusty old Excursion.

There is a ChargePoint station at the ACC two blocks from my meeting but I can't find it on Google Maps Streetview and I'm not confident that I can charge in a reasonable time to get home before I turn into a pumpkin. Maybe on my next trip.

TimJ | July 9, 2013

@dvm I used a chargepoint charger near round rock and was dismayed at the $.49kWh it charged. In Houston, they only charge $1/hr of charging. Had I not been visiting relatives before I left, I would not have used it, right before I left.

mlnewman1 | July 9, 2013

@dvm, How do you get to Austin from The Woodlands? Do you drive down to 610 -> 290? Do you have a 60 kWh Model S or an 85? With a 60 kWh car you'd have to stop mid-way. Download the PlugShare iOS app, which is related to the web site. It shows a NEMA 14-50 plug at an RV park west of Brenham. I called them and they confirmed availability and a $10 flat fee. At that amperage, you may have to charge for an hour or more to complete the trip. If your meeting is near The Domain mall, that's where the Tesla store is and they have a HPWC that you can use for free.

Brian H | July 9, 2013

Google Maps is always out of date.

dvm | July 10, 2013

@minewman1: I take 2920 across to 290 and then downtown Austin. I'm meeting about a block from the capitol building for three hours. There is supposed to be an Austin Community College ChargePoint about two blocks away that has two level 2 chargers.

I have a P85. The round trip is about 312 miles so I'd only need about 60 miles to feel comfortable making the trip. My inexperience makes me worry about finding slow or inaccessible chargers.

dallas.dunlap | July 10, 2013

FYI - The ACC Chargers (at least at the north campus) are permit parking, although you could plead ignorance, but more importantly they are commonly ICEd as they aren't tow-away enforced. If it wasn't 97 degrees in July it would be a nice 10 minute walk to the City ones closer to the river.

dvm | July 11, 2013

OK, I checked with the Tesla at store at The Domain and they claimed to have 100 AMP chargers so I decided I could stand to take an hour for dinner before the trip home charging at 60 M/h to get the rest of the trip in the tank. Long story short - they only do 70 AMPS.

I loved the trip, got to Austin, attended two meetings...about 4 PM went down to The Domain, plugged in, car wouldn't accept more than 72 AMPS. I visited the store, showed them the app and inquired...turned out the parking garage wouldn't let them wire more them 70 AMP circuits so I was limited to 44 M/h recharge. So, I left about 6:15 with 190 miles in the tank and made it home with 35 to spare.

I'm a little peeved that I called to verify the 100 AMP charge rate but apparently that's not understood by the staff at the store. Even so, it was a pleasant experience, I had some great dumplings at Kona Grill and got home about 9 PM. Up and back in one day...cost an extra 2 hours versus the Excursion. Worth it.

CalDreamin | July 12, 2013

Somebody correct me if this is wrong. My understanding is that the HPWC on a 100A circuit operates at max. 80A, because NEC calls for operation at no more than 80% of the circuit breaker. Also, I don't believe MS Twin Chargers or the HPWC can operate at more than 80A.

Commercial buildings are often 208V, not 240V. 208V at 72A would be around 46 mi/hr charge rate. Had The Domain store been able to operate at 80A, you might have gotten around 53 mi/hr of charging.

Brian H | July 12, 2013

Yeah, it's a continuous vs. peak load thing!

hiren1 | August 18, 2013

I charged at the domain in Austin a few days ago. I used the charger on the left and the max amperage it gave me was 60amp, when trying to increase it from the car, it gave me a warning stating it is an early version HPWC and 60amp was the maximum!

DVM, did you use the charger on the right?

dvm | August 18, 2013

I used the one on the right to get 72 amps.