775 Mile California Trip Report - 5 Superchargers

775 Mile California Trip Report - 5 Superchargers

Took a 775-mile trip around California this week. I wanted to see if real-world long distance travel was possible with the Tesla.

I used the Harris Ranch, Tejon, Buellton, Atascadero and Gilroy Superchargers as well as local chargers in Santa Barbara. Short answer, these trips are eminently doable as long as you add an hour or two in your travel schedule. (With the one caveat, that my the trip was in the middle of the week with no waiting at any of the chargers.)

Details: I have a P85, air, tech package, pano roof. Left Silicon Valley and went down Highway 101 and across to I-5 stopping at the Harris Ranch charger. No one else was there and my first time plugging into a supercharger and … nothing happened… got a message on the dash about “preparing to charge” but charging never started. I unplugged and moved to the next charger and then the magic happened. (That was the only problem I had in any of the 5 Superchargers, but I did see other individual stations cone’d off at Atascadero.) Had lunch at Harris Ranch, and if you're a carnivore this is your place.

My charging rates at all Superchargers seemed to follow a curve of starting off at ~275 miles/hour then declining to about ~165 miles/hour (regardless of whether I was doing standard or range charge.)

My trip down I-5 from the Tejon charger took me to Glendale and then up Highway 101 to Santa Barbara and ultimately back home to Pescadero (between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz), stopping at Buellton, Atascadero and Gilroy.

I had no range problems getting from a charge at Tejon to my first destination in Glendale and then up 101 to Santa Barbara. However once in Santa Barbara I was worried that I wouldn't have enough range to get to the next Supercharger in Buellton. Since I was staying overnight in Santa Barbara, I found a Chargepoint charger in a public lot near my B&B and then the next day at a public lot at UC Santa Barbara. Before this trip I would only charge at home and never used public chargers, but using the Recargo app on my iPhone made finding them easy. (BTW, I had signed up for Chargepoint and had gotten a card, which I put on my Tesla key ring. All you have to do is tap the card on the Chargepoint display and you can use the charger. Magic. )

The car was a pleasure to drive (except that my newly repaired pano roof howls in the wind when going 75mph or greater.) Met interesting people at a few of the Superchargers, including someone from Germany who bought a used Tesla that day and was going to drive it to Canada.

I gave 4 different test rides to 8 interested friends and I can testify that the Tesla grin not only exists but it is accompanied by a look of utter astonishment.

Chunky Jr. | 13 juillet 2013

Great report, thanks for the info.

How many miles/hr did you get from the public charging station?

Jolinar | 13 juillet 2013

just wondering what was your energy consumtion and highest/average speed?

TMS P85 | 13 juillet 2013

Great and helpful report. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us.

Out of curiosity, were all of the Supercharge stations exactly the same?

sblank | 13 juillet 2013

@chunkyjr starting off at ~275 miles/hour then declining to about ~165 miles/hour

@jolinar, sorry, I wasn't keeping track of energy consumption. My highest speed (don't ask/don't tell) was probably 95 during some of the demo rides and in passing. Average on freeways was probably 75-80.

@early retirement. Minor differences. In most you had to back the car in to get to the charging cable. Others were positioned so you can drive nose-in and they were to the rear of the car. Biggest surprise was the short length of the supercharger cables (but understandable given the IR loss in cables.)

Chunky Jr. | 13 juillet 2013

@sblank : ~275 miles/hour then declining to about ~165 miles/hour

I assume that is for the supercharger. What about the public stations, such as at UCSB? I may be doing a road trip from Silicon Valley down to LA on 101, and may stop in SB.

sblank | 13 juillet 2013

@ chunkyjr 9 miles/hour at one of them, ~15 at another. Good enough for overnight. Not enough if you were sitting there cooling your heels.

TMS P85 | 13 juillet 2013

Thanks sblank! Yes, I was wondering about the length of the cables so your follow up comment was helpful. Thanks again.

sjm992 | 13 juillet 2013

@sblank : ~275 miles/hour then declining to about ~165 miles/hour

Wow - I'd heard that the MS was fast now I can't wait for a test drive at 275mph ;-)

Brian H | 13 juillet 2013

Probably getting the seals replaced, or at least adjusted, on the pano will kill the 75+mph howl. Seems TM limited itself to testing up to the local legal limit of about 65!

fibrillation | 14 juillet 2013

I live in LA and planning to go up to Bay area. Has anyone driven LA to Harris Ranch without stopping at Tejon pass?

Google map lists it at just under 200 miles and my p85 in theory should cover that, but in practice, I have never gone above 202 miles (with just 1 mile left) in my car, ever, even with max charge.

ichong | 14 juillet 2013

Thanks for the report. I intend to drive my S85 down to Santa Barbara from the Bay Area so the new superchargers in Atascadero and Buellton are definitely in the plans. While in Santa Barbara, I heard there's a Rabobank with a 70A charger - that might provide 45-50 mi/hr charging. I also see on the Tesla website that a new Tesla store is opening up in Santa Barbara - you will likely need to call ahead to get a charge, but they should be able to provide a HPWC for owners driving through.

Does anyone know when this Santa Barbara store will open?

nora-te | 15 juillet 2013

Sblank, appreciate the report. We are planning a trip from the Bay Area to Disneyland, so your info is helpful.

I have a few questions for the group.
1. Is there any problem getting from Tejon Ranch to Anaheim without recharging? I assume we will hit traffic.
2. Is there a suggested motel/hotel in the Tejon Ranch area?
3. Any suggested charging spots between Tejon and Anaheim? Is Hawthorn a reasonable stop?
4. We will be at Disneyland for a week, staying at the Grand Californian. They do not have a charger in their garage, but have a couple 110 outlets. Since it will be the height of summer, they may be in use. Can anyone suggest a good nearby charger so we can get enough charge to make it back to Tejon?

Aleksandyr | 15 juillet 2013

@fibrillation- I drove from LA to harris ranch without stopping in Tejon. I was going 80-85 and had 24 miles left at harris. I left from granada hills. You may have more of a drive from your starting point. It is quite a climp through the pass and this eats up a bit of range.

nora-te | 16 juillet 2013

Thanks Aleksandyr. I don't think we want to risk going down to 24 miles though. Harris Ranch is a must stop (we always get a meal there), and we dont' want to risk losing miles to the traffic on the Grapevine. Any suggestions on where to charge on the other side?

Beelz | 16 juillet 2013

I could have gone from LA to Harris Ranch without a stop, but for a little bit of safety, we stopped at Teton and went to get a drink. 10 minutes and there was plenty of extra range to try hitting 90+ for part of the drive.

BTW: We also had problems with charges not working 4 weeks ago at Harris Ranch.

fibrillation | 16 juillet 2013

@nora-te@sbcglob... I don't have all the answers to your questions, but my experience with 110V is very poor. When I first got the car, I tried charging on my home 110V (before I got my 240V installed.) It charged at 2 miles/hour, which means you will probably need 5 days to charge from empty.