Humbling experience with a recent trip to Dodge Ridge ski resort

Humbling experience with a recent trip to Dodge Ridge ski resort

Distance from home ~150 miles. Equipment: Tesla Model S 60kwh.

Needed: A J1772 outlet, or better still, a NEMA 14-50 at the ski resort itself. Hell, even a 110v will do. I called the ski resort, and they acted like I was a Martian talking to earthlings.
They never knew what my car was.

Taking my trusty Acura TSX was not as much fun, but the fill up was damn short at 2 minutes. Car was also fairly quiet, and comfortable.

I think ICE age will come to an end, but very very slowly. What we need is the battery capacity to double and the charge time to halve. Both have to happen in order for EVs to have a hope of competing on range and convenience for long trips in the charger free wilderness that is America.

amitb00 | 11 mars 2014

And both will happen sooner than later.

tes-s | 11 mars 2014

I disagree - I think what needs to change is the charger-free wilderness. Destinations need J1772 chargers.

Don't need double capacity or half charge time. 85kWH is available now, and a standard 6kW J1772 at the destination would have done the trick in 8 hours, assuming range reduced 20% from rated due to temperature. A higher-power J1772 would be better.

If there are a couple of MS families that are season pass holders, that should be enough revenue that they could be persuaded to put in a couple of 14-50 outlets.

TSX is a good solution too.

sahaskatta | 11 mars 2014

@RedShift -- I went up to the Kirkwood Mountain Resort near Tahoe a few months ago. I saw a Tesla Model S cars plugged into a regular 110V outlet in a parking garage. They had a Kill-A-Watt meter attached to it and I'm assuming they wanted to bill the owner for the electric costs.

It's definitely a bit tricky asking for such accommodations, but things are fortunately changing.

RedShift | 11 mars 2014


Both need to happen. More chargers and increase in capacity/speed of charging.


I am headed to Tahoe this weekend. Staying at Harrahs or Harvey's since they both have chargers.
Funny that just across the border in Nevada, chargers are available, but California side is so barren.

AirForce462 | 11 mars 2014


I will be headed up that way in two weeks. Please post a trip report when you get back. My plan is to utilize the Folsom SC on the way up and use the Harrahs chargers, we will be staying at the Marriott Timberlodge a block away (I will walk). On the way back we may circumvent Folsom and go straight home (Modesto) utilizing regen on the way down, plus it will be an easy stretch for my MS85 as it is only approx. 180miles orgin-to-destination.

Car t man | 11 mars 2014

Even Tesla needs to figure out at some point, that owners don't need super chargers so much in proximity of they live, but much more at where they are going and on way there. So tourist and other sites...

aaronw2 | 11 mars 2014

I've stayed at The Ridge Tahoe which is next door to Heavenly. They have a NEMA 14-50 outlet in one of their garages. I think they might need to add more though. Last summer when I went up there was one other Model S there though fortunately I was able to use the outlet. (for The Ridge Tahoe it is helpful to bring a NEMA 14-50 extension cord since the space is very difficult to back in to and parking front in the Tesla UMC is not long enough).

KWTESLA | 11 mars 2014


Charge on the way some where. We just finished a trip to Houston Tx from California. It can be done!
Also why are you complaining about range issues Tesla does make an 85KW pack . Charge more stop thinking small !

RedShift | 11 mars 2014

The trip to Tahoe should not be a problem at all, Folsom stop and then Harrahs/Harvey's. I have small kids, so stopping frequently is plumb necessary, no issues with supercharging at Folsom both ways.

My point is that other destinations need charging at the destination, and that can only happen if many of Tesla owners call in asking for such facilities. First time, second time they may brush these requests off, after that, they have got to listen.

bonaire | 11 mars 2014

I know there are a lot of purists out there but range-extended EVs (even a comical Nissan Leaf with tow-behind gas generator) might still be something to consider as a real entry-point for consumers to get "into" the whole "EV thing". If you had a Volt, let's say, you could have done the trip without even thinking twice. And yet while at home you could drive all electric most of the time. Or some day, when battery packs are denser, a larger-than-a-Volt luxury EREV may be available for 120 miles of electric range and 3 or 4 cylinder optional on-board extender for those longer-distance ski trips.

I think eventually we will see both consumer "cheap" EVs and also luxury EREVs fill the marketplace. But I doubt we will only see battery-only vehicles as the most viable solution going.

In 2007, in an interview, Elon Musk stated that he would like to build both battery-only and generator-extended EVs, some day.

tes-s | 11 mars 2014

Tow-behind gasoline generator?

Why not just buy a plug-in hybrid, or an ICE?

kenj | 11 mars 2014

So you need "day-tripper" chargers, the question would be how much are you willing to pay for this, Disney just put in a bunch a chargers and the prices seemed ridiculous. However, if you put in context of the price you pay for admissions it is not out of line. Level 2 - since you will be there a good 10 hours it would work.

Overnight/hotel chargers. Now I look for places with charging. No dual chargers on charge point network required 10 hours in sub zero temps. My car finished charging at 1:30am. I was sleeping -- there was another person charging next to me. That was it. Another hotel, same area, had one level 2. I reserved but anyone else was SOL.

Portable SC's - rotating where the need is, seasonal. Think port-a-potty

Maestrokneer | 11 mars 2014

We stayed at Squaw Valley Lodge, and they were very accommodating. We called ahead to let them know we were coming, they let us use a 110v plug in the garage free of charge, and even coned off the space for us so no one else could park there before we arrived. Highly recommended.

jkn | 12 mars 2014


Because you can leave tow-behind generator home, when you don't need it. 360 days/year. You can also use it to provide electricity during power failure. It does not need to be gasoline generator.

Czech | 12 mars 2014

I think that is actually a great idea tow behind generator for cars such as the leaf since you are correct you don’t need a big bulky gas generator most of the time. This also doubles as a “gas can” for EV’s just in case things don’t go as planned because everyone knows things always go to plan.

Gadfly | 12 mars 2014

Feel your pain. RoTRA [Road Trip Range Range Anxiety] is the biggest problem with this car. That and spending S-o-o-o much time plotting a road trip route around chargers. The ironic thing is that the car is so fantastic that I want to take it on trips I would never take in an ICE car. EG, going from Phoenix to San Fran to visit my son. Normally we'd just fly Southwest. Now we will Tesla the trip. Fortunately we can Supercharge all the way, once we limp into Southern Cal, until they finally open Indio.

PhillyMomof4 | 12 mars 2014

At this point we don't foresee taking my new S85 (picked up yesterday!!) on long road trips. We can't spend the time needed to charge at non-SC stations, and the SC network isn't quite yet built up enough on the east coast. And yes, it stresses me out thinking about how and where I'd be able to charge along any given route.

My husband's vacation time is never long enough to be able to spend half of it charging a car on a road trip. Maybe in a year when the SC network is more extensive, and more service plazas and hotels have charging stations, we can take the Model S on trips.

I got the Model S to be my daily schlepper, though, which it is doing beautifully.

RedShift | 12 mars 2014

I actually feel they need to loosen up their vertical integration a bit and allow licensed superchargers at non-Tesla locations.

17 miles per hour (since every business that wants to put in chargers puts in J1772) isn't going to cut it some times.

Day tripping actually exposes this Achilles heel a lot. I mean, essentially, half the tank of my Acura is equal to the full 85kwh.

That's the humbling part. That and the fact that my TSX was actually quite comfortable and quiet even with four raucous friends going on a guys-only ski trip.

Ohmman | 12 mars 2014

Acuras are great cars. I have a '99 TL that I will keep after I take delivery of my MS. It's been a perfect car that I didn't plan to replace for years - until I got a taste of the MS, which is totally new territory. There's no shame in taking your TSX on a trip at this time. Nothing to feel humbled about. It's a good car that benefits from a mature infrastructure built to its needs. Glad you had a great trip!

hsadler | 12 mars 2014

Tow behind generator (haha)

That extra weight being hauled (plus gas) will reduce range by so much that you probably won't make it to the next SC - so you will definitely need it.

Kinda defeats the whole idea of an electric.

Instead of a generator, why not tow a second car (Tesla) to switch places when needed?

You guys are funny.

ZsoZso | 13 mars 2014

If you are thinking tow-behind, then why go to fossil fuel ? You can tow-behind an extra battery pack instead and stay pure EV. This idea is already under development in Germany for short-range EVs:


tes-s | 13 mars 2014

Tow-behind trailer is a perfect for a hobbyist. No consumer would purchase such a contraption. There are so many far superior options, like purchasing a hybrid, renting an ICE or longer-range BEV, or having a second vehicle for such trips.

tes-s | 13 mars 2014

Tow-behind battery?? Ok, so you add an additional 85kWh and get another 130 miles of range due to added weight and drag. Now you need a 240kW supercharger to charge the two batteries in an hour.

Backup power while trailer is at house? Much less expensive to have a generator that will power the house much longer.

These are all poor solutions that try to make up for the deficiencies in current battery technology and charging infrastructure. By the time the solutions are developed, they will be obsolete due to higher battery density, lower battery cost, and improved charging speeds and infrastructure. In the meantime, there are many low-cost solutions. The OP had no problem getting to Dodge Ridge Ski Resort.

Don't let me dissuade you though - could be your lottery ticket.