Folsom supercharger inadequate for North Tahoe trips

Folsom supercharger inadequate for North Tahoe trips

So we've learned that we simply can't take our Model S to our house in Alpine. Even with the stop in Folsom (minimum lost time = 1 hour), if you then drive normally you arrive with almost no range. Dinner plans? Better be at Squaw with their new charger or you're going to have to walk. Genuine range anxiety, in other words. So the Mercedes wagon will always get the call. Also means a Model X won't figure in our plans, when it's time to replace the truck.

It's surprising that all the various mentions of another supercharger on route 80 east of Sacramento haven't led to a station yet. Numerically the traffic on 80 is several times that of 50. We can't be the only owners suggesting this? It's doubly a shame given how much we like the car.

soma | 1 settembre 2013

You have the 85kwh I assume? How much is the altitude gain to your house? The distance says 97 miles from Folsom to Alpine -- are you losing >1/2 your mileage due to the altitude?

negarholger | 1 settembre 2013

The Gilroy super charger is inadequate to go to Yosemite, I can go there but never return. There are millions of people going to Yosemite, why isn't there a station yet.

jonlivesay | 1 settembre 2013

We routinely drive from our home near I-80, over to I-50 and up to Tahoe area. We have driven several times up 50 to 89 and over to Tahoe City then out 89 to 80 and home. Round trip is usually right around 200 miles. If you have an 85 you shouldn't be having any problems making it.

SamO | 2 settembre 2013


How in the world can you not make 97 miles from Folsom to dinner in Squaw? This doesn't even make sense. You can coast most of the way back.

Paulreiche | 2 settembre 2013

I made the drive from Gilroy to Yosemite Valley in April. There was a level 2 charger near the Village grocery store. I did 'Apollo 13' it on the way up (no AC and fairly low speed) but it proved unnecessary.

odenator | 2 settembre 2013

I have to assume you have a 60kWh battery and are only charging to 90% cause I can drive 184 miles up two mountain ranges and still have 15 rated miles left while driving at normal highway speeds in my P85 if I do max charge. Can you please provide more specific info on how you are charging and how far you are driving.

mark_g | 2 settembre 2013

Sounds like a John Broder wanna-be. With only 97 miles from Folsom to Alpine Meadows you would almost want to run out of juice.

negarholger | 2 settembre 2013

@Paulreiche - yes I know, but it takes some willingness to do it.

EDH AL | 2 settembre 2013

Sorry to hear about the range anxiety associated with travel to Alpine (Meadows, right?).

Regarding a supercharger on I-80 enroute to Tahoe, we all may be in luck if Tesla splurges on the planned service center in Rocklin. They've apparently submitted plans to re-purpose a 15,000 sq. ft. Kia dealership near I-80 and Sierra College Blvd.). Since there will be no change in land use or zoning, the project should move along quickly.

Regarding the roundtrip between Folsom and Tahoe north shore destinations, my P85 has made that trip twice with no particular range anxiety. Both trips were for a week or longer and involved side-trips to Truckee and South Lake Tahoe).

We started both trips with a max. range of 265 miles. On the first trip we re-charged for free (J-1772 level of service) for a few hours at the Hyatt at Incline Village. After a few hours of gambling and dinner, the possibility of insufficient range for the return trip was never a concern). On the second trip (measured at 110 actual miles, we used about 135 miles of range going up and about 85 miles of range on return. In consideration of several side-trips on our second trip, we just relied on the 110 outlet in the garage each evening and had no range apprehension at any time during our trip.

Hope you have better luck next time!


BVS Consult | 2 settembre 2013

So, for those of you who asked, we have a P85. The straight line mileage from the Folsom supercharger to our house is 102 miles. At 75mph -yes I know I can try to hypermile - but this is a high performance car. I find that consumes about 130 miles of range normally. I don't do the max charge but rather the "trip" setting. Why should I have to reduce the life of the battery to make a destination that is that close?

Then add the altitude. If you do the math on this, it should work out to about 6 miles of range for every 1,000 ft of elevation gain. The net (not gross) elevation gain is 7,500 feet to Donner pass plus another 700 feet to our house. Round numbers that's 8 x 6 or 48 miles. So I've used about 180 miles of range. It's not linear either. At the top of Donner the car shows 60 miles of range left with 25 miles to go. Now drop your stuff and go out to dinner in Tahoe City - 9 miles each way - and the car is giving you the repeating low battery alert by the time you get home. So I admit the walk home point is an exaggeration, but getting back over Donner Pass would not work.

The more pertinent issue is that getting to or from Folsom on 80 can be a complete pain. How many of you have tried it? The fastest route is to double all way back to the 80/50 interchange, believe or not. That adds 28 miles to the trip, see range point above, so instead we crawl through Granite Bay and/or Citrus Heights. Further, for long distance traffic 80 is handily the more important highway. 80 and 50 carry similar amounts of traffic within 20 miles of Sacramento but over the Sierras 80 carries 4-5x the volume. Look it up on if you don't believe me.

Spare me the John Broder point, it's unworthy. We were an early buyer and a staunch supporter during the whole NYT nonsense. I'd like this company to thrive. Thriving doesn't really include me deciding that I can't use the car to my only regular semi-long distance destination.

jbunn | 2 settembre 2013

Would it be OK if we install a supercharger at the end of your driveway?

BVS Consult | 2 settembre 2013


Thanks for the comments. Rocklin would be a great option. The existing level 2 chargers in Auburn, Dixon, etc can only do about 20 miles of range per hour. And getting back once you're over Donner Pass is much easier, I agree.

Interestingly enough we just got the car back from service where Tesla replaced one of the 2 chargers, which may explain some of our range issues.

BVS Consult | 2 settembre 2013

Folks, I think some of you are missing the point. My car, like yours, leaves my house fully charged every day. The point is there really should be a supercharger on the busiest east/west highway in California

negarholger | 2 settembre 2013

@BVS Consult - we understand your problem... I need a SC in Novato, and one in Merced and one a little North of San Diego. Everyone has his/her special needs. We are in the first year of a three year project to bring up a skeleton of a long distance charging network up. A little patience is required.

shop | 2 settembre 2013

@BVS, yes, I agree, it would be nice to have a supercharger on the I-80. However, you are being silly not doing a max. charge for a long journey. It isn't going to affect your battery in any measurable way. You've got a big battery, use it.

Docrob | 2 settembre 2013

If they moved the supercharger planned for the I5 NW of Sacramento to the industrial area at the western outskirt of Sacramento then it would serve Travellers on the I5, the 50 and the 80. There would be a n increased risk of locals charging however that downside seems worth it for the extra routes served by that location.

Docrob | 2 settembre 2013

This part that makes no sense "Why should I have to reduce the life of the battery to make a destination that is that close?" You say the trip is too short to bother with a range charge in a thread about how the trip is too long to make comfortably by only a small margin. That is the ENTIRE point of the range charge to give you an extra ~25 miles to allow trips at the extreme of the vehicles range. If you are just making the trip but have to stretch to do it then clearly it is not too short a trip to use the range mode. You can choose not to use it for battery reasons however it is misleading to suggest the car can't make the trip, you are simply choosing not to make use of its full potential. A supercharger east of sacramento on the 80 would be helpful and is likely, in the meantime I'd sugest you use the range mode for exactly what it was designed and keep in mind if you accidentally stretch a little bit too much there are half a dozen L2 chargers east of Sacramento on your route where an hour or so would get you an extra 20 miles in a pinch.

Maestrokneer | 2 settembre 2013

This guys is a Broder protege. I've taken my 60kwh(!!) to and from North Tahoe 3 times already in near freezing temperatures with no problem. Had the climate control on and the cruise control set at 72mph.

Would it be nice to have a SC on 80? Sure. But to dramatize it as, "we simply can't take our Model S to our house in Alpine"....ridiculous.

Maestrokneer | 2 settembre 2013

Oh btw, just so I'm a little helpful, the fastest way back is NOT going all the way back to the 80/50 interchange. Take the Sierra College Blvd/Hazel Ave shortcut to cut the corner. It takes less than 20 minutes to cut across to 80 from there.

Maestrokneer | 2 settembre 2013

(or the slower, but more scenic and battery conserving route is along Auburn Folsom Rd.)

Otismyman | 2 settembre 2013

I have driven from Oakland to my house in Carnelian Bay several times in my 60 and was never even close to range anxiety. Yeah, the stop in Folsom and the extra miles make the trip about 50 minutes longer; but who cares--I've had a margarita at the Mexican place, I 'm cranking Internet tunes on demand, not using any petrol, and I'm behind the wheel of the most bad ass car on the planet.

Oh, and by the way there are no stops on the way back down the hill to Oaktown.

ThomasK | 3 settembre 2013

I cam thru there today and saw a prominent Tesla sign right by the 80 near Auburn. Is there a showroom planned? A charger, perhaps?

shop | 3 settembre 2013

Maybe that's the new Tesla service center near Rocklin?

shs | 3 settembre 2013

If one needs a charge at North Lake Tahoe, try the Firelite lodge in Tahoe Vista. When we stayed there a few months ago, the owner had installed a 14-50 for EVs at the lodge and another one at a rental house nearby. They are very amenable to Teslas charging for a few hours during the day as well.

mark_g | 3 settembre 2013

BVS: "I don't do the max charge but rather the "trip" setting. Why should I have to reduce the life of the battery to make a destination that is that close?" Fill the tank half full and then wonder why you don't have enough juice to make the trip? Sounds like Broder to me.

napacab | 3 settembre 2013

The range anxiety you refer to is a non issue, and is a function of your unwillingness to fully charge your car. This is why people are making Broder comments about your post.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the battery warranty on my P85 is for 8 years, with unlimited miles. I assume yours is as well. As much as I enjoy driving the MS, I have not kept a car for 8 years in my life. Likely Elon and team will release something even better in well under 8 years, and I will trade up.

That being said, I don't in any way try to abuse the car, or it's battery.

Like any car, airplane or boat, I take excellent care of my MS and do all that I can to keep the battery in good shape. But in cases where doing a range charge makes the difference between possible range anxiety or not, I don't hesitate to give the battery a full charge.
Not doing so is foolish.
And while I am no expert on battery life, from what I understand it is much better for the battery to range charge and keep a decent charge than to undercharge it and end up running the battery anywhere near zero.

The only real range anxiety I have experienced was driving from Del Mar, Ca to Tejon Ranch without a stop in L.A. The route took me over the "Grapevine". Mapquest showed 190 miles total, and my concern was the 4100 foot elevation gain 150 miles into the route. After a range charge, I arrived in Tejon, having driven 190 miles, with 60 miles of range left!! The car, it's battery, the range, all are awesome.

I recommend fully charging your battery and driving without worry. If not, drive the M/B wagon until a more convenient supercharger eventually comes online. We all want more superchargers, and for them to facilitate our driving, but I assume you live in northern California. Based on supercharged rollout to date we should be thankful for all of our options, most of the country (and world) is still relegated to Level 2 charging.

JC1 | 3 settembre 2013

I think a supercharger along I-80 would be great. A good location would be at the Westfield Galleria of Roseville where there is a mall, plenty of shops and restaurants all around. It is approximately a mile from the intersection of Highway 65 and I-80.

Although, that might be getting a bit too close to the Folsom Supercharger. Having one in Auburn might be a better way to go to get juiced up before the 5000 ft elevation ride to Tahoe. It rarely snows in Auburn, but once you go up from there, being well-charged would be a big benefit since the cold does drain more energy from the battery.

redacted | 3 settembre 2013

Here in the midwest we call things like not being able to get to a destination on less than a full charge "California People Problems." We've got one supercharger in Illinois and nothing between Chicago and Cleveland.

We also think you are whiners.

KWTESLA | 3 settembre 2013

Kleist Yosemite has a J1772 go for it . We had a great one day trip up and back it was beautiful.

Tesla S can handle the trip no problem. We charged 2 hours the down hill could have been done with out the recharge . We got home with 100 miles of rated range left.

jonlivesay | 3 settembre 2013

Redacted, not all of us.

DTsea | 3 settembre 2013

according to EVTrip Planner its 97 mi and 43 kWh in a 60, or 48 kWh in a P85 (with 1.1 speed factor and 600 lb payload).

How can the OP not be making it???

panfireman | 3 settembre 2013

To all
Max Range setting on your car will only damage the battery if you leave it that way for extended periods of time as in days or overnight. Maxing out at a supercharger then immediately driving it will not hurt the battery. I have done this drive often not just to north shore but well into Reno and beyond with an 85Kw battery. The Mexican restaurant Casa Ramos is an excellent choice to spend the time while you charge at Folsom. Also the chargers are align as 1A/1B and 2A/2B. 4 slots 2 per charger. If two cars are charging at 1 A&B then one will be the master and one the slave charging at a lower rate. Last time I went, there was a wait and Tesla's were lined up. I plugged in and went to the restaurant. I watched on the app and as people left, my charging quickened rapidly as I became the master.
I talked to the manager of Casa Ramos and he stated they would be starting a frequent diner program soon and he knows that a lot of Tesla chargers come in to dine.
Leaving Folsom I agree with the Sierra College Blvd/ Hazel Ave route that @Maestrokneer suggested. I have tried others and this is the least trafficked and highest speed road as well shortest route.
On the way home late Sunday night I stopped at the Folsom charger to rechargel and with no one there I was charging at 240 mph. Fastest I have seen yet.

Point being I would also love to see a charger on I80, but till then I make it work with. Max charge, enjoy Mexican food and a Dos Equis Amber on Tap and enjoy the drive into Nevada.

George with SacEV | 3 settembre 2013

Yes, the signage in Rocklin is for the upcoming Sacramento area Tesla Service Center. The Sacramento Bee newspaper highlighted the imminent opening in their business section about a week ago.

Also a second on the Firelight Lodge for their 14/50 charge point and we sure had no problems getting from Folsom to there in our S85 while enjoying every passing lane on Hiway 50 to get there. Coming back via I-80 with a full "range charge" from the Firelight Lodge, we still had about 190 miles range left when we arrived at our West Sacramento (Yolo County) home.

And as a "Sacramento local" Casa Ramos is one of my absolutely favorite Mexican restaurants. For the uninitiated, there are other Casa Ramos along I-5 heading north towards Oregon as well.

portia | 3 settembre 2013

+1 panfireman

bvadel | 3 settembre 2013

Door to door our trip from Marin to our home in S. Lake Tahoe is 182 miles.

I'm curious if a fully charged P85 could make it or would the elevation & distance be to much without making a pitstop in Folsom.


jonlivesay | 3 settembre 2013

It would be a nice trial, I psi ally think you would make it if you paid attention to your energy use going up 50.

jonlivesay | 3 settembre 2013

Spel checked! Personally.

napacab | 3 settembre 2013


As mentioned above I drove my P85 from Del Mar to Tejon Ranch which Mapquest shows as 190 miles.
We drove through LA a little slow with cruise control set at 65 as I was concerned that the 4100 ft climb after 150 miles would be cutting it close when we arrived at Tejon. We ended up with 60 miles of range remaining, so next time I wont hesitate to maintain 70-75mph on the route.

You have about twice the elevation gain to Tahoe as I did in crossing the grapevine,but I would guess that if you were doing 65-70 mph you would arrive with better than 25 miles, assuming a range charge.

BVS Consult | 3 settembre 2013

I'll jump back in, for us the distance from house to house is 211 miles. Even on maximum charge and driving in "slow and draft" mode, given the elevation math I described earlier the car comes within 4 miles of consuming all the energy in the battery. I know this by carefully tracking the actual KwH consumed. Would any of you cut it that close?

Ergo, I have to stop somewhere. The Supercharger is a clearly superior technology. I have tried the suggested Hazel Ave route but it was not as fast, perhaps we just had bad luck that time and I'll try again. But really, the issue is there is the need for another Supercharger, and the best place is the road with more traffic, which is 80. Those of you going to S Tahoe would still use Folsom, and those going to N Tahoe, or further on, would use the new one. Needless to say I'm looking forward to Rocklin!

jonlivesay | 3 settembre 2013

Now I'm just confused? In your original post you stated that stopping in Folsom and then have to drive to Alpine left you with almost no range left. Now you state that if you went straight through from home 211 miles away you would be left with just 4 miles of range. Folsom to Alpine is only 97 miles and even with a standard charge of say 234 you should have plenty of juice left. Of course you say that the quickest way is to go back down 50 and catch 80 in Sacramento, which it is not, not even close especially if you drive it during commute time. As past posters have stated Hazel /Sierra College is by far the best route. Only 13 miles, easy to do in 20 minutes or less. So you hit 80 with about 220 left. I agree there needs to be a supercharger on 80 and I would vote for Truckee personally. There are already plans for a couple in the Vacaville, Fairfield area both of which should help you out and maybe save you a half hour. It's tough for us Californian's to be patient with the build out but good for the company to build out in all areas to help sales don't you think. The whole idea of range anxiety is weird for me, doesn't planning mitigate most of it? You can always stop by our house for a charge but we are only a 14-50 so it would take a while, but we are friendly. We get about 28/ hr of charge, maybe not quick enough for you but best I can offer.

Docrob | 4 settembre 2013

BVS, I'd say you've just been busted in a ruse. In your original post you state you cant make the 112 miles from the supercharger, now you're saying that with careful driving you can make it the full 211 miles with 4 miles remaining. If you can make it the full way with 4 miles remaining a 1 hour meal stop at a standard level 2 charger will give you an extra 20 mile buffer if you really want to avoid the detour to the supercharger. Your story is completely inconsistent.

Brian H | 4 settembre 2013

Elevation change? Some estimate 7 mi per 1000'.

napacab | 4 settembre 2013

This post is one of the worst I have ever read.

This is simply BS. It has wasted the time of several people trying to understand the perceived concern over range anxiety.

The post should have been titled something like SUPERCHARGER ON 80 WOULD BE BETTER THAN FOLSOM FOR THOSE GOING TO NORTH TAHOE. Everyone could agree with this, though it is not really necessary as Folsom is more than adequate.

Any of the MS owners outside of California must think (rightly so) that we (Californians) are a bunch of whiners.
We currently have 9 superchargers which is essentially the total for the rest of the entire country.

Vicelike | 4 settembre 2013

I support the point about the range charge. Feel free to use it when you need it, especially if you only need it on occasion.

The impact on battery life is inconsequential according to what I have read.

JackB | 4 settembre 2013

I make the 125-mile trip from Sacramento to South Reno regularly. The typical scenario is a full standard charge at Folsom (233 rated miles), backtracking to 80 via Folsom Blvd/Douglas/Sierra College (relatively few traffic lights along that route). I average about 70 mph on I-80, often using AC. If I have less than 60 miles showing at the top of Donner Pass, I'll shorten the trip by 15 miles going through Incline Village and over the Mt Rose Highway (from the 431 turnoff it takes about 22 rated miles to make the 5 mile drive to the 9000' summit - from there you can go 30 miles more than what the range is showing thanks to regen). It should be no problem for an 85kWh Model S with a standard charge to get to Alpine with plenty of range to spare for a dinner trip over Donner.

BVS Consult | 4 settembre 2013

I give. I should have titled it differently.

To some of you: personal attacks are somewhat infantile - I would have thought at this ownership echelon people could be bigger than that.

To a few of you: thank you kindly for the tips and the invitation to charge(!)

To everyone: I can't make Tahoe without a stop and the Folsom supercharger is not optimally placed. Fundamentally many locations on 80 are superior options. In addition the car has just returned from service where one of the 2 chargers was replaced, which I am told could result in a functional undercharge and therefore more rapid depletion of range than would be expected.

As they say, your mileage may vary...

Docrob | 4 settembre 2013

What you call a "personal attack" is actually me asking you to defend the massive inconsistency in your claims. In your OP you claim that even with the Folsom supercharger you "can't take our Model S to our house in Alpine". Not won't, you are claiming that it is not possible to make it to Alpine even with a charge at Folsom. In your first follow up you claim that making the 112 miles from the SC is too tight to be safe or practical. Then in a later follow up you admit that you can make the entire 211 mile trip with 4 miles spare if you drive carefully. I am sorry if you believe I am being blunt but one of these claims is incorrect, if you are standing by them both then one of them is a lie.

hsadler | 4 settembre 2013

BVS - why don't you change the title of the thread?

shop | 4 settembre 2013

Give it a rest Docrob. I know its hard to believe, but not everyone is 100% precise and accurate when writing forum posts. Time to move on...

Docrob | 4 settembre 2013

Hi Shop, thanks for telling me what to do, your input appreciated. However I was talking to BVS. I happen to think that openly stating the car can't make it 112 miles is highly misleading particularly to people coming to the forums to get an idea about the Car's utility. The later admission the car can make it 211 miles along the same route changes that misleading statement to an openly deceptive one. I understand not everyone is 100% precise or accurate, that is exactly what I was pointing out regarding this thread and I think BVS should acknowledge it.