First Road Trip from San Francisco Area to Los Angeles Area

First Road Trip from San Francisco Area to Los Angeles Area

I have a business trip to Los Angeles next week. Originally, I was going to fly, but I have changed my mind and want to take my first long road trip with my Performance Model 3. (Just for the record, I accepted $5K in exchange for unlimited supercharging).

I will be taking 101 to 152 to 5. Total miles is about 325. Tesla’s trip builder shows one stop in Kettleman City for 50 min. I definitely want to visit the Kettleman City Cafe, so this works out very well. However, I have a feeling that I would feel much better adding an additional charge right before the Grapevine. Any suggestions on the best or most interesting Supercharger on 5 South before the Grapevine?

Also, the hotel offers a couple Chargepoint chargers, so I am grateful to know that I will be leaving LA on the way back with a 90% charge.

I am very excited about this trip, any suggestions or tips for Road trips? I am in no huge hurry and I will probably play with different speeds and document efficiency at each speed.

Thank you in advance!

Magic 8 Ball | 18 februari 2019

If you are not in a hurry, 101 and 1 are much more scenic drives.

Sweetride | 18 februari 2019

I have made this type of trip many times and would recommend that you charge a second time farther along than Tejon Ranch ...beyond the start of the grapevine ...somewhere closer to your first LA business stop so that you have plenty of juice in the LA area. Perhaps Burbank or Santa Clarita if nothing else. You might want to check your navigation screen to see how crowded the superchargers are before stopping.

rxlawdude | 18 februari 2019

I've done Kettleman City to Irvine with no other stops in our LR RWD. (I think I arrived home at around 8%.)

But the P3D is a different, less efficient beast. I'd concur with picking up some juice either before or after the Grapevine. I'm not familiar with Santa Clarita SpC, but that sounds like a good spot after you've charged at Kettleman.

lilbean | 18 februari 2019

M8 is right. It's a beautiful drive.

Mike UpNorth | 18 februari 2019

Sounds like fun. Enjoy!

jjgunn | 18 februari 2019

I've heard right here on the forums Santa Clarita gets busy during the day. You'll probably find your best bet is to charge just outside the city & avoid wait times at SuCh'rs in the city.

You could also hit up your nearest SuCh'r after 11 PM. Never seen any wait times between 11PM - 7AM

Bighorn | 18 februari 2019

The coast is great, but if you’re going via Kettleman City, not a great detour. I’d probably get a 30 minute coffee break at Kettleman and then top up at Tejon Ranch.

gllivyl | 18 februari 2019

We are also going to take a trip from LA to SF (via Interstate 5), and then back via Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) and US 101 to home, with touring of Monterey, and Hearst Castle on the way.

Tentatively we will leave SF with 100%, and will then stop at two Supercharger stations to top it off.

think driving the 1 and 101 is highly recommended.

Magic 8 Ball | 18 februari 2019

Difference between LA and SF: "the 101" vs "101".

lilbean | 18 februari 2019

Yep! Haha!

Bighorn | 18 februari 2019

Checking out the elephant seals is always fun.
We watch the webcam. The first calf of the season was born a couple days before our last visit in December and the mom wasn't figuring out that she had to feed it, so they didn't think the pup would survive. Had to keep an eye on it from Wyoming and am happy to report all is well.

Magic 8 Ball | 18 februari 2019

Elephant seals are huge and fast. Bro in law ranger worked Ano Nuevo a few years. He actually killed a badly injured animal right in front of a group he was leading. Turned out the powers that be said he made the right call.

Time your to check out a launch from Vandenberg, going through Solvang, spending some time exploring San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach. the list goes on and on.

Magic 8 Ball | 18 februari 2019

Time your trip to.........

Bighorn | 18 februari 2019

I guess the seals colonized a park during the government shutdown. Not sure if humans have reclaimed it yet or not. Catching a Vandenberg launch/recovery was a highlight for 2018.

thorvund | 18 februari 2019

Thanks for all of the great tips. If the family was going, PCH would be the way to go. Since it is only me, I will do the geek thing and check out the chargers. I am traveling on mid day on a Monday, so I do not anticipate too much traffic at SCs. I think I will stop at Kettleman, and then top of at Tejon per Bighorn. I won’t be driving much during my trip, so a Level 2 charge at the hotel will prepare me for my trip home on Thursday. Returning, I will probably stop at Kettleman again, and either Harris Ranch or Casa De Fruita (I have been there before and like to do a little over priced shopping).

CarlEngel | 18 februari 2019

If you want a fun driving road and some scenery but still hit up Kettleman City and/or don't want to add hours to the trip by taking PCH, take 101 to 25 to 198, which puts you in Coalinga, just north on I5 from Kettleman City. The 2nd half of 25 is relatively scenic this time of year and a fun road, and 198 is a great driving road.

I took this route in my 3 almost a year ago at it was a blast, and actually only 5-10 minutes slower than 101 to 152 to 5. As long as you don't get caught behind any slow cars going through the mountains. ;-)

thorvund | 18 februari 2019

Great Suggestion, @CarlEngel

gllivyl | 18 februari 2019

From Torrance (or Los Angeles, if you’re not familiar with Torrance) to Harris Ranch SC is about 215 miles.

Do you think I will be able to make it in my LR AWD, energy-wise, without stopping ?

I’ll be doing very normal driving, like 70-75 mph, heat on at say 70.

I know the published range for LR is 310 miles, but I’d rather know the realistic range from someone who had done a similar trip. Thanks!

CarlEngel | 18 februari 2019

@gllivyl, nice threadjack, but to answer your question anyway, it would be close, but should be doable (I've done Kettleman to Yermo before which is ~215 miles, and used ~75% of my battery in my LR RWD, but YMMV). Iif real-time it looks like you're cutting it closer than you'd like or going to come up a bit short, you'll be passing Kettleman City, Buttonwillow, and Bakersfield SCs along the way to Harris Ranch.

jjgunn | 18 februari 2019

Starting at 300 miles range - If you keep the car at 65-70 MPH you should make it to Harris Ranch without stopping. Elevation increase from Torrance to Harris Ranch is about 600 feet. Assuming temperature of 55-60 F & no wind - you should make it with at least 40-60 miles left.

Follow the Tesla navigation it will help you. Good luck!

gllivyl | 19 februari 2019

I do not think I was hijacking the thread, because my question will likely benefit the OP or anyone else planning on a LA-SF trip. :)

But, thanks to all those who answered my question.

thorvund | 20 februari 2019

Thank you all for the additional information. I am looking forward to next Monday. Previously, driving an ICE vehicle, I always focused how how quickly I could get there (I had two very stealthy Golf R's). I have a feeling this time I will be gamifying the battery efficiency.

CarlEngel | 23 februari 2019

@thorvund, coincidentally, I drove the 101-25-198 route today in my 3, and can confirm it's as awesome as I remember it! A few notes (and an additional suggestion) below:

FYI for some reason Google Maps thinks 198 is closed right where it intersects 25 until August '19:,-120.8706505,12z/data=!5m1!1e1
It is in fact NOT closed, and there's no indication of it being closed in the recent past or future (equipment, signs, cones, etc). Tesla's navigation uses Google Maps traffic (or the same source at least) and will try everything it can to route you around it. I've submitted a correction; we'll see how long it takes to update.

If you want an even windier road (and pairs VERY well with EVs' instant torque response), you can take the Coalinga Road/Los Gatos Creek Road that connects 25 at Bitterwater (20 miles before 198) and dumps you out just NW of Coalinga. I found this road while looking at options if 198 was actually closed, and ended up taking it on my return trip after driving 198 on the way out. It adds about 30-40 minutes vs ~15 minutes from the 198 route over I-5, but a really fun and long stretch of twisties. The Monterey County portion isn't in the best shape (some potholes to dodge and a few spots flooded with an inch or so of water) and isn't really 2 full lanes in some spots, but the Fresno County portion is recently paved and really nice. I found a good writeup on it here:

Also be on the lookout for ice in shady spots if you think it might been below freezing overnight and you're driving in the morning.

Have fun and be safe!