Sacramento to Anchorage in a Model 3: Possible?

Sacramento to Anchorage in a Model 3: Possible?

My wife and I hatched this idea for an adventure road trip from Sacramento to Anchorage, and of course we want to do it in the Model 3. I had instant doubts about whether it's possible. Tesla's find-us map shows easy routing with Superchargers until a little outside of Vancouver. After that, nothing except a few widely dispersed destination chargers in BC, often too far apart to bridge the gap.

Anybody have any experience driving a Tesla across British Columbia and southeast Alaska? Can it be done?

Bighorn | 11. juni 2019

I’ve considered it. The campgrounds unfortunately don’t always have 14-50 plugs and you’d need to rely on 30A/120V plugs giving about 10 MPH of charge. It’s quite a haul at those rates plus you’d need to be self-reliant, probably carrying at least two spare wheels. Not for the faint of heart nor anyone on a schedule.

CharleyBC | 11. juni 2019

@Bighorn, figures if anyone has considered it, it'd be you! Yeah, this would be post-retirement when there's no time pressure (other than winter coming). So if we go someplace and had only a slow charge, we'd just enjoy that spot for a while. I hadn't thought about spare wheels. There's more to this adventure than just a charging plan!

Tesla2018 | 11. juni 2019

I saw a documentary a few years ago about someone who drove the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina in an electric car. They had to plug in at colleges and other public buildings in some areas.

I found a link to their site but I can't see everthing since it says I need to update adobe on my phone.

Sparky | 11. juni 2019

Have a look at to see if you can connect the dots between the last SuperCharger and your destination. It is absolutely possible but the only question is how much patience you will need.

Bighorn | 11. juni 2019

Elon said today they’re building superchargers to connect to Alaska. Has he looked at a map?

coleAK | 12. juni 2019

I’m in Anchorage AK with a model 3. No superchargers in AK. And You are correct the closest super charger to Anchorage is Whistler, BC. Which is farther from Anchorage then San Diego to Atlanta. We love out Tesla but truthfully At this point really in AK it’s an in town only car. To do it you would have to carefully plan your trip and plan on staying at some RV parks for 24 hours (or more) every 200-300 miles past whistler. Charging on 30a and 110v sucks.

coleAK | 12. juni 2019

And @bighorn you don’t need 2 spares on the AlCan but there is no way I would do it without one.

As I think about it if you are dead set on driving a Tesla to AK I would drive to Prince Rupert Bc and then ferry it to Whittier. That trip would take 6-8 days and be <$2k. But then also consider we only have five J1772 charging stations in Anchorage and only one is really in a usable location (Marriott downtown). Also probably would consider only doing the drive one way and then shipping the car back and you fly to Seattle.

Kary993 | 12. juni 2019

I have heard and seen pictures of through roads and damage caused by them trying to drive up there. Even without the charging issues, I would not subject my Tesla to that torturous route.

Kary993 | 12. juni 2019

I have heard and seen pictures of through roads and damage caused by them trying to drive up there. Even without the charging issues, I would not subject my Tesla to that torturous route.

CharleyBC | 12. juni 2019

Thanks all for the input. @coleAK, I was hoping you'd weigh in, as our official Alaskan on the forum.

We are not dead-set on this trip. It's a fantasy that sounded fun if it was reasonable. The very earliest we might do it would be in two years, after retirement. We could handle some slow charges. But overall from the feedback above, I don't think we'll book anything just yet. Maybe the charging options will improve over time. Stay tuned!

BTW, @coleAK, I think of you as a real pioneer for committing to an EV with such limited infrastructure available to you. Nice.

Kary993 | 12. juni 2019

BTW the better route planner states there is "No workable plan".

coleAK | 12. juni 2019

Your welcome. It would be the trip of a lifetime. There are quite a few Tesla’s up here although I don’t know anyone who has one as their only vehicle. I wouldn’t hold your breath for superchargers in Alaska any time soon they would be crazy expensive and the ROI would take forever. When they do arrive I would bet fist will be between Anchorage and Fairbanks then Kenai, Homer, Glennallen. The AlCan will be later since most people don’t drive in/out of AK. I’m hoping that some private 3rd party fills the gaps but Give it time.

@kary993 the road through Canada to AK isn’t bad just remote. The bad ones are the Dalton/haul road north of Fairbanks and the road to McCarthy. I bring along 20-30 gallons of extra gas, 2 spares, and full survival necessities when I go those places.

Magic 8 Ball | 12. juni 2019

Years ago, driving through the Alps in Europe there were piggyback train services that allowed people to sit in their cars while the train did all the work.

Kathy Applebaum | 12. juni 2019

@CharleyBC Talk to Guy Hall from SacEV, because he did it in an S a few years ago. (

gmr6415 | 12. juni 2019

@Magic 8 Ball, there is at least one here in the US too.

CharleyBC | 12. juni 2019

@Kary993, yup, I also got ABRP's "No workable plan", but merely took that as a challenge! :)

Thanks for the pointer, @Kathy Applebaum!

coleAK | 12. juni 2019

@ Magic. At least for now (hot topic currently, it’s not funded past Oct 2019) we have the Alaska Marine highway. Similar to the train concept hit you and your car take a boat ride.

CharleyBC | 12. juni 2019

Cool about AMHS! That bears further investigation. Even cooler would be if the vessels had EV charging. :)

coleAK | 12. juni 2019

@charleyBC. It’s a ~6 day trip on the AMHS from prince Rupert to Whittier (closest stop to Anchorage) I would bet you could plug into 110 on the boat and have plenty of tune to charge.

Kary993 | 12. juni 2019

Can get the Kamloops BC and that is the end of the super chargers.Using ABRP to get from Kamloops to Prince Rupert is "No workable plan"........If could get there the AMHS would work great.

CharleyBC | 12. juni 2019

Prince Rupert looks workable, just not on the Tesla network. There seem to be enough J-1772 places.

Kathy Applebaum | 12. juni 2019

Be really nice if we had the chademo adapter by the time you leave.

Nexxus | 17. juni 2019

Or do what some other guy did and visit all the welding shops to use their 240V outlets.

Bighorn | 17. juni 2019

I don’t carry a spare, but several people have destroyed two rims on the same pot hole, including myself in Iowa this winter. In the hinterlands, with no reception nor resources, I’d plan for two spares.

Kathy Applebaum | 17. juni 2019

"Or do what some other guy did and visit all the welding shops to use their 240V outlets."

That was Guy Hall, who I linked to above. For those who don't click through, the tl;dr is every welding shop has multiple NEMA 14-50 outlets. Bringing cookies or beer will definitely get you a charge. :)

Bighorn | 17. juni 2019

Welders typically are NEMA 6 series with varying amperage. My garage has a 20A which I created a plug for. 6-50 would be preferable on the road and requires carrying the proper adapter since it’s not compatible with a 14-50 plug.

coleAK | 17. juni 2019

First off most of the route through Canada to AK is remote. Extremely remote, more remote that anything most Americans have ever seen. So it’s not like you go through towns and there are welding shops in strip malls. No signs that say last welding for 200 miles. It can be 100-200+ miles of nothing. Then once in Alaska same thing. Across Alaska and the Yukon Camp sites with 30/50a are the best and most reliable places to charge. And across AK they are getting wise to that so are charging the same daily RV fee to charge. Want to charge for an hour in Seward $40. So if it were me making the trip in our Tesla I would map out campgrounds with hookups and make reservations.

Also regarding the spare tire(s). The road to AK isn’t all that bad and a flat is pretty unlikely. But if you did have a flat it could take days (longer of you have 19” really long with 20”) to get a tow+tire and could cost well more than a spare set up. 2 years ago in Wiseman I paid $14/gal for gas. A buddy paid ~$800 for a basic travel trailer tire that would be <$100 here in Anchorage. And like @bighorn brings up if you wasted a rim (or 2). Forget it that’s a tow back to Vancouver or up to Anchorage. We don’t have a Tesla service center in AK so mobile service is only available if it is the once or twice a year they travel up from WA.

The rule of thumb is cost is 5-10x more for everything in the bush. I once paid $7 for one banana in Dillingham. Not a bunch just one banana.

christmy1savior | 15. september 2019

It is definitely possible. I just drove from Gaffney, SC to Fairbanks, AK in July. I know it isn't to Anchorage but you can get there. Edmonton, Canada was the last supercharger and then after that I relied on different charging options It'll take some research and mapping out but you can do it. I'll list all my stops here. Some resources I used was PlugShare....there aren't many typical EV charging spots after Edmonton but there are some. I also used an app called RV Parky. I mapped my drive and then used RV Parky to map RV parks along the route. I tried to stick to 50 amp RV parks but there were a couple that were 30 amp only.....these sucked as I was stuck here for 30+ hours, but ultimately did the job. The trip actually didn't take as long as I expected.

You will also need some extra adapters. First you will need the Tesla Nema 14-50 adapter. This is used in any RV park that offers 50amp service. The next adapter is the Nema TT-30 adapter. Tesla does not make this adapter and you do not want to buy a conversion adapter for like RV's because it will not work with the Tesla. What I purchased is the evseadapters adapter. It just works like a normal Tesla adapter. Plug it in and the car does the rest. It can be found here

Before I list my stops, I made the trip in a Model 3 Performance and had to drive very conservatively in between certain stops to make it. If you drive in a model that doesn't get the same distance per charge as the Model 3 performance or long range, you'll have to stop more times, meaning it'll take longer. It ultimately only took me 9 days to make the entire trip from SC to Fairbanks, AK.

Stops after Edmonton, AB, Canada supercharger.

Petro-Canada in Valleyview, AB. The first stop had a J-1772 charger. Here I learned that some J-1772 chargers require the adapter be plugged into the Tesla first, then plug the charger into the already plugged in adapter to start charging. If you attach the adapter onto the charger first, then plug into the car, it won't charge. I had this issue twice on the trip....just plug the adapter into the car first, the the charger into the adapter and charged like a champ.

Next stop was the Microtell Inn & Suites in Fort St. John, BC. This hotel has a Tesla Destination Charger. There are other EV chargers in between but I was able to make it all the way here on one full charge, stayed the night and charged to 100%.

Next was my first RV park stop. Triple G Hideaway in Fort Nelson, BC. Nice RV Park in a nice little town with some restaurants, museums, visitor center you can walk to. And you will have to because it will take over 30+ hours to fully charge. This is where you will first take advantage of the Nema TT-30 adapter I listed before.

My next stop was Liard Hot Spring Lodge in Muncho Lake, BC. I highly recommend this stop. It's out in the middle of nowhere but it's across from Liard Hot Springs. Definitely go to the Hot Springs. Anyways, this will be your second use of the Nema TT-30 adapter. Word of Caution though....I don't know if I got a bad outlet or if it's just a problem with the RV park itself because it is powered by generators, but the outlet couldn't handle the full amperage the car wanted to draw. After a little bit, the car would revert, "charging limited" or something like that. So it will charge slower could slowly drop you charging amp from the touchscreen and see if it won't throw the warning. But it got me charged up nonetheless.

The next stop was Baby Nugget RV Park, YT. This park has full 50amp outlets so you can take advantage of your Nema 14-50 adapter here. Nothing much to say about this park except it's right past a small town and right outside of the cell coverage area, but it's full 50amp service.

Ah, my next stop was in Whitehorse, YT. In this town they have two J-1772 chargers at two different locations. I used the one at the Transportation Museum here so I had some things to do to help kill the time. This town is basically in the middle of nowhere so it surprised me to come across some EV chargers but it was a good surprise nonetheless and sped up my trip pretty significantly.

The next stop was Beaver Creek RV Park in Beaver Creek, YT. Not much to say here either except this is another full 50amp service RV Park.

Finally I made it into Alaska and I stopped to charge at a small little spot called Snowed INN RV Park in Delta Junction, AK. This is also a full 50amp service RV Park and is a nice little walk from town. Delta Junction has some restaurants and things to do while you wait.

From there was a small drive into Fairbanks, AK. From here you could drive to Adventure Denali for a J-1772 charger and then on down to Anchorage.

You can definitely find a more direct route to trip was just to show that it is possible. I will probably be making the drive back down in a little less than 3 years once I get stationed somewhere else. I'm hoping by then Tesla will have expanded their supercharger network up and through Alaska. But if not, I'm not worried about being able to make the trip as I know it can be done. Also, I'm not the only one to have done it as several of the RV parks said that it's rare, but they have had other Tesla's stop in to charge on their way up to Alaska. Hope this helps.

Bighorn | 15. september 2019

Wade Anderson has vlogged his trip to AK recently.

gwolnik | 15. september 2019

For getting through areas without convenient chargers, you could haul along a generator and cans of gasoline, then use the generator to recharge your battery! You just need to make sure to use an inverter with a clean sine wave. There have been several discussions about emergency charging using a portable generator, the main problem is the AC is not usually as "clean" as from the grid. Search this and other Tesla forums for recommendations. Here is one:

coleAK | 15. september 2019

@gwolnik. Possibly on a 2” hitch cargo rack or in an open trailer. But hauling gas inside the passenger space (trunk) is a bad use.

coleAK | 15. september 2019

... bad idea

gwolnik | 16. september 2019

Yes, definitely store the dino juice outside the car! I hope no one actually took this suggestion seriously, but reading this thread reminded me of recent discussions about how to survive the zombie apocalypse with an EV. On a similar note, I recently learned about a genre called "steampunk" which is a type of science fiction where society never advanced beyond steam power and other late 19th century technologies. It would be interesting to read a story about a world that went from steam to EVs!

coleAK | 16. september 2019

I haul extra fuel up here in AK regularly this time of year (on a cargo rack on my camper) when We head north of Fairbanks to hunt. It’s common practice up here and I’ve seen people do reckless things.

I’ll also add I was in Talkeetna last weekend. There were 3 Tesla’s charging at the Tesoro at the “junction” on 50amp RV plugs. I talked to 2 of the 3 people and (they lived north), both said made the drive a few times a year, it sucks every time spending hours charging. I won’t do it in the Tesla until we have superchargers.

walnotr | 16. september 2019

Definitely a chicken and egg situation up there. A supercharger in Soldotna, Paxton Lake, and one between the Talkeetna turn off and Cantwell, would go a long way toward opening up the state to EVs.

CharleyBC | 16. september 2019

@christmy1savior, thanks! Great info and detail.

So, if you have a moment, tell us a little more about the RV park experience. I’ve never had an RV, so I confess to cluelessness. I imagine there are “camp sites” (or whatever term they use) where you can park your RV and plug it in. Right so far? So if you’re in a Tesla, do you just pretend you’re in a little RV? Go to the registration office and pay the overnight fee? Is there any sort of awkwardness—like, what are you doing here without an RV? Any insights, both logistical and cultural, would be welcome!

bjrosen | 16. september 2019

This is a job for a Chevy Volt, you should be able to pick up a used Gen2 Volt for about $14K. In places where there is a J1772 you will be able to get 50-60 miles of electric range which will be nice but for the bulk of your trip you will be using gas at about 45MPG. Drive the Volt in Mountain Mode, MM keeps the battery at 10%, what that does is give you full power for acceleration, the Volt's ICE is 100HP, the motors are 150HP. It will also allow you to switch to electric when you hit a town, on electric it's nice and quiet, when you are running at highway speeds you won't notice the engine noise because the road noise will drown it out. gwolnik suggested hauling along a generator, a Volt has a generator that's meant to charge an electric car, it's very efficient, emergency generators are very inefficient also they have tiny gas tanks. The Volt has a 9 gallon tank that will take you 400 miles.

Bighorn | 16. september 2019

You just ask if you can use one of their outlets. Some are accustomed to EVs and have a rate structure already. 5 or 10 bucks is not uncommon. We used campgrounds for free at the big Custer rally before SCs were built. Unfortunately, the RV infrastructure devolves from 50A/240V to 30A/120V in the hinterlands which is part of the reason I opted not to try to get to AK this year.

gwolnik | 16. september 2019

Be sure to watch the video "Driving a Tesla Across The Loneliest Road in America," there are several scenes of charging at RV parks.

gwolnik | 16. september 2019

Here is the link to the video starting from the beginning, I accidentally copied the URL after rewatching for 71 seconds:

coleAK | 16. september 2019

@charley. It depends. I’ve had everything from people just let me plug in and charge to a nightly fee of $50 for a couple hours. Peak season June-Aug I think it’s way more likely you’ll have to pay a full fee. Shoulder season (spring/fall) less likely, and Nov-April we are out of luck as many are turned off.

gwolnik | 16. september 2019

Is it possible that RV park managers are more generous if the car has local Alaska license plates rather than out of state? Also, driving a "green" car like a Prius or any EV with California license plates can attract trouble in some of the redneck states, so if Charley is starting in Sacramento, presumably the car will have California plates. Are there any reports of Teslas getting coal rolled in Alaska? Here is a video of that happening near Sacramento!

jimglas | 16. september 2019

I have an answer for the chicken and egg thing
Which came first?
it was the rooster

beaver | 16. september 2019


sbeggs | 16. september 2019

@jimglas, @beaver,

coleAK | 17. september 2019

@gwolnik. It’s not an anti Tesla thing. It’s more about supply and demand. In Alaska oil is down and Tourism is up. Peak season almost every RV site is full and they are sold by a unit of days not hours. Many are unattended so it’s a pay for parking kiosk and the only choice is a day and if your car is sitting there it is yours and you better have a tag. Honistly I don’t blame them they have an extremely short window to make their revenue, some only have a 3-4 month window they are open. And I get the same treatment with my RV many times I’d check out is 11 and we want to spend the day I’ll pay for an extra day for that extra 2-4 hours. Before Memorial Day and After Labor Day many campgrounds cut the rates in half and I’m pretty sure last weekend in Talkeetna John at the camper park would have let me plug my Tesla in all day for nothing.

The few comments I’ve had up here about the Tesla(s) have been positive. AK may be a conservative, patriotic, gun carrying state but we are also very environmentally conscious. The only odd one I’ve had was from a crazy couple in a Prius littered with “Bernie” stickers.