Intro to our road trip

Santa Cruz Travel Blog

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What the battery readout looked like at the start of our trip

My husband and I took our first long trip in the model S, going to Los Angeles to visit my parents, and trying out the Superchargers along the way were just two of the goals of this trip. 

Tesla Model S has just won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 2013, and Automobile magazine's Car of the Year, etc. One of the coolest thing about the car is it's 100% electric, and has a longer range than any other electric car on the market. The longest range model has 85kwh battery and is rated to go almost 300 miles. We want to put it to the test, but not by roughing it out in some RV park or other places which take forever to charge the car, we want to visit the Superchargers! What's a Supercharger? It's a special charging station for the Tesla Model S which can charge the car SUPER fast, one can get almost 300 miles of range in one hour of charging.

270 rated miles.

There are now (as of November 2012) 6 superchargers installed in California, we have already visited the one in Gilroy. On this trip, we will visit 4 more. The total trip will be just over 1000 miles, and we are doing it in 3 days. This is not a trip about seeing the sights, because highway 5 is not known for its beauty, but to go betwen Northern California and Los Angeles, that's where two of the Superchargers are!

For those not living in southern California, we say "the 5" to mean highway 5 or in this case, interstate highway 5. SR198 means state route 198 and I might just say "the 198".

For those who are not familiar with the Tesla Model S (which is most people, since they only just started shipping them this summer), there are 3 battery sizes, corresponding to a Rated range of 160/230/300 miles (at 55mph!), the car can also show a Projected range based on how it was driven in the last 30 miles (settable to 5 or 15 miles, but 30 seems a good place for me).

Summary of miles/watts/etc
So these two numbers are usually not the same, if you are driving uphill, or driving fast, then the projected miles can be a lot lower than the rated; and if you are driving downhill, driving slower, and with A/C off, then the projected will probably be a lot more. So in this blog, I will show both when I have the data, but probably the rated is what you are interested in. Since this is an electric car with batteries, no gallons of gas to measure, instead we look at Watt Hours (wh) stored in the batteries (40kwh, 60kwh or 85kwh respectively), so intead of mpg, we have watts/mile to see how efficiently the car was driven.


I charged the car to maximun range the night before, and it indicated 270 rated miles when we started on the trip. It was not the best weather for a road trip, three storm fronts were going through California this weekend, we started in the rain and went through clouds and sun and more rain eventually by the end of the day.

brianh says:
½ full in ½ hr, but the last 20% is slower, so you can't get full in 1 hr. Same for 60kWh or 85kWh batteries.

And it's "Watt hours" not "Watts hours". ;)
Posted on: Jan 13, 2013
portia says:
Not Almost! All the Superchargers are free to the Tesla Model S owners (the ones with the battery large enough to go on a road trip, the 60 and 85Kwh versions)
Posted on: Nov 30, 2012
sylviandavid says:
Portia.... so happy to see you are featured.... great car!!!!!!!!! sylvia
Posted on: Nov 26, 2012
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What the battery readout looked li…
What the battery readout looked l…
270 rated miles.
270 rated miles.
Summary of miles/watts/etc
Summary of miles/watts/etc
Santa Cruz
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