First Supercharger-Only Coast to Coast Road Trip in a Tesla Model S 60

Call me Sam. I’ll be your driver for the next week (or so). Guy . . . girl. Doesn’t really matter. This story isn’t about me. This is about a Tesla MS60. And the Supercharging Network.

The smallest battery currently offered by the company, the Model S 60 is the bare bones of their line. Starting at $63,070 (with Supercharging enabled & living in CA), you get free long distance travel, for life. Add in HOV and HOT access (solo) and you are able to drive at a reasonable rate of speed in areas (Bay and SoCal) that rank among the worst commutes in the U.S.

Just so happens that my hometown also offers free metered parking as a perk of living in what some derisively call the Republic of Santa Monica.


Sie erwarten jetzt vielleicht eine Story voller Dramen, die jeder so gern liest und weitererzählen will. Brennende Autos, auf einsamen Landstraßen gestrandete Autos und so weiter. Wenn Sie solche Storys wollen, ist jetzt der Moment gekommen, Ihren Browser zu schließen, meine Tweets zu blockieren und mir die Freundschaft umgehend zu kündigen.

This is a story about anyone doing a trip across the country (and back). If you’d consider doing this trip in your gas car at least. Most people never drive cross country. I was going to google the actual percentage, but you can do that yourself. If you care. Which I don’t.

But if you do like to drive, there is no better road warrior that the Model S of any flavor. 14K miles since August 2013 delivery.
Cross country is different. A great city car, be it ICE or EV, can turn against you on the open road. Hoses burst and belts snap. Worst of all you run out of fuel. Since the advent of the pure EV, range has been the forbidden five letter word. The MS60 is different.

It has a range of 208 miles which you can extend even beyond that with careful driving. But we’ll come to that later. Can’t get ahead of ourselves. First the route. Hawthorne Supercharger to Virginia Beach VA. And back.

Die meisten Leute mit dem 85-kWh-Modell (und einer Reichweite von gut 425 km) haben das längst hinter sich. Sie wissen, dass es funktioniert. Zumindest hat es schon zwei Mal funktioniert. Einmal hat es ein Vater-Tochter-Duo von New York nach LA geschafft und ein paar Tage später ein Team von Tesla Motors.

Dieser Trip wird keine Rekorde in Bezug auf das Aufladen oder die Geschwindgkeit brechen. Wahrscheinlich wird es sogar eher ein bisschen langweilig. Aber wenn Sie wissen wollen, wie ein E-Mobil funktioniert ... Wenn Sie wissen wollen, wie das Supercharging-Netzwerk funktioniert ... Wenn Sie wissen wollen, wie Sie selbst mit schier unaussprechlicher Faulheit KOSTENLOS durchs ganze Land fahren ...

Es gibt einen Grund für diesen Trip, aber ich hätte ebenso einfach fliegen können. Nein, ich verrate ihn nicht. Wie neugierig!

Dieser Trip ist wie jeder andere Roadtrip auch. Außerdem gibt er jeder Reichweiten-Angst den Rest, wenn es um Tesla geht. Tesla wird NIEMALS ein Auto produzieren, das eine geringere Reichweite hat als meins. Ich kann versagen. Es gibt kein Netz und keinen doppelten Boden. Ich werde im Lauf der nächsten Woche (oder so) Updates veröffentlichen und versuchen, so viele Fragen wie möglich zu beantworten.

I’ll post updates and photos at on Twitter and Instagram: @TeslaMS60


The first half of my journey is complete. I arrived in VA Beach tonight at 7:45PM EST. I drove ~3800 miles and charged using nothing but Tesla Supercharging Stations.

I want to thank everyone that gave me hints, suggestions, and made me laugh along the way. Most of all I want to thank Tesla Motors for making the best car I’ve ever seen, driven or owned.

Tesla, you are changing the world one drive at a time.

Everything is possible in this new world. Sustainable transportation. Free Cross Country Travel. Most of all, you are changing heart and minds. Not through advertising and manipulation. But my making an incredible product that sells itself.

I’m going to sleep 12 hours (at least) and then turn around and come home. If anyone is interested if it is possible, twice, I will continue to post here. I don’t have the numbers yet, and likely won’t for another week. For that, I apologize.

If anyone is interested in meeting along the way, please email me and I’ll do my best to let you know the route and timing.

@teslaMS60 on twitter and instagram


Wrap Up: So made it back, 7700 miles round trip, from Los Angeles to Virginia and back to Los Angeles. I learned so much about driving the Model S 60 that I don't think I could have learned any other way.

I experienced almost every single driving condition imaginable:

Heavy rains in Arizona (2 inches/hour)
Heavy winds in Minnesota (50+mph that caused a big-rig to jackknife)
Heavy snow in Colorado
Extreme cold in Wyoming and South Dakota (4-8F)
Big elevation changes (5000ft climb from Denver via the Eisenhower pass)

I also made many mistakes along the way. Fortunately, I was cautious with my speed and kept an eye on my range whenever there was a longer distance that needed to be traversed.

I nearly shot myself in the foot once: heavy rains on the climb to Flagstaff coupled with failing to do a range charge taught me the lesson to only leave with at least 25% buffer.

I also learned to pick my spots. Slowing down on a climb and then allowing myself to go +5-10 over the speed limit on the downhill resulted in significant increase in range without reducing my average speed. If the hill was steep enough, I coasted until I reached a designated speed, and then engaged the motor for engine braking and regeneration.

On the topic of regeneration, it is always more efficient to coast. Unless you start to reach an unsafe speed, and then use regeneration.

I think anyone can make the drive I made in an MS60. But it would also be easy to run out of electrons, too. Try to drive from Cheyenne to Silverthorne at 75mph. Even in an 85, that might be tough.

I called the MS60 a road warrior and nothing I've seen over the past 10 days and 7700 miles changed my opinion. I now have a grand total of 22,000 miles since Fremont pickup in August and I look forward to the next 100,000 with alacrity.

I wouldn't trade my car in for any other model in the world. Not an exotic. Not a classic. And not a collector car.

I've been driving for 25 years and I've never experience the sheer joy of being on the road. It's my hope that the feeling of piloting what I affectionately call the "spaceship" never ends.

Max sidewall is not a good idea. Stick to the recommended 45 when cold (before starting).

Enjoy the nap @Samo - Ohio here he comes! :-)

Great Sam,

I just found out that I get my car on Friday so I can start having some adventures of my own. It is fun to tag along on your as well...

@Jz13 thanks again for the kind words. This community really is the very best.

@brianh. Tires filled at 70F in Southern California.

@NkYTA. I was getting really grumpy. That's what comes with driving through the night.

@ Webcrawler. Awesome! That's the point of this trip: to show the arc of the possible. Can't wait to read your post!

About to stop in Angola IN. Will tweet some pics in a few.

Wow, I'm late to the party but loving this! Thanks for sharing! It's awesome to see what my little 60 is capable of (even if my vacation schedule isn't).

Just stopped at Maumee OH for a few minutes of charging.

Tomorrow is Macedonia. . . I practiced hypermiling from Angola IN and got my Wh/m down to 270 despite 18F temps.

A good nights sleep and then the last big gap. Wish me the best.

Thanks again to everyone on this board.

Good luck!

@SamoSam, rest up, you're almost there!

You are an inspiration to all of us!
Good luck with rest of the journey....

The rule of thumb is 1 psi/10°F, so if you're at 0°F or below, you've lost 7+ psi. Refill in the actual conditions you're going to drive in, wherever possible. You might also keep in mind that inflating itself raises temperature, so allowing cool-off might be desirable.

Good Luck. We're all counting on you.

Still Grinning ;-)

"I was getting really grumpy", clear a great time for a nap! ;-)

Good luck on your last long leg!

@ Big Horn, thanks so much for all the help and advice.

@sbeggs. Just arrived in macedonia. Travel companion checking us in to La Quinta nearby.

Supercharging to 80% tonight and will get do my first full range charge tomorrow morning.

@brianH. Not sure how I can fill up at 10F and then have appropriate tire pressure when the temp warms in VA Beach (or LA) without constant tire pressure adjustments

@shesmyne2. Thanks for the additional pressure ;-)

@NKYTA. I really need one now but I'm trying to make it to VA Beach in time for dinner tomorrow night.

I meant on the road in cold states, of course. You can't prefill in LA for that. You must take the time to do it in the cold.


Thanks for the mileage buffer info! Please drive as slow as you need to for managing the long segment tomorrow, take care!


Topping up in Macedonia

It's been great following this thread, SamoSam. Nosy Nosinson wants to know if you're going to Virginia Beach for a birthday celebration for your Dad.

Absolutely wonderful thread. Thanks so much for sharing. Very best wishes for a successful completion to your wonderful adventure. My wife and I will be making a trip from Seattle to East Coast this summer in our S85. Following your adventure makes me very excited for our upcoming trip.

just arrived in somerset details posted to twitter but bottom line: no problems at all.

10 miles of range left (a huge margin compared to previous legs).

@jtodman. From you I will answer. No it's not my dad's birthday. that's in December. ;-)

@Tesla David, can't wait to read about your adventures!

Awesome job!

Samo, Since I live in this cold country and you are from a place where heat is used once it gets below 66 ;-) I am wondering how much you had to limit your heating in order to make it to some of the SCs. I normally do not have to worry about limiting the heat but I do have a trip I make at least once a month that I have to watch closely once the temps get below 20 to make sure I don't run out of juice.

Or has this trip been compromise free?

@theresa. I hit wind in South Dakota that limited either :

Speed OR


I like the seat heaters and they served me well throughout. When I needed a little warm air, I turned on the front defrost to low and it heated the cabin nicely.

Supercharging currently at Hagerstown outlet malls. Have a few more minutes before I leave. I'll skip Bethesda supercharger, and head all the way to Glen Allen Virginia supercharger. That should be about 160 miles with a downward elevation change.

Man, you are close enough to taste the salt air!

Hah, angle brackets got me...that was supposed to be:
+ (however many miles you've driven on this trip)

stopped at bethesda sc on principle

5 minute charge and am stuck in 95S traffic

Just an FYI, traffic can be a nightmare the way you have to go and rush hour is starting now.

Sam, thanks for posting your experience, and congratulations! You said you hypermiled on occasion. What speed was that? and what's your usual freeway speed - uninhibited by weather, traffic or range?

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