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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.

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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

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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.

Sam

teslams60@gmail.com
@teslaMS60 on twitter and instagram

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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.

I live in L.A. and would love to meet you in Hawthorne. Let us know when you expect to arrive. Since I am retired the day doesn't matter - I will make the time.

Dealing with these set-backs like a champion! WY will treat you well--sunny, "warm" and dry roads. There is a road near Lusk (Rte 20) closed due to flooding, so keep an eye out, but otherwise should be smooth sailing.

@Bighorn So, you tout your dry roads except for the ones closed by flooding. Back east we have dry roads, too, except for the ones that are wet. (My wife rolled her eyes.)

Yes, I appreciated the paradox--limited to roads that cross streams that are running high because of the accelerated snow melt. Maybe your wife ought to edit your posts;)

left cheyenne at 150pm

will arrive lone tree at 4pm

anyone want to meet?

@SamoSam you are on the Customer Stories section of this web site now! In case you did not know. Is that possible? Does Tesla ask you before putting your story up?

Sam, It would have been a pleasure to meet you today at Lone Tree. (I was at a Rec Center 30 miles away)

If you get a chance in Glenwood Springs, CO, I highly recommend a soak in the Hot Springs Pool. It is world famous for good reasons.

Good luck on the final push of your journey.

SamoSam it was a pleasure to meet you in Silverthorne. I'm from Missouri and am going snow skiing. I didn't know SamoSam was going to be at the supercharger. I own a 85kwh std (one of only 3 in my town). We don't have any superchargers in Missouri so I just wanted to see one being as I had never seen one before. So when we pull in, there was a tesla charging and I thought good I will get to witness firsthand someone using it and low and behold it was SamoSam. Thanks for the nice chat and good luck the rest of the way.

Dd;
Lo and behold. Means "look and see".

You are both far from home! But very different directions.

@Brian H, do they still make blackberries? And have the keyboards gotten full size?

@Tam, Tesla was incredible in their willingness to help. They really came through and the delay was truly minimal. I'll know more about arrival times and so forth later today. Likely arrival looks to be later afternoon/early evening on Monday.

@CraigW, I'd love to catch up with anyone and tell some big fish tales when we arrive tomorrow.

@Bighorn, Wyoming was the warmest and clearest of any state since the start of the trip. It was a real pleasure to drive through yesterday.

@jtodman, can I use your wifi? Stop busting @Bighorn's ba!!s HA.

@Portia, I didn't know and I saw the story after reading your comment last night. I told Tesla to do whatever they wanted and that my intent had been to put the focus on the Model S 60 and Tesla Motors. I guess they had different ideas :-)

@Skymaster, I wish I had time for a soak. I had a 10 minute shower this morning, and I'm going to get back on the road in 30 minutes. I've been here before (many years ago) and I'm very likely to drive out here again. Thanks for the suggestion. Would have been nice to meet you too.

@Ddowns2050, great fortuity in meeting you as well. Have fun skiing this week and you'll be Supercharger accessible before you know it. Thanks for stopping to see what supercharging looks like. The owners I've met along the way have been such a nice surprise. Congratulations on being among the few in your to figure out how awesome the Model S truly is.

@BrianH,

I asked Ddowns why he didn't drive his MS . . .and he doesn't have a Supercharger with 300 miles :-(

@SamoSam I still owe Bighorn one or two more for taking such delight in resurrecting Modernjewels's thread just so Captain Zap could see that her post about Being There wasn't deleted. :-)

If you get to Flagstaff I will guess you are going to decide to make a straight run to Hawthorne as fast as you can. Let us know when you arrive so we can plan to meet you.

@jtodman,

then you stick it to him!

@CraigW!

I will post ETA from my last two stops likely those will be las vegas and barstow

Incredible drive through the four corners area and now having lunch at outback.

Walked out of outback after waiting 40 minutes. Full charge, empty belly.

So sorry I missed you at Lone Tree SC yesterday, Sam! Didn't get there till 5:30, and you were gone, of course. Good luck, and smooth travel for the remainder of your return cross country trip! Great accomplishment!

@Hart,

Me too. I've enjoyed meeting owners along the way.

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Currently charging at GALLUP NM Supercharger at the Hampton Inn.

Today has been one of the best days of the trip. The weather has been perfect. Temperatures in the 50's and 60's and no wind. No clouds. Sun shining. No snow. No rain.

Average speed today has been in the high 60 and I've arrived at each stop with a TON of rated mileage buffer. I've been taking copious notes (just on the return from VA to CA) so I'll likely upload an excel spreadsheet in the near future.

Other than the MS60 being so dirty, the car has been perfect in every single way. Just a pleasure to drive and I don't want the trip to end. Crazy, huh?

Looks like I'll stop tonight in AZ or Las Vegas (not sure where exactly) and then make the last few Supercharges for an arrival in Hawthorne around late afternoon.

Like when @myfastlady arrived, I'll try and grab a bite to eat after arrival so that anyone that has to work (@TAM!) can meet afterwards for a bite.

http://www.eurekarestaurantgroup.com/

Hawthorne Airport, Eureka!*Tasting Kitchen
12101 S. Crenshaw Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA 90250

"I'd rather be sailing driving!"

@SamoSam

Have a restful sleep at Flagstaff, AZ.

Clear warm weather is waiting for you at home!

Good luck and have a safe trip for the rest of the Superchargers:

Flagstaff->Kingman->Las Vegas->Barstow->Hawthorne.

Sam, great going almost home. Wish I can drive to Montreal from SF bay-area this summer, cross-country trip from NorCal using Superchargers seems (still) like a distant dream. SC map for 2014 (& 2015) shows only two SC coming up between Folsom and Salt Lake City (650 miles distance) which includes crossing the sierra mountains. Hoping Tesla SC team has some pleasant surprises planned out for this route else east bound trips from bay area may be limited to Reno and back. If you happen to meet anyone from SC team at Hawthorne, please put in a word for the I-80 route beyond Sierras.

Welcome home, loved all updates from you on the trip!

I think Tesla is more concerned about Seattle to Denver. My guess is that CA has such an advantage in #SC that they need to focus on the rest of the country. For us 60s, we have to stop in Vegas and I see no plans for anything between Barstow and Kingman (it is a dangerously open stretch of country, with few EV chargers of any type). I mention this because I suspect Tesla feels you can drive south to Barstow until closer to 2016/17, when they have to roll out the ME/MIII.

@Tam Nice pic at the Courtyard in Flagstaff! I'm parked on spot away from the supercharging hardware cabinet :-)

@models60 You could always come through SoCal. It is a bit of a 500 mile detour, but remember what is possible. Sometimes the best trips aren't in a straight line!

@CraigW True, but I actually think that there are likely to be more intermediate dots that will show up next year. Tesla has said that anything beyond coming soon/2014 is an estimate. There will likely be infill, dependent on sales and requests. Tesla has been incredibly responsive to customer suggestions/requests.

I'm baffled by those "foot" prints?

@tezzla It seems elementary that SamoSam and his intrepid companion exited the car, then turned to snap a pic then headed off to food, lodging or both.

Not if he had used a hexacopter with a camera attachment to take the pix...

I think that's @tam's car (blue). Mine is grey.

It's Saprolf's Tesla Model S at Flagstaff Supercharger. The picture's from Recargo.com.

My radius of traveling has been San Diego, Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Francisco.

Some day, I'll be be like SamoSam.

@jtodtman, I was referring to the shape of the footprints. The driver's seem normal, the passenger's seems like a skidding cowboy boot!

@tezzla
hehehe--apt description!

@tezzla Now that I'm taking an actual look I'm intrigued as well, as are my wife and daughters (experts on female footwear, if volume is an indication of expertise.)


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