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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.

SamoSam,
What is your ETA, with a couple of hours, of arriving in Hawthorne?

I know it is a very sensitive subject, but are we talking about a very first bigfoot sighting at Tesla Supercharger :)

@CraigW

My guess is around 5pm.

He's charging at Las Vegas now.

If he leaves by noon, he'll be at Barstow at 2:30pm.

Charge up for and leave at 3pm.

He'll be in Hawthorne by 5pm.

345pm

Don't forget to subtract an hour for DST when you call Guinness!

Eta

Looks like arrival will be pushed back to 430PM. Traffic and (almost) full Superchargers in Barstow are pushing things back.

SamoSam

Your adventure inspires me! Big congratulations. May you have many more joyous MS adventures. When will your book be published?:-)

@SamoSam Thanks for bringing us along for the ride. This is a liberating accomplishment.

This means that I can get out there with my P85 without worrying about my little tangents and detours. Way cool.
Thank you for blazing the trail!

Are you going to tie this up with a big bow and do the run up to the Canadian Border?

SamoSam just twitted his arrival with the numbers at 5:31pm PDT:

7,740 mile round trip in 9.5 days for free.

Sorry that I am stuck in Orange County and unable to greet you in person.

Congratulations on a job well done proving that 60 kWh is not a second class at all. You could even do a round trip where no known EV, big or small, could have done!!!!

@SamoSam, you succeeded! Now you can rest! You can modify your title to read Coast to Coast and Back Again, etc. etc.

Great journey, great inspiration.

Great job, SamoSam! I've watched your journey with interest along the way. Sorry I missed you at the Glen Allen VA SC but you were just a couple of hours off from my time there.

Way to go Samo!!!

Priceless!
+1 7,740 to ya. :-)

Amazing job SamoSam! Inspirational!

Not a lot of us there to greet him, but it sure was fun. Even Elon responded to his tweet - exciting.

Way to go SamoSam! Wish you were following @myfastlady's footsteps up to the factory so we could come greet you :)
The trip was inspirational. Thanks for everything!

Now you and your MS60 are one. When you have spent as much time in a car as you have, you know everything there is to know about the car. You know its hot, cold, climbing, descending, head wind, tail wind, cross wind, rain, snow, sunshine, and cloudy performance numbers. You know how far you can get going to a higher elevation, with rain, while you hyper-mile.

Now MS stands for Master of the Science of Tesla driving.

Congratulations Samo. Great work.

Thanks Sam for proving that the 60 kW Model S can travel across country on SuperCharger power in both directions. Your pioneering effort will make it easier for those who follow your tracks. We look forward to your report of what speeds are necessary for success between some of the stations. All the best to you and those who traveled with you. Enjoy a well deserved rest and hope to meet you at a future Tesla event.

Outstanding job Sam! Thank you for the forum posts and tweets along the way.

@reitmanr,
Thanks for the kind words. Not so sure how I'd fill a book but I'll at least try to update here.

@Captain_Zap,
The world is your oyster in an 85. The supercharging network is only getting better and almost every US city will be connected by 2015. Go crazy! I'll hold off on heading to Vancouver for a bit but it sounds like fun!

@Tam,
Missed seeing you tonight in Hawthorne. Sorry your "work" got in the way of our Tesla obsession ;-)

sbeggs@attglobal.net,
Good idea on updating the forum title. I'll give it some thought.

@jtodtman@gmail.com,
Thanks for following the post.

@Fasteddie,
Would have been cool to have met in Glen Allen. I'll likely be back there again. More on that later ;-)

@NKYTA,
I had a bunch of "priceless" tweets planned . . . you rock!

@pbendo,
I hope that it inspires the next generation of drivers to stretch and get a MS60 instead of some stinky gas burner!

@CraigW,
Thank you for showing up and coming to dinner. It was great to meet you and get a chance to meet another MS60 owner that is as passionate about their car and the company as me.

@Jamon,
I'd love to head up to the factory tomorrow and meet everyone in the bay area that's been following along here. That being said, there are some things that I've been putting off for the last 10 days that need some attention . . . ;-)

@Doug H,

That's actually not as crazy as it looks on first read. I really felt like I understood the vagaries of the car so much better on the last day, than the first. One example: I had to leave Barstow with 15 rated miles more than the distance from Barstow to Hawthorne. I got my Wh/m were 202 and I was hauling a$$. I knew when to pulse, accelerate, coast and then when to regen. I ended up averaging over 72mph and arrived with more than 30 miles of range remaining.

@Mark Z,

I kept copious notes for the return trip with speeds, wh/m, total energy usage and distances. I'm putting together an excel spread sheet (should be done tomorrow) that I'll post so that everyone who wants to geek out on the details can review.

I will give a couple of observations:

1. Cold and wind are not your friend. That being said, speeds of 60 mph on the highway are easily possible between every single Supercharger. But not 75+ during the coldest part of winter.

2. Averaged 70+ mph ~10 times between supercharging pairs.

@CalDreamin

Thanks for following the posts.

So, how does it feel to be famous and admired? Could you get used to it? "Yes, I'm THAT SamoSam."

Congrats Sam! I enjoyed following your journey on Twitter.

Unfortunately, I was out of the country when you went through Denver both times (see separate thread White Water Rafting). I would have loved to meet up at Park Meadows. As for getting close to zero remaining projected miles, I sampled the fabled 17 mile reserve once. We took the “S” to Aspen three weeks ago. We charged the Glenwood Springs SC, but not a full range charge. As we came down Vail pass, my wife said she would like to get home early so she could ride a horse before dark. I looked at my range and did a quick mental calculation. I decided to skip the Silverthorne SC. When we went by Park Meadows, I still had 17 miles, so I didn’t stop charge there, but knew I was cutting it very tight. South of Parker still 5 miles from home I hit zero. I made it home but the dashed yellow line appeared stating that I would not have full acceleration. The Projected range does not go negative, it just goes to zero and stays there. I did get the message to charge immediately.

congrats Sam to finish the trip, a big success! My only comment is that is a lot of driving, not much resting, sleeping or sightseeing. It would be nice to take a leisurely trip and see the country along the way, if one has the time, that would be the thing to aspire to.

See the U-S-A in a T-E-S-L-A . . . needs work.

Welcome back. Congratulations on your trip! Sorry I couldn't make it to Hawthorne.

Well done samosam. I glad to read you had a safe journey. I'm sorry I couldn't be there like we did last time. I was there in spirit. Good job. Congratulations. See you next time.

I just dropped my co-pilot at LAX and stopped to charge at the Hawthorne Supercharger for old times same. :-)

Can anyone help me post an excel spreadsheet in a format accessible to anyone?

I have lots of good data for anyone interested in seeing it.

Thanks again to everyone here that wrote kind words, words of encouragement or just made me laugh . . .

This wont be the last road trip but it was certainly the hardest since I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I'm glad we were able to show just how incredible th MS60 performs and how, with just a little awareness and skill, it can perform on par with its larger-battery siblings.

I've had some press inquiries and I'll update this forum when those articles are published. I wrote anonymously so that the focus would be on the car, but human nature being what it is, I've been unmasked.

By Tesla ;-)

- Sam

@SamoSam - What would you do now? Is Disneyland your next stop?

Congrats on some well deserved rest. Can wait to see your road trip details!

Why didn't you stay more than a day on the East Coast? Would you have used any battery swap facilities if they were built along your route?


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