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Road Trip Experience - Bay Area to Santa Barbara and back

On Tuesday, my wife and I left our home in San Mateo to head down 101 to Santa Barbara and try out the new Superchargers. We logged just under 800 miles, paid nothing for charging and the car behaved perfectly.

SUPERCHARGER COMMENTS: On the way down, we stopped at Gilroy at 10am to top up (didn't need to). We were the only ones there, took the right slot (1a) and got just over 200 miles of range per hour of charge. Next stop was Atascadero and this time we saw a grey MS charging when we arrived. Took the left slot of the 8 and got 286 miles of range / hr. Ate lunch at the mexican restaurant across the street. Food was pretty good and my wife was mesmerized by the monster truck rally on the big screen in the bar. She said, "Honey, we're not in San Mateo anymore." Next stop was Buellton - didn't need to but wanted to have lots of range when we arrived in SB. Again, we were alone. Got 291 and drove on to SB. On the way home on Thursday, we skipped Buellton, stopped at Atascadero for 20 minutes (alone) headed to Gilroy so my wife could shop at the outlets. At Gilroy, there was one car at the left slot so I took the right slot and got 265. I came back after 35 minutes and there was a car next to mine - he was getting 90 at the second slot from the right. I moved out and he took my slot. Superchargers are fabulous - but beware if you park next to someone else.

DRIVING COMMENTS: For the entire trip, my actual mileage was 89% of "Rated Miles Used". I drove in cruise control at 70 mph with the AC set at 72 degrees. Temperature ranged from the high 70s to almost 100. My "worst" leg was Gilroy to Atascadero where I got 86.5% of Rated. You could see as the outside temperature climbed towards 100 that the AC and battery cooling took a toll on efficiency. But it was less than I had expected - about 5% worse performance.

ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed at Bacara Resort in Goleta about 15 miles short of SB. Expensive, but really nice and the coolest part was they had a NEMA 14-50 that they let me use the entire time I was there. The place was full of Ferraris, Porsches, and BMWs but I seemed to be the only Tesla there. One of the valets seemed to know how to drive and plug in and I would always use the phone APP to make sure he plugged it in right - so every time we went anywhere, we had a full charge.

SUMMARY: I had assumed I would use our ICE SUV for road trips and the MS for "local" but it is way too easy and fun to "road trip" in the Tesla. Love it, love it, LOVE IT!!

GREAT summary of a trip I plan to make in a few weeks. Thanks for the vivid description.

Awesome! Can't wait to drive to Morro Bay next weekend.

Those are some impressive numbers at the superchargers.

Awesome trip report! just got my MS yesterday and am headed to Socal from Vegas tommorow for a week. Will surely use Barstow and Hawthorne stop but will have to improvise a little bit when we go to Delmar and San Diego. All of this would have been a breeze if the San Jaun Capistrano Supercharger was open but we scheduled this around the Yankees baseball schedule! Still after driving the car for one day I'd rather have a bit of adventure with the MS then taking an ICE.

I thought that the paired Superchargers were not the next one over, but one down from that. At Tejon they are labeled, and 2a and 2b are not adjacent, but one down from there.

Great summary. Did Bacara allow you to charge for free? Where is the NEMA 14-50 located?

Thanks

@mclary

yes, Bacara allowed charging for free - but they charge $30 per day for valet and it is not optional so I didn't feel like I was getting a "deal". Then again, none of those Ferraris were getting gassed up by the valet.

The 14-50 is around the back near the Handicap parking. They actually have it off a long extension cord hung off a spider box so it could stretch to any one of about six parking spaces. It did 39A but only 197V (loss due to length of extension cord??) so it charged at 23 miles of rated range per hour - fine for overnight charging.

@O EMSN thanks for the post. San Mateo to Santa Barbara is a route I intend to take often so the detailed charging stats and supercharger reviews were very helpful. I used to make that drive in about 5 hours with my old ICE car (BMW 540i) How much time should I allow for my S85 with charge stops and range conservation speed tactics (cruise control, etc.)? thanks again.

@ichong

If you're in a hurry, the best tactic is to leave with a range charge and stop at Atascadero for 30 to 40 minutes. At 70 mph, that should get you there in under six hours but you won't have a lot of charge left when you arrive. If you try to drive at 80mph in 100 degree heat, you won't make it from SM to Atascadero on a single charge.

Another option is to top off at Gilroy (especially after they add 8 more chargers in a couple of months) and then head straight to Buellton. But again, if it is hot and you drive really fast, Gilroy to Buellton could be dicey.

@O EMSHN Thanks again. I hear there's going to be a Tesla store in Santa Barbara. Hopefully, they will have a HPWC for owners to use

Great report @O EMSHN, thanks for taking the time to note all the details. Seems like an easy rule of thumb for that route (at 70 mph with A/C on 72° F.): subtract 10-15% from your rated miles remaining, and if that number is greater than the distance to your next SuperCharger, you should make it there with no worries.

Thanks for the very detailed account. It's very helpful.

I plan to drive in the other direction: Ventura to San Francisco. I don't have a specific destination in SF. Without having done detailed trip planning, my questions are: (i) If I charge at Gilroy, will that give me sufficient range to do a little in-town driving upon arrival in SF? And (i) once I deplete the range is there a SC in the Bay Area? I see the one in Folsom, but that's effectively Sacramento. Am I relegated to checking in at a hotel upon arrival and charge overnight?

@temujen2000

Gilroy to SF is about 85 miles so you can drive to SF, do some site seeing and drive back without needing to charge. However, if you do a lot of site seeing and need to charge in SF to make it back to Gilroy, your only option is public J1772 (which are plentiful but a lot slower than SC). Gilroy is currently the closest SC to SF.

Have fun!

For a more interesting life, subtract 3-5% from rated, and arrive worried!

I just did a road trip from LA to La Purisima, a great golf course. Charged in Buellton and peaked at 291 miles/hour. The Buellton chargers are right next to a 5-screen cineplex and several restaurants. Pretty excellent !

There is a new SC in Fremont at the factory (but supposedly available 24/7
Closer than Gilroy but traffic conditions from SF to Fremont not generally pleasant

@O EMSHN
Thanx for your post (pertinent info cut and pasted below). I'm staying at Bacara for a wedding this weekend. When my wife called to see if there were any EV plugs she was told there were 4 but that we'd need to bring our own "adapters". Because it was the 1st time she'd called for this purpose, I thought it an odd reply that was more akin the the responses I'd get in 2009 when I 1st started driving my Roadster. I went to check on the usual sites (Recargo, EVChargerMaps, etc.) and could not find any info on plugs at Bacara. I did a Google search and THIS thread is the only mention of it anywhere on the web. Now I can be more confident; thank you! When I get there this weekend I'll be sure to "add" this to the Recargo site to pay it forward. Cheers!

"ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed at Bacara Resort in Goleta about 15 miles short of SB. Expensive, but really nice and the coolest part was they had a NEMA 14-50 that they let me use the entire time I was there. The place was full of Ferraris, Porsches, and BMWs but I seemed to be the only Tesla there. One of the valets seemed to know how to drive and plug in and I would always use the phone APP to make sure he plugged it in right - so every time we went anywhere, we had a full charge.

yes, Bacara allowed charging for free - but they charge $30 per day for valet and it is not optional so I didn't feel like I was getting a "deal". Then again, none of those Ferraris were getting gassed up by the valet.

The 14-50 is around the back near the Handicap parking. They actually have it off a long extension cord hung off a spider box so it could stretch to any one of about six parking spaces. It did 39A but only 197V (loss due to length of extension cord??) so it charged at 23 miles of rated range per hour - fine for overnight charging."

That sounds like a fun drive to do in an MS!

Just did the outbound leg of this trip with my S85 and tried out 3 superchargers (Gilroy, Atascadero, and Buellton) for the first time. Here are the stats I can share:

* Peninsula to Gilroy SuperCharger
- 58.5 miles
- 66 rated miles used
- 325 wh/mi going the flow of traffic early on a monday morning before the commute traffic set in.
- charge rate was 76 mi/hr even though there were no other cars charging, and my battery was about 50%
- the expansion was not yet complete, but looks to be a close, perhaps another week or two

* Gilroy SuperCharger to Atasacadero SuperCharger
- 138.8 miles
- 173 rated miles used
- 349 wh/mi using cruise control at the flow of traffic
- charge rate was between 221 and 288 mi/hr - the fastest I experienced.

* Atascadero SuperCharger to Buellton SuperCharger
- 80.1 miles
- 88 rated miles used
- 311 wh/mi cruising at the flow of traffic
- charge rate was between 167 and 232 mi/hr
- decided to go for 255 miles of charge since I wasn't sure if/where I could charge in Santa Barbara
- I expect that I will need to have about 110 rated miles doing this leg on the way back since there is elevation that helped going South, but will hemmorage range going North

* Buellton to Santa Barbara
- 45 miles
- 52 rated miles used
- 323 wh/mi cruising at the flow of traffic
- tried unsuccessfully to charge at the public charging station listed in Plugshare at 1220 Santa Barbara Ave - couldn't find it in the parking lot. Perhaps they took it down?
- I need to make sure I have enough range to get back to Buellton - I figure 70 rated miles should be enough + some buffer.

* Lessons learned
- @O EMSHN was right - if possible, try to skip Gilroy and go straight to Atascadero. There are only a few stalls so you risk having to wait if they're all taken up. The charging is too slow and since it's only 59 miles away from homebase, it's not a really useful stop. I could save 30 to 45 minutes off the trip. Hopefully the expansion will result in faster charging.
- A good Tesla charging option in SB will greatly alleviate the need to spend too much time waiting in Buellton. In fact, I would simply go straight from Atascadero to SB. Hopefully, the Tesla store will open up soon and allow visiting owners to charge up via HPWC.

Net-Net: If the weather isn't too hot and there aren't high winds, and there's a good charging option in SB, I might be able to do future trips in 6 hours with one stop in Atascadero. This first trip turned out to be 7hrs 30 min of which about 2 hours and 15 minutes were spent charging at the superchargers.

Here are the stats from my return trip: SB to Peninsula

* Santa Barbara to Atascadero
- 121 mi
- 149 rated miles used
- 335 wh/mi - lots of uphill climbs. The hill after SLO burned 5 rated miles for every actual mile

* Atascadero to Peninsula
- 196 mi
- 221 rated miles used
- 318 wh/mi - cruised at flow of traffic before King City, 70 mph afterwards, strong headwinds between King City and Salinas
- rate of charge between 221 and 293 mi/hr
- spent an hour and 15 minutes charging at Atascadero Supercharger
- skipped both Buellton and Gilroy. Quite doable with S85 via Atascadero

Thanks for posting @ichong, good info to know. You must be in or near San Mateo, I'm 59.6 miles from Gilroy (RWS) ;-)

Yes, @NKYTA, I'm in that area. Just curious, do you ever use the public charger in the RWS library?

@ichong
I've not used the charger at the RWS (five blocks away, but still not as convenient as my garage NEMA), but my wife comments that there a a few MS' there, a black one quite often.


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