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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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Ma arriviamo alla parte drammatica. Quella che tutti vogliono ascoltare. Auto incendiate, bloccate sul ciglio della strada, a combattere contro gli imprevisti. Se volevate leggere storie di questo tipo, forse è meglio se chiudete il browser, bloccate i miei tweet e mi togliete l'amicizia sui social.

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.

La maggior parte degli automobilisti con la versione da 85kWh (e un'autonomia di 426 kilometri) ha superato il problema. Sa che si può fare. Perlomeno è già stato fatto due volte. Una volta da un padre con sua figlia, da New York a Los Angeles. Pochi giorni dopo da una squadra Tesla.

Questo viaggio non supererà alcun record di velocità o di ricarica. Riconosco che avrà un po' il ritmo di una siesta. Ma se si vuole vedere come funziona un veicolo elettrico, come funziona la rete Supercharger e come, con estrema pigrizia, si può ancora guidare da una punta all'altra del paese gratuitamente in circa quattro giorni, allora continuate a leggere.

Il mio viaggio ha uno scopo, certamente, ma sarei potuto anche andare in aereo. No, non ve lo dirò, curiosoni.

In fin dei conti questo viaggio è proprio come tutti gli altri. È tuttavia anche l'ultima parola sull'ansia da autonomia che spesso emerge quando si parla di Tesla. Tesla non produrrà MAI più un'altra auto con un'autonomia inferiore a quella che ho io. Posso fallire. Non c'è nessun salvagente. Pubblicherò gli aggiornamenti la settimana prossima (più o meno), rispondendo a tutte le domande che posso.

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.

Good luck and safe travels! Getting my 60 in about 2 weeks and will anxiously follow your trip!

Happy travels! I also have an S60 and have contemplated such a drive...

Go Sam, Go! We'll all be cheering you on. Looking forward to the adventure!

Go Go Go Sam. Best to you. We will be watching for your updates.
May the wind be at your back.

Still haven't left and can't sleep. Setting the for 5am.

Alarm

Good luck Sam! I am looking forward to finally having anecdotal evidence to point to the next time I have to hear "get the 85kWh.....no brainer!"

Looking forward to it!

Your Twitter followers have increased by 33% in the last hour! :-)

Never had twitter before. But up 33% sounds like TSLA stock ;-)

@sam:

How are you going to get from Flagstaff, AZ to Blanding, UT, with the distance of 249 miles?

@sam

How do you deal with winter driving? Winter tires or tire chains/cables?

Brave soul. Good Luck!

Good luck Sam, will be anxiously awaiting every update.

You go Sam!

.... all of us with MS 60s are pulling for you.

I think to be fair to OPs that suggest an 85 is a no brainer, the thinking is to get the biggest range you can afford. Get more Range instead of comfort options. You make the logical refinement, if the average total daily drive is less than 150 miles you just do not need to trade comfort for range.

Go Sam Go!!! Best wishes and looking forward to updates.

@TeslaMS60: Topping off @TeslaMotors Hawthorne Design Studio, getting ready to #supercharger cross country. http://t.co/CS9JSlLAun

@tam

Chains are packed securely.

Good luck Sam!

Best of Luck. Kind of wish you were stopping off at JFK Supercharger so I could say hello. Look forward to your trip updates.

I couldn't get my consumption under 400 Wh/m in 3F temps. Hope for modest temps and maybe we'll cross paths as I return home from Denver tomorrow might. Good luck!

Make me stop regretting I got a 60 instead of an 85!

No need to regret, think about it... HOW often will you actually need that extra mileage?
If you commute 200 miles in a day there is some serious issue with how far you need to drive. I am pretty sure that with a home 15-40 outlet or charging station probably 99% of the country (nigh, the world!) can get as far as they will ever need to go. Superchargers are awesome, don't get me wrong... But really how often will we NEED them (not want, I want them everywhere so I can stop, read for 30 minutes, and move on)?

You want to feel good about your S60? OK, borrow my Smart Electric with its 62 mile range and drive it for a few days. It gets me to work and back (just barely) and charges on 110v overnight. 200 miles with 1/6th the charging time.. the S60 is all you need.

I'm not bagging on the 85 folks, some folks like the extra security or just want the "best of the best" (my ICE is a Ferrari, so I get it) but the S60 folks have to realize.... you'll probably never need that extra 50-ish miles.

Just stopped at Barstow. Thanks to everyone here supporting sustainable transportation. Heavy rains and 4800 foot climb just chewed through the miles but arrived without worry.

Everyone will have a time when they wished they had more rang. Makes no difference if it is a Smart Electric, Leaf, MS60, MS85, or MS120.

Sam,
How many range miles lost by your climb of 4800 ft?
Have a good trip!

Awesome!

@dbg,

About 30 miles lost.

Best of luck, breaking out of CA, seems to be the most tricky spot.

Good luck Sam! Wish I had the time to do a trip like yours.


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