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My first long road trip in Model S

I just got back from my first long road trip in Model S and it was a blast! I drove to eastern Utah from northern Colorado and visited Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument. I drove a total of 1425 miles, almost all of it fueled by superchargers. Model S is a great road trip car - very comfortable, amazing driving experience and the feeling of not polluting any of the parks I visited is incredible. My random observations and thoughts from the trip:

  • EVTrip Planner was pretty much right on for most of the segments of my trip. Largest variation I had was 15 more range miles consumed than what it computed. I used a speed multiplier of 1.1 for all calculations. I drive 5 above posted speed unless posted speed is 75 mph in which case I drive 77-78. So multiplier of 1.1 was slight overestimate. Through my drives, temperature varied from 30F to 65F. I plugged 45F in EVTrip planner for calculations. I kept a buffer of 45-60 miles every time I charged and arrived at every supercharger with almost all of my buffer still intact. Never any range anxiety at all.
  • Weather went from blue skies and sun to heavy snow coming down almost horizontally from entering Eisenhower tunnel on the east end to exiting on the west end. I have all season goodyear tires on my car and car handled very well. I did not feel even slightest hint of losing control or sliding at any time on the long steep downhill stretch to Silverthorne in that weather. Another day, I hit a sizeable patch of ice going under an overpass on a curve at 68-69 mph when rest of the highway was dry. I felt the car slide very slightly but it was back under control before I could even make any corrections.
  • I made 1-2 extra stops every day (at superchargers) comapred to when I have done exact same trip in gasoline car. The noticeable difference was all of my stops were in nice places (which is where superchargers are), nothing like the gas pump stops I was making before.
  • I made 15 stops at superchargers overall and the only time I saw another Model S at the supercharger was at Lone Tree supercharger in Denver. Unfortunately at Lone tree supercharger, I saw another Model S pull into one of the two available supercharger stalls just ahead of me, park there and walk away without plugging in :( I plugged into the only remianing stall. I charged for 45 minutes and this other car was still there when I left, still not plugged in. Tesla-ed instead of ICE-d.
  • I stayed at Baymont Inn by Denver airport since I had to drop my son off at the airport very very early morning for his trip. Staff at Baymont Inn readily let me plug my car in. They only have a 110V outlet and it is far enough from any parking that UMC wouldn't reach. I wasn't carrying an extension cord since I wasn't really counting upon being able to charge there. Hotel staff brought out an extension cord! I ask about charging at hotels even if I do not need the charge just to spread awareness of EVs and destination charging need. Interestingly as soon as I plugged in, car popped up a message "Extension cord in use". I reduced charge current to 9A to be safe. I watched the car charge for 15 minutes and went to bed. Turned out car decided to stop charging 15 minutes later. Voltage must have dropped too much. What I learned is ask at the front desk at the hotels about charging. I have not come across any hotel so far that refused. Also carry a heavy duty extension cord if relying upon being able to charge at the hotel. 110v charging is not great but picking up 40-50 miles of charge overnight ain't bad either.
  • I stopped at Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs for lunch and they have installed two J1772 chargers that are wind and solar powered. I plugged in while I ate there and charged at 32A (24 mi/hr). That was nice!
  • I stayed in Moab for four days and supercharger there worked great. Supercharger is right in the middle of downtown and there are plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and other shops within 3 blocks of charger. Every night I was able to plug in, walk over to a restaurant and have a relaxed dinner while my car charged. BTW, coffee shop inside Lost River Clothing makes very good coffee and my son loved their gelato.
  • Moab supercharger is at the Best Western. There are 4 stalls and all stalls were available when I drove in every time. The first night I got into Moab later in the evening. All 4 spots were available when I plugged in around 8:00 PM. I got back after dinner around 8:45 and two of the stalls had been ICE-d. So watch out for ICE-ing there if arriving late in the evening.
  • Supercharger in Blanding, UT is at the visitor center. I stopped there in the morning on the way to Natural Bridges National Monument and again in the afternoon on my way back. I stopped into the visitor center both times. Very friendly people at the visitor center and very excited about Tesla. They loved talking about Tesla and are very proud to be the first supercharger site in Utah. Definitely stop by the visitor center if charging in Blanding.
  • Charged at Green River supercharger 2 days after it went online. The lady at the museum said mine was the first Model S she had seen stop to charge, although plugshare check-in showed someone else had stopped by the day it went live it would seem. John Wesley Powell River Museum is good. Movie they show at the museum is very well made. Exhibits are very informative. Even the panels outside the museum by the river are worth reading. Very friendly people at the museum again and very excited about being a host site for Tesla superchargers.
  • I came across more people that know about Tesla than ones who have never heard of Tesla. This was quite different from a year ago. I was answering questions along the lines of how do you like your Tesla, or where do you charge it, rather than what kind of car is that :)

Couple of pictures from the trip:

With the superchargers, Model S makes a great road trip car. I am now looking forward to many more superchargers and road trips this summer.

Update: Forgot to mention, mine is a 60 kWh.

@hikerockies, beautiful photos and good write-up. We plan to do San Diego to Denver through the Utah parks in spring, 2015, so your comments are very useful. Perhaps post them on the thread covering descriptions of each Supercharger and amenities?

And a good photog to boot!

Thanks for sharing - love these stories. :-)

@hike
I'm currently on a ~ 5000 mile roadtrip and covered similar territory already. Love that Moab is on the route. I stayed at Baymont recently and was told there were no outlets. I told the manager to consider charging options--maybe the message got conveyed? There were three cars at Lone Tree but they were all store-owned I think.
Nice write up!

@sbeggs: Thanks! Yes, I will add this info to supercharger thread.

@NKYTA: Thanks for the compliment! I love taking pictures and enjoy sharing them.

@Bighorn: Maybe asking about destination charging is indeed making a difference. We should keep this up. I saw the three store-owned cars at Lone tree and they were occupying other Tesla reserved spots leaving two supercharger stalls still open.

Thanks for the report on your journey. We have done some 300 mile trips and love this car. We are planning several long trips to Victoria, BC, Mendecino, CA and Pacific Grove. Thus far the ride is so comfortable and the sound system is great fun. Also we feel safe and solid in our Model S. So happy we bought this car. I love the quality.

Where's the MS in the second photo? >;p

@Brian H: Park rangers didn't let me drive it up the slickrock to Delicate Arch ;)

I'm heading to Moab next weekend. Thanks for the advance tips. Road trips in the S are always a real treat (every time I have ventured out)....


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