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2200 Mile Supercharger Trip (DC to Omaha and Back)

Electroman

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
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Prairie

Model x on order for January 2022
Apr 19, 2021
24
12
Nebraska
Last week I took delivery of a new Tesla Model S 75D and I thought, I should take this on a road trip. I wanted to pick a state that I had never been to. Unfortunately I have been to every east coast state and most midwest states. However, after a friend made a joke about Nebraska, I decided on my destination: Omaha. Despite many of my friends casting doubt on the idea of driving a Tesla 2200 miles using only Superchargers, I left the next day.

Leg 1 - Friday Sept 22 7pm-11pm Washington, DC to Cranberry, PA (287 miles)
Drove to the Breezewood, PA Supercharger. This was my first experience charging, period. I had just taken delivery of the car less than 24 hours earlier and hadn't installed the 14-50 plug yet. So I pull into the stall and I am completely alone. After not shoving the charger in hard enough 3 or 4 times, the car charges up enough to make it to Cranberry, PA. Cranberry has a Supercharger in a Marriott parking lot, so this was the obvious place to spend the night. Charge to 100%, park and go to bed.

Leg 2 - Saturday Sept 23 730am - 6pm - Cranberry, PA to Aurora, IL (514 miles)
I slowly start to realize the overhead factor of the Superchargers and the strategy of keeping the battery between 15 and 60 percent. I also start to realize that at my current pace there is no way I'm going to make it back in time for a meeting at 3pm on Tuesday. The built in google maps doesn't seem to plan for more than one Supercharger stop. This trip had over 20. So after some research (on this site) I found abetterrouteplanner.com. I cannot overstate how important it is to use this tool during a 250+ mile trip. You can customize when you stop and keep it running in the web browser to get real time data and charging times. Also, this is where the community aspect of owning a Tesla came into play. At every Supercharger stop there were other Tesla owners, many on their own road trip. We would chat and one guy even bought me lunch after stopping at the same three Superchargers in a row!

Leg 3 - Sunday Sept 24 530am - 8pm - Aurora,IL - Omaha, NE to Iowa City, IA (681 miles)
This is when things got real. The night before I figured out that I only have two choices to make it back to DC in time for my meeting on Tuesday. Either turn back now or suck it up and drive two 15 hour days and a 5 hour day in a row. I woke up at 430am and hit the road by 530am. I was now falling into a routine. I would drive 90-130min to a Supercharger, charge for 20-30min, put the next Supercharger into google maps (as suggested by A Better Route Planner), then rinse and repeat. Around 3-4pm, I make it to Omaha! Over a 1000 miles, looked around for about 18min and turned around for the drive back. Drove another few hours back the way I came and spent the night in Iowa City (note the trend: all these hotels are within 10miles of a Supercharger).

Leg 4 - Monday Sept 25 430am - 830pm - Iowa City, IA to Cranberry, PA (694 miles)
Things started to get a little rough. I was running on only a few hours of sleep for several nights (working at night from the hotel rooms) and I spent so much time in the car that standing started to feel weird. The good news is that I have been driving about 80% on AP2. This helped in a way that I can't fully express with words. The whole trip just wouldn't have been possible if I had to drive through stop and go traffic and keep pace without it for 14+ hours a day. I really wanted to be pretty rested for Tuesday so I pushed myself a far as I could. It so happened that I ended up back in Cranberry. Which is actually great since the Superchargers in the parking lot allowed me to charge to 100% before parking it for the night.

Leg 5 Tuesday Sept 26 1015am - 230pm - Cranberry, PA - Potomac, MD (289 miles)
The finale!! Got plenty of sleep, only one Supercharge stop and made it home in the nick of time.

I must admit that there were times that I was beyond tired, became frustrated with the longer (40min+) stops and sick of driving. But in the end, I am really glad I did it. I kind of see us (Tesla owners) as pioneers and what do pioneers do? Go west. I drove west using only the Supercharger network and made it without a single show stopping problem. There were always chargers available, people at the chargers were awesome and AP2 is one of the coolest pieces of tech in the world. This experience is definitely not for everyone. There is a fair bit strategy and a lot of patience required to drive a Tesla for thousands of miles. However, I now feel comfortable driving my Tesla anywhere or any distance. Living in the DC area crushed my love of driving but the Tesla allowed me to rekindle that love.
Thanks for post. I’ll be doing reverse trip in, I hope soon in 2022, long range X. Older, not high tech, woman but the future is now.
 
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