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Advice on going from LA to SF and back

Discussion in 'Model S' started by AmericanPharoh, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. AmericanPharoh

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
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    Location:
    Los Angeles,CA
    I've never done the LA -> SF trip by myself even in an ICE. Now that I have a car with autopilot I plan on making the journey sometime soon. Is there any advice?

    Is there anything I should keep in my car for emergencies?
    Any charging stations I should stay away from for whatever reason?
    How is autopilot on the 5 freeway?
     
  2. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Be afraid. Be very afraid. One does not simply drive from LA to San Francisco.
     
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  3. jevan43

    jevan43 Member

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    I've done it a few times on both routes and I won't do it again. I am sure there are people here who have had great experiences, but for me, I won't do it again. The biggest draw back for me was not just the time it takes to charge, but the time I had to wait at superchargers for a stall to become available. This is becoming an increasingly bigger problem even at my local SCs but its simply not worth the hassle IMHO when my SO owns a Prius and we can just hop in that.
     
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  4. rxlawdude

    rxlawdude Member

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    Taking I-5, you'll stop at either Tejon or Buttonwillow after going over the Cajon pass. The latter one is supposedly less busy. Next, charge at Harris Ranch. Top off in Dublin off I-880, and you're good to go.

    You really should specify which MS you have - 60, 70, 75, 85, 90 - because that may make a difference in how many stops you'll need.

    Also, please bookmark evtripplanner.com and use that before you leave.
     
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  5. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    The 5 freeway is especially curvy, and of course is rather far away from Tesla corporate, so it's not well mapped - I'd drive manually if I were you.

    As for emergency supplies - shotgun, hunting knife, sleeping bag, satellite messenger, trailer with extra batteries, water purification tablets.
     
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  6. wildtigg3r

    wildtigg3r Member

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    Flat tire repair kit
    Portable air compressor auto tire pump
    Food and water, if you get stranded

    Just drive the car like you would with an ICE. Use the EV Trip Planning website to plan your trip and which superchargers to stop at. Plan ahead of time and not on the day of your trip.

    Make sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel, even when you are using autopilot. You don't want to be one of "those" owners to be on the news.
     
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  7. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

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    First thing you should know about supercharging: power is shared between pairs of adjacent stalls, so if one of the paired chargers is in use and you take the other one, both of you will get a slower charging rate. Take note of the charger number you are about to use; it will be labeled (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and so on.) If you can, try to pick a stall where nobody is using the other charger in the pair. For example, if somebody is charging at 1B, but 2A and 2B are open, you should go to one of those, not 1A. If the supercharger is busy, then you can take whatever spot is open first. It's a lot like the Man Rule about urinals.

    You should always have snacks and a bottle of water or two for each person in the car; this is a long, hot drive. For emergencies, I've got the Tesla roadside assistance number and my mobile phone (plus AAA card, and I carry the tire repair kit as well.) Bring along your UMC in the trunk, even if you never need it.

    Use the car's Navigation system to set a route to your destination (or alternatively, to the next supercharger). This will show you if any of the superchargers are offline and you need to avoid them. Don't be concerned if you pull in and all spots are taken; the wait is usually pretty quick. Which leads me to this piece of advice:

    Don't try to arrive at your destination at a particular time. (If you need to arrive by a particular time, plan ahead so you leave yourself a large buffer in case the wait for a supercharger is unexpectedly long, or the power is throttled on particularly hot days.)

    Autopilot on the 5 works great! It will leave you feeling far less tired at the end of the journey.
     
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  8. anxman

    anxman Member

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    I've done it many times. It's fine. It's a long drive especially when you add in the supercharging, but you'll get there and back no problem.

    I love the burger at Harris Ranch. Also, note that when you're coming back to LA, you'll be climbing a lot of altitude and your range will drop ominously. Once you reach the crest, you'll be coasting back down and recover a portion of the range. It scared me the first time but I made it to my goal with plenty of range to spare.
     
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  9. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Wrong pass. Cajon pass is on I15 to Barstow. This is the Tejon pass. But they sound the same.:)
     
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  10. rxlawdude

    rxlawdude Member

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    Doh!!! Obviously, I did the OC->Vegas route most recently.

    Thanks for the correction, and for heading me off about the wrong pass.
     
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  11. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

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    I saw that too, but figured I would just let it pass.
     
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  12. AmericanPharoh

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    I have a Model S 70D (how do I change my signature on the forums?). I plan to make 3 SC stops, as this is my first time. Thank you all for the tips!
     
  13. RichardL

    RichardL Member

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    The trip energy graph (once you put in a destination to the nav, it appears on the energy app as an additional tab called 'Trip' ) - it shows a graph of how your available charge % should go down with distance - you can see where you go over hills etc. quite clearly.

    To keep track of how you are doing simply monitor this - initially it will show the graph and show you the expected % charge left when you reach the destination. As you drive it will show you your 'real' usage and you can see how it effects what will be left.

    So start out, put the next supercharger in as your destination and it shows what you should arrive with. As you drive, if the expected % starts to go down, slow down, until it maintains the same %. If it keeps rising, maybe you can drive faster. With a little practice it is a really useful tool to monitor how you are doing
     
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  14. Smarty McFly

    Smarty McFly Member

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    I did this trip twice in the past month via US 101, and also have a 70D. Overall, Autopilot performed reasonably well. There were a few areas where road markings were missing due to construction, so I took control for those segments. As others have suggested, the EV Trip Planner site will let you know when and where you need to charge, even taking elevation into account. For my trip, I left San Jose with a full charge, stopped for lunch in Atascadero, as well as brief stops in Buellton and Oxnard. Planning on 3 stops between LA and SF is probably the right number.
     
  15. bmah

    bmah Obscure Member

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    You mean "Dublin off I-580" right? The Dublin Supercharger / Service Center is roughly at the intersection of I-580 and I-680, and coming from I-5, you'd hit it going westbound on I-580.

    Bruce.
     
  16. lese

    lese Member

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    We have made that trip quite a few times. Everyone's supercharging advice is excellent, although we have been lucky and have never had to wait for a supercharger. The most important advice I can offer is while driving on autopilot, whenever you pass a truck (and there are a LOT of trucks on the 5) hold the wheel. On our last trip, while passing a truck, the car decided to take a hard right, right towards the middle of the truck. I jerked the wheel back in time, but if I hadn't I'm sure it would have hit the truck. From then on, whenever I was passing a truck, I held the wheel lightly and if I felt it trying to take a right, I'd just hold it tighter or turn the wheel to the left to disengage autopilot. The side benefit of holding the wheel every time I passed a truck was that it reduced the nagging to hold the wheel to almost zero.
     
  17. privater

    privater 2016 Model S60 owner

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    I regularly drive from Bay area to LA, 5 things come into my mind:

    1. Harris Ranch smell stinks (for miles).
    2. i5 is a sleepy road with two lanes, no curve for almost 180 mi in the middle
    3. i5 is pretty busy with semi trucks.
    4. worst part is from 101 to i5 through Gilroy, mountains, side wind at night, one lane, speed limited to 50.
    5(bonus). if you drive a ICE car from LA, don't fill gas until Buttonwillow, you gonna witness how capitalism works and watch gas price from $3.9 drop to $2.9 within 20 miles.

    To sum up: SF to LA is a boring and headache trip. Better take a plane if you travel by yourself.
     
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  18. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Do the battery swap stations still exist, or did those get abandoned? The info about them just kind of fizzled and I haven't really heard anything more about them.

    Considering the array of batteries we've had now (60, 70, 75, 85, 90), presumably they became cost-prohibitive.
     
  19. Att1cus

    Att1cus Member

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    Battery swap is dead for now.
     
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  20. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I have done the trip dozens of times over the past 40 years, and at least 9 times in my Model S. My advice is for your first time is to take the Central Valley route one way and take the 101 coast route one way and see which you like best. Both are easy in a Tesla. The in-car nav will only route you on I5 because that is the shortest and fastest way. It will show you when to stop and charge. To take the 101 route, just start driving it and after an hour enter your destination in the nav and it will show you the charging stops on the 101.

    There are no Superchargers you need to make a point of avoiding (since you are starting from LA you won't need the Burbank Supercharger which is chronically jammed).

    Have fun.
     
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