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Baker vs Needles

I am planning a trip from Calif to TX in my M3 LR AWD, 18 in Aero..

ABRP routes me on I-40 from Barstow to Needles to Kingman.
6703DFBF-AB5D-4DC5-8584-A7A799CB625A.jpeg

Tesla planner on web and in car takes a different route, deviates from I-40 to I-15 to Baker then 164 to 95 to 163 to 68 then back on I-40 at Kingman.
2C0A192A-0AC1-4394-92A4-3F0384177B05.jpeg

Which route is preferred or safer?

thx.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,516
5,039
Central Valley
Safer, likely Interstate 40 all the way because the road east from Interstate 15 is a narrow, two-lane road to Nipton and thence east to Searchlight, Nevada. US95 is four lanes, as is the approach to Laughlin, Nevada. The highway reverts to two lanes once across the Colo. River until you approach US93 north of Kingman. There is not much traffic between Interstate 15 and Searchlight, however. Also, Nipton has a funky saloon where you can stop and grab a beer and a bite.

The only other consideration is charging times. You can easily make it from Barstow to Kingman without stopping at the DQ in Needles if you leave with enough range. Chili's in Barstow is pretty good. You will more than likely be required to stop in Baker if you go the other way. If we assume that you will be taking Interstate 5 south to SR58, a robust charge at Kettleman City should let you reach Mojave, then onto Baker.

You'll have to tinker around with your charging stops and activities to see what you prefer. Personally, I do not rely upon the Tesla navigation for charging stops. The system makes zero assumptions about how long I wish to stay at a particular location; it merely considers total elapsed time between A and B. Fine if you are racing; not so much if you are enjoying the drive.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
7,580
13,461
Seattle
I wouldn't go through Baker at all unless you really want to go that way for some reason.

Needles is a kind of crappy 4-stall gas station supercharger that sometimes gets ICEd by large semis parking in front of it. Raise your suspension if you go there because the parking lot entrance is quite rough.

Kingman is only slightly better, 5 stalls and not prone to ICEing. It could fill up if you are traveling on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon, but if not, it shouldn't be much of a concern.

I personally prefer Yermo to Barstow, but it is slightly out of the way and would require you to drive south on some desert roads from Yermo to I-40. The advantage of doing this, however, is that it cuts down your longest leg by a few miles.

If it were me, I'd probably charge to near full at Yermo, drive conservatively (speed limit should be fine), and then either skip Needles, or stop there with enough range, that I can push on to Kingman if necessary. Just remember that Needles to Kingman is significantly uphill, so you'll want at least 100 Rated Miles remaining to make that leg.

Lastly, this probably should have been posted in the California forum.
 

abasile

TSLA shareholder
Supporting Member
We had to make this decision when driving to the Grand Canyon (and beyond) over the summer. Ultimately, we decided on Baker to Kingman because this avoided the need for an additional charging stop at Yermo or Barstow early in our trip. I thought it worked out pretty well that we were able to drive all the way to the Grand Canyon with only two Supercharger stops, as we have a family and it's tough to do short stops when everyone wants to get out of the car. The scenery going though southern Nevada was a nice change from staying on the Interstates. On the other hand, if we had already been low on charge in Yermo/Barstow and required charging, then we would have instead opted to make Needles our next stop.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,516
5,039
Central Valley
Is Needles really that bad/unreliable?

What about Yermo, then back to I-40 to Kingman.

ABRP says to charge to 98% at Yermo for a distance of 203 mi. to Kingman.
View attachment 465720

or
ABRP says Barstow to 97% and slow down Max 68 mph 209 mi to Kingman.

The SC at Needles is at the Dairy Queen. It has four stalls. It would be unusual for all four to be in use. It would not be unusual for one or two stalls to be ICEd.

You are much better off taking a 4.5-mile round trip detour south to the Barstow Supercharger rather taking about a 15-mile detour to Yermo and then back to Interstate 40.

I would charge to 85-90% at Barstow, drive the way you wish, and stop in Needles and get a creamy whip at the DQ. You'll probably only need <40% at Needles to reach Kingman. It is downhill slightly from Needles to the Colo. River, then about 55 miles or so uphill to Kingman.
 
We had to make this decision when driving to the Grand Canyon (and beyond) over the summer. Ultimately, we decided on Baker to Kingman because this avoided the need for an additional charging stop at Yermo or Barstow early in our trip. I thought it worked out pretty well that we were able to drive all the way to the Grand Canyon with only two Supercharger stops, as we have a family and it's tough to do short stops when everyone wants to get out of the car. The scenery going though southern Nevada was a nice change from staying on the Interstates. On the other hand, if we had already been low on charge in Yermo/Barstow and required charging, then we would have instead opted to make Needles our next stop.
Going to grand canyon . So you took 15 to 164 to 95 to Kingman ?
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
7,580
13,461
Seattle
Going to grand canyon . So you took 15 to 164 to 95 to Kingman?
Leaving from San Diego vs San Francisco is an apples and oranges comparison. Pretty much no way you should end up driving through Nipton if you are heading out from SD. If you post where exactly you are going at the Grand Canyon, perhaps some of us can help with the routing. I'm guessing South Rim, but I don't want to assume.
 
Leaving from San Diego vs San Francisco is an apples and oranges comparison. Pretty much no way you should end up driving through Nipton if you are heading out from SD. If you post where exactly you are going at the Grand Canyon, perhaps some of us can help with the routing. I'm guessing South Rim, but I don't want to assume.
Yes South Rim and staying inside the park

In general I am trying to avoid Needles supercharger since it's got only 4 chargers and is not considered a reliable stop.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
7,580
13,461
Seattle
Yes South Rim and staying inside the park

In general I am trying to avoid Needles supercharger since it's got only 4 chargers and is not considered a reliable stop.
I would charge at El Centro - Ehrenberg - Kingman (the new one is v3) - Tusayan. Beware the elevation gain on the last 2 legs is over 3,000 ft on each one.

The other reasonable option would be El Centro - Quartzsite (Ehrenberg would also be fine here) - Wickenburg - Tusayan. This one is slightly inferior imo because the last leg is a lengthy 185 miles with >4,000 ft elevation gain. Not impossible by any means, but not easy either and you'll be charging to near full on a slower v2 in Wickenburg.

Lastly, I just noticed that staying on I-8 longer and then cutting north through Gila River isn't that much slower so that would be an option too. This one is almost all interstate highway so while it's similar in how much time it takes, it's more miles which means a little more charging. You also skirt PHX metro on this one which could mean hitting some traffic depending on what time of day or day of week. There are many charging options on this route but the general idea would be to drive San Diego to Gila River, then skirt the NW side of PHX metro and head up to Flagstaff on I-17. I personally wouldn't choose this option unless there was a weather consideration or I had someone to see or something to do along the way.

If I were you, I'd pick one route on the way there and another on the way back to make a loop out of it and make it interesting. There are many options that are all within an hour of one another. Either way, it's going to take 10-11 hours one way including the charging.
 
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Reactions: Rocky_H
I would charge at El Centro - Ehrenberg - Kingman (the new one is v3) - Tusayan. Beware the elevation gain on the last 2 legs is over 3,000 ft on each one.

The other reasonable option would be El Centro - Quartzsite (Ehrenberg would also be fine here) - Wickenburg - Tusayan. This one is slightly inferior imo because the last leg is a lengthy 185 miles with >4,000 ft elevation gain. Not impossible by any means, but not easy either and you'll be charging to near full on a slower v2 in Wickenburg.

Lastly, I just noticed that staying on I-8 longer and then cutting north through Gila River isn't that much slower so that would be an option too. This one is almost all interstate highway so while it's similar in how much time it takes, it's more miles which means a little more charging. You also skirt PHX metro on this one which could mean hitting some traffic depending on what time of day or day of week. There are many charging options on this route but the general idea would be to drive San Diego to Gila River, then skirt the NW side of PHX metro and head up to Flagstaff on I-17. I personally wouldn't choose this option unless there was a weather consideration or I had someone to see or something to do along the way.

If I were you, I'd pick one route on the way there and another on the way back to make a loop out of it and make it interesting. There are many options that are all within an hour of one another. Either way, it's going to take 10-11 hours one way including the charging.
Thank you so much . Very helpful

Much appreciated !!
 

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