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California, LA to San Jose - 1st trip (need advice!)

Baytomax

Professional EDD Page Refresher
Jul 15, 2021
317
566
Alhambra, CA
Hello everyone! About to be the future owner of a SR+ in the next two weeks!!!

For context: I make the drive up to San Jose/Bay Area every two months. I currently drive an ICE and I'm able to make the trip on one tank of gas without any issues. I don't make any stops on the way. I always put on cruise control at 70 mph and I just relax on the entire drive.

I plugged in the trip to ABRP and I'm looking at my charging situation. The numbers recommended have me a little concerned.


1626453015525.png


I wanted to get some first-hand feedback from any other owners that regularly make this trip. Do you guys have any recommendations on any specific SC? I've been really wanting to visit the one in Kettleman and grab some In-N-Out! ;)
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
3,037
2,345
Rancho Cucamonga
You need to change your arrival % to like 10%. I can't believe the default they set for you is like 1%? Or did you accidentally changed it yourself to that?

In Settings, it is called "Charger Arrival SoC" for the superchargers and "Destination Arrival SoC" for San Jose. You may have to setup an account to control the settings. Maybe they purposely set the non-account user to 1% or 0% so you have to setup an account to use the tool.
 
Last edited:

Baytomax

Professional EDD Page Refresher
Jul 15, 2021
317
566
Alhambra, CA
You need to change your arrival % to like 10%. I can't believe the default they set for you is like 1%? Or did you accidentally changed it yourself to that?
You're right. I must've tinkered some setting that I can't seem to find again. I tried the same route in an Incognito browser and it gave me significantly better percentages.

I imagine it's better to exercise more caution. I'm definitely worried about the hilly areas around Tejon Ranch and Pacheco Pass.
1626454995081.png
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
3,037
2,345
Rancho Cucamonga
You're right. I must've tinkered some setting that I can't seem to find again. I tried the same route in an Incognito browser and it gave me significantly better percentages.

I imagine it's better to exercise more caution. I'm definitely worried about the hilly areas around Tejon Ranch and Pacheco Pass.

ABRP is pretty accurate counting in the elevation changes. Tesla's navigation is also pretty accurate with the elevation changes. If anything, Tesla's estimate is conservative. For like a 100 miles distance, if Tesla estimate you will get there at 10%, it is usually 12 to 13% when you actually get there. I don't remember ever reach a supercharger under Tesla estimated SoC.

I used to use ABRP more, but now I just drive using Tesla Navigation. I have Waze running on my phone to check for cops. I stop at the chargers that I know have easy access to bathroom! This was more important back last year when all the fast food places closed their indoor dining and bathrooms!
 

Baytomax

Professional EDD Page Refresher
Jul 15, 2021
317
566
Alhambra, CA
ABRP is pretty accurate counting in the elevation changes. Tesla's navigation is also pretty accurate with the elevation changes. If anything, Tesla's estimate is conservative. For like a 100 miles distance, if Tesla estimate you will get there at 10%, it is usually 12 to 13% when you actually get there. I don't remember ever reach a supercharger under Tesla estimated SoC.

I used to use ABRP more, but now I just drive using Tesla Navigation. I have Waze running on my phone to check for cops. I stop at the chargers that I know have easy access to bathroom! This was more important back last year when all the fast food places closed their indoor dining and bathrooms!

That's really helpful information, thank you!

Have a few more questions if you or anyone else can chime in:
  1. Do you have any specific favorite SCs along the way?
  2. Have you noticed any congested times where you had to wait for a SC?
  3. Any Tesla specific tips for making the drive more comfortable?
 

bmah

Moderator
Supporting Member
Mar 17, 2015
4,364
8,497
Lafayette, CA, USA
That's really helpful information, thank you!

Have a few more questions if you or anyone else can chime in:
  1. Do you have any specific favorite SCs along the way?
  2. Have you noticed any congested times where you had to wait for a SC?
  3. Any Tesla specific tips for making the drive more comfortable?

1. Kettleman City is the only one with a lounge (so far anyway). Harris Ranch has a nice restaurant and is good for a longer charge and meal break, also has some historical value as one of the first Supercharger sites. Firebaugh has lots of capacity. I have never seen Hollister busy.

2. Holiday weekends are problematic, although it seemed like this last July 4th weekend wasn't too bad. Tejon Ranch has historically filled up quickly because it's next to the Grapevine. If you travel off-hours (early in the morning or late at night) there's generally not a problem.

3. Autopilot (any version) is awesome on trips like this. But do please remember to pay attention (maintain situational awareness at all times) and don't do stupid autopilot tricks. It can be helpful to bring along some glass cleaner and microfiber cloths to clean the bugs off your windshield since you won't be stopping at gas stations. Remember to drink lots of liquids so you don't get dehydrated driving through the Central Valley in the summertime in a car with a glass roof. Bring your J1772 adapter (at least) to give yourself some backup charging options...I typically pack my mobile connector and adapters also. Make sure your maximum charge percentage is set to 100% when you're road-tripping...you probably have some lower limit set at home.

Couple other thoughts:

o If you get bored of doing I-5, US-101 is now a viable route to the SJ area. Supercharger coverage is a lot better now than even a couple years ago.

o Watch the nav display to see how many stalls are available at the Supercharger you're heading towards. If it's looking full, think about an alternative (or just decide to go for it and maybe wait in line...either way you want to make an informed decision). The SF<->LA corridor is pretty good because there actually are alternate places you can charge.

Safe travels!

Bruce.
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
3,037
2,345
Rancho Cucamonga
1. I like the Santa Clarita supercharger. Lots of restaurants and grocery store has clean restroom and a good pastry shop. It is too soon to charge on the way up, but good on the way back for a last charge before heading home. Can do some grocery shopping to take home too.

2. You can check how busy the supercharger is on your Tesla map. If I see something like 2 out of 20 available then I know there is a line. On my last trip, I am supposed to stop at Tejon Ranch supercharger on the way back. When I checked it on the way there, it was always showing 1 or 2 out of 24 available. I decided I don't want to wait in a line and stopped early to charge at Bakersfield instead.

3. AP made long trip on a straight road effortless. Just don't fall asleep! And you will have to learn 1 hand driving with AP. With a straight road, if you put both hands on the wheel, the weight will distribute evenly and Tesla will think you have no hand on wheel and will keep nagging you. The only way to defeat this is to rest one hand on one side of the wheel so the car could detect torque on the wheel. Switch arm when one gets tired.
 
Last edited:

Baytomax

Professional EDD Page Refresher
Jul 15, 2021
317
566
Alhambra, CA
1. Kettleman City is the only one with a lounge (so far anyway). Harris Ranch has a nice restaurant and is good for a longer charge and meal break, also has some historical value as one of the first Supercharger sites. Firebaugh has lots of capacity. I have never seen Hollister busy.

2. Holiday weekends are problematic, although it seemed like this last July 4th weekend wasn't too bad. Tejon Ranch has historically filled up quickly because it's next to the Grapevine. If you travel off-hours (early in the morning or late at night) there's generally not a problem.

3. Autopilot (any version) is awesome on trips like this. But do please remember to pay attention (maintain situational awareness at all times) and don't do stupid autopilot tricks. It can be helpful to bring along some glass cleaner and microfiber cloths to clean the bugs off your windshield since you won't be stopping at gas stations. Remember to drink lots of liquids so you don't get dehydrated driving through the Central Valley in the summertime in a car with a glass roof. Bring your J1772 adapter (at least) to give yourself some backup charging options...I typically pack my mobile connector and adapters also. Make sure your maximum charge percentage is set to 100% when you're road-tripping...you probably have some lower limit set at home.

Couple other thoughts:

o If you get bored of doing I-5, US-101 is now a viable route to the SJ area. Supercharger coverage is a lot better now than even a couple years ago.

o Watch the nav display to see how many stalls are available at the Supercharger you're heading towards. If it's looking full, think about an alternative (or just decide to go for it and maybe wait in line...either way you want to make an informed decision). The SF<->LA corridor is pretty good because there actually are alternate places you can charge.

Safe travels!

Bruce.

This is amazing, thank you for all of that feedback. I sincerely appreciate the amount of time it took to write that up.

I've only ever done the I-5 so the US-101 might be a very interesting route. I know they're currently doing some type of construction on the I-5 currently and there was a stretch where the road quality was abysmal. Would like to avoid it if possible so that's really good to know that I have another option!

1. I like the Santa Clarita supercharger. Lots of restaurants and grocery store has clean restroom and a good pastry shop. It is too soon to charge on the way up, but good on the way back for a last charge before heading home. Can do some grocery shopping to take home too.

2. You can check how busy the supercharger is on your Tesla map. If I see something like 2 out of 20 available then I know there is a line. On my last trip, I am supposed to stop at Tejon Ranch supercharger on the way back. When I checked it on the way there, it was always showing 1 or 2 out of 24 available. I decided I don't want to wait in a line and stopped early to charge at Bakersfield instead.

3. AP made long trip on a straight road effortless. Just don't fall asleep! And you will have to learn 1 hand driving with AP. With a straight road, if you put both hands on the wheel, the weight will distribute evenly and Tesla will think you have no hand on wheel and will keep nagging you. The only way to defeat this is to rest one hand on one side of the wheel so the car could detect torque on the wheel. Switch arm when one gets tired.

Thank you for all of those points! I used to DREAD my drives up as the drives take a beating on you towards the end. My biggest fear is getting stranded by not being careful enough with the battery. Glad to know that Tesla has an abundance of SCs along the way.

I love the idea of being able to use AP while on the I-5 so that tidbit is really good to know. I tend to rest my hand on the side of one wheel anyways so it works out perfectly! :)

If you are going by it anyway Kettleman city is worth a stop just to see it.
Very true! I am planning to on my next trip up. I personally never had an incentive to stop on my way up in my ICE but now I don't feel so pressured to make it up all in one trip.
 

Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
3,737
3,913
Alameda, CA
No one has mentioned the diff between v2 and v3 Supercharging. Since your latest recommended trip involves stopping at Bakersfield which is an old v2 style charger there is something to know about them.

As you approach the chargers you will notice that it each station is numbered, 1A 1B 2A 2B etc...

The numbered stations are paired A & B, so if you go to charge at a numbered station and someone is already there or someone arrives and tries to use your same number than each of you will get HALF the power. That doesn't quite mean it will take twice as long to charge as above a certain threshold your cars stop drawing full power. So if you pull up and see someone is already on the numbered charger you are aiming for, look elsewhere. If someone pulls in and heads for the same numbered charger as you politely inform them it would be faster for you both if they looked elsewhere.

DON'T get fooled by those rare Superchargers that have the stations numbered 1A 2A 3A 4A 1B 2B 3B 4B where you have to walk down the line to find which station you are paired with.

If half of the chargers are ALREADY taken you are going to have to pair with another car. In the old days the first car got the majority of the power and as their car drew less the other car got more. There must have been a lot of complaints as now I keep seeing the two chargers get split in half, so the 150kW is split into two 75kW stations (Like Urban Superchargers are the whole time, if you are unaware someone else can explain the Urban ones).

So if you are heading to a v2 Supercharger and you see that half or more of the chargers are in use it may be faster to go to another charger. Button Willow is like the next exit northbound, so that might be an option. Also the new Bakersfield charger that JUST opened is v3 so everyone gets full power all the time and you might hit up that one, but it's a might further south and that may change your trip planning, perhaps not being able to reach Firebaugh you'll get directed to Harris Ranch and then since you are further south again you may need to stop at Gustine to make it all the way home.

Personally I like to run the car way down before stopping so I am drawing full power the whole time, so I'll pull off the freeway, plug in, go pee, and come back and unplug and hit the road again. I could spend 24 minutes filling the car at Kettleman or spend 5 min at Button Willow and 5 min at Gustine. Sure they are v2 chargers but they'll charge pretty fast if I get my own station which is likely now that people prefer v3 stations. The downside is that you end up passing the SAME cars and trucks you did on the previous two legs...

Five minutes MAY be an exaggeration, depends on temps and winds, just trust the NAV system to get you there. Eventually you can trust your intuition, but the more conservative Tesla NAV will rarely leave you high and dry.
 
Last edited:

Baytomax

Professional EDD Page Refresher
Jul 15, 2021
317
566
Alhambra, CA
No one has mentioned the diff between v2 and v3 Supercharging. Since your latest recommended trip involves stopping at Bakersfield which is an old v2 style charger there is something to know about them.

As you approach the chargers you will notice that it each station is numbered, 1A 1B 2A 2B etc...

The numbered stations are paired A & B, so if you go to charge at a numbered station and someone is already there or someone arrives and tries to use your same number than each of you will get HALF the power. That doesn't quite mean it will take twice as long to charge as above a certain threshold your cars stop drawing full power. So if you pull up and see someone is already on the numbered charger you are aiming for, look elsewhere. If someone pulls in and heads for the same numbered charger as you politely inform them it would be faster for you both if they looked elsewhere.

DON'T get fooled by those rare Superchargers that have the stations numbered 1A 2A 3A 4A 1B 2B 3B 4B where you have to walk down the line to find which station you are paired with.

If half of the chargers are ALREADY taken you are going to have to pair with another car. In the old days the first car got the majority of the power and as their car drew less the other car got more. There must have been a lot of complaints as now I keep seeing the two chargers get split in half, so the 150kW is split into two 75kW stations (Like Urban Superchargers are the whole time, if you are unaware someone else can explain the Urban ones).

So if you are heading to a v2 Supercharger and you see that half or more of the chargers are in use it may be faster to go to another charger. Button Willow is like the next exit northbound, so that might be an option. Also the new Bakersfield charger that JUST opened is v3 so everyone gets full power all the time and you might hit up that one, but it's a might further south and that may change your trip planning, perhaps not being able to reach Firebaugh you'll get directed to Harris Ranch and then since you are further south again you may need to stop at Gustine to make it all the way home.

Personally I like to run the car way down before stopping so I am drawing full power the whole time, so I'll pull off the freeway, plug in, go pee, and come back and unplug and hit the road again. I could spend 24 minutes filling the car at Kettleman or spend 5 min at Button Willow and 5 min at Gustine. Sure they are v2 chargers but they'll charge pretty fast if I get my own station which is likely now that people prefer v3 stations. The downside is that you end up passing the SAME cars and trucks you did on the previous two legs...

Five minutes MAY be an exaggeration, depends on temps and winds, just trust the NAV system to get you there. Eventually you can trust your intuition, but the more conservative Tesla NAV will rarely leave you high and dry.

Ton of great info, will definitely be referring back to this when I make the trip up again.

People seem to be hating on the idea of how EVs/Teslas have to wait and charge on a longer road trip but I'm personally looking forward to the idea of having to stop by a SC and watch a quick YouTube/Netflix video for 15-20 minutes on my 6 hour drive.

Thank you again for that informative write-up.
 

Big Dog

Active Member
Mar 7, 2016
1,666
1,805
Irvine, CA
I drive a Model 3 LR from The OC to South Bay every few months. My go-to stops are Kettleman, Harris Ranch (at least before COVID, as their breakfasts are a lot of food), Bakersfield (Stockdale Hiway) for a quick top off, and just recently began stopping at Santa Clarita on the return trip (as noted above). It's a few miles off the beaten path, but has high speed (250) chargers and a great place to stretch the legs, use the bathroom adn get a water/soda/snack at the market before having to face LA traffic.

But note, with a LR, I can get from Home all the way to Kettleman, arriving with about 10% charge (summer), or much less (winter).
 
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ForeverFree

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2015
606
1,384
Sherman Oaks, CA
If there's any way you can make it work financially, see if you can upgrade your order from SR+ to LR. For the amount of LA/Bay driving you do, you'll be glad you did.

When we bought our first Model S in 2015, I was going to buy a 60 or a 70. My wife pushed me to spring for an 85, and it made a huge difference.

With a 3 LR, your limiting factor will be bladder, not battery.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,695
6,538
Los Altos, CA
Leaving LA, charge just enough in Tejon or Bakersfield or Buttonwillow to get to Kettleman. Firebaugh is also V3, but probably too close to Kettleman to stop there too. My impression is that Hollister (Casa de Fruta) is lightly used, so you're likely to charge there relatively fast for a V2 site.
 

ForeverFree

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2015
606
1,384
Sherman Oaks, CA
Ah, Casa de Fruta.

Brings back bad memories of my first car, a Batmobile-styled Buick. Alternator went out as we started up Pacheco Pass around midnight. Things steadily dimmed, and then the car coasted to a stop at CdF. Had to spend the night on a naugahyde booth bench in Casa de Coffee. Ex$pensive repairs the next morning at Casa de Chevron. (And, yes, those were really the names ... at least back then.)

Much happier that our current American cars are Teslas.

Welcome to the Tesla Family. As you can tell, this is a warm and helpful group!
 

Kevy Baby

Dis-Member
Supporting Member
Aug 11, 2019
2,178
2,285
Brea, CA
I used to use ABRP more, but now I just drive using Tesla Navigation. I have Waze running on my phone to check for cops.
For trips, I will use ABRP to PLAN the trip ahead of time and the use Tesla nav from SuC to SuC and Waze on my phone for warnings and re-routing due to unexpected delays.
 

K3Man

Member
Jun 21, 2018
212
179
Rancho Cucamonga
Aside from all the great Tesla-specific tips in this thread, remember, you can still stop at a truck-stop and use their restrooms and window cleaning tools. Been on quite a few long trips in my T and I always consider the ubiquitous truck/travel stops for “facilities” and services.
 

Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
3,737
3,913
Alameda, CA
I recently changed up my routine, used to be I'd arrive at a SupCh and plug in and go looking for food, then I realized I can eat and charge so I started stopping for fast food before the charger (also get more choices). Most recently I started pulling into rest areas before going to charge as they are quick in and out and you don't end up at a Supercharger where the appointed restrooms have closed for the evening or don't really exist. I may add truck stop to that as there are lots of places that don't have rest stops.
 
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Baytomax

Professional EDD Page Refresher
Jul 15, 2021
317
566
Alhambra, CA
Thank you everyone for the advice so far.

I can't believe I'm actually excited to partake in a 6-hour drive. It just feels exciting.

How well do our cars deal w/ the splatter of bugs/rock chips while driving up?
 

Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
3,737
3,913
Alameda, CA
I am on my x-country drive, I left on the 16th and I should get there tomorrow. I haven't been out of the car for more than 10 minutes in all these days. Very comfortable place to sleep, very enjoyable trip. I should have brought a book on tape, I am tired of the news
 
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