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Central VA to Little Rock, AR

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Active Member
Feb 27, 2013
We all know the that while Tesla has been building out the Supercharger network as fast as they can, several major holes in the coverage of Superchargers still exist. Luckily, pretty much everywhere I've needed to go since 2013 has been covered by Superchargers thus far, therefore I haven't had to take an ICE vehicle unless the Model S wasn't appropriate for the task. That last time I had to was to ferry around 7 adults at once.

In any case, the really big hole that centers around Arkansas stares at me from the supercharge.info and plugshare maps. I find myself in the uncomfortable situation of contemplating a long trip in an ICE SUV as a result since I have a wedding to attend in Little Rock, AR during the Christmas break this year. There really exists not only a Supercharge desert, but a charging desert overall in that part of the country. Yes, I know I can technically make it with J1772's, but if that were the only option, we'd end up taking the SUV and burning a lot of gas.

I've checked the routes over and over again. From Richmond, there is a possibility that I-81 will have some coverage by Superchargers by the end of the year. There is a CHAdeMO in Roanoke, but the jump to Knoxville from there is uncomfortable. Worst comes to worst, I'd take the southern route through NC and likely Asheville, NC will be done by then. It's Superchargers all the way and even though the trip is longer, the time is probably shorter by being on the Supercharger network.

Once in Tennessee, the problems start to arise. First, the Nashville Supercharger is extraordinarily inconvenient for east-west travelers. Is there a particular route that is better than going all the way down to 840 and taking that around to I-40? Does cutting through on 96 make any sense?

Then the problem is Memphis through Little Rock that not only does not have a Supercharger slated until the 2016 map, but charging points are far fewer in case of emergency. Any rumors of a Supercharger going up in western TN before the end of the year? There are 3 CHAdeMO charging points in Memphis at Nissan dealerships, but I think they are only available during dealership hours. The jump from Memphis to Little Rock is short, so even if the destination charging in Little Rock itself is a bit of pain, there's wiggle room.

I really don't want to take the ICE SUV. Of course, the other problem is the comfort of the rear seats with 5 adults, especially the rear headrests. But to combine that with charging problems makes it more than likely at this point to taking the ICE SUV. Sigh.
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Yeah... there's a J1772 about mid way that could provide a bit of a boost. I've done that kind of stretch before in the winter, but not with a full load.

I have too...and didn't enjoy it. People can pooh pooh range anxiety all they want, but when it's sub-20F, you have the heat off and your rated range is below the distance you need to go with no good charging available, it's not fun.

I think the trip is doable and it sounds like you have enough experience to pull it off if you take that stop in/near Memphis.

I think I need to invite Elon and the rest of the Tesla C-Suite to my lake house near the Ark/Mo state line for a weekend to encourage them to stop ignoring this part of the country!
Yeah... there's a J1772 about mid way that could provide a bit of a boost. I've done that kind of stretch before in the winter, but not with a full load.
I'd guess you are referring to Casey Jones Village? Plugshare suggests those J1772 are low watts and unreliable. There is a campground 1/2 between Memphis and Nashville, right off I40, that has 50 amp RV hookups. That would be my plan if you make it past Nashville but not sure you are going to make it to Memphis.

I am in Memphis and would loan you my 80 amp HPWC if you give me some warning. My home is about 2 miles from several hotels, easy access from I40. I easily make it from Nashville to my home, without range charging at the Tesla store, 210 miles. Little Rock is 144 miles from here. PM me if needed.

I have had my car since May so can't comment on winter travel... but, southwestern TN winter travel isn't terribly wintry. We never get below (+) 20F, and are almost never below freezing for more than 12 hours at a time.