Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Charlotte to Chicago Road Trip


Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
Charlotte, NC
Well, my family has still not nailed down things so I can get a plane ticket to Chicago in early October, so I'm starting to look at planning for driving the Model S there. The added benefit is I would have my own car there versus taking cabs, but then I also have to think about parking.

A straight Google Maps look says the optimum route is 750 miles. If I take the route through which the Superchargers are located in, it bumps up to 775 miles. However, if I actually plan for hitting the Superchargers, I'm looking at 862 miles per EvTripPlanner.com

I'm hoping for input on where I may be able to shave the Supercharger penalty and take a slightly different route with the goal of saving overall time. That is the hard part since off the Supercharger grid, it would be hard to save time versus driving an extra 100 miles. Plus, I do not have a CHAdeMO adapter for my Model S. Chances are good that I will end up on the 862 mile journey, but sharing in case I'm missing something. I also hope any Chicago-area owners could help me out where were to plan on charging while I'm there since my family won't have access to an outlet for me to use.

So far, the plan is:
1. Home -> Charlotte Supercharger
- I only have 120v at home, so I will need to top off before heading out.
2. Charlotte SpC -> HPWC via Plugshare in the Greater Asheville area
3. Stop #2 -> Knoxville SpC
- Charlotte SpC -> Knoxville SpC is 333 rated miles with generous weight and speed calls at EvTripPlanner.com, so I must make stop #2 to get some range to Knoxville
4. Knoxville SpC -> London, KY SpC - 151 Rated Miles
- Depending on how full I leave Knoxville, I probably could skip this one, but it seems like its right off I-75 North on my way (no detour needed), so why not.
5. London SpC -> Lexington, KY SpC - 101 Rated Miles
6. Lexington SpC -> Cincinnati SpC - 137 Rated Miles

If I am reading this right, I will have 8 hours of drive time by the time I reach Cincinnati. I will likely be ready to call it a day (or even sooner than Cincinnati) given charging time making this much longer than 8 hours at that point. The Indianapolis SpC is at a LaQuinta Inn, so that would have been the natural stop though.

7. Cincinnati SpC -> Indianapolis SpC - 155 Rated Miles
8. Indy SpC -> Lafayette, IN SpC - 91 Rated Miles
9. Lafayette SpC -> Country Club Hills, IL SpC - 157 Rated Miles
- I would make this stop b/c of not knowing charging situation in Chicago. Otherwise, I would have range to make it the rest of the way.
10. Country Club Hills SpC -> Destination - 28 Rated Miles

Trip Planner is much more optimistic (wow, I can't believe I just said that!):
1. Home -> Knoxville SpC w/ -21% battery remaining
2. Knoxville SpC -> Lexington, KY SpC - charge for an hour
3. Lexington SpC -> Indianapolis SpC - charge for an hour
4. Indy SpC -> Country Club Hills, IL SpC - charge for 10 min (I would charge to 90% though)
5. Country Club Hills SpC -> destination


What do you all think?
Quoting from the other thread:

I found [wk057] on Plugshare and its 75 rated miles from my house to yours and about 60 rated miles from the SpC to yours, but the same travel time either way. I figured I could make sure to grab a 95% charge at work and with 120v overnight head straight to your place with 90%. It's the hop to Knoxville from your place cuts it close at about 255 rated miles. More details in my thread, but essentially, fly (and even with TSA prep time) be done in 5 hours or drive and be done in 18-19, each way.

If the weather isn't too bad, you cut back on the HVAC a little, and keep speeds around the speed limit or lower for the Hickory -> Knoxville leg, I'm pretty sure it'll be a piece of cake with a 100% charge from my place. It's only 207 real miles with a net elevation change of just about 100 ft. Basically, take your time climbing Black Mountain on I-40 before Asheville, maybe stick behind a truck on that stretch, and you'll almost certainly be fine.

If it's raining or something, though, that'd be another story, but if its ~45F+ outside and dry, and you keep HVAC to a minimum (seat heaters and a jacket), this trip should be a piece of cake.

My wife and I were planning to attempt it earlier this summer (in an effort to reach the I-70 corridor), but we ended up flying to our destination for unrelated reasons.

But basically, once you make Knoxville, it'd be a no brainer. The chargers are close enough that you can make the hops without issue.

An alternative, or in addition, to stopping at my place is that you could detour through Boone, NC and hit up Makoto's Japanese restaurant (2124 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, NC 28607), which has a 72A/208V Tesla HPWC (~15kW), for a boost. I've used it a couple of times, and the food is great. Eat for an hour, add ~40+ miles of range. This route is a lot more scenic than I-40, IMO, and does add an hour to driving time, but I think it'd definitely be more fun. Plus Boone would be a good half way mark and guarantee your success to Knoxsville if you leave there with sufficient charge.

If you do that, though, I'd definitely take 321->Boone vs the route Google or EV trip planner will tell you to take from Charlotte (I-77... ew). It's shorter, and has the added benefit of helping you keep speeds down on the climb up in elevation due to the speed limit and the 2-lane highway portions.

It's definitely a doable trip without a CHAdeMO.
We just did Chicago to Charleston last week and I think you'll be fine Knoxville to Lexington without stopping in London. We had no trouble there. You lose miles going uphill and get them back going back downhill. I think I was worried between Lexington and Knoxville but we did fine. We used a CHAdeMo in Greenville and it was huge help - this time. It completely failed us a few months ago when we drove north. I'm glad to have it, but yes, you can probably do fine without one. I like having the option. We did the round trip last year and used a few super slow chargers (J1772's about 18 mi/hr) and will NEVER do that again. I didn't buy a Tesla to charge slowly. Lastly, there is a SpC in downtown Chicago at the Grand Avenue sales and service center. It's not broadly advertised because they use if for cars they are servicing. I understand if you call ahead, they appreciate it if you want to use it. They also have about 6 HPWC's there - not sure if you have dual chargers or not. Safe travels!
Well, this trip turned into a no-go. All 3 people I am visiting in Chicago urged me NOT to drive up there as I would have nowhere to park. I just bought my plane ticket. If I wasn't traveling alone, I may have worked harder to find a solution, but being just me, it was worth it to just buy the plane ticket and not worry about the hassle on this trip. One day I'll get my S out for a road trip!