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North America Circumnavigation Road Trip

Having recently completed a 50,000km road trip through 30 countries from Australia to the UK, we’re now planning the next stage of the journey, a 6 month circumnavigation of North America, this time in an EV. Starting out from LA in April we plan to drive north as far as we can, to Alaska if possible, then across Canada to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia before heading down the east coast to Georgia and across to New Orleans and the canyons of Arizona and Utah, returning to LA in October. Whilst the initial plan was to ship my ICE car from Sydney to LA it would be way more cool although somewhat more challenging to do it in an EV.

As we are as yet unfamiliar with the practicalities of Tesla ownership, and contemplating a trip well beyond the supercharger network, any advice as to logistics would be very much appreciated. For example, assuming no one will rent us a Tesla for the trip, if we were to buy, say, a used S85 from Tesla in southern California or Vegas for perhaps $45k, with say 40k miles, and then sell it again six months later when it might have 65-70k miles, what sort of net cost might we be looking at?

How dependable are L2 public or private charging points shown on OCM, especially in remote locations. Obviously we wouldn’t want to get to ones such as those in Whitehorse, Yukon or Fairbanks, AK with only 10% charge left only to find they're abandoned, out of order or non-existent.

How practical is it to use power in RV parks, small workshops or motels and what sort of connectors/adaptors would we need to take to give us maximum charging flexibility?

Noting that the EPA range is but a general guide, dependent on temperature, driving style, load, tyres etc etc what is the broad general experience for non urban, non freeway driving at 60-65mph for an S85. Is 265mi wildly optimistic or can it be achieved with care?

All advice gratefully received.
 
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Here's a map showing the proposed journey, (the Dalton Hwy is purely aspirational)
Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 11.59.36 pm.png
 

ivan801

Member
Oct 30, 2018
177
382
Lehi, UT
I think it is very doable. If you travel slow, Alaska should be possible. Several Tesla owners have done it. RV power is very reliable, I've used it on my trips. You just have to plan ahead and reserve 50 A site during summer season. Often they will let you charge for $5-10 if you only stay for 3-4 hours.

If you are going to do Dalton highway you should make sure to bring (at minimum) one spare. And extra tire on top of that. There is power available along the route, but it will take you several days to go from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay and back to Fairbanks. You will probably have to overnight in Coldfoot both coming and going so you can charge up. Keep in mind that Alaska hotels can be expensive.

Tesla is adding superchargers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but they are not built out yet. You will be limited to about 300 miles per day (maybe 400 if you push it) until you get to Sudbury supercharger. The rest of your trip can be done using superchargers (with some minor exceptions, such is far East Canada).

You will not be able to rent a Tesla, but if you buy and then sell, based on the parameters you outlined, you will probably be out about 7k USD. I would buy in a state that does not have sales tax because that would be just a waste of money. You can probably pre-arrange the sale of the car ahead of time. If you need help with logistics, PM me and I would be glad to help you out.
 
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jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,738
31,906
I planned a similar trip, excluding the Dalton Highway, last September. Sadly, My new M3P+ was wrecked in a collision in New Brunswick so the trip was abruptly termination. I'll try again in July 2019, this time slightly differently. Anyway, here are a few tips.

The only area on your planned trip (excluding the Northwestern foray which currently is impractical at best for any EV) Tesla Superchargers are everywhere easily accessible and well-spaced along your non-Canada routing. Along the Trans-Canada Highway there are currently planned Supercharger all the way, but between Sudbury, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta there are no Superchargers currently operating, although several are permitted (see Supercharge.infohttps://supercharge.info/changes BTW, if you find that site useful please make a contribution; it is user funded
As you'll find from Plugshare (PlugShare - Find Electric Vehicle Charging Locations Near You) there are existing EV charging stations across that entire route, including mostly placement at hotels and/or population centers along the way. Since speed limits along that route are low (mostly 90 kph) and scenic locations are plentiful range will mostly not be problematical but don't plan on fast transition. I planned on about ten days for that passage. Some of those Supercharger locations might be in place during the next few months, which will be a huge help.

The Southern route along US Interstate 10, has been recently been covered coast-to-coast with Superchargers (the last gap was Fort Stockton, TX which just opened a while ago). Most diversions along that route also have Superchargers and/or Destination chargers that make things easy.

As for how to do it, were I planning that trip without already having my own Tesla I would probably buy and older CPO from Tesla which would come with lifetime Supercharging and will already be quite depreciated. For what it is worth I'd choose a Model S85 with AP-1 but try for AWD if the price is right and take one with the CPO warranty so you'd have cover. Most importantly ensue you'll have 19" wheels because you'll encounter lots of areas that are hostile to low-profile tires/wheels. (I will use aftermarket 18" wheels on my P3D+). A further precaution I will make next tiem is to have at least one replacement tire stored someplace near easy airfreight (e.g. Memphis, TN FedEx hub city-easy to make provisions with a major tire store there to send wherever you're stranded- I already ended waiting four days for a tire- don't want to do that again.)

I have made quite a few long treks in potentially inhospitable territory (e.g. Paris-Tehran 1978; Singapore-Luang Prabang earlier; plus easier ones like Melbourne-Perth in a rental car (unlimited kilometers, said the Ford dealer rental centre, when I told them my plans, so they upgraded me to a new hot Falcon!) plus lots of odd ones in Asia, Africa and South America. By those standards the trek you plan will be easy. Have fun!

if you have any specific questions don't hesitate to PM me. I have researched and/or visited almost your entire itinerary, almost all in Tesla, including a central northern US route in an S75.
 
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ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
4,270
Buford, GA
You'd want to make sure you get a car with free Supercharging or it's not worth the hassle imo
Why in the heck would you say something like that???

You "free supercharger" folks seem to forget that Supercharging is still cheaper than gas. I've now passed 14,000 miles in my Model 3 and haven't paid over $100 is Supercharging. Sure, a lot of that was from home, but I've probably got 3,000 miles on road trips.
 
I planned a similar trip, excluding the Dalton Highway, last September. Sadly, My new M3P+ was wrecked in a collision in New Brunswick so the trip was abruptly termination. I'll try again in July 2019, this time slightly differently. Anyway, here are a few tips.

The only area on your planned trip (excluding the Northwestern foray which currently is impractical at best for any EV) Tesla Superchargers are everywhere easily accessible and well-spaced along your non-Canada routing. Along the Trans-Canada Highway there are currently planned Supercharger all the way, but between Sudbury, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta there are no Superchargers currently operating, although several are permitted (see Supercharge.infohttps://supercharge.info/changes BTW, if you find that site useful please make a contribution; it is user funded
As you'll find from Plugshare (PlugShare - Find Electric Vehicle Charging Locations Near You) there are existing EV charging stations across that entire route, including mostly placement at hotels and/or population centers along the way. Since speed limits along that route are low (mostly 90 kph) and scenic locations are plentiful range will mostly not be problematical but don't plan on fast transition. I planned on about ten days for that passage. Some of those Supercharger locations might be in place during the next few months, which will be a huge help.

The Southern route along US Interstate 10, has been recently been covered coast-to-coast with Superchargers (the last gap was Fort Stockton, TX which just opened a while ago). Most diversions along that route also have Superchargers and/or Destination chargers that make things easy.

As for how to do it, were I planning that trip without already having my own Tesla I would probably buy and older CPO from Tesla which would come with lifetime Supercharging and will already be quite depreciated. For what it is worth I'd choose a Model S85 with AP-1 but try for AWD if the price is right and take one with the CPO warranty so you'd have cover. Most importantly ensue you'll have 19" wheels because you'll encounter lots of areas that are hostile to low-profile tires/wheels. (I will use aftermarket 18" wheels on my P3D+). A further precaution I will make next tiem is to have at least one replacement tire stored someplace near easy airfreight (e.g. Memphis, TN FedEx hub city-easy to make provisions with a major tire store there to send wherever you're stranded- I already ended waiting four days for a tire- don't want to do that again.)

I have made quite a few long treks in potentially inhospitable territory (e.g. Paris-Tehran 1978; Singapore-Luang Prabang earlier; plus easier ones like Melbourne-Perth in a rental car (unlimited kilometers, said the Ford dealer rental centre, when I told them my plans, so they upgraded me to a new hot Falcon!) plus lots of odd ones in Asia, Africa and South America. By those standards the trek you plan will be easy. Have fun!

if you have any specific questions don't hesitate to PM me. I have researched and/or visited almost your entire itinerary, almost all in Tesla, including a central northern US route in an S75.
Many thanks for the comprehensive and practical advice! It`s reassuring that it`s not quite as impractical as originally envisaged.
 
I think it is very doable. If you travel slow, Alaska should be possible. Several Tesla owners have done it. RV power is very reliable, I've used it on my trips. You just have to plan ahead and reserve 50 A site during summer season. Often they will let you charge for $5-10 if you only stay for 3-4 hours.

If you are going to do Dalton highway you should make sure to bring (at minimum) one spare. And extra tire on top of that. There is power available along the route, but it will take you several days to go from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay and back to Fairbanks. You will probably have to overnight in Coldfoot both coming and going so you can charge up. Keep in mind that Alaska hotels can be expensive.

Tesla is adding superchargers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but they are not built out yet. You will be limited to about 300 miles per day (maybe 400 if you push it) until you get to Sudbury supercharger. The rest of your trip can be done using superchargers (with some minor exceptions, such is far East Canada).

You will not be able to rent a Tesla, but if you buy and then sell, based on the parameters you outlined, you will probably be out about 7k USD. I would buy in a state that does not have sales tax because that would be just a waste of money. You can probably pre-arrange the sale of the car ahead of time. If you need help with logistics, PM me and I would be glad to help you out.
Many thanks for your reassurances. It`s beginning to seem more doable, although we may give the Dalton Highway a miss, but it would be a shame to by-pass Alaska completely particularly if we can get by with some stops in RV parks along the way. Buying ex sales tax is good advice, but we may be limited to CA where my son lives as registering/insuring it elsewhere without a residential address may be tricky.
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,738
31,906
Many thanks for your reassurances. It`s beginning to seem more doable, although we may give the Dalton Highway a miss, but it would be a shame to by-pass Alaska completely particularly if we can get by with some stops in RV parks along the way. Buying ex sales tax is good advice, but we may be limited to CA where my son lives as registering/insuring it elsewhere without a residential address may be tricky.
There are a few possible ways to cope with the registration issue, specifically to avoid the high California taxes when you’ll not be operating there very much. There are a few people on the forum with experience in such issues.
 

Lukez

Member
Mar 21, 2016
639
563
Ontario
Why in the heck would you say something like that???

You "free supercharger" folks seem to forget that Supercharging is still cheaper than gas. I've now passed 14,000 miles in my Model 3 and haven't paid over $100 is Supercharging. Sure, a lot of that was from home, but I've probably got 3,000 miles on road trips.

Do the math for what the Supercharging rates are and compare it to a fuel efficient car. The savings you are getting is not worth the time spent charging and being defined to certain areas for long road trips. Again just my opinion
Also I would not do a trip like this without superchargers. Again the hassle of finding places to charge and being defined to a route is not worth it. You won't be able to explore and take detours, only driving 400km a day in some really boring areas where you'd want to pass by quick and spend more time in nice areas will suck.
 
Just a quick update. We have finally persuaded Telsa to sell us a 2016 CPO S85D and hope to take delivery next week to commence our trip. Whilst they have reluctantly conceded we don't need a US licence to buy and register the car, and although we are legally entitled to drive anywhere in the US, they are still requiring that only a US licence holder can drive it off their lot. I'm hoping that the challenges of purchasing, insuring and registering the car as a non-resident alien are going to prove greater than the actual logistics of driving around North America.
 
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AMPd

Active Member
Nov 27, 2012
4,612
4,415
Northern California
I’ve driven from Northern California to Fairbanks AK

Never again. It was nothing special, and the hole in the ground restrooms were not cool

As someone has already mentioned. Definitely bring a spare wheel + tire and another tire
And definitely don’t do it with the 21 inch wheels.

Have fun though
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,738
31,906
And make sure you have a CHAdeMO adapter so you can charge faster in places that don't have a Supercharger.
If you do not have a CHAdeMO adapter, PM me. I have one from my former Model S. You’ll find it useful, especially in Canada. You also will find this very useful, especially in Eastern Canada
The Electric Circuit
 
If you do not have a CHAdeMO adapter, PM me. I have one from my former Model S. You’ll find it useful, especially in Canada. You also will find this very useful, especially in Eastern Canada
The Electric Circuit
Many thanks for all your excellent advice. I don’t yet have a CHAdeMo adaptor so if you have one to spare I’d be pleased to buy it. I’m currently in Mammoth, heading slowly northwards. Let me know how best to pay/collect. (Not sure how PMing works from this app but I can be reached on WhatsApp via 1 310 666 1849)
 
6C8E4B9D-1BE7-4EA8-ABFD-36B7B68C620B.jpeg 1028F707-DA95-4B0E-B6B1-518E3098253C.jpeg 128FA324-8D93-4D0D-BDA7-7087B8F15059.jpeg 47684E11-EA45-4DF2-8824-471F9C4030DF.jpeg 95A8A925-AC85-415B-ADEF-8A5D7C161155.jpeg Well we finally took delivery of our S85D 6C8E4B9D-1BE7-4EA8-ABFD-36B7B68C620B.jpeg 1028F707-DA95-4B0E-B6B1-518E3098253C.jpeg and are on our way around North America. So far made it to Mammoth via Mojave and Lone Pine with a spectacular drive up the 395. Car is certainly impressive and a great vehicle for a road trip, so far. (If anyone is interested you can follow the journey on our periodic blog: Intrepidtoo.blogspot.com or on Twitter @intrepidtoo )
 

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