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Planning trip to Yellowstone in 2016, trying to work out charging

Discussion in 'North America' started by Pilot_51, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    My family is planning on a vacation to Yellowstone in June 2016. Specifically around West Yellowstone and looking at rental houses in Emigrant, MT. My family will take two cars (of four) and we'll probably have some friends/relatives join us from elsewhere around the country.

    The limitations for taking my car, as of right now, are:

    1. Supercharging not enabled. Will be enabled prior. This was the plan from the beginning so I could have my car paid off earlier (just a couple more days!).
    2. The Supercharger gap on I-90, which is expected to be completed by then.
    3. No confirmed 240v charging at any of the places in Emigrant. Could possibly plug into a dryer outlet, but don't want to count on it. It sounds like we may be able to convince one owner to install a 14-50.
    4. As far as I can tell, no EV charging inside the park near the attractions we plan to visit (primarily Old Faithful, of course).

    If 1-3 are met, I can take my car. Otherwise, my car would likely be replaced by my brother's Explorer. The other car going on the trip would be my dad's C-Max Energi.

    For inside the park, we're looking at over 200 miles total for a day from Emigrant and back. Too much for me to take the chance without any charging in the park, so I would need to ride in another car if we're unable to verify sufficient charging.

    Has anyone taken their Model S or other BEV to Yellowstone? Any tips you could share or insight into the future charging infrastructure in the area?
     
  2. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Re #4, based on the (usually reliable) info on the Camp & RV app, none of the RV sites within Yellowstone have 50A service, and Plugshare doesn't know about any charging spots inside the park. Remember, though, that you'll be driving at moderate speeds inside the park, so you should easily be able to beat nominal range.
     
  3. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Very true, and, according to PlugShare, there are multiple L2, and 14-50 charging sources at West Yellowstone and Jackson.
     
  4. Shortmanz

    Shortmanz Member

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    If you can find a place to stay in Gardiner, you could save 30 miles each way for a total savings of 60 miles. It is probably more expensive, though. My brother lives in Gardiner and he says it is very busy in the summer. I would think you could make a nice day trip into the park from either Gardiner or West. I am not sure if you could drive the entire double-loop in a 60 though. There are some pretty good climbs in a few places. On the other hand, the speed limits are pretty slow - something like 45 or slower, so your range will be extended. Your best bet for charging is probably going to be a dryer outlet wherever you end up staying.

    Here is a link to map of Yellowstone with some mileage and elevations:
    http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/assets/Park-Map-with-mileage.pdf

    We were there in June 2014 and went into Yellowstone for a day. We didn't have our Tesla at the time, but it would have been great to have it. I'm hoping to drive our Tesla up from Dallas sometime this spring or summer after a few key superchargers are open. It would be great to run into other Tesla owners up there.

    One more thing - there were a few places where they were doing some major road construction and we had to wait for 20-30 minutes a few times for the pilot cars. Some of it was pretty major work and isn't scheduled to be completed until October 2015.
     
  5. gglockner

    gglockner Member

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    Planning a similar trip for this August. From Seattle, no problems reaching Yellowstone with an S85 and supercharging. Destination charging looks more challenging. I sent emails to several campgrounds that supposedly have 50amp service. The plan is to stay in a campground cabin near the west entrance and charge via 50amp service. I will post a reply when I figure out the details.
     
  6. tpoltron

    tpoltron Member

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    What a timely thread, my wife and I just started planning a Yellowstone trip for this summer as well (from the San Francisco bay area) and would love to know what you find.
     
  7. DrGuest

    DrGuest Member

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    #7 DrGuest, Mar 18, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
    My wife and I took a trip from Bozeman to West Yellowstone and then on to the Tetons last October. Here is the trip as it was written up by The Yellowstone Teton Clean Energy Coalition. This includes some Rated Mileage vs. actual mileage. For example, I used 108 RM to go the 94 Actual miles from Bozeman to West Yellowstone. The air temps we had in October would be very similar to June Temperatures, so these RM should be close to what you will experience. http://www.ytcleanenergy.org/technological-tour-de-force/

    We used the Yellowstone Grizzly RV park in West Yellowstone to charge at a NEMA 14-50 to give us a buffer to get to Driggs. ( at RV parks always check your charging via the App if you can. Sometimes the Plugs are old and will stop charging. We had this happen at Grizzly RV. I had to walk back and moved to a different plug and it was ok. Sometimes you might have to reduce charging to 30-35 amps which takes longer to charge of course. As it turned out we probably did not need it to get to Driggs, ID.
    BTW, A little "bird" just told me today that On March 26, 2015 The Department of Energy will be putting out a press release about an approved Grant that will provide $ for charging in Yellowstone National Park. A "Greater Yellowstone EV Map will be made to show where all the charging locations will be. This is pre-release info so we will have to wait for the Press release on March 26th to know any more info or details. :) Here is a pic from last weekend where my wife and I soaked in the "Boiling River" near Mammoth in Yellowstone on the 45th Parallel, half way between the Equator and the North Pole.
    IMG_3647.JPG
     
    • Informative x 1
  8. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    #8 Pilot_51, Mar 18, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
    Good info, everyone. I'll especially be looking forward to that press release.

    Emigrant is pretty much locked-in now and there are no plans to go near West Yellowstone. Just north of Emigrant, about 10 miles from where we plan to stay, there's the Yellowstone's Edge RV Park which has 50A service. In Gardiner, just outside the north Yellowstone entrance, the Yellowstone RV Park has "electrical service at each RV site", which should provide the peace-of-mind to make the trip to Old Faithful and back. Inside Yellowstone, there are four campgrounds along the route, but it looks like none of them have electrical service. The only location with confirmed electrical is Fishing Bridge RV Park, with 50A service, but it's much more out of the way than West Yellowstone. More info at Campgrounds - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service).

    I haven't made any calls yet since it is likely that charging infrastructure in the park will change over the next year, as evidenced by the previously mentioned press release. So far, things are looking good and I don't think I'll have any trouble.
     
  9. gglockner

    gglockner Member

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    I'm still searching for lodging with charging. My hope is to find an RV park with cabins (for sleeping) and 50amp service (for charging). I've emailed a number outside the park, and will post an update when I have found some good options.
     
  10. Stealth

    Stealth Member

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    Please let me know what you find gglockner. I am planning a trip in mid-June from Billings and topping off at the Big Timber supercharger, then through Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Jackson and then to the Tremonton UT supercharger. I need to figure where I can stay and charge overnight. I am thinking about Colter Bay, but the RV is already full.
     
  11. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    There is a KOA near (6 miles west) the West Entrance into Yellowstone.

    West Yellowstone, MT
    800 562-7591

    They also have a tour bus that will pick you up @ KOA's office for a ride to the park.

    Another Option: Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park
    West Yellowstone, MT
    406 646-4466
    4 blocks from West entrance to Park

    One more a bit further away Red Rock RV and Camping Park
    Island Park, ID
    800-473-3762

    Yellowstone's Edge
    Livingston, MT
    800 865-7322


    Four @ the South end near Grand Tetons

    Grand Teton Park RV Resort
    RV Resort and Cabins
    Moran, WY
    800 563-6469

    Grand Teton National Park
    Moran, WY
    800-628-9988

    The Virginian RV Resort
    Jackson, WY
    800-321-6982
    800 262-4999 (winter reservations)

    Jackson Hole/Snake River KOA
    Jackson, WY
    800-562-1878
     
  12. kk7p

    kk7p Member

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    #12 kk7p, Apr 13, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
    We are heading the other way, leaving Tucson May 24 for Jackson Hole via Tremonton, staying overnight at the The Virginian Lodge and using their adjacent RV park for an extra $20 for the night (already reserved). We then drive through Yellowstone, arriving at Bozeman and back on the SpC Hiway to Burlington WA. Vehicle is P85.
     
  13. tpoltron

    tpoltron Member

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    We are just wrapping up a Yellowstone trip from San Jose, CA. Blue Lake Inn in Twin Falls is cute, friendly and just installed a HPWC (at 40A though). There's good level 2 charging in Idaho Falls and Jackson. Justin at Fort Jax RV in West Yellowstone is EV friendly and made a spot for us with a 14-50 for $20 a night. Check out the route south via Bear Lake since there is less climbing. An SpC in Pocatello would make it easy. In the parks we got over 300 miles of range since the speeds average 45mph. We did the north loop from to West Yellowstone via the Canyon cutoff in 130 rated miles and only used a bit more than that to get to Jackson. Good times, enjoy!
     
  14. decibel

    decibel Member

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    I will second the Fort Jax RV Park recommendation in the Yellowstone area. I called around to a number of RV parks in West Yellowstone and Fort Jax RV Park (406-646-7729) was the only one that did not want full price for a spot to charge. They have a 50amp plug available for EV charging at a reasonable rate and have inquired (without a reply) about getting a HPWC, so I would start with them when looking to charge.
     
  15. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    We just did a trip from Canada to Glacier Park down through Yellowstone to Jackson Lake Lodge.
    Camped at San-Suz-Ed trailer park in West Glacier and charged at 240v 40 amps. Nice place, nice people.
    The San-Suz-Ed Montana RV Park and Campground

    Supercharged in Missoula, Butte and Bozeman.

    Stayed in West Yellowstone at expensive run down motel (which shall remain nameless) but which had NEMA 6-15 A/C plug which charged up overnight (didn't need the A/C).

    Drove though Yellowstone to Jackson Lake Lodge. Only options were the Chevron station which kindly offered me their welder plug (but I didn't have an adapter) and 120v extension cord from the room. I chose the latter which gave me about 50 miles overnight each night which was enough to cover our daily driving plus a little extra. The town of Jackson has 4 public ChargePoint chargers which we used to top up on our visits and our final trip out of town to make it to the Supercharger in Tremonton, UT.
     
  16. decibel

    decibel Member

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    Why leave it nameless?
    (I hope that I don't have a reservation there.)
     
  17. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Travelers Motel. I left a candid review on Trip Advisor. Most of the other reviews also had the same complaints.
     
  18. madox008

    madox008 Member

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    Just wrapped up a fabulous two-day Yellowstone tour en route to Seattle (moving from Boston). Didn't read any of these posts before our visit, but no matter. Here are some updates:



    (1) The evening prior to entering from the east on Sept 11, we got a range charge in Sheridan WY and drove to the Yellowstone Valley Inn, arriving with plenty of extra, stayed the night in the inn, plugged for no extra charge into a NEMA 15-50 (they had plenty of spaces). They also offer a great breakfast.

    (2) Entered Yellowstone at the East Entrance, arrived at Fishing Bridge with about 210 miles, stopped to inquire about "topping off" and though they were full for the night, they offered us charging in their employee lot for $15.

    (3) Discovered instead while scouting access from the Lake Lodge to a hike nearby that we could sneak into the employee lot at Lake Lodge where they had many empty RV sites - so we parked there instead and plugged into one of their NEMA 15-50's while hiking and eating in the lodge. Anyone could park there without notice.

    (4) It is probable that so many employee lot RV slots were available because it was late in the season - still it's worth noting that Yellowstone has MANY employee RV slots at their lodges, or at least they are nearby, and if you negotiate with the usually very friendly staff at the lodges, you can pretty much talk yourself into plugging in almost anywhere. Still Tesla should negotiate Supercharging sites in the future in all the national parks, and perhaps starting in, say, Yellowstone and Yosemite and maybe Mt. Rainier and the Grand Canyon would be good for business, both for Tesla and the park system.

    (5) It should be noted as it has been already that speed limits inside the park keep range limits well within normal limits - in fact we added range everywhere we went. We NEVER fell below 100 miles remaining. Our second night we spent at Mammoth Springs hotel, where we plugged into a conventional outlet just to pick up 60 miles overnight, which meant we started the day with 220, and drove to Canyon, Artist's Point and on to West Yellowstone, and finally to Bozeman, where we arrived at the Supercharger with 80 miles.

    All it takes is a little planning and conscious driving, not over asserting yourself in "getting there" and you'll leave Yellowstone pretty much confident that you can go anywhere off grid.
     
  19. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado Member

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    Can't recall ever seeing a "NEMA 15-50"; are you sure they weren't NEMA 14-50s? Just curious.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Parks typically appreciate EVs for that they don't generate the smog that's ever so vast now a days with the masses of fossil fueled cars driven by the tourists. If you ask the rangers for a place to charge your EV, they're typically very open to give you front row seats in terms of charging... in most cases FREE. That's how it is for the Grand Canyon when I was talking to a ranger and mentioned that I have an EV.
     

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