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Sad news: It is NOT YET POSSIBLE to drive to Alaska in an EV

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by AudubonB, May 12, 2014.

  1. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Mar 24, 2013
    So, for my Post #1000... (hey - did you all miss me? Did anyone even notice I've been gone:tongue:)...

    As much as it hurts to say this - we tried SO HARD!!! - one still cannot realistically get to Alaska from the Lesser-48 by roads.

    I thought we could rely on enough properly-placed RV campgrounds that we could, with only a minimum of thumb-twiddling when confronted by, say, outlets no hunkier than 30A 120V, get back home before the hereafter.

    No such luck. As a corollary to the significant decline of the overall number of roadside services along the North Country roads (used to be lots, every few dozen miles. Now, with the vastly improved vehicles and tires, extant roadhouses, etc., are a tiny fraction of what they were in the 1970s and 60s and 50s), there just does not exist at present a way safely to get from Charge Point A to B in much of the country north of central British Columbia. Leaving a Model S (and, thereby, every other EV currently out there) over 1,800 miles away from Home Sweet Home.


    We wrote, we emailed, we cajoled, we used contacts, we abused friends....

    OK, now for the good news:

    1. We're safe at home now. Our plan had included driving the Model S in tandem with the F-350, which was towing a trailer. We had to get the pickup back to Alaska, anyway. If something (like out of charge) happened to the Tesla, we could flatbed it to the next charging site. Except that, in early May, there remain far too many hundreds of miles between communities with absolutely 3/8ths of 2/3rds of zippity-doo-dah Nada.

    2. My thread-head says "not YET possible". It remains conceivable that, during the high tourist season, one might might might just be able to fulfill our plan. Maybe.

    3. Want to use this # to eat a small amount of crow and give the nod to a poster in a long-ago thread who wrote of dreaming about Superchargers along the Cassiar Highway (that is the alternative to the Alaska Highway through the northern 40-50% of BC). I had written about how that true wilderness road - all 450 miles of it - was so wild and woolly that the AK Highway would always be the obvious choice. Well, we just drove the Cassiar - now have done it almost ten times - and Holy Cow is it a different experience from what it ever had been. Magnificent road surface for the southern 250 miles; services now set up at Eziadin Jct AND Bell 2 AND Dease Lake is spruced up and there are new facilities in places that never had anything. There even are restroom (outhouses) sites all along the way! But the most important feature is that (and this is the reason for all the good stuff) BC Hydro is emplacing along the entire length of the road a massive "NW Canada" high-voltage transmission line. So.....dreaming now.....down the road there at least will be the POSSIBILITY of getting electricity absolutely anywhere.

    4. PS - we saw nine bears and four moose on the Cassiar. And with the truck parked about 5 miles before the Kluane Lake dogleg turn, we censused from that one spot 102 Dall sheep (that's the all-white bighorn sheep for you southern types).

    5. Road surface was clean the entire 3,700 miles. I think this was the first time I ever have taken the trip - well over two dozen - that I didn't get a single rock thrown into my windshield. The Tesla would have done fine! Except for the last 200 miles of Canada - all the way into Beaver Jct the road surface was as hummocky as any Vomit Comet ride. Worse than ever - and, as anyone who's ever taken that road, that is very, very bad.

    So....upshot of it is we're just beginning to think about ordering a Model X for Alaska - have it delivered! - and leave the Model S safe down south. Will have to cogitate hard on this.

    We saw exactly ONE Tesla the entire trip. On Day 1 we pulled into the Kingman SpC to see if anyone was there....and pulled the Redneck Driving A Pickup Truck trick on poor Dave Howell, quizzing him about what a strange vehicle he had there. You were a good sport, Dave.
  2. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913

    Jan 29, 2010
    Redwood Shores, CA
    Nice post #1,000, Audie! The X up north to complement the S down south will be perfect.
  3. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

    Feb 25, 2013
    Greendale, Wisconsin
    Irony... I was just looking at the Sun Country Highway's Station list to see if a Alaska Trip was possible... And not by a long shot. On the bright side though, now that I have the Dual Charger Retrofit, I can more "safely" get to Niagara, AND knock about 300-350 miles off the trip by cutting to Detroit and from Detroit to Niagara, instead of going down through Cleveland and then Up through Buffalo. I can sacrifice that driving time when it will only take about 2 1/2 to 3 hrs for a full charge with the dual chargers (with single 10kw charger, not worth the 6-7 hrs charge time, best off doing longer route and superchargers).
    A Alaska drive would be rather nice. Maybe get together a list of Hotels/Motels along the route, and talk with them about sponsoring charging stations. Tesla will usually give free or Discounted stations for businesses promoting them and enabling destination or pass through charging. A line of them going up to Alaska would be perfect. Even if they charged a nominal fee to charge for non-overnight guests, and give the overnighters free charging.
  4. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

    Dec 2, 2009
    Belmont, CA
    You're not counting the Alaska Marine Highway?
    I guess technically it is a misnomer, a ferry service and not really a road.
  5. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Mar 24, 2013
    Kipernicus - you're right in that I anticipated same by writing
    HOWEVER - the AMHS terminates primarily in the twin towns of Skagway and/or Haines. Only very seldom - and very, very, very expensively - do their vessels from Bellingham go to "mainland" Alaska - that is, at the terminal at Whittier.

    And....the problem therein is that from Haines, you still have the un-jumpable gap between Haines Jct. and Beaver, at the CAN-US border. You can get a charge - very slow - at Destruction Bay, but with White Mt. not open, there is no way to reach Beaver. If and when White Mt. opens, there will be a 30A/120V charge theoretically possible.j *I'm going by memory now. It might be the case that White Mt. offers 240V service for RVs. But that facility is opening later and closing earlier with each passing year.... :(

    Now, pedantically, the AMHS ferries can get you to panhandle towns like Skagway and Juneau. That does not count!!!!!! Think of all the fun a Tesla could have driving around the ten miles of Juneau roads :crying:
  6. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

    Sep 30, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Did you explore the thought of combining two TT30 outlets to form one 240V 30A outlet? That would be like a Quick220 but with much higher amps. It's too bad you can't just open up someone's breaker box and grab 50A or so ;)

    Destruction Bay Fas Gas might be talked into something, someday.
  7. irishstoutaz

    irishstoutaz Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    Cave Creek, AZ
    Sorry to hear you were not able to make the journey home with your S and was looking forward to reading the details of the trip... It will now just be more exciting to get back down here to AZ this fall so you can be reunited. :cool:
  8. roblab

    roblab Active Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
    I missed you. And your wife, and Aurora. Not so sure about Borealis, but he was still on the mend when I met him. Maybe see you this winter again.

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