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San Jose to Las Vegas Supercharger Trip on a 60kw Model S

Discussion in 'California' started by ChriZ, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. ChriZ

    ChriZ Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    United States
    First off I'd like to set a disclaimer that I'm just sharing my first road trip experience in the 60kwh model s. My results may not be the same for what you may experience due to many different factors such as speed, weather, traffic, etc. As always, your mileage may vary and always plan ahead and be cautious with your range and speed.

    So my biggest concern when ordering my model s was the extra range with a 85kwh and 60kwh. I don't go on road trips that often as I don't like driving long distances so I went with the 60kwh. However, with the supercharger announcement few months ago, I couldn't lose out on the supercharger option ($2,000) with it costing more if I add it after delivery ($500 more). It's just too cool to be "able" to drive cross country for free. I ended up emailing my specialist to add it when my order was already in production. They added it last minute and there no problem changing it.

    So I took my delivery about a month already and have put about 500 local miles on it. I've been planning my first road trip from San Jose to Las Vegas for some time. Planned everything on Google maps considering the distances between each supercharger station. I also did plenty of searching on the tesla motors forum and seems that people have made it to Vegas no problem on a 60kwh. So as time passed, I just decided to do it and don't look back. I definitely took precautions as I'll explain.

    Here is my trim, options and my settings in the car as I started:
    White 60kwh, tech package, air suspension, leather package, supercharger
    69 degrees auto AC, manual fan speed, range mode on

    Gilroy to Harris Ranch (7 SC chargers)

    I didn't document the San Jose to Gilroy part since it was so short. But I max ranged it as it was my first trip and I just wanted the most mileage going into the trip. I ended up in Harris Ranch with about 85 miles left. Drove around 70-80mph, averaging around 75mph. However, we did have one problem when we arrived to Harris Ranch. When I plugged it in, it had an error saying "Unable to Supercharge. Option Not Configured.". At first I thought it was the charger so I tried other bays but it didn't work. I ended up calling the SC support and they had me try even the other SC across the street next to Subway. Nothing worked and they had to patch an engineer to help out. After about 5mins, they figured it was something wrong with my car and they had to remote into my car to fix it. By then it was lunchtime and I asked if I could leave the car there while I ate. They said yes and would call me back. After about 15mins, they called me back and said it was resolved. So I went back out and plugged it in and it worked! They didn't tell me the root cause but I assume it had something to do with adding the supercharger option late in the production cycle. It sucked that it didn't work but worked in Gilroy. Weird! But I'm glad it worked out in the end with an engineer being able to remote in via the net to fix my car within 30mins. Awesome support! By the way, I had the prime rib and it was amazing. But I was surprised more with the Harris Ranch Pale Ale. Loved the beer more than the meat. :smile:

    Starting RangeEnding RangeDistanceKwH UsedWi/MiMi/KwH




    Harris Ranch to Tejon Ranch (6 SC Chargers)

    As I left Harris Ranch, I only standard charged it to 180 since it was only 116 miles to Tejon Ranch. With about a 60 extra rated miles, I went with the flow of the traffic on the fast lane and probably averaged 80mph which had a bigger impact on the ending range of about 36miles remaining. The conclusion here is that I lost about 20 or so extra miles by speeding more. Just an obvious and known observation as you can tell from the Wi/Mi at about 338. I figured keeping your Wi/Mi average at 300 or less will give you the exact or more rated miles on the screen. They have Chipotle and Yogurtland there which I love. I can eat Yogurtland all day and you can get a window seat to see all the people driving back checking out the station and cars. I also believe the station has solar panels on top but I couldn't get a clean look to verify. There also seems to be some damage on the roof drainage area. Maybe someone tried to hang on it?

    Starting RangeEnding RangeDistanceKwH UsedWi/MiMi/KwH


    Tejon Ranch to Barstow (4 SC Chargers)

    I left Tejon Ranch with about 193 miles assuming 43 rate miles would be enough buffer. I followed the Garmin GPS way and it was a mistake. It was longer and less pleasant to drive as you have to go up that steep mountain right after Tejon Ranch and then cut across on 138, 14, then 58. As most other owners have stated, it's better to go the Google maps way which is going through Bear Mountain Road from 99 and then straight to 58. Going this way is also about 14 miles shorter which would have gave me more range going into Barstow.

    Starting RangeEnding RangeDistanceKwH UsedWi/MiMi/KwH

    Barstow to Las Vegas

    Knowing that Las Vegas doesn't have a supercharger, I wanted to have as much extra range getting into the strip so I can find a public charger in case my first options were full. So I max charged the car and ended up taking a nap because it ended up taking 1hr 18mins to range charge it. As I left for Vegas, my goal was to get to one of the 220v chargers on the six floor Venetian public parking garage. Unfortunately, when I was about 60miles near Vegas, I got emergency alerts saying there were flash floods in the area and had to be cautious. I ended up driving right into the storm on the top of the summit and it was crazy. Sand storm, hail, high winds and heavy down pour. I eventually made it out going super slow and using regen to get energy back while others were braking at 40mph. When I finally got to Vegas, there were already two model s' parked at the Venetian chargers. A little bummed but luckily I had about 40miles still so I could've drove to my other alternate spots in City Center valet or Aria valet. But luckily, there was still a roadster spot with two hidden 110v charger. Since I wasn't going to drive the car in Vegas for a few days, I decided to just leave it to slow charge there. I got about 4mi/hr which is not entirely bad when you consider you get about 32mi overnight. I ended up range charging it for about 3 days with no problems.

    Starting RangeEnding RangeDistanceKwH UsedWi/MiMi/KwH



    The return trip was pretty much the same with much less range charging since I took the shorter route from Barstow to Tejon Ranch using 58 and Bear Mountain Road. Also, don't take the back road that the Garmin GPS tells you to take from the Barstow station to Tejon. That road is closed. Just hop back on 15 and then get on the 58 instead. Overall, I don't think I needed to range charge at all as long as you keep your Wi/Mi 300 or under. And yes it takes a lot of cruise control at 70-75mph and means lots of lane changing. But I find going 80+ doesn't give you that much extra time and plus your range drops significantly. But of course, some drivers can't stand going speed limit or not being in the fast lane all the time. In that case, I recommend max charging every time if you don't want to care about your speed but I don't think that guarantees you make it still. YMMV and be cautious. And my final statement would be that the 60kwh can do road trips and I think Tesla has strategically placed Supercharger stations at 150miles or less between stations so that a 60kwh would make it with standard charging and obey speed limits with 5 miles variance or so. And would I do it again? Probably not until they release version 2.0 120kw chargers instead of the current 90kw chargers. Waiting 40+ mins takes just too long and took me over 11 hrs to get to Vegas. I even heard that the goal was to get it to 5mins which then I would definitely not mind to drive long distance in the S again.


    Free electricity from SC
    Pass anyone, anytime on long highways
    Variety of music from internet radio for long trips
    Cheapest way to travel if you don't factor in time
    Eating at Harris Ranch and having Harris Ranch Pale Ale
    Rated miles is pretty accurate if you keep your Wi/Mi at 300 or less
    Plenty of chargers at Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch
    Yogurtland at Tejon Ranch!


    Wear and tear on tires
    Cannot drive the fastest on the freeway in a 60kwh
    Internet radio cuts out in non-3G areas
    Supercharging adds too much time to your already long trip
    Seats not comfortable for long distance driving
    Car gets super dirty after a 1000+ mile road trip through the dessert and thunderstorm
    GPS not provided the shortest path from Barstow to Tejon Ranch
    Cruise control is not adaptive like other high end cars which is very useful on long highways with traffic
    Every two chargers share one power source and first car there gets 70% and second car gets 30% until the first car is done
    Not enough chargers at Gilroy and Barstow
    Car had a tire pressure error temporarily but went away
    Car had a supercharger fault error at Harris Ranch and unlocked my car by itself!

    Side Note:

    60kwh charges at a slower voltage and amperage than the 85kwh.

    Fastest I've seen it go was 204 mi/hr, 321v, 212amps. 85kwh I heard goes about 380v and 260amps?


    Attached Files:

  2. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

    Dec 16, 2012
    SF Bay Area
    Great writeup and photos! It was also good meeting you at the superchargers on the way back from Vegas.

    If you do the trip again and both J1772s and the roadster charger at the Venetian are all full, there are other 120V outlets scattered about the 6th and 7th floor of the Venetian self-park.

    Thanks for posting the supercharging stats for your 60 kWh pack. I was wondering how they dealt with the different battery sizes. The fastest charging I logged on this trip was 288.9 mi an hour (371 Volts, 235.2 Amps) and a reported charger_power of "-87" which I interpret as 87 kW. That seems frighteningly close to 85/60 times your reported fastest charging speed.
  3. Crispix

    Crispix Member

    Jun 24, 2013
    San Diego
    Nice report. A road trip report with beer reviews, well done!

    Question about charging at the Venetian: did you ever have an opportunity to move your car into the main spots? Did it look like many other cars were waiting to get charges? I'd like to make a similar trip and charging at the V is my first choice but it sounds like it's getting crowded there more often.
  4. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

    Dec 2, 2009
    Belmont, CA
    Excellent info, thanks. Especially the bit that a range charge, starting from 30, took 1 hr 18 min. Hopefully your family wasn't too annoyed with the nap.
  5. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    Nice 60kWh post! And you are right that supercharging is slower on a 60kWh especially if you range charge and go all the way to complete. When I drove our 60kWh from Hawthorne to Folsom we did NOT wait until it completed a range charge and still had buffer.
  6. ChriZ

    ChriZ Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    United States
    I think its a crap shoot (no pun intended). I ended leaving my car there at the 110v for 3 days. I assume most owners will leave it overnight and move it the next day. I didn't walk back to check since I stayed so far away. The best time for a charger spot I think is in afternoon and avoid weekends. When I left on Monday, both spots were free.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yeah I really hope they bump the amperage soon on those chargers so that I can cut down the range charging to maybe 40mins instead. And I needed the nap since I was already on the road for 9hrs. And it was my only buddy and I since we were going to a bachelor party. So we didn't mind.

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