(Map generated by TeslaFi from trip data)
I took my 2022 Model X on a "Supercharger hunting" trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas, during the extended weekend of July 13-17. The goal of the trip was to log charges at as many unvisited Superchargers as possible, as a part of a friendly competition here on TMC. This is admittedly counter to what most people will do on road trips!
I used A Better Route Planner (ABRP) to plot out a rough schedule for each day, just to determine feasibility of the route and charging I had in mind. Most charging stops were only 2-3 minutes long (that's enough time to plug in, record the charge on supercharging.life, take a few pictures, input the next destination in to the nav, and unplug). Within high density metro areas, even these short charges were more than enough to make up the energy I used driving to the next charger.
Here's a summary of the trip. These were basically full driving days during daylight hours only:
July 13: Home (SF Bay Area) to Marina del Rey via I-5, I-405. 11 new-to-me Superchargers visited.
July 14: Marina del Rey to Montebello (looping around the LA metro area). 22 new-to-me Superchargers visited.
July 15: Montebello to San Diego via I-5. 29 new-to-me Superchargers visited.
July 16: San Diego to Calabasas via I-15, I-210, and US-101. 19 new-to-me Superchargers visited.
July 17: Calabasas to Home (SF Bay Area) via US-101. 7 new-to-me Superchargers visited.
Notable Superchargers I found interesting:
- Kettleman City, CA: This was my main charging stop southbound...the one with the lounge. It's one of the older Superchargers on I-5 but still a favorite.
- Santa Monica, CA: A huge site (62 stalls) with restrooms and vending machines. It felt like an urban version of Kettleman City.
- Torrance, CA: One of several mall parking garage Superchargers that proved really difficult to find. I ended up needing to pull over and check the TMC thread for the site to learn where to go.
- Sherman Oaks, CA: Another mall Supercharger, where one apparently needs to enter a parking garage from one specific entrance. Most malls, like this one, seem to have good signage for Superchargers once you actually get inside the garage.
- Mission Viejo, CA: In an outdoor parking lot at a shopping mall, this was one I skipped because it was full, there were cars waiting, and no obvious place for one more car (mine) to queue up.
- Temecula, CA - Temecula Parkway: The longest wait I had for a Supercharger, which wasn't all that long actually. Other owners were likely wondering why I waited in line for 11 minutes only to plug in for 2 minutes and leave.
- Ojai, CA: A little out of the way for many travelers, but it's a nice little EV charging oasis with both Tesla and EA chargers next to a cafe.
- San Ardo, CA: In the parking lot of an olive oil company, which was unfortunately closed on the day I passed through.
Interesting places for food along the way:
- Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, in the same shopping center as the Torrance Supercharger. A sushi take-out was a nice quick bite between chargers.
- ComeBuyTea in Huntington Beach. They make various kinds of tea drinks, using contraptions that look like espresso machines. Not particularly close to any Supercharger, but it was a nice stop to get a drink while driving around. They're a chain based in Asia, but this is one of their few locations in the US.
- Tokyo Fried Chicken in Monterey Park. A short drive from my hotel in Montebello (Home 2 Suites, which still has one of the best destination charger setup I've encountered). Tasty fried chicken with sides.
- Café Bōku in Ojai. A nice little cafe right at the Supercharger. They have innovative and refreshing smoothies here.
A few observations:
Road-tripping between NorCal and SoCal in 2023 is super-easy. Using I-5 is basically a no-brainer under almost all circumstances (exceptions might be holiday weekends or a closure of the Grapevine). US-101 has more, smaller Superchargers, so a little bit of planning can be helpful, but it's definitely viable and somewhat more scenic in places.
Unsurprisingly, Superchargers are less busy in the early morning compared to later in the day.
Superchargers in multi-story parking garages are often difficult to deal with. Some have limited hours. It's not always obvious which garage or which entrance to use (some have better signage than others). Once inside, it's often not clear which level to go to, and the restricted lines of sight and traffic flows can make finding the stalls difficult. Queueing up at busy locations can be hard too, although some garages had lanes set aside for Supercharger lines. The Tesla nav usually has some information on which level to use, which I've found helpful (tap the pin for the Supercharger). On the other hand, the nav destination for the Supercharger doesn't always drop you off close to where the pedestals actually are. The appropriate discussion thread on TMC usually has some hints as well (probably best to pull over and look, if you have to do this).
For a lot of the open road driving on the freeway, I used FSD with minimal speed-based lane changes. I had a few incidents of phantom braking (annoyingly I noticed a correlation when trying to pass semi-trucks) but it was still generally useful. I've written about this elsewhere, but AP1 on my former road-trip car delivered a better freeway experience than HW3+FSD. I was not comfortable having FSD drive on surface streets or in heavy freeway traffic, partially due to my unfamiliarity with SoCal freeways and roads.
There's something about SoCal freeways (both LA and SD), possibly where there is ongoing or recent construction, that sets off some very strange road noise in my X. I have never noticed that anywhere else. I wonder if it's grooved pavement that's somehow different than in other parts of California?
I saw more older Teslas in SoCal than I would have expected (it felt like more than in the Bay Area). In particular it seemed like there were a fair number of original nose-cone Model S in no-longer-available colors (brown, green, silver, dolphin grey).
There was a lot of 100F+ weather on this trip, particularly on the fourth day. I'm glad I had a sun shade for the upper part of the Model X windshield. (some Model X owners prefer to do a tint on the windshield.) No particular issues with heat or AC. I didn't notice any problems with charging, either.
If this slightly crazy Supercharging hunting game sounds like fun, it's open to anyone to join. See this thread on TMC for more information: Wiki - Superchargers Visited
- 5 days
- 1458 miles
- 467 kWh
- 321 Wh/mi
- 88 new-to-me Superchargers visited (348 lifetime total)