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Surviving Yosemite in Winter Without Charging

kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
190
170
The Bay, CA
I'm planning on taking a trip to Yosemite National Park next weekend for the long holiday weekend. The trip is 3 days / 3 nights. Temperatures will be in the 20's and 30's, with high chance of rain and snow.
The hotel I booked inside the park does not have a level 2 charging station (or even a NEMA 5-15 level 1 outlet). My vehicle is a 2021 Model Y LR AWD.

The Groveland Supercharger is there at the base of the mountain, about 50 miles from Yosemite Valley. I'm planning on topping up to at least 90% there on the way up. According to A Better Routeplanner, it's a 1:30h trek up the mountain to the Valley, and arrival SoC will be ~69% (~20% SoC lost). However, I don't think it takes ambient temperature into account.

Once at the Valley, I'll be mostly doing short trips inside the Valley to access various trailheads. So the car will be mostly sitting still in the cold. There are two level 2 charging stations in the Valley, but I don't know of their condition. They are free to use for all guests in the Valley so they may or may not be working. Plus, it's the holiday weekend, so there will be a lot of traffic coming through. Once someone connects, I don't expect them to unplug for a good 6-12h, so I don't expect to rely on them.

Finally, on the return trip, A Better Routeplanner estimates 15% SoC needed to get to Groveland Supercharger from the Valley. Again, probably not taking ambient temp into account. So I need to make sure that I have at least 20% SoC (to be safe) left before the end of the 3rd day to make it back down the hill to Groveland Supercharger.

Assuming I arrive with 70% SoC, and need to go no lower than 20% to survive the trip back, will 50% SoC last me 3 days / 3 nights? The actual driving portion inside the Valley will be small (under 50 miles), but leaving the car sitting in cold temps is what bothers me. I'll also make sure to turn off Sentry Mode.

Will I survive? Or should I reserve a ICE rental vehicle for next weekend?
 
Last edited:

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,286
6,827
Canyon Lake,CA
Please check before you go. Yosemite just had a tremendous wind storm that blew down a record number of trees. Lots of damage still being addressed.

Charging, Cell service, GPS maping very sketchy in many parts of that beautiful park.

You will use lots of juice going up the mountain but going down will use very little.

I would charge as high as i could prior to leaving the Supercharger. Then watch your reserve closly when driving around. If you can plug in for a while up there, then everything probably will work out fine, but if you find yourself running low, then conserve a little for your homeward trip.

If you are getting low, reduce comfort heating and use seat warmers. The driving through the Park is slow going, especially if snow or rain is happening. This will help to reduce your consumption as you drive around.

In Winter some places will be closed for the season.

You might call your hotel and let them know your concerns. See if they have any local advice on where you could get a charge.
 
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LoudMusic

Member
Jul 21, 2020
354
447
Arkansas
I agree with Uncle Paul - get as much charge as you can before you leave Groveland.

It isn't listed on PlugShare but what about RV campground spots in the valley? They often will do some day rate that is less than a full night's fee. If you have a NEMA 14-50 adapter that could be a great option.

I'm really surprised there aren't more EV charging options there! Tesla really needs to get on it :D
 

Watts_Up

Active Member
Mar 4, 2019
3,350
2,263
In a galaxy far, far away
If you can, try getting some cover for the two inside window ceiling to avoid getting some cold air from above your head.
Try putting some blankets around the trunk side wall and the back wall because there is not too much insulation.

There is a good video from Bjørn Nyland showing the cold and warm spots (see at 12:40) Sleeping in 2021 Tesla Model 3 in -26°C

When leaving your car parked at night, try putting some cover (cardboard) on top of your windshield
to avoid getting too much snow or ice, also the camera is always heated so this might help reducing the heating consumption.
 

LoudMusic

Member
Jul 21, 2020
354
447
Arkansas
If you can, try getting some cover for the two inside window ceiling to avoid getting some cold air from above your head.
Try putting some blankets around the trunk side wall and the back wall because there is not too much insulation.

There is a good video from Bjørn Nyland showing the cold and warm spots (see at 12:40) Sleeping in 2021 Tesla Model 3 in -26°C

When leaving your car parked at night, try putting some cover (cardboard) on top of your windshield
to avoid getting too much snow or ice, also the camera is always heated so this might help reducing the heating consumption.

He's staying in a hotel.
 
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jmaddr

Member
Mar 29, 2019
927
945
Florida
probably not taking ambient temp into account.
The temperature setting is under the road conditions setting.
ABRP is pretty spot on but I would still recommend changing the reference consumption to your actual (or even 10% worse for headroom).
 

kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
190
170
The Bay, CA
Thank you all for your input. Ultimately I decided to rent an ICE SUV for the 4 day weekend. If this trip was in the warmer months and/or I had guaranteed charging every night at the hotel, I would have reconsidered taking my Model Y. Since I'm on vacation, I don't want to stress out about charging or keeping the vehicle's battery warm. After all, I want to enjoy the time in the great outdoors and not babysitting my car :).

As another user said, the Valley really needs to step up their game with more level 2 charging stations! Maybe have at least 4 at each hotel. Right now, it's not viable for anything but a day trip during the winter.
 

Redwires

New Member
Feb 14, 2021
2
1
South Bay CA
Curious if you took note of the charging situation during your visit. Have a booking at the Ahwahnee for next weekend and also am nervous about driving the Tesla up. Though I do also want to see what it’s like. When I went up in November the chargers were always taken at the ahwahnee when I looked.
 
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kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
190
170
The Bay, CA
In the Valley, I saw quite a few Model 3's and Model Y's. Probably split evenly between the two. I also saw a handful of Model X's and one Model S.

As far as charging stations, it was a hit or miss. Both the single station at the Valley Store and at Anwahnee Hotel was often occupied. I went to go check Anwahnee fairly early in the morning and it was occupied by a Model Y. It's likely one from a Hotel guest. Don't assume that just because you have a reservation, that the charging station will be available. The Hotel provides it as a free amenity for all guests in the Valley. But it is self-policed, they won't block it off for you and they won't take responsibility for it. The other J1772 station at Anwahnee is only 15A, so that's just 3.1 kW at 208V. That one was occupied less, but still don't count on it.

There was actually a 3rd charging station across from the Valley Store. However, I think it's reserved for Valley employees, as a Chevy Spark EV marked with Yosemite badge sat on it for all 4 days. Doesn't look like they're moving that vehicle at all. Maybe we ask nicely, they'll let us use it over night?
 
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Redwires

New Member
Feb 14, 2021
2
1
South Bay CA
Thanks! Appreciate your response. I am heading up Friday (with top up at Groveland) and coming back Sunday. I am nervous about bringing my Model 3 Perf, but also curious and want to see how it is in the cold. :)

Decisions...
 

GtiMart

Member
Nov 13, 2019
877
709
Quebec City, Canada
I don't have precise numbers but you will not lose 40-50% of your battery in three (cold) days if you don't drive it. Do turn sentry off so the car sleeps. Plenty of people live in cold places and leave their cars outside. Losing that much would just not work. Do plan on losing a few percent per day roughly. I'm sure there are videos on Youtube that will show how much to expect to lose.
Note that the battery percentage will show lower as a portion of the battery will be shown blue (cold/frozen). That portion comes back as the battery heats up when you drive, it's not lost.
If you can, plug the car in a 120V plug, it's better than nothing and at least keeps the battery warm-ish. Not mandatory, just do if you can.
 

tij664

Member
May 8, 2017
325
482
Turlock, CA
There’s also a supercharger coming to El Portal which is right at the 140 entrance to the park. This should alleviate a lot of the anxieties of driving there, especially in the winter time. The map shows Q4 2021 as the projected date for it.
 
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kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
190
170
The Bay, CA
Cool! For reference, it's this one. Target opening in Q4 2021.

It's still a 15 mi one way, or 30 mi round trip from where the lodging is at the Valley. Should be around 1h round trip without traffic. (There can be substantial traffic at the Park entrance, depending on season)
But it's also a 2000 ft elevation gain going up to the Valley from El Portal. Something to keep in mind.
 

Janus

Member
May 30, 2019
242
178
Bay Area
The problem with the Groveland SuperCharger is the altitude. CA-120 breaks 6,000ft, so during the winter, it often closes when the weather gets bad. Also, the valley is at about 4,000ft, so even though Groveland is close, a lot energy is needed to get over Crane Flats. FishCamp is a good alternative, but the recent windstorm closed the southern entrance (it has since reopened). El Portal will be a great option, of all the roads into Yosemite, CA-140 is the most reliable to stay open, and is downhill from the valley.

As to L2 EVSEs, last time I was in the valley, options were tight. All three of them (2x Ahwahnee, 1x store) are nearly always taken. I'm very excited about these new L2s at the Lodge. That being said, I always plan to never get any L2 charging, and ensure I have enough charge to get me to both Fish Camp and Groveland (should one of the roads close).
 

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