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Tahoe Road Trip - Range Concerns in Snow

voltronhb

Member
Aug 7, 2016
99
64
Orange County, CA
We’re planning on going from LA to Tahoe in our X75D this week. First time skiing in Tahoe! It may snow a few feet during our drive there. My main concern is having enough charge to go from Sacramento-Rocklin to Truckee supercharger going uphill in the snow. The trip is 78 miles. ABRP is showing that I need to charge to 76% at Sacramento-Rocklin to end up with 10% range at Truckee. I'm planning to charge to 90% so there's an additional buffer due to the snow conditions. At 90%, the rated range is approximately 194 miles. How much should I expect snowy conditions impact the range? Should I have any challenges with this?
 

sacfan

Member
Sep 8, 2019
187
76
Sacramento
Normally I’d say there will be no problem at all. I drive from Sacramento which is 20 miles/30 minutes further away and never even considered the possibility that I would have a problem getting up there. (Of course I’m charged to 80-100% - estimated 263 mile - 328 mile range - when I depart).

However this will not be the standard Tahoe snowfall. Estimates are for 100” of snow over the next 7-days. Coming from LA I’m sure that you don’t have snow tires (which are very desirable up there when conditions are challenging). Generally, if the roads are open, as a 4-wheel drive you won’t be required to put on chains. If they’re requiring chains on 4WD vehicles (extremely unusual) then you REALLY, REALLY don’t want to be on the road. They almost always close the road before doing that.

The biggest concern is that the road (Highway 80) is sometimes closed by Highway Patrol because of accidents, zero visibility or other really dangerous situations. Do NOT try to be sneaky and find a short cut or a way around. There really are none and people run into MAJOR, sometimes life threatening problems trying to do so every year.

If the road is closed you may be sitting there for many hours/overnight. I always pack a down sleeping back in the car for exactly that reason. If the road is closed and you’re forced to exit the freeway you can always go back to Colfax. I had to do that last year and discovered a pretty good pizza place. Eventually I went further back and stayed overnight with a family member and headed back up to Tahoe the next morning. It was a very smart decision.

You REALLY don’t want to drive to Tahoe your first time in a storm at night, unless your night vision is perfect. And even then, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. If you can possibly do the drive while it’s still light out you will be a lot happier and safer. If you can leave Rocklin by 1 pm, or 2 pm at the absolute latest that would be good. Traffic leaving Sacramento for Tahoe starts to get moderately heavy after 3 pm. When I’ve been to the service center in Rocklin the charging stations are generally quite busy. Remember, everyone else driving up from the SF Bay Area has the same plan to charge in Rocklin.

Good luck. I have a house in Truckee and plan to stay in Sacramento until most of the snow has fallen and the roads are clear. Also be aware that the mountain might not even be open after a huge dump for a day (rarely two) and that high winds often shut down many of the upper lifts. I don’t mean to be so down on what you’re attempting- hopefully you’ll sail through without difficulty- but this is going to be a REALLY tough time to be driving up there. In Sacramento, it is windy and frigid out right now. It feels like a normal Tahoe late afternoon and that is most unusual for here.

Winter is coming!
 
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DoctorVenkman

Member
Jul 29, 2018
428
520
Los Angeles
Don't go to Tahoe this week. The Sierra are getting a historic amount of snow (over 100 inches forecast) and I guarantee you that I-80 will be closed down. This is not going to be some fun little jaunt in the snow, it's going to be an extremely hazardous situation that you should not enter unless you absolutely need to. People get stranded and die all the time in the mountains when they are not prepared for heavy snow. Not only will you be putting yourself and your family in danger, but also the people who will need to rescue you when you get stranded.
 
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Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,855
1,347
Sonoma, California
We’re planning on going from LA to Tahoe in our X75D this week. First time skiing in Tahoe! It may snow a few feet during our drive there. My main concern is having enough charge to go from Sacramento-Rocklin to Truckee supercharger going uphill in the snow. The trip is 78 miles. ABRP is showing that I need to charge to 76% at Sacramento-Rocklin to end up with 10% range at Truckee. I'm planning to charge to 90% so there's an additional buffer due to the snow conditions. At 90%, the rated range is approximately 194 miles. How much should I expect snowy conditions impact the range? Should I have any challenges with this?
I would postpone your trip, I went from the Roseville supercharger to Truckee in the summer and it was 100 miles and I used 150. It will be worse this time of year and as others have said lots of snow and possible road closures, also not fun skiing even if the lifts are open.
 
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voltronhb

Member
Aug 7, 2016
99
64
Orange County, CA
Thanks @sacfan and everyone. This was a lifesaver. We’re used to driving to Bear and Mammoth but this blizzard is serious, especially going up to Tahoe. Going to stay at a hotel near Sacramento so we can drive to Tahoe during the day... and also go after the heavy snowfall stops. There’s a small window between Friday and Sunday.

I’m hoping that driving the 80 miles from Rocklin to Truckee won’t eat up all 200 miles of rated range.
 

Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,855
1,347
Sonoma, California
Thanks @sacfan and everyone. This was a lifesaver. We’re used to driving to Bear and Mammoth but this blizzard is serious, especially going up to Tahoe. Going to stay at a hotel near Sacramento so we can drive to Tahoe during the day... and also go after the heavy snowfall stops. There’s a small window between Friday and Sunday.

I’m hoping that driving the 80 miles from Rocklin to Truckee won’t eat up all 200 miles of rated range.
If you have 200 rated range you should be fine.
 
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ithinkmac

Member
Oct 28, 2013
195
140
SF Bay Area
I take my '16 X up to Tahoe and Reno quite a bit. It makes it to Truckee Supercharger with about 10% left. I live in East Bay, about 200 miles away from Truckee SC. I'm at 250mile range @ 100% on the 90D. Always stop @ Truckee SC on the way up north. So if you start from Rocklin, you should be fine.

-ThinkMac-
 

sacfan

Member
Sep 8, 2019
187
76
Sacramento
Thanks @sacfan and everyone. This was a lifesaver. We’re used to driving to Bear and Mammoth but this blizzard is serious, especially going up to Tahoe. Going to stay at a hotel near Sacramento so we can drive to Tahoe during the day... and also go after the heavy snowfall stops. There’s a small window between Friday and Sunday.

I’m hoping that driving the 80 miles from Rocklin to Truckee won’t eat up all 200 miles of rated range.

If you go during that window period and during daylight hours you should do fine. The range should not be a problem going from Rocklin to Truckee. You’re choosing the right way to make this trip work.
 

focher

Active Member
Oct 15, 2013
1,029
1,481
Bay Area
Leaving it to the others who have already addressed the risk of encountering a fully closed 80. The one thing that was misstated is in regards to the road rules. You are required to have winter tires on a 4WD to be permitted without chains. CalTrans often checks, so if you don’t have winter tires and they see it, they’ll force you to turn around. You are also legally required to carry chains in those conditions, even if they don’t require a 4WD with winter tires to use them.

But on the range issue, we live in the East Bay and have frequently driven our X100D to Truckee, and there are a few SC stops right after Sacramento that allow you to top up. Remember that going up will eat range, but once you crest the mountains there is an elevation drop back to Truckee which will actually recover a small bit of range.

Funny story that my family ended up sleeping in our X in the Safeway parking lot a couple of years ago when we got caught in a freeway closure. The X handled it beautifully. We were sitting on the freeway dead stopped for about 7 hours before being directed off, topped up for the night at a SC while we had dinner, then kept the car heated up overnight with 2 kids and a dog, before driving home the next morning after the 80 was reopened.
 
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focher

Active Member
Oct 15, 2013
1,029
1,481
Bay Area
Some might find this interesting as it occurred on the stretch of road and during the exact storm that we've been discussing. How did your drive go, Voltronhb?

Man spends seven days stranded after his GPS directed him to an unplowed mountain pass - CNN
Yeah, it just reinforces that there are no “shortcuts” or alternative routes in such storms. If the 80, a major highway, is shut down then it’s ridiculous to think small mountain roads are in better shape.
 

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