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Trip Report - Bay Area to South Lake Tahoe and Napa

Discussion in 'California' started by dmode, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. dmode

    dmode Member

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    So, I got my car 3 weeks back and decided to experience my first road trip over the holidays. I spent 3 days in South Lake Tahoe and 2 days in Napa and experienced the encouraging EV support network in Northern California.

    Day 1: started from East Bay with full range, and the navigation suggested I stop at the Folsom outlet mall to top off before heading to the mountain. By the time I arrived in Folsom I had around 80 miles of range left. Nav suggested topping off to around 150 and continue my trip. I played safe considering the elevation gain ahead and lack of SC in South Lake and charged till I had 195 RM. That turned out to be a good decision as I arrived at Hard Rock Hotel with only 55 miles left. I had lost almost 50 miles during the uphill climb. Would have been very nervous if I had gone with the recommendation

    Day 2: I spent the day skiing at Heavenly, so there was no need to charge the car, just used 5 miles of the remaining range. Since I was driving back on Day 3, I had to start looking for a place to charge the car during the evening. Unfortunately, the charging infrastructure in South Lake Tahoe has some ways to go. There were no chargers in Hard Rock, but Plugshare suggested Harrah's. I drove over to Harrah's only for the valet to tell me that the chargers are not operations at this time as they were being used for new year's celebration. Drove across the street to Harvey's. They have 4 Chargepoint chargers on the 3rd level of the self parking lot. Unfortunately all of them were occupied by Teslas. I waited there for about 25 mins and since it was quite late and no one showed up to move the Teslas, I wasn't very hopeful that a slot will open up. Then I started looking for destination chargers. Nearby Basecamp Hotel has 2, but these are not dedicated EV charging spots. One of the parking spots was ICEd. The other one was so narrow and the small driving lot forced you to go nose in, that it was useless. The front desk told me that I could charge there as long as they were not occupied, but they were not going to move the ICE vehicle. At this point I was getting desperate as I had already spent 1.5 hrs looking for a charging spot. Next was Coachman hotel. I didn't bother calling the front desk, afraid they may not allow me to charge there. Fortunately, the parking lot had easy access and the Tesla charger spot there was empty. I quickly backed in my car and connected the charger. Left to grab dinner at Harrah's, which was a 5 minute walk away, cutting through Harvey's. I got around 35 miles / hr from this particular charger and by the time I was done with dinner, I had 90 miles of range left. I decided to ski at Squaw valley on Day 3 and take I-80 back down, so that I can use the Truckee Superchargers.

    Day 3: I lost around 10 miles of range overnight, but had plenty to drive over to Squaw. Skied till 4pm, lost another 5 miles of range, but the Truckee supercharger was only 11 miles away. Getting out of Squaw was painful and it was stop and go traffic all the way to Truckee. This Supercharger is located in the back parking lot of Safeway. Good location as chances of this being ICEd is pretty low. When I arrived there was one spot one. I quickly connected and ventured over to Safeway to use the restroom and buy some supplies. Charged there for 30 mins, enough to drive over to Vacaville SC enroute. The Truckee Supercharger was busy the entire time I was there, but owners were pretty efficient. This meant there was no line for the most part. Drive to Vacaville was interesting - there is practically no lane stripes on the I-80, probably due to snow removal. So I had to drive carefully by imaging lanes. Anyways, due to most of the drive being downhill, I probably saved 30-40 miles of rated range as I reached Vacaville. The Vacaville SC is in one of the outlet parking malls. I plugged in and decided to have dinner at nearby Tahoe Joe's. I reckon that is the only restaurant in that section of the outlet mall. By the time I was done with my dinner car was fully charged and I was ready to return home

    The Napa trip was pretty uneventful. The Napa supercharger is actually located in a Chevron gas station with a modern looking convenience store. No other restaurants around. I believe there was 8-10 stalls and I was the only one charging around 5pm on Dec 29th. We stayed at Silverado resort, which has two destination chargers that worked out nicely. I also drove to Healdsburg once and used the Petaluma charger late at night.

    TL;DR: Badly need a SC in South Lake Tahoe. Charging infrastructure in Napa is pretty good
     
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  2. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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    Nice trip summary ... how was the skiing? :cool:
     
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    That is...mystifying. I have never heard of EV chargers being employed as part of a New Years celebration and therefore being unavailable for their intended us, charging an EV. That is nuts.
     
  4. HumanGenome

    HumanGenome Member

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    How about those Tahoe to Bay Area drivers that go 90 mph down 80 in slushy conditions.
     
  5. dmode

    dmode Member

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    Skiing was good, especially Squaw. Someone mentioned that they had their best snow in 5 years
     
  6. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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    Can't wait ... 2 weeks :cool:
     
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  7. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Supposedly one HPWC at Heavenly but I have not seen or used it. I suspect it's got to be in high demand when they are operating.

    But yes, SLT desperately needs superchargers.
     
  8. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

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    If you crossed the street, you could choose from Applebee's and Olive Garden.
     
  9. HumanGenome

    HumanGenome Member

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    Harvey's has a bunch of connectors for 30 mi/hr charging.

    There is one HPWC at the Marriot Lodge @ Heavenly but you have to valet overnight for it.
     
  10. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I'm betting that what they meant is that the portion of the parking lot where the EV chargers were located was blocked off because some part of it was being used for NYE celebrations.
     
  11. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Member

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    Nice trip report. Thanks!

    You would have done better to charge at Heavenly (California side) while you were skiing. You would certainly have done better to charge at Squaw while you were skiing -- I've used those chargers many times and usually get 19mph from them, which gives you at least a half charge while skiing. Also, the other Truckee supercharger tends to be less used.

    Agreed that a supercharger is needed in S. Lake Tahoe. One has supposedly been planned for a couple of years near the Y, but nothing has ever materialized.
     
  12. dhcp

    dhcp Member

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    Thanks for the trip report - I suspect it's more crazy in winter than summer. We have a place up there and there are a few other places to charge that are easy to get into but they aren't hotels so you have to leave your car for a few hours and come back.
     
  13. phaduman

    phaduman Member

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    Great report, thanks! I am looking to make my trip to tahoe soon on my 75D. What car is yours? what avg Watts/mile did you get going up and coming down (if you remember!)?
     
  14. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    You can get some great fireworks if you short them together! :)
     
  15. dmode

    dmode Member

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    I did this trip back in December, so don't really remember average wh/mile. But lost a lot of range going up. If I have to do it again, I will probably just stay in North shore and ski there. The best part about going to Tahoe is that Sacramento area has 4 superchargers
     
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  16. NastyNate

    NastyNate Member

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    Thanks for the update on your trip.
    I always wonder if there would be a problem driving to Sierra Ski resort and back to the super charger.
     
  17. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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