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Trip Report: SF Bay Area to SoCal, Christmas 2018

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
3,904
7,013
Lafayette, CA, USA
My wife and I did a 3-day Tesla road trip in our S85D, a round-trip from the SF Bay Area to LA, over Christmas. The mission priorities were to: Add to my list of visited Superchargers, find some good food, and meet up with some family friends who were also visiting the the LA area. This was our second NorCal to SoCal trip.

We launched from home, heading south via I-5, early on the Sunday before Christmas with a nearly full battery. Originally I was planning to do a breakfast stop at Gustine, but we had plenty of range to get to Harris Ranch so we pulled in there for the first stop of the trip with 16% SOC. By time we finished a yummy breakfast, we were good to go with 87% SOC.

Next we popped into Kettleman City just to see how busy it was, given reports on TMC of it filling up the day before. At 10AM it was about a third- to half-full. Somehow @ecarfan and I wound up there at the same time, but we missed seeing each other.

We might have skipped the next two stops at Buttonwillow and Bakersfield, but I’d never been to either one, so we stopped by for “touch and go” charges (I’m gonna steal that term from aviation).

Next stop was Santa Clarita, also new to me, and where we did a lunch stop at 1PM. If you can spare the time to get off the freeway for a bit, I recommend this place. I think it’s just far enough out of the urban core that it’s not totally overrun, and it’s pleasant there. We got some crepes (which were so-so) at the market in the shopping center where the Superchargers are.

From Santa Clarita it was a straight shot to our hotel, which was the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Montebello. I’d definitely return to this hotel...it’s new (opened in September 2018), clean, quiet, and importantly for EV drivers, it has six Tesla wall connectors (max power output 40A) and six ClipperCreek J1772s (don’t know the power output). Great for a destination charging base. We saw a few other Teslas using the chargers, but the most we saw at one time were four (including us). Skip the “included” breakfast though, or at least go into it with low expectations.

We met up with our friends and did something like three meals that first afternoon and evening. I think they thought my attempts to visit lots of Superchargers were pretty weird.

The next day, Christmas Eve, started with breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall place in Monterey Park, and then touch-and-go visits to the two Superchargers in Downey. Lakewood Blvd. was uneventful, but Stonewood St. was slightly painful because, well it was a mall on the day before Christmas. From there we drove over to the Little Tokyo area for lunch and exploration, and then the Culver CIty Supercharger because we had some time to kill. When we got there, there was a six car line. Not wanting to waste my wife’s time, I was ready to skip this, but she said “Hey might as well do it since we’re here.” (I have to be the world’s luckiest Tesla owner.) We only waited 12 minutes before getting to plug in, and I’m sure some people were wondering why we waited in this line for a 5 minute charge. This was only the second time I’ve had to wait for a charge in three and a half years. As one might guess, the only reason we did any charging stops today was just for the sake of visiting them.

We did Christmas Eve (also our anniversary) dinner at Majordōmo. Slightly pricey but very good. We were impressed by the complex (but not overpowering) flavors in their food. It’s good to go in a large group because their menu is set up for sharing...with more people you can try more dishes. If you go here, definitely do the valet park, it’s kind of in a sketchy area and being in an attended lot is a Good Thing (tm).

We headed back on Christmas Day. Due to some last minute changes in plans with our friends we ended up leaving at around 9:30AM, later than our original plan but earlier than our revised plan. We hit up the Glendale and Burbank (N. Third St.) Superchargers. Both are located in mall parking garages...of course the malls were closed but the garages were wide open and mostly empty except for Teslas charging.

After this we finally turned for home, northbound on US-101. We stopped off at the two new Superchargers in Thousand Oaks. My best friend from high school lives a few miles away from the Thousand Oaks (W. Hillcrest Dr.) charger, and, thanks to her parents’ cajoling, we got to have a brief, unplanned reunion. Her dad used to own an auto repair shop specializing in diesel cars, and he drives a Prius-V, so he had all kinds of questions about the Tesla. Probably the first time I’ve ever discussed cars with him because I was more of a computer geek in high school (well still am, actually).

We bypassed Oxnard, where we’d done a lunch stop last year, and did a very quick charge and restroom stop at Buellton because I’d never been there before. In retrospect it might have worked out better if we had done a lunch stop at Buellton but we had snacks in the car and weren’t really hungry to we pressed on to ...

San Luis Obispo. Another new charger for me, this place was packed at about 2:45. It was hovering around full, even with a temporary Urban Supercharger pallet adding two more stalls to the normal mix. We ended up on the temp charger and had a nice conversation with the (very nice) attendant. She’s been around various locations, but didn’t know a lot about the temporary charger pallet, so I gave a quick briefing to her and a couple other owners within earshot. Of note, the temp pedestals appeared to have a maximum output of around 50kW.

We were hoping to grab a quick bite at the coffee shop at the Madonna Inn, but it was ultra-busy (not sure if it’s normally like this). Lunch took about an hour, and the car had 99% SOC by time we finally left. I didn’t feel too bad about this because the charger were somewhat less busy by time we got back to the car (and I was checking stall occupancy on my phone from the restaurant to be sure it wasn’t persistently full).

All that extra energy let us get up to Gilroy with 22% SOC (skipping Atascadero and Salinas). By this point it was late and we were just wanting to get home, so we stayed just long enough for enough energy to get back to our house without using any Bay Area chargers. Well that was the plan anyway, it ended up taking a little longer because I went to go help a new Model 3 driver who was having problems figuring out how to use the Supercharger. We left with 57% SOC and rolled into the garage at home with 20%.

One other note: I used AP1 for almost all of the freeway driving, except in situations where I needed to do lane changes into tight spaces or in moderately heavy traffic with a likelihood of cars merging right in front of me. One time my car braked suddenly and I thought it was a “phantom braking” incident, but it turns out it was trying to avoid a car that braked and swerved across three lanes fo traffic in front of us to get to an off-ramp. Autopilot isn’t a substitute for a hand on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, but it really does reduce the driving workload. And it’s something one almost needs to experience (rather than be told about) to understand.

Clearly this wasn’t a great example of how to do efficient road-tripping in a Tesla. If I were to do this trying to maximize driving efficiency, I’d probably do just two charging stops southbound (maybe Harris Ranch and Santa Clarita) and I’d probably go back north via I-5 rather than US-101 for better charger density. But this wasn’t about getting there fastest...part of the point was to visit new Superchargers.

Total miles driven: 948.
Energy used: 314.5 kWh.
Energy per unit distance: 332 Wh/m

Superchargers used (15 total, 12 new marked with *): Harris Ranch, Kettleman City, Buttonwillow*, Bakersfield*, Santa Clarita*, Downey (Lakewood Blvd.)*, Downey (Stonewood St.)*, Culver City*, Glendale*, Burbank (N. 3rd St.)*, Thousand Oaks (Thousand Oaks Blvd.)*, Thousand Oaks (W. Hillcrest Dr.)*, Buellton*, San Luis Obispo*, Gilroy.

Destination charger: Home2 Suites by Hilton, Montebello, CA.

Bruce.
 

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,268
3,153
Alameda, CA
Thanks for the write-up. I was curious how Xmas had been on the road as we stayed in.

I like the term Touch-n-Go, as I am a pilot as well. I am also OCD enough to totally be into this. I had a SvC loaner recently and it had free Supercharging so I went crazy with the visiting all the SpCs around the Bay Area and only had to wait at the Sunnyvale charger. Though I have waited at the Fremont, Mt. View, and Dublin chargers previously too.

But when I got my car back from service I realized that despite visiting all those chargers they didn't show on my account. OCD made me do the trip again, but this time close to Xmas so I ended up waiting in line at San Jose, Cupertino, and East PA as well. Heck, even my beloved Alameda SpC is full many many times a day. Perhaps now that the shopping season is winding down it won't be so bad.

-Randy
 
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mociaf9

Active Member
Oct 18, 2018
2,542
5,145
CA
Bruce, in the future, if you ever find yourself struggling to explain the multitude of supercharger stops you can just say that it's sort of like Geocaching with your car. But to be fair to your friends, it is a weird hobby (at least when seen from the perspective of the non-Tesla aligned).
 
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bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
3,904
7,013
Lafayette, CA, USA
Thanks for the write-up. I was curious how Xmas had been on the road as we stayed in.

I like the term Touch-n-Go, as I am a pilot as well. I am also OCD enough to totally be into this. I had a SvC loaner recently and it had free Supercharging so I went crazy with the visiting all the SpCs around the Bay Area and only had to wait at the Sunnyvale charger. Though I have waited at the Fremont, Mt. View, and Dublin chargers previously too.

You might not want to explore this thread too much but hey... :)

Superchargers Visited

I'm actually not a pilot (maybe someday) but I have a lot of friends who are pilots. I could probably play one on TV.

@mociaf9: My wife explained it to people as like Pokemon Go with a Tesla (I think our friends would find the geocaching thing even weirder, heh).

Bruce.
 
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jkoya

NA2 NSX
Nov 21, 2018
3,626
1,554
Northern CA
My wife and I did a 3-day Tesla road trip in our S85D, a round-trip from the SF Bay Area to LA, over Christmas.

Wow - nice write up of your road trip and SC use - Thank You !! Basically new to the Tesla world here, so forgive this question: what did Tesla state as the theoretical range of the Model S85D ?
 

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
3,904
7,013
Lafayette, CA, USA
Wow - nice write up of your road trip and SC use - Thank You !! Basically new to the Tesla world here, so forgive this question: what did Tesla state as the theoretical range of the Model S85D ?

Thanks, glad you enjoyed my write-up. The S85D is rated for 270-ish miles, but that assumes a certain set of driving conditions. There's an even more optimistic "ideal" range that can be displayed (which I guess is closer to "theoretical") but it's even less realistic. The actual maximum range you can get depends on a lot of things such as the speed you drive, elevation changes, weather/temperature, wind direction and speed, use of climate control.

Bruce.
 
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jkoya

NA2 NSX
Nov 21, 2018
3,626
1,554
Northern CA
The actual maximum range you can get depends on a lot of things such as the speed you drive, elevation changes, weather/temperature, wind direction and speed, use of climate control.

Thank you again for the information. The Model 3 is our first Tesla, but our fourth electric car (2012 Nissan Leaf, 2013 Honda Fit EV, 2016 Chevrolet Volt). I think out of the four EVs, the worst estimation of range was the Guess o Meter of the 2012 Nissan Leaf.

Have a safe and Happy 2019 !!
 
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The805

Member
Aug 28, 2016
72
61
San Luis Obispo, CA
We bypassed Oxnard, where we’d done a lunch stop last year, and did a very quick charge and restroom stop at Buellton because I’d never been there before. In retrospect it might have worked out better if we had done a lunch stop at Buellton but we had snacks in the car and weren’t really hungry to we pressed on to ...

Next time you're charging in Buellton, hop over to www.industrialeats.com for some great food. It's just under a mile from the SC, but fantastic food in a casual setting. I drop the family off to order/eat and come back to pick them/food up after charging.
 
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NeverFollow

Active Member
Aug 9, 2010
1,277
730
Thank you for the detailed and informative trip information.
I was thinking that you would had made a stop at SpaceX and the Boring medieval watchtower and tunnel.
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
742
829
SF Bay Area
I sometime say a "splash of electrons" co-opted from "splash and go" pit stops.

I used the temporary SLO (pun intended) urbarn charger a couple of weeks ago and also discovered it appeared to be capped at 50kW. I thought I was being clever by avoiding the paired other stations at the time but as soon as I noticed it I walked back to the car and switch one of the others and the timing worked out, got an unpaired station.
 
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bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
3,904
7,013
Lafayette, CA, USA
Thank you for the detailed and informative trip information.
I was thinking that you would had made a stop at SpaceX and the Boring medieval watchtower and tunnel.

I thought about it actually. But we charged at Hawthorne last year and got to see the landed Falcon 9. Seeing the Boring Company stuff would have been cool, but there's kind of a limit to which I'll drag my spouse around to go see Elon Musk-themed attractions. :D

Bruce.
 

shrspeedblade

Rideshare Monkey
Sep 29, 2015
1,123
4,107
CA, United States
I use the term zap and go. ;)
(The EV equivalent to a splash and go pit stop).

Went Bay Area to San Diego between Christmas and new year. Was astounded how less fatiguing it was with Autopilot!
 

aerodyne

Active Member
Nov 19, 2018
2,188
1,628
Los Angeles
Thanks for the write up, another pilot here and I prefer touch and goes to crash and dash...very rare I do not have my choice of stalls, but I like to keep my pack in the mid range per the latest Elon tweet, so never been above 94 nor less than 29%.

In the rare case some one has to park next to me, I offer to move, in case they need it more than I do. No one has taken me up on it yet.

I have a recently purchased CPO 2015 MS 85D, recent trips to LA-Reno, and LA-Chicago-LA. 7k miles, 310 wh/mile average.
 

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