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Ultimate EV Road Trip - Circumnavigating North America

Gray468

Member
Jan 7, 2019
102
114
Santa Barbara
July 2017, I took my brand new S 100D to Halifax from Santa Barbara. 49 days return, most of it in southern Ont staying with a host of friends. From Quebec to HFX there were no superchargers. But as the poster says, plugshare is your friend and I was never without options. Yep, free supercharging and local chargers the whole way. Arrived at my friend’s in HFX and I was two ft short to plug not his dryer socket. So it took two days to charge the car... ha!

back then, many people would want a picture next to the car and/had tons of questions and found the idea of free charging mind blowing... of course the compared to the cost of the car, “free gas” is nothing... but I let them enjoy the moment.

several trips to Denver and Yellowstone since. 3.5 years, 45,000 miles... never paid for electricity as my solar panels paid for themselves last year... so while at home, my car runs on sunshine.

outstanding trip, hope to repeat it this fall. Image shows route out... basically same route home.
6665700F-BFDA-4628-B810-B7244D3A6882.jpeg
 
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Bighorn

Top Supercharger
Jun 19, 2013
2,783
4,514
Big Horn, Wyoming
Great road trip but you missed about 40% of North America. Maybe the title should read “the US and Canada” instead of North America.

I don’t want to hijack the thread but I’ve done extensive research on driving from Ushuaia, Argentina at the southern tip of South America to Fairbanks, Alaska or beyond in my Model 3 and it’s totally doable assuming you have the time. The only problem is the Darien gap between Panama and Colombia. It’s an impassable jungle by car and the only option is to load your car in a container ship from Colombia to Panama. Again, totally doable but then you’re not really driving the entire way so the claims would be at best “almost” drove the entire American continent.

Anyway, that’s near the top of my bucket list.

Our supercharger contest used to include Mexico, but it got removed for "safety" reasons after I was extorted and threatened with impoundment by the cops in Mexico City. I've got 8 Mexican superchargers, but they aren't included in our North American total. So 978 is really 986.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,397
3,096
Maine
Buying and selling your Model S, reminded me of the time, post-college, I was in Hawaii with my g/f, and wanted to rent a car, but since I was under 25yrs old, none of the rental agencies would rent to me. We got on a bus to the other side of the island, where our hotel was, but we passed a used car lot. We got out, and I told the salesman I wanted to buy a cheap car for a week, that I would sell back to him at the end of the week. I don't remember the actual financial details, 35 yrs ago, but in the end, it was about $200. I filed that idea in the back of my brain, but have never had reason to use it again. Your idea to travel around the US, almost for free, sounds fantastic! How did you make out on the resale?
 

JIson16

Member
Jan 26, 2020
9
4
Toronto, Ontario
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, https://photos.app.goo.gl/wd2j216xojhszfi16 (Play LOUD!)
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, https://photos.app.goo.gl/wd2j216xojhszfi16 (Play LOUD!)
 

JIson16

Member
Jan 26, 2020
9
4
Toronto, Ontario
Great adventure. Only Aussies do stuff like this. Although, my intrepid Canadian son did drive from Nairobi to Capetown (58 days). In an EV? Are you kidding? You will be happy to hear the Canadian Supercharger network is growing very fast, every 200km now coast to coast, but not the third coast, not northern BC.
 

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rallybob

Member
Mar 5, 2016
22
10
London ,Ontario (Canada)
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, https://photos.app.goo.gl/wd2j216xojhszfi16 (Play LOUD!)
I have driven coast to coast and down to Florida from Ontario. Moved to BC a year ago, in December. Not the best time to drive through the Rockies. Had two very close calls. Drove through the US, as the Canadian chargers were not up yet. I think they went live about a month after our trip. All are V3, 250 kw units. Never had an issue charging on any trip coast to coast to coast. Great network. So much better that fastchargers that are sometimes only one unit.
 
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StealthP3D

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2018
8,806
65,278
Maple Falls, WA
It would really be nice if Teslas had a built-in compressor for inflating tires. In the olden days some cars did, but that was before 1920. Of course one can plug a compressor into the drug paraphernalia lighter but, because the compressor has no tank doing, that is rather slow.

I've used the cheap/light 12V compressors for emergencies and they seem to work fine for their intended purpose even though they are cheap, cheap, cheap. They are built to a very low price point. But I've never needed in either of our two Model 3's (I use the compressor in my shop for routine tire maintenance). I use the cheap portable ones every once in a while just to insure they function. I wouldn't leave on a road trip without one but often don't have one in the car for day-to-day driving.

For those of you who don't have a shop compressor I can highly recommend the DeWalt 20V portable compressor. It's a little heavy for leaving in the car just in case but it is more durable and capable than the cheap compressors. For regular tire maintenance it's nice to not have to deal with long cords or air hoses. It's not cheap in build quality, features, or purchase price (the battery and charger adds significantly) but it might make sense for those who already have 20V cordless Dewalt tools.

DeWalt DCC020IB 20V MAX Corded/Cordless Air Inflator, No Battery (toolnut.com)

All configurations of the Cybertruck will come with a built-in inflator. I buy the best tires I can find and keep them inflated religiously (typically about 2 psi. above the door plaque recommendation) and this is why I've had almost no tire issues over the last several decades. Punctures, blowouts and bent rims are much more likely to happen if you neglect tire pressures or measure the pressures warm instead of cold as intended. As an added bonus, you will see increased tire life and efficiency. I keep them higher than typical for the increased reliability and more responsive steering response.
 

Shuribob

New Member
Sep 15, 2020
3
1
LaSalle, Illinois
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, https://photos.app.goo.gl/wd2j216xojhszfi16 (Play LOUD!)
Absolutely beautiful example of the Tesla value
 
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lw03tor

Member
Feb 15, 2020
25
30
Toronto
Amazing trip!!! And don’t feel bad about the costly air—only CA and CT have free air laws.

Your trip will be of special interest to our supercharger competition contestants, though visiting superchargers was decidedly not one of your goals. To not have experienced range anxiety making your way across rural Canada requires a fortitude rare in most Americans! Bravo!

Superchargers Visited
Said he was Australian, NOT American
 

Dave92F1

Member
Aug 27, 2018
8
1
Boston USA
Amazing video. Making it was probably a lot of work!!

I learned that North America has a LOT of trees (except the southwest).

Near the end did you switch to a different (white) vehicle?
 

Zer227

New Member
Nov 13, 2019
1
0
USA
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, https://photos.app.goo.gl/wd2j216xojhszfi16 (Play LOUD!)
This is Amazing. It reminds me of the show "Long Way Up." People are saying air is free!? It hasn't been free in Pennsylvania for many years. $1 is hardly a lot to pay for running an electric pump even though the air is "free." I would love to emulate your trip!
 

Bighorn

Top Supercharger
Jun 19, 2013
2,783
4,514
Big Horn, Wyoming
I swore off the Canadian Rockies in winter after a scary overnight traverse rife with many semis which seemed to appreciate the lane markings far better than I. Being able to snag the newly open trans Canada SC route in March before the border closed was too tempting, though. Quickly remembered why I hadn’t wanted to repeat the experience because despite snow tires, the back end of my P85+ felt loose on the icy roads. And of course, all the locals drive faster knowing the terrain and curves.

For the person asking what season, I suspect this trip was done in the summer.
 
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