Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12/30 - Los Altos to Las Vegas

We stayed with relatives in Los Altos on the 29th after the factory tour.  We also had paint protection and window tinting installed on the car while on the tour in Fremont.  After a great dinner party with Bruce and Cheryl Herrmann in Los Altos that Monday evening, we left early yesterday, 12/30, heading to Las Vegas, where we are staying two nights and will see in the New Year.

We charged at four Superchargers yesterday - Gilroy, Harris Ranch, Tejon, and Barstow, all in California.  It was a long day and we did have one close call. We left the Tejon Supercharger with 208 miles indicated range, drove the 137.5 miles to the Barstow Supercharger, and arrived with only 7 miles range.  That means we use a theoretical 201 miles range to go only 137.5 miles.  There was a mountain range crossing, and temps were in the 30's, but we don't like cutting it that close.  We went with traffic or slower, generally 70 miles per hour, never over 75.  The speed limit was 70.

We left Los Altos at 9:00 AM and arrived in Las Vegas at 10:30 PM.  Total distance was 684 miles in 11.5 hours, so average speed with charging was almost 51 mph.  That's pretty decent.  However, we are averaging 403 wh/mile since Portland, far above the 325 lifetime average that we achieved with our Tesla S85 over 31k miles.  This may get better now that we have broken in the tires, which supposedly get more miles per watt after 1,000 miles driven.  However, we're heading into very cold country next, so I remain skeptical.  The good news is that Superchargers are spaced about every 100-160 miles and we must stop because the car can't skip any chargers, so there has been on one close call as mentioned above, and that was due to a mountain climb.  We don't expect any issues getting across the country about as fast as we would in a car driving on gasoline.

Yesterday J.B. Straubel posted a Tesla blog indicating that a new software upload will take advantage of our car's dual motors and ideal the bigger one at highway speeds, increasing range by 10%.  That will be good, but he indicates it will come in late January, after our current adventure.  No worries, but it would be nice to have more cushion on some legs.  The blog post about range is here:

A few pictures, followed by a detailed chart on charges and ranges:

 Supercharging at Gilroy Factory Outlets

The Gilroy location was busy.  California has something like half of all Tesla's and we saw a lot!

Supercharging at Harris Ranch

Harris Ranch is getting a new Tesla battery swap station.  I am skeptical about its usefulness and would not have used it if available, but Tesla is getting big tax credits for this test location.

 Workers were sealing the pavement at the swap station.

Another view of the swap station.

Battery swap station exit.  This was previously a car wash.

Supercharging at Tejon.  This was one of the first U.S. superchargers, so has the original canopy and solar panels.  Later superchargers are simpler, have no canopy or solar panels.

Supercharging at Barstow, CA.  We arrived with only 7 miles remaining range after using up 201 miles of rated range to go 137.5 miles.

The following is a cut-and-past of the electricity record.  It is from Excel and isn't formatted perfectly, but people who care will get it.

Charging Stats
Date Starting Odometer Starting Rated Range Cumulative Average wh/mi Cumulative Total kWh Charging Location Miles Since Last Charge kWh Since Last Charge Avg WH/Mi. Since Last Charge Rated Miles After Charge Notes
28-Dec 12 159 Tesla Tigard Service Center New car delivery
28-Dec 12 134 410 8.2 Woodburn, OR Supercharger 20 8.2 411
28-Dec 32 184 413 40.8 Springfield, OR Supercharger 78.8 32.6 413 78
28-Dec 111 223 410 98.3 Grant's Pass OR Supercharger 141 57.6 408 34
28-Dec 252 221 417 149.6 Mt. Shasta CA Supercharger 118.8 51.3 432 53
28-Dec 370 223 398 186.4 Corning, CA Supercharger 109.3 36.7 336 103
28-Dec 480 202 402 234.1 Vacaville, CA Supercharger 114.1 47.8 419 46
28-Dec 594 200 402 267.3 Fremont, CA S/C (factory) 82.8 33.2 401 81
29-Dec 671 114 401 295.4 Gilroy, CA Supercharger 71.5 28.1 392 17
29-Dec 748 242 396 336.6 Harris Ranch, CA Supercharger 113.3 41.2 364 112
29-Dec 862 225 393 380.5 Tejon, CA Supercharger 117.6 43.9 373 83
29-Dec 979 208 400 442 Barstow, CA Supercharger 137.5 61.4 447 7
29-Dec 1117 245 403 509.6 Trump International,  Las Vegas 160.8 67.7 421 31


  1. Really enjoying reading your blog - thanks! We love our Prius (now on our second and it has well over 170k on it). Like you I am very curious about the Tesla, but it's not in the budget. Can you tell me how long the charging takes?
    (IBA #404)

  2. Charging time varies depending on where you are. At home, a few hours. We charge overnight, the car is always ready to go with a "full tank." It is like having your own gas station, and is how we cha

  3. Wow! Your travel adventure sure looks a lot of fun. The photos you took are amazing. I can just imagine how happy and ecstatic you were while on that trip. The fact that you travel using your own car is just so cool. Good thing your car is really up for the ride. Hahaha! You are so adventurous, and I admire and envy you for that. Thanks for sharing that, LeeAnn! Take care always!

    Rhonda Burgess @ Bob Dunn Hyundai