Road Trip With the Tesla Model 3

Do you question whether you can take a 1000+ mile roadtrip with an Electric Car? Having done one last week, I can’t imagine any other way to take to the road.

Yes – let me say that again, taking a roadtrip with the Tesla Model 3 is the best roadtrip experience I have ever had!

Why did I love roadtripping with the Tesla?

  • Auto Pilot completely changes the roadtrip experience – you can relax, listen to music, talk with the other people in the car, all while staying focused on the road, but without tiredness that comes with regular driving. Its really a game changer for these types of drives (and my son says that Auto Pilot drives better than I do!)

  • The charging stops are a gift. Its nice to take 20-40 minute breaks during a long trip, and the Super Chargers are at more varied locations – so its not always McDonalds or Subway …

  • It was super easy to find and use the Super Chargers – the navigation identifies stops along the way, and you can easily ignore/change the locations you want to stop – you can easily select Super Chargers with restaurants, restrooms and proximity to the highway exit

  • Saving money … I spent roughly $60 for charging on the trip … I estimate gas cost would have been $100-$125 … keep in mind Super Chargers are cheaper than Gas, but more expensive than home charging

Of course you want to know how often and how long I needed to stop … below is a map with the specifics.

Some things to keep in mind about the above maps:

  • I drove a Tesla Model 3 Long Range – it has 310 miles of range. For this trip, a 200+ mile car could have worked, but there would have been more stops. As noted in the blog posting on Range, for trips over 200 miles, a 300+ mile range car is ideal

  • I drove a Tesla, that has access to the Super Charger network – there are thousands of chargers available for non-Teslas, but right now, most are limited to ~50 kWh – which means they don’t charge as fast. This is fine for charging at the destination, but would slow down charging during the trip. Electrify America has the biggest plans to create a network of high speed chargers for non-Tesla’s – hopefully it will be more fully built out within ~24 months

Key items to consider when planning a long distance trip with an EV:

  • The stops should be part of the enjoyment of the trip – one way to make this work, is to plan them for mealtimes. So think ahead when planning your trip, and schedule the longest stops for when you’d want a lunch or dinner break

  • Be mindful of your plans for charging when you reach your destination. If charging will be limited, then before arriving at your destination, stop at closest Super Charger to the destination, and top up

  • Even with the top up above, make plans for charging when at your destination. Ideally there is a charging station in (or walking distance) to where you are staying – so its easy to charge it overnight. The app “PlugShare” lists virtually all charging stations – if you’ve never seen this app, look at it, you will be shocked how many charging stations are available – here’s a picture of downtown Boston:

Luggage space …

  • I had not thought I would cover this, but I was really surprised with how much space is available in the Model 3 Trunk. At one point we had 5 people in the car, with luggage for 5 people, and I was thinking, there is no way everything would fit …

  • Here’s a few pictures – the first shows a hidden compartment that can store a piece of luggage, the second shows four additional pieces of luggage, and just for effect, I added my hockey bag to see if it would fit (it does) … and I won’t be giving Ginsu knives, but there is also space in the front trunk (frunck)!

Final thoughts

I think the biggest concern people have is the amount of time to charge during the trip. I found the stop time to be enjoyable, and something that made for a better long trip. There were things we could have done to shorten the stop time, but they were not important to us. Tesla is already releasing upgrades that will make charging quicker – maybe this would have shaved 10-15 minutes off the trip I say maybe, because we would likely have not changed the amount of time we stopped for meals, or to go to the restrooms …