Road trips are a joy in the Model S. Recently did a 5-day, leisurely round trip from SF Bay Area to Valencia (southern California) and back. Preferred not to drive I-5, so went down Hwy 101, and back between Cambria and Seaside along the Big Sur coastline on Hwy 1. Beautiful, and so much fun in the T-S70D!
No wait at any supercharger (SC) the entire trip, and always got an unpaired stall (charges faster if you start unpaired). While charging we either went on a walk or grabbed a bite to eat, and of course usually hit the restroom. We like to stop every couple of hours anyway, so it fits our travel style very nicely. Our longest stretch between SCs was about 140 miles between Gilroy SC and Atascadero SC, which normally is about a 2-hour drive at speed limit (I usually drive faster), but it was raining hard that day, so we drove more slowly than usual.
We unexpectedly had access to a destination charger at our hotel in Cambria on the way back north. Noticed it on our nav system at about an hour away, called the hotel, and they reserved it for us (no other Teslas were there anyway). So we charged overnight and came back Hwy 1 to Seaside (where there's an SC), at which we charged for about 15 minutes to make it home with plenty of buffer. Fun to be able to make a last minute trip change like that.
Out of many SC stops on a number of trips, have only had to wait once for a stall, for only five minutes, and that was at an SC that we didn't even need to stop at, but chose to because I wanted to stop and eat a sandwich. Some SCs do get busy and have waits at peak times though, but we seem not to hit those.
Rated range is 240 miles on a full charge in our 70D, but actual range depends on factors like speed, elevation change, and headwinds. We usually only charge to 60% or so at home, and try not to charge to more than 80% on road trips, because the charging is faster at lower states of charge (SOC). If you roll into an unpaired stall at an SC with say 20% SOC (about 50 rated miles), you initially add as much as 300 rated miles or more of range per hour, so can get as much as 100 miles of rated range in 20 minutes, and 150 miles of rated range typically is more than enough to get to the next SC in California.
So best way to go is to charge just enough to get to next SC or to destination charger with whatever buffer you're comfortable with (my rule of thumb is 20%). You spend less total time charging this way than charging to higher SOC than you need.
We are planning a trip to Eugene, Oregon in June. Super easy on I-5, but our preference is to go Hwy 1 up the coast if possible. Not enough SCs on that route (EDIT: yet; permits for SCs in Eureka and Crescent City), but there are three hotels with Tesla destination chargers in the Eureka area, which would make it doable.
ICE vehicles still are required for people who like to drive many hours without stopping, or with only super-quick stops. I am not one of those people. There are of course trips that can't be done using SCs only, but there are thousands of generic chargers around the country, and you can use those for more adventurous trips (as Tesla owners did before there were SCs). RV parks with 240V outlets used to be a common alternative, and still are for routes with not enough SCs. We are looking forward to our Oregon trip.
Last edited by Kevin M
on Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.