– Ben Martens

Tesla Road Trip Planning

Welcome to anotherĀ Tesla Tuesday!

I was hoping to write this post after going on our first overnight road trip, but that got canceled because COVID. (More on that later.) I had done a lot of planning and calculation prep work so I think I can still share some info.

Charging time is something I almost never think about in daily life, but it comes to the forefront on road trips. If you’re the type of person who can burn off a tank of gas without stopping, there’s no getting around it: an EV will add time to your trip. Maybe cutting your fuel costs by ~90% still makes it worth it, but it’s definitely going to change your planning.

For our family, I don’t expect charging to impact our total trip time because we rarely go more than two hours without stopping for a bathroom break. Our trip to Oregon was 3 hours and 50 minutes so I had a planned stop at the 2 hour mark where we would charge for 15 minutes and use the bathroom. There was a supercharger less than 2 miles from our rental house so I would have charged for about 15 minutes there when we arrived too. I doubt the exact plan would have held up and I would have stopped at other chargers as needed. I could have made it all the way down there in one charge and arrived with 17% battery, but being our first road trip, I wanted to see how it worked to combine the inevitable bathroom breaks with supercharger stops. Also, note that charging would be cheaper on the way back because I can roll into my house with a low battery state and charge for quite a bit less money than doing it at a supercharger station.

The Tesla road trip planner is ok, but if you’re a big planner, you’ll find it lacking. I prefer to use A Better Route Planner when I look at road trips. You can specify which types of chargers your happy to use, the efficiency you typically get in your own car, the amount of charge you plan to leave with, how much charge you want to arrive with, what amenities you want to have at a charging stop, and much more. You can even give the site/app access to your Tesla’s data and have it update your plan on the fly.

So yes, road tripping with an EV is different and will probably slow you down depending on your personal situation. Maybe the gas savings will make it worth it for you, or maybe you’ll still prefer to take your gas vehicle on longer trips. We certainly aren’t getting rid of our truck anytime soon and I’m sure we’ll use it for some road trips in the future too, but I’m also looking forward to our next overnight trip so we can try all this planning out in the real world!