Tesla Model S – courtesy Tesla website

San Diego to Vancouver: 4 Nights on Tesla’s West Coast Supercharger Corridor

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Tesla’s West Coast Supercharger Corridor is now open. Two Model S owners left the San Diego, on October 30, on a 1,500 miles trip to Vancouver BC. They utilized Tesla’s Super Charger stations, now strung out every 200 miles along the I-5, in a leisurely 5 day drive to Vancouver.

Their trip is chronicled by the Tesla Motors twitter feed and Facebook.  Photographs of a Tesla Supercharging station at Hawthorne, a Model S at Santa Monica Pier (the historic end of Route 66), and also Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara were posted on Day one. They drove around 460 miles and must have slept somewhere in the vicinity of the Golden Gate Bridge. A tweet made at 7:53 a.m., on day two, states, “Last night we pulled into our hotel in San Francisco and will be starting Day 2 from Crissy Field.”

A 10:06 a.m. posting shows about 20 Model S vehicles, in a parking lot overlooking the Golden Gate.

“Fantastic turnout from our owners in SF! Tons of enthusiasm from everyone about their Model S,” Tesla Motors wrote.

They proceeded North through Sacramento and attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Supercharger station in Corning and stopped near Mount Shasta, where they made their first tweet on day three (Friday, Nov 1). The Tesla’s were in Seattle by 8:26 pm on Saturday (day four), when Tesla Motors wrote, “There is nothing quite like Pike Place Market.”

Vancouver, their final destination, was only two hours to the North. The two Tesla’s finished their trip the next morning and tweeted “We made it!” from Stanley Park at 11:00 am.

They have made this trip in half the time it took Tony Williams in 2012. Williams made eight overnight stops, when he drove his Nissan Leaf from Tijuana, Mexico, to Vancouver. There wasn’t a system of Supercharger stations for Williams and he periodically had to phone “places along the route to make sure he could get some power.”

The West Coast Electric Highway  has improved since then. According to the Washington state Department of Transportation, “The west coast has a robust EV charging network with thousands of Level 2 charging pedestals and dozens of DC fast chargers.” There are now DC fast charging stations, strung out at 25 and 50 mile intervals, along the I-5.

Blink claims to “deliver the fastest EV charging rate currently available … a full charge in fewer than 30 minutes,” but most EVs do not get much more than a hundred miles per charge.

That is where the Model S, whose EPA certified range is 265 miles, excels. A couple of Teslas have gone over 400 miles, but only at incredibly slow speeds.

Tesla’s Superchargers provide a half charge, sufficient to go around 200 miles, in as little as 20 minutes. (Or an 80% charge in 40 minutes.)

Ironically,  the Tesla outlet at Westfield UTC, in La Jolla, does not have a supercharger. San Diego  is perceived as an overnight destination, or starting point for owners who have their own charging stations.

A number of local Tesla owners attended the outlet’s first anniversary, which was catered by the Mangia Mangia Mobile food truck, on Sunday, Oct 27.

Three days later, the two Tesla Model S EVs left on their trip to Vancouver. They hosted a number of owner and media events along the way and probably set a record for EV’s travelling this route. It will soon be broken. If two vehicles can make a comparatively leisurely trip in four days, imagine how much faster a pair of drivers in a single Model S could make the trip.

Tesla’s Superchargers are now, “strategically placed along major highways connecting city centers. Stations are located where customers want to stop, near amenities like roadside diners, cafes and shopping centers, so owners can stop for a quick meal while their Model S charges for free.”

In their pres release, Tesla says, “More than 99 percent of Californians and 87 percent of Oregon and Washington owners are now within 200 miles of a Supercharger.”


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