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Road trip in Electric Vehicle, San Francisco to Los Angeles


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Road trip experience in a Tesla

Sharing a road trip experience in EV with Pros and Cons when compared with ICE cars.

This is not a leisure travel, We had to go on a work trip from SF to LA. I tried to capture as many details as possible.



Car Specifications:

  • Range: 600 kilometers per charge (EPA)
  • 0-100: 3.8 Seconds
  • Top speed is limited to 250km/hr 
  • Supports upto Level-3 charging : 250KW/hr
  • Auto Pilot 
  • Will be sharing more information on Tesla Super chargers in the upcoming posts


A day before the trip



Road trips in electric cars need some planning when compared to traditional(ICE) cars. 


STEP 1: 

  • You can use Tesla website to plan your trip, Select the car that you are planning to take on a drive
  • Advantages with Tesla is super charging network
  • Check out the website for fun : https://www.tesla.com/trips
  • SF to LA has close to 10+ Tesla super chargers(Distance : 600+ kilometers)



STEP 2: 

  • Calculate total charging time required, you can check Tesla website to understand your trip plan
  • Total charging time required on a 616 kilometers trip is 55 minutes
  • Details given above are in ideal conditions: 90% charge before you start, follow speed limits, no opposite wind, no cold weather(below 0C), no snow storm etc
  • In real world, range varies, this is similar to our ARAI mileage
  • Tesla calculates/displays range based on EPA(ARAI), add 15~20% range error
  • All the Tesla Chargers are located close to some of the best food courts/restrooms 
  • Total saving for the trip when compared with gas cars is 52$



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  • Gowtham changed the title to Road trip in Electric Vehicle, San Francisco to Los Angeles

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DAY 1 SF to LA 


  • Kilometers: 600+
  • No of charging stops : 2
  • Total charging time : 40Minutes + 40Minutes = 80 Minutes
  • Usually it should be close to 60 minutes, due to high average speed on i5 highway, charging depletion rate is high
  • Total Drive time is close to 7 hours including charging stops and LA traffic(lost an hour)


A quick pullout en-route



Types to Tesla super charging: V1,V2 and V3(latest)

Higher KW/hr is more charging speed


  • V1 and V2 charges upto 150KW/hr
  • V3 charges upto 250KW/hr
  • Draw back with old V1 and V2, when someone parks next to your car, your charging speed is divided. Maximum charge rate is limited to 75KW/hr for two cars.
  • V1 and V2 are typically located at supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants etc
  • V3 are advanced chargers, they work independently and they are super efficient, generally located on highways
  • Most of the new super charger setups are V3


Check out the below graph,0-20% charge is quicker when compared with 80-100%

  • 10-80% takes 20 minutes (approx)
  • 10-100% takes 40 minutes (approx)

We charge till 80% and we head out to next charger, instead of wasting time till 100%




Usually chargers are empty on highways, during long weekends they are super busy.

Some times wait times are close to an hour. 

Electric cars have numerous incentives, access to car pool lanes(fast lanes). Check out the red sticker on the bumper.
It gives access to fast lanes, ICE cars are not allowed, unless they are car pooling. 


LA = Drama, LA entry


Lunch stop!


View from charging station


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DAY 2 : LA local drives


If you are driving an EV, you need to make sure that you book hotels which has destination charger.

It adds lot of connivence, plug-in over night and wake up with 600 kilometers range.

Destination chargers are free of cost.

Destination chargers don't have any limitations on charging times. 


Destination charging speed is pretty low, it takes around 8~10 hours to reach 10-100% charge.


Destination charger types:

  • Tesla destination charger
  • Third party destination charger

Advantage of driving Tesla? You can charge at both stations. 

Other EV's are not capable to charge at Tesla. They are limited to third part network.


Few pictures Sunset pictures:






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DAY 3 : LA to SF

  • Drive was pretty much similar to Day1
  • Since we have destination charger at the hotel, started with 100% charge
  • We had to charge twice en-route for 40mins + 40mins + 10mins
  • We encountered heavy storm, which killed around 30% of range, we had to top-up 10minutes just before reaching home







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