Our 8,400 Mile Journey with No “Range Anxiety”

We had five missions to accomplish and 8,400 miles standing between us. It was time to see how trustworthy our Tesla Model S 85D was.

Our plan was to travel in our new Tesla to three conferences, of which two were in New York and the third was in California. Since we were already traveling cross country, we wanted to make sure to visit our relatives in British Columbia and my son, who lives in Southern California. Stella and I carefully planned our route which encompassed twenty-two U.S states and two Canadian provinces. We were excited to travel in a new way: through the Tesla Supercharger Network!

We started our journey off in Knoxville, TN and headed towards Perrysburg, OH. Two hours into the trip, we had our first Supercharger experience in London, KY. I pulled right into the lot and hooked up. While charging, I ran into the convenience store and bought some snacks. As I come out, I see a police officer approaching. I was a little concerned, but it turned out that he was just curious about the Supercharger and the fancy Model S sitting in the stall. We continued our drive aiming for the next conveniently located Supercharger stations in Cincinnati, Dayton, Lima, and Maumee.

After a good night’s rest in a strange “Romantic Getaway” hotel, we continued our journey. This leg of the journey put Model S to the test. With no Superchargers on the south side of Lake Erie, we had to travel through Canada along the north side and then to Syracuse before arriving in Ithaca. I kept a close eye on energy usage, and we arrived with 25 miles to spare. We had accomplished our first mission: Conference #1 at Cornell University.

Our next conference was in Amherst, NY which at that time was still a bit out of the way for the Supercharger network. We had planned to recharge for free at a Chargepoint location in our next hotel in Amherst. This was also where I gave my talk at the conference. Mission #2 complete.

Following the completion of our conference, we were ready to tackle the longest part of our trip. Since we were fully charged, we could travel along the south shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland. While driving, we were amused by the car’s navigation system urging us to charge on the opposite side of the lake! We stopped at five more Supercharger locations and safely arrived in Chicago. We decided to sightsee downtown Chicago and “topped off” with charge at the Highland Park Service Center. We went inside the retail center to chat with some Tesla folks. I spoke to a lady waiting for a salesman to take her on a test drive, and when he arrived he commented “Our customers are our best salesmen”. I guess this was what we were doing by traveling across country!

During the next part of our drive from Chicago towards South Dakota, there was no shortage of Superchargers. We breezed through this area. Maybe we should not have traveled so quickly, as I turned up with a sore throat, but Model S made it easy to keep going.

While at a charging location we came across a new term: “D-Envy”. We had run into another Tesla owner who was traveling in the opposite direction on his way to the Tesla Car Rally at Custer. He jokingly expressed “D-envy” since our Tesla was a newer 85D version.

With Superchargers being plentiful, we were cruising along through Montana and enjoying gorgeous mountain views. Our last Supercharge before leaving the U.S. was in Ellensburg, WA. We had 260 miles to go to our destination on Vancouver Island, but did this comfortably, regenerative braking on the long downhill stretch from Snoqualmie pass giving us many extra miles. We arrived at my cousin’s house which had a level two charger powered mostly by an impressive array of solar panels. Here, we accomplished Mission # 3: visiting our relatives.

I never experienced “range anxiety”

With visits to Superchargers located between Oregon all the way down to Berkeley, CA we spotted many other Tesla drivers. In Berkeley, we made it to our conference, which completed Mission #4. The following day we headed down towards Santa Barbara via Superchargers. While shopping at a local grocery store, we joked how we have the coolest car in the lot (apart from other Tesla owners), even in a ritzy town like Santa Barbara. We finally arrive in Riverside, CA and sprang a surprise visit on my son. Our last and final mission was complete.

During our journey back home, we concluded that the comfort of our Model S was fantastic. Neither of us had any aches or pains, after traveling over 8,000 miles. The navigation system was on the whole invaluable, although occasionally the sounds of place names were slightly garbled. What astonished us was the multitude of people who asked us about the car and how they were all genuinely enthusiastic about the technology.

Although this was a long journey, it was a relaxing drive. I never experienced “range anxiety” as I matched our cruising speed to the excellent displays of the energy usage data. Altogether, I would have to say this was a great success! With all five missions completed with ease, our Tesla deserved to come back home into our garage!