I’ve owned my Model 3 for a little under 3 months. During those months, most of my commute has been to work or around the San Diego area. The furthest I’ve been has been Carlsbad & Temecula, which I made once. I can make those trips without needing to go to a Supercharger. But then came my biggest challenge, driving to Santa Clarita during Black Wednesday followed by a wine trip to San Luis Obispo the following week.
Thanksgiving at Santa Clarita
This year, instead of our usual Thanksgiving at home, we got invited to visit our friends out in Santa Clarita. All our family is in Illinois, so we usually celebrate this day by ourselves. We knew regardless of what time we left, it was going to take a long time. While we can normally make this trip in 4 hours or less, we knew this was going to take longer.
We decided to head out before 2pm on Wednesday, November 21st. Not the best of time to leave, but we were trying to finish work. We skipped lunch and hit the road to gain some ground. And just as we thought, we ran a bunch of traffic. After around 2 hours, we had only reached Lake Elsinore, which was about 80 miles away.
Right around that time, we needed to make a stop anyways. We grabbed some food and plugged into the Supercharger. After a quick charge and a bathroom break, we continued on to Santa Clarita.
Once we arrived in Santa Clarita, my car was parked on the street overnight. That meant that I couldn’t charge my car, which was fine as I had about 39% of the battery left. We did, however, go to Studio City in the morning to run our traditional 5k Turkey Trot. By the time we got back home, I was at 8%, roughly around 25 miles. I’m sure it would have been fine to leave it overnight, but I was a bit paranoid. Luckily my friend lives near the Santa Clarita Supercharger.
I originally was only planning to charge to about 40 or 50%, but while charging, my buddy swung by and picked me up as he had to run an errand. So I left my car at the charger and came back for it 41 mins later. I was at 80% and figured I was good enough.
On Friday we were heading home. We decided to return to the Santa Clarita Supercharger while eating breakfast before we decided to go home. I’m pretty sure the Supercharger unit was a bit faulty, but we got up to 94%.
On our drive back, we only made 1 stop at Corona. This was mainly just a pit stop about halfway between my friend’s house and ours. Didn’t see the need to stop at a Supercharger since we were just going home. We reached San Diego with 27% left on the battery.
Wine Tasting @ San Luis Obispo
Just a week after Santa Clarita, we found ourselves on the road again, this time past LA to Pismo Beach where we were renting an apartment. Unlike last time, we made sure we left early, and we left with a battery at 100% (310 miles).
We left at 10:46 am. Probably should have gone a little earlier, but it was the best we could do that day. That said, we trekked about an hour & half before we reached Culver City. By then we were hungry so decided to stop at a Supercharger and top off.
The car spent about an hour charging there while we ate at the restaurant. And then we took off again, this time hitting a little traffic. We were able to drive for close to 3 hours and picked the Buellton Supercharger as a logical break. This Supercharger was located at the Marriott.
Here I noticed that one of the Superchargers was a bit slow, so I switched to another one, and it was definitely faster. After spending 15 mins there, we were on our way to Pismo Beach. Luckily for me, the apartment had a garage with a 120V hook up!
On Monday we had a late start. We had breakfast there and left after cleaning up and saying bye to our friends. We departed Pismo Beach around 10:30 am and arrived in Oxnard around 12:30 pm.
We decided to stop at the Supercharger here and grab some lunch. We spent about an hour and 15 minutes charging before deciding to make our way to Temecula. The only other spot we stopped was in Azusa, CA at a Starbucks.
We got to Temecula to stop at a winery to pick up an order. Based on the battery, I figured there’s no need to make a stop at the Temecula Supercharger and just go straight home. We arrived at my apartment with 4% left on the battery.
What did I learn
This is the first time I had real stats while driving. Before having a Tesla, when we drove, we would guestimate on how long we would be at a restaurant or gas station. Typically, we would split up our bathroom breaks and gas fill-ups. Those activities rarely lined up at the same time. And even if they did, we couldn’t do both activities at the same time. I couldn’t eat while pumping gas. Or leave my car while the pump was on.
That’s where charging was different. These activities could be done at the same time, which is convenient cause charging can take some time, at most a bit over an hour if you are really depleted. As someone new to the EV world, this was the most significant change in our thinking. When we take trips that require charging, we can’t take the approach that we do with a gas car. For us, we like to use our time efficiently.
Our limit for being in a car without having to go to the bathroom is around 2.5 hours, so usually that’s how we plan our stops. We pick Superchargers when we need to stop to eat or go to the bathroom. The Superchargers have bathroom facilities that make it convenient, and they have many restaurants nearby too. This is great because you can take your time at the restaurant while your car recharges.
Before, when we traveled, we would stop at Taco Bell (that’s our only fast food vice). It’s quick and easy, and we can get back on the road again. But we noticed that there aren’t many Taco Bells near Superchargers. But we did go to a Taco Bell once and took our food to the Supercharger (Lake Elsinore). Fast food chains are that far where you can do this.
Rarely do I ever run the battery all the way down. It would be well over 3 hours. That in itself isn’t healthy to be seated for that long anyway. And before anyone comes after me on this, it was relatively the same with my Civic. We definitely like to break it up and take small chunks. It gives you a break and takes away the fear of range anxiety. Speaking of which, the Supercharger network is amazing, I never was worried that I would end up with a dead battery on my trip!
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