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Taking a Tesla on a 3 Day, 1,200 Mile Road Trip

We have a road trip from Shelby Church, going 1,200 miles in a 2019 Tesla Model 3 with about 220 miles of total range (a standard range version). We see how many times she stopped, how much it cost to charge -vs- a gas car, and if she would rather road trip in a Tesla or some other vehicle.

Taking a Tesla on a 3 Day, 1,200 Mile Road Trip

Shelby Church took her Tesla Model 3 on a 3 day, 1,200 mile road trip. How did her car hold up and how was the charging experience? She has a standard range (RWD) Model 3 and we'll see how her very long road trip went. She planned her route from Palm Springs, CA, all the way up to Seattle, WA - her longest road trip ever.

Shelby was interested in learning how often she would have to stop to charge, if she would get tired of having to charge, and how busy the Tesla superchargers would be while stopping. Her route had her stopping at 11 super chargers along the way. A regular car should take about 8 hours and 43 minutes for the trip.

She made it to her first super charger stop in Burbank, CA. There is an In and Out right by the super charging station. There were 16 chargers and it was the middle of the day and there were open spots. In certain spots of California, electricity is charged and costs more during peak hours instead of off hours. This time was 11 AM to 9 PM.

Her previous costs to charge were about $8 per 150 miles, but it was just over $17 per 150 miles while doing charging during peak hours. The charger was really fast and it took her about 10 minutes to charge 157 miles. She was impressed with how fast the charger was. She's noticing more and more of the super chargers are reaching that high speed.

She is driving about 150 miles for each stretch and charging each time. Her 2nd stop for a Tesla super charger was Tejon Ranch. This was 4 hours into her road trip. This super charger had a shaded charging station with a roof.

After that, it was a stop in Kettleman City, CA for stop #3 and she thought this was like was a futuristic "gas" station would be. There was over 40 charging locations with a store nearby. Inside, it was like a modern coffee shop with various Tesla products, including Tesla merchandise. After 20 minutes of charging, she started her road trip again.

The Road Trip Continues

The stops didn't feel like they were adding time to the trip. The next stop was Patterson, CA, and when they got to this stop, they charged. It felt like a lot of stops and Shelby was using auto pilot for most of the driving on the freeway. There was a final stop and there was 8 hours of driving and 59 minutes of charging. They stayed in Napa, CA for a couple days and then began their trip again.

Their hotel had a destination charger for electric vehicles. Many hotels are having these. The next super charger stop was in Vacaville, CA. It was a fast super charger and in 10 minutes, they gained 109 miles. 1 hour later, they stopped in Williams, CA and charged again. Shelby liked stopping in different areas with super chargers and exploring.

Her next stop was in Corning, CA, an hour later. She charged so that she had 200 miles of range on her vehicle. She stopped at another super charger that was close by where she charged for 5 minutes in Cottonwood, CA. After this stop, they continued on. She thought this stop was weird...

Her trip then took her to Mount Shasta, CA. The super charging station was mostly empty with no other cars charging. Her last stop was Kalamath Falls, OR. For each stop, it was an opportunity for her to get a snack or use the rest room.

For her final day of the road trip, she plugged in at her hotel, and got her car to 164 miles of range. She had 242 miles of range to drive. That is the exact range her car came with. She was surprised at how many times she had to stop. Tesla was conservative in how many times she had to stop, so she wouldn't have to stop so much.

Her Model 3 is from 2019 and her total range is around 220 miles of range, so she had to stop more. But Tesla vehicles from today at 272 miles of range would only have had to stop 9 times. She stopped 2 more times total to charge and finally made it back to Seattle, WA. It was a 1,200 miles road trip with 13 total stop. This added 3.5 hours to her trip.

Shelby prefers to road trip in a Tesla and use auto pilot to not get sick of driving. She thinks it was worth it. She drove 1,200 miles at 288 kWh at $0.24/kWh. The total cost was about $69.12 in electricity costs. In a gas car, for 1,200 miles at 36 mpg, with the average cost of gas at $6.00/gallon, the cost would have been $211.59. The Tesla is at about 1/4 the cost of fuel prices to super charge.

Another interesting thing to not is that if she has around 220 miles on her car for range and started at 242, that's about a 10% decrease in total range over time.

What did you think of Shelby's road trip? Would you drive a Tesla on a road trip?

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For more information, see this video by Shelby Church:

Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

Image Credit, Shelby Church, Screenshot


Larry (not verified)    June 21, 2022 - 2:30AM

My rave prime hybrid,2 stops total 10 minutes, 45 mpg ,26 gallons of gas $156. Tesla’s battery replacement cost add 10 cents per mile which make it more expensive per mile to dive even if gas is $9 a gallon also the car drives smoother and handles better and costs $25,000 less. Teslas are sad!!!