You’re Planning On A Non-Tesla EV Buy For Cross Nation Journeys — Severely?


You’ve gotten your eye on a cheap Bolt EUV, or your dream battery-electric automotive, a BMW i7 or Porsche Taycan, however you might be planning frequent and even rare cross nation journeys. For this, ideally you will have functioning, unoccupied CCS chargers at 100 mile intervals alongside your proposed routes.

No approach! For many proposed cross-country journeys within the subsequent 5 years, you might be asking for bother not shopping for a Tesla.

Our 8 years proudly owning 4 completely different EVs

Now we have owned and have been driving 4 completely different EVs for 8 years now. My first 3 have been Nissan LEAFs. Now we have been driving a Tesla Mannequin 3 Lengthy Vary now for over 3 years (since October 2019) and over 80,000 miles. My spouse and I commute 1500 miles yearly from Utah to Northern Wisconsin and again. My third Nissan LEAF had a spread of 150 miles. I purchased an air mattress that would slot in the LEAF and spent hours scheming on how I might use it to make that 1500-mile commute. With cautious planning and a number of 8-hour in a single day L2 costs, I figured I might make the journey in 10 days as a substitute of the three we utilized in our gas-mobile. It simply wasn’t going to work. I ended up delivery the Leaf the 1500 miles by business diesel automotive service.

Since buying the Tesla Mannequin 3, we’ve got made the 1500-mile journey 6 occasions, taking the identical 3 days that we used to absorb our gas-mobile every time. We do that regardless of the truth that we’re carrying two aerodynamics-destroying, heavy ebikes on a receiver-mounted bike service. (With the bikes on again, Supercharger separations longer than 100 miles require longer costs or/and discount in velocity.) Now we have additionally made jaunts to my daughter’s residence in North Carolina and our pal’s time-share in Southern California.

On all of those cross-country journeys, we’ve got by no means discovered a Tesla Supercharger with multiple or two stalls out of order or completely occupied. Completely occupied wouldn’t be a giant downside since virtually all Tesla Superchargers have 8 or extra stalls, so probably the most you’d in all probability discover can be a brief wait. A Supercharger completely out-of-order can be a catastrophe. However we haven’t run into both scenario throughout our many highway journeys.

A charger completely out-of-order can be a catastrophe!

Final spring, coming from Utah we have been about to make our final charging cease in Wisconsin when the Tesla app instructed us the Wausau Supercharger was out of order. I panicked! I knew the charger scenario in Wausau properly from my days proudly owning Nissan LEAFs. We solely had 15 miles of vary left, simply sufficient to get to a L2 charger on the tech school the place we might have needed to spend not less than 6 hours as a substitute of the half-hour we have been planning on the Supercharger. Saved by the bell! It turned out that the app was incorrect, the Supercharger was not out of order, so half-hour later we have been on the final leg of our journey to Three Lakes.

Detours to discover a charger are a killer!

On cross-country journeys, Superchargers are hardly ever over ¼ mile from the freeway. If they’re farther away, it’s normally on a parallel highway the place you don’t need to retrace your steps. Within the three years we’ve got been doing cross-country journeys, Tesla has made vital Supercharger additions on our routes. In Wisconsin, the addition of the brand new 250 kW Menomonie Supercharger close to Eau Clair has saved us a 30 mile detour. In Minnesota, the addition of the Saint Peter Supercharger on US 169 has saved us a 50-mile detour on the diagonal route from Minneapolis SW to I-90.

Sioux Falls: 12 mile detour! The Sioux Falls South Dakota Supercharger is downtown, 6 miles south off of I-90. We are able to stretch our vary to make the Worthington (Minnesota)–to–Mitchel (South Dakota) 120-mile spacing, but when you could cost in Sioux Falls, you will have 12 mile detour. Even a 12-mile detour could be vital. An extended hole between chargers in your route is usually a killer, particularly in case your EV has solely 150-mile efficient most vary, like ours with the 2 bikes on again. In case you are hauling bikes, have a rocket field in your roof, are driving in subzero temperatures, or have a powerful headwind, your efficient vary might be much less.

Have a look at the routes you’d drive and contemplate the areas of Tesla Superchargers or different EV quick chargers.

Tesla response to elevated Supercharger site visitors

The I-15 route from Salt Lake Metropolis to Saint George, Utah, and on to Las Vegas, Nevada, is closely traveled. Halfway between Salt Lake Metropolis and Saint George is the Beaver Supercharger. A number of years in the past, on Thanksgiving weekend, we slipped into the final free stall on the Beaver Supercharger station, which has 8 stalls — each two stalls sharing 150 kW. Most older Superchargers have 8 stalls with 150 kW shared between each two stalls. The earliest Superchargers could be as sluggish as 72 kW.

The subsequent Teslas behind us needed to wait not less than a couple of minutes for a stall. By the following Thanksgiving, Tesla had upgraded the Beaver Supercharger to 32 stations (see Determine 2). The entire new stations have non-shared 250 kW chargers. No extra ready! Observe: there are additionally two extra Superchargers between Salt Lake Metropolis and Saint George if wanted — one in Nephi, Utah, and the opposite in Cedar Metropolis, Utah.

Determine 2: 32-station 250-kW Supercharger. Beaver, Utah. November 24, 2021. Photograph by Fritz Hasler.

It’s common information that the uptake of EVs usually and Teslas particularly in California is way higher than in another state within the USA. Regardless that Superchargers are way more frequent in California, we do hear reviews of waits to cost on very busy weekends. On our jaunt from Saint George via Las Vegas to Southern California, we pulled into the Baker, California Supercharger. Shock! The Baker Supercharger has 40 stalls with a most of 150 kW every. We slipped into the one vacant stall (see Determine 3). Simply 50 miles to the north on I-15 on the Primm, Nevada Supercharger, there are 42 non-shared stations with 250 kW max energy every. Tesla is upgrading a Supercharger in Arizona to 88 stations and we hear reviews that some Superchargers in Northern California and China are deliberate for over 100 stations. That is what it takes to insure fear free journey in a Tesla.

Determine 3: 40-stall Tesla Supercharger station. Baker, California. February 21, 2022. Photograph by Fritz Hasler.

So far there have been no CCS-compatible chargers within the US with greater than 4 stalls. Evaluate this to Tesla with virtually all Superchargers having 8 or extra stalls. This might not be an issue as a result of there are lots of fewer CCS-compatible automobiles than Teslas at this level. Nonetheless, you get the image of the comparability of the 2 networks. Additionally, there have been many extra reported outages of CCS chargers. At a Supercharger, you plug in your Tesla and it robotically payments your bank card. With CCS chargers, from many various firms, good luck initiating a cost or determining the best way to pay.

Non-Tesla charging

After we owned our Nissan LEAF, I keep in mind quite a few occasions that somebody was already utilizing the one obtainable LEAF suitable charger in Salt Lake Metropolis and we needed to wait 15–30 min earlier than we might to begin. We might make the 200-mile journey between Three Lakes and Madison, Wisconsin, as a result of there was one fast-charging location with a single suitable station midway in between, close to Stevens Level, Wisconsin. We traveled the 200 miles from Three Lakes to Minneapolis to commerce in our Nissan LEAF on the Tesla service heart/showroom in October 2019. We might make the journey as a result of there was a single Electrify America charger with one suitable stall midway between. In both case, if the only charger had been out of order, it could have added an 8-hour L2 cost to our journey.

CCS charger desert on Interstate 80 via Wyoming

When you don’t have it already, obtain the PlugShare app to your smartphone. I-80 is probably the most closely traveled route from Chicago to San Francisco. Check out the charging scenario on I-80 via Wyoming. When you set your automobile to a Tesla and chargers to Superchargers in Plugshare, you will see 5 Superchargers spaced each ~100 miles on I-80 throughout Wyoming. These Superchargers have been put in in 2017, in order that they have been there for five years already. Change your automobile to a Chevrolet Bolt or different CCS-compatible EV and you will see just one operational CCS quick charger in the entire state of Wyoming. There are three CCS chargers deliberate for I-80, however there’ll nonetheless be a spot of 301 miles between Cheyenne and Rock Springs, Wyoming. Additionally, it might be not less than one other 12 months earlier than the brand new chargers go operational.

What for those who take I-70 via Colorado? Electrify America has had an operational coast-to-coast charging route on I-70 for a pair years already. Nonetheless, I-80 is way most well-liked to keep away from the steep mountain grades from Denver to the Eisenhauer tunnel and over Vail Go. Touring within the winter, the Colorado passes would probably have worse climate. In any case, with a Tesla you might selected the route with the very best climate.

Backside Line: In case you are planning frequent and even rare cross-country journeys in your new EV, assume once more if it’s not going to be a Tesla.

We’d love to listen to your experiences within the feedback part!


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