Electric Tech Explored

Are Teslas Good for Long Journeys?

by Simon Naylor | Updated: April 7th, 2022
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How miserable is it honestly to take a road trip in a Tesla? Surprisingly, it is not miserable at all. This comes as a shock for most people because everyone seems to think that they are no good for a cross-country adventure.

In a gas car, it is very easy because you can stop for gas at every corner every time you want to take a bathroom break at any exit. With EVs, it is unfortunately not the same. However, with Tesla’s built-in features and supercharger network, the daunting task of EV road trips can be very easy.

With that being the case, there are some measures you can take to make the road trip more enjoyable. All the different tips below will be geared towards Tesla Vehicles but many of them will also apply to other EVs as well.

Planning the Route

Looking for charging stations when out and about can be challenging. This is regardless of the recent expansion of Tesla’s supercharger network around the nation. Not to mention, some chargers can take about 40 minutes to charge your car. When heading out in your Tesla, you need to therefore try to align your charging stops with your bathroom breaks and lunch stops.  

Once you jot down the destination, it is important to plan each route according to the charging stations that you will find along the way. Your ultimate goal is to not run out of battery power before you stop the next charging station. Keeping your battery at optimum condition will contribute to its performance.

It is also important to note that you must charge the battery fully overnight before you leave. Preparing your route may not be necessary but it will give you peace of mind before you leave. You can use applications to plan your routes. Thankfully, Tesla helps you do this! Use Tesla’s in-built feature to navigate your route according to the superchargers.                       

Photo by Steve Jurvetson licensed under CC BY 2.0

The next thing you will benefit from doing is checking the chargers that are located at your destination. One of the most important parts of road trips in an EV is to have a charging station at your destination. The last thing you want to do is drive thousands of miles just to find out that there are no places to plug in. Always consider juice for getting back home.

If you are staying with friends and family, you may plug your car in their home-installed outlets. On the other hand, if you are staying at a hotel, then it is probably good to check on plug-share or their website to see if they have EV charging available. Most hotels do offer to charge ports for electric vehicles in their parking. It is, therefore, best to choose a hotel that offers a power outlet to the guests.

On top of that, you may also want to give them a call and see what their rules around EV charging are. Some hotels just have one EV charging, while others have multiple people with EVs staying there at the same time. In this instance, you may have to wait and take turns with other EV owners.

 It is therefore good to know the rules and availability ahead of time. It is also a good idea to check where the chargers are available near your destination. This is because you will be doing plenty of back and forth traveling around your destination. In short, preparation is key when traveling by an EV.

Preparing Your Car

Photo by Chris Yarzab licensed under CC BY 2.0

You not only have to prepare the route but also your Tesla if you want your road trip to be enjoyable. So what kind of preparations will your Tesla require? Well, apparently, not much. Although, you do have to prepare for all kinds of charging stalls, which means that you need to grab extra pairs of connectors and adapters.

If you have additional charging adapters, bring them along as well because it helps you increase your charging options. You do not want to be stranded in the middle of a lonely freeway. Not all charger cables will be compatible with all charging station ports. This means that having options helps you stay on the safe side of things. Another thing you can do is reduce weight in the car.

When trying to cover a large distance in your Tesla, the key is to conserve as much energy as possible. There are many things that allow you to drive conservatively, and the best option is to remove extra unnecessary weight from the car so that it is lighter. A lighter car means less energy consumption to push it forward and a longer-lasting battery.

Another way to improve battery efficiency is to put on your aero wheels. These are wheel covers that come with the Tesla. Putting these on can add about three to four percent to your efficiency. This does not sound like a lot but it can add up over many miles. The next thing you can suggest is going into your car and setting the charge limit all the way up to a hundred percent.

Even with adhering to all the steps, it is always best to have a little buffer because you never know what you can run into during the road trip. Weather is usually unpredictable and this might reduce your efficiency as the lithium-ion battery inside the Tesla can be responsive to extreme weather changes. Therefore, having extra range can be very beneficial when you head out on a road trip.

Use Integrated Tesla Features

Tesla is both a software company and a hardware company intertwined. If you are having trouble navigating supercharger routes, then you can simply ask the car. Asking the car in this sense refers to looking it up in the highly sophisticated infotainment system.

Once you are ready to start your road trip you can plug in your destination and the car will plan your route ahead of time. This route will not only be the shortest but also will be in correspondence to the supercharger network.

You do not want to plug stop at all the charging stations? No problem! You can stretch out the battery and skip stations and the car will route you to the next charger, making it easier for you to navigate. The car also communicates effectively if there is an upcoming warning or indication. All of these features combine to provide an ecstatic long drive, even if you are commuting alone.

The reason why you will benefit from plugging a charger into your navigation is that your car will pre-heat the battery before you stop to supercharge. This will speed up your charging stops and get your battery ready to charge before you arrive.

1. Enabling Auto-Pilot

Once you are on the road, it is best that you enable the autopilot option in the Tesla. As soon as you enable the autopilot, you can also turn up the speed of the car because you can expect it to stay at the defaulted speed limit. You should also make sure that your following distance is the longest it can be.

 Regardless of the comfortable freeway experience it provides, it is worth noting that autopilot is not a replacement for your hands on the steering wheel. This is a key reminder as autopilot is merely just a driver assistance feature so you should not remove your hands from the steering wheel.

2. Energy Tab

When you are driving the Tesla and want to know about the range, the best thing to do is to look at the energy tab on the screen. This option utilizes your driving data over the past thirty miles and provides you with a precise remaining range for the car. You can also find out about the estimated range by looking at the battery display, but this option is more accurate than the standard display.

How to slow down Range Depletion?

If you are driving the Tesla and you find that your range is depleting quicker than usual, then there are some things that you can do to prevent this from happening. The first thing would be to slow down the speed of your Tesla. This will lead to less strain on the motors which in turn will utilize less energy from your battery.

Are Teslas a Good Option for Long Drives?

Charging Tesla Model S
Photo by Jeff Cooper licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you want to evaluate Tesla for road trips, it is very important to take into consideration the destination. As you can see, a Tesla’s range is limited to the battery life, therefore, if you have sufficient EV chargers on your route, then you have nothing to worry about. Not to mention, battery charging is more cost-effective than paying gas prices and auto-pilot incorporates additional comfort to the driver. This helps you spend less and work less when counting down the miles behind the wheel.

Final Thoughts

After all that has been explained, if you take the right measures, tools, and preparation on board, then Teslas can provide you with a road trip experience that is unlike any other. Driving the car is easy, relaxing, and fatigue-free, provided that you have planned the trip ahead of time.