2013 Tesla Model S: First Road Trip
March 1, 2013
We pulled our Model S out of the Tesla factory customer delivery center into a light rain with its range reading 249 miles. The Harris Ranch Supercharger, according to the sedan's navigation system, was just 153 miles away.
Range anxiety? Not even a little.
Southbound on Interstate 5 and it's easy to become enamored with Elon Musk's creation. The Model S is comfortable, luxurious and it feels substantial on the road. And it is fast. Like supercar fast. Still, we controlled ourselves and cruised around the 70 mph speed limit.
After 130 relaxed miles we got a warning message, both on the gauge cluster and the large screen center stack: "Service Tire Pressure System Contact Tesla Service."
With the Supercharger just 23 miles away and the car feeling fine we pressed on and arrived at Harris Ranch without issue and with 43 miles of range left. We plugged into the ugly large white box, ate lunch and unplugged 60 minutes later. The car's computer said the range was up to 238 miles. Impressive in such a short time. By the way, the weather was now a dry and windy 55 degrees.
Oh, and the tire warning message was now gone. We got back on the road and soon realized how much the Model S does not like crosswinds. For several miles, keeping the sedan true in the lane was difficult. Nothing severe, but not the kind of dynamic flaw you find in a Mercedes S Class or a Porsche Panamera.
With our Santa Monica office about 150 miles away we decided to take the conservative approach and charge up again at Tejon Ranch at the base of the Grapevine, a severe climb through the mountains we were sure would accelerate our range consumption.
We reached the charger with 68 miles of range after a total drive of 269.4 miles. Far larger and more majestic than the unit at Harris Ranch, this Tejon Ranch Supercharger looks like a high-tech car port from a futuristic sci-fi movie. It's also solar powered and it can handle five cars at once, while the Harris Ranch facility is a solo.
We plugged in for 50 minutes while we snacked at Yogurtland and emerged with a slight dairy coma and 231 miles of range, way more than enough to make it home.
After 359 total miles of driving we arrived at Edmunds HQ in Santa Monica with 121 miles of range left over. That's just enough to make us question the need for the second charge at Tejon, but better safe than sorry.
Overall the drive was a very positive experience. The car is comfortable, even after hours of driving, and the Superchargers performed as advertised. The tire warning message never returned, but we're keeping an eye on our tire pressures just the same. Some staffers are already planning more road trips in the Model S, so stay tuned.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief