San Francisco Road Trip, Part One - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: San Francisco Road Trip, Part One

August 13, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

I think I'm getting better with road trips. Between the Grand National trip from Memphis and my L.A. to Napa and back in a day, these things are a less of a big deal. Of course, I'm always up for a challenge.

This time around, I was tasked to drive our Tesla Model S to San Francisco for a night with Edmunds Media Relations Manager Stephanie Mar in tow. The reason for heading up there was to have the Tesla on display at a Connected Car technology event that was co-hosted by one of our beloved former Edmunds colleagues, Doug Newcomb.

I was given the option of heading up to the Bay Area a day before the event so that battery range would be less of an issue. My schedule didn't allow this, though, so I opted to leave at 6:30 a.m. the day of the event. In hindsight, it would have been smarter to spend the extra night up there.

The night before, I made sure the Tesla was set to its extended range charge. In the morning, Stephanie and I set out right on schedule and headed north on the 5 Freeway out of Los Angeles with 257 miles in estimated range. My first stop would be the Tesla supercharger station at Tejon Ranch, a scant 83 miles away. It really wasn't all that necessary, since the Model S could probably make it to the second stop easily. But I didn't want to even tempt fate.

With a massive range buffer at my disposal, I drove the Tesla with a bit more verve than I would in conservation mode. Onramps were obliterated and passing slower cars was like buzzing a bi-plane with a jet fighter. The car's navigation smartly has the ability to guide you to supercharger stations with only a few taps on the screen. It doesn't get much easier.

2013 Tesla Model S

We arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule with 147 miles of range left. Subtract the 83 actual miles and that means I squandered about 27 miles in hard acceleration. Worth it. A scant 40 minutes later on the supercharger and the range was right back up to 252 miles of range. Getting the next 10 miles of range took an interminable 25 minutes as the charge rate slowed to protect battery life. I gave up at 262 miles and we were once again headed north.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 6,676 miles

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

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