Charge and Chat - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S: Charge and Chat

April 29, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

I had our 2013 Tesla Model S recently, and if I had just done around-town trips, I probably could have gotten by without charging the car. But in addition to the usual errands, we had plans for dinner and a jazz concert in Hollywood. That's 60 or so miles of driving. And then there were the "vampire losses," the 8-10 miles of range drop that happen overnight when the car is not charging. Added up, and it was definitely time for a fill-up.

Fortunately, one of Tesla's six supercharger stations is at Hawthorne Airport, a general-aviation field that's about 16 miles from my house. We pulled in with 86 miles of range remaining.

2013 Tesla Model S

After seeing Phil Reed's pictures of a recent trip the Tesla Model S took to Las Vegas, I expected the superchargers to be a couple of columns in the middle of a ho-hum parking lot. But the Hawthorne supercharger is adjacent to Tesla's design studio, and next door to Elon Musk's other enterprise: Space X. It's a sleek, solar-powered five-station charger that's fronted by a grassy forecourt and Tesla's pickle-shaped monument to innovation, or whatever it's supposed to symbolize.

We weren't the only people charging: Two other Models S, including one that's a twin to ours, were happily sucking up kilowatts ahead of us. Teri, on the left in the photo, has had her car for two months and loves it, except for the fact that it won't run her iPod. (It's apparently just such a tired, 20th-century technology in the eyes of Tesla.)

Bill, in the center behind the gigantic dog, has had his Model S since November and has put more than 14,000 miles on it. He's planning a road trip to Portland.

Both like the social aspects of charging in Hawthorne, where several Models S typically collected on weekends. Teri said that it was here, talking to other owners, that she learned about California's $2,500 electric-vehicle tax credit. She knew about the federal credit, but the state's plan was a pleasant surprise.

After about 45 minutes, we were up to the standard charge level: 240 miles of range. And ready for anything.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 3,225 miles

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