2013 Tesla Model S: San Francisco Road Trip, Part Two
August 14, 2013
Just like the first leg of the L.A. to San Francisco road trip, The Tesla would easily make it to the second supercharger stop at Harris Ranch. A mere 116 miles with my 262 estimated range miles.
Right on schedule, we pulled into the supercharger station with 120 miles of range still in the bank. I knew range wasn't an issue again, and drove "normally," squandering 26 miles in more enthusiastic acceleration.
The superchargers are positioned right near the Harris Ranch Restaurant in Coalinga, CA, so our lunch destination was pretty much made for us. As the resident red meat enthusiast at Edmunds, I was please to be greeted by giant slabs of beef roasting right by the entrance. By all accounts, I was in the right place.
As I sat over my plate of beef sawing away with a steak knife (it wasn't very good), I would occasionally take a look at the Tesla app to see how the charge was going. The highest rate shown was 284 miles per hour. Now THAT'S fast.
By the time I gave up on my tri-tip, the charge was right back up to 262 miles. Plenty of range to make the 187-mile leg into San Francisco if I drove conservatively, right?
I was a good boy behind the wheel. I used a featherlight touch on the accelerator the whole way up. I was conscious of the estimated range versus the actual miles. None of that helped. I can't say for sure, but I'm fairly convinced that it's a gradual uphill climb into the Bay Area on the 5 Freeway.
We finally pulled into San Francisco with only 27 miles of estimated range left. That was way too close for comfort, and we still weren't at the destination. We had to stop to get the car washed first. Fortunately, the car wash, event and hotel were all within a few miles of each other and we had about 90 minutes before we had to show up.
I used the PlugShare app to find a charging station near the event space. It was in a parking structure at the Beacon building and the description noted that if you buy something at the Safeway, you get 90 minutes of parking for free. We got there with 18 miles left. Whew. A little over an hour, the range clawed its way back up to a paltry 37 miles. Good enough, I figured, to leave it on to give a few demos of the car while it was parked and get it to Union Square.
The event went off without a hitch and I became a bit of an ambassador for Tesla, explaining all of the systems and its driving characteristics. After two hours we were set free on the city and I had but one place on my mind: A16, one of my favorite places to eat. We had to stop at the hotel first, to check in and drop off our bags. According to PlugShare, there was a charging station just a block or two away, but just on the outside chance, I asked the valet if he knew of a closer one.
He did, in fact, and it was in the same lot they store their cars, which is under Union Square. I found it easily and plugged in for the night. We cabbed it to and from A16 (it was fantastic, by the way) and I made sure throughout the evening that the car was still charging using the app.
Between the drive, range anxiety, trying to be charming in an interview, the Montepulciano(i), grilled octopus, gnocchi with rabbit, pistachio panna cotta and a beautiful ruby port, I slept like the dead.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 6,979 miles