The Best Road Trips Your Tesla Can’t Take
Recently, Tesla unveiled a reworked Model S that promised to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a single charge, an unprecedented 365 miles in an electric vehicle without stopping. We tested that claim, and not only did we succeed, but we also had a few dozen miles to spare, giving the Tesla Model S roughly 400 miles of range.
Considering Tesla’s 600 or so existing Superchargers in the U.S. and the (fading) concerns of range anxiety, we wondered what kind of out-and-back road trips this iteration of the Model S couldn’t do. Turns out that list isn’t very long. This isn’t technically everything, but it’s close. (And of course, you don’t need a Supercharger to charge, but it’s the most efficient method.)
Photos from our San Francisco to Los Angeles trip are shown below.
Hell Creek State Park, Montana
Closest Supercharger: Billings, Montana (206 miles)
If you’ve always wanted to see where the dinosaurs died but don’t want to burn their remains on your way there, a road trip in your Tesla to Hell Creek might be on your list. Unfortunately, at 206 miles from the nearest Supercharger, trying to do this trip on a single charge is probably cutting it close. You’ll have to find a non-Tesla plug somewhere along the way.
Alternative: Jordan, Montana (181 miles)
If you’re desperate for those dino bones but don’t need to see the dirt they were pulled from, the Garfield County Museum in nearby Jordan has a full triceratops skeleton, a T. rex skull, and other cool things. And you can see that in a single charge from Billings.
Coming soon: Seven planned Supercharging stations in Montana will make road trips from Glacier to Hell Creek anxiety-free. A few remote northeastern reaches of the state, however, will still be outside of single-charge territory.
Bismarck, North Dakota
Closest Supercharger: Baxter, Minnesota (334 miles)
North Dakota’s capital city isn’t easy to reach via Tesla. In fact, few places in North Dakota are. It’s the only state in the lower 48 without a single Supercharger. So if you want to take your Tesla to see live tigers on the banks of the Missouri River, you’ll have to find a non-Supercharger plug while you’re there. It’ll take longer, but that could give you some time to linger at the Dakota Zoo’s el lobo exhibit to hang out with the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf.
Alternative: Fargo, North Dakota (138 miles)
Most people probably think of Fargo when they think of North Dakota anyway. It’s twice the size of Bismarck, so there’s a lot more to do. And when the snow falls and the cold wind blows, you won’t die alone while waiting for a slow recharge. You can just turn around and go back home.
Coming soon: North Dakota’s first six Superchargers are in the works, opening up the entire state for anxiety-free exploration.
Closest Supercharger: Brewer, Maine (219 miles)
For your crisp, waspy drives through Maine’s legendary fall foliage, a trip to a tiny town like Allagash, just 10 miles from the Canadian border, might be what you’re looking for. (Also among the potentially interested: amateur ufologists.) At 219 miles from the nearest Supercharger, though, it’s a bit out of single-charge reach.
Alternative: Eagle Lake, Maine (153 miles)
It’s not quite as far north as the town of Allagash but is still within the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, so you won’t be sacrificing much in terms of scenic views with the shorter drive. For the ufologists: The famous Allagash abductions (allegedly) happened here anyway.
Coming soon: Among the seven planned new Superchargers for Maine, one in Medway will open up the northern border for additional single-charge exploration.
Copper Harbor, Michigan
Closest Supercharger: Wausau, Wisconsin (235 miles)
Copper Harbor is the kind of place that stands out on a map. Located on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula overlooking Lake Superior and then Canada, it draws you in before you know anything else about it. “I want to drive until I literally cannot drive anymore.” That kind of place. Unfortunately, if you drive until you cannot drive anymore then turn around to drive home, your Tesla will die before you find a Supercharger.
Alternative: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (137 miles)
Northern Michigan has lots of pretty places along the north coast. This is one of many, and it’s not too far to drive on a single charge.
Coming soon: Tesla has three new Superchargers planned for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, including one in Marquette, roughly 150 miles from Copper Harbor. If and when Tesla completes all the currently planned new Superchargers, this little tip of Michigan and virtually every other inch of the continental U.S. will be within a Tesla’s reach on a single charge.
Read our exclusive story about driving a 2019 Tesla Model S from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a single chart HERE.
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