2013 Tesla Model S at Supercharger station in Woodburn, Oregon, Nov 2013 [photo: George Parrott]Enlarge Photo
Most Superchargers offer most of these, but it can be a challenge: West Coast road-tripper George Parrott notes that to reach the Woodburn Outlet Mall--where the Woodburn, Oregon, Supercharger is supposedly located--requires hiking a third of a mile through, among other things, the service area of a car dealership.
Considerably closer to those Superchargers are an Arby's, an Elmer's Restaurant, and a Starbucks, however, so the basics are covered. But for any road-trippers who might plan on a couple of hours of outlet shopping as a bonus, the challenge was greater than expected.
2013 Tesla Model S in Mount Shasta, California, Nov 2013 [photo: George Parrott]Enlarge Photo
(4) The 85-kWh Model S is a much better road-trip car than the 60-kWh model.
This was Noland's painful discovery.
In the winter, where heating has to be used, the East Coast Superchargers are spaced far enough apart that he would have had a comfortable margin in an 85-kWh Model S.
But his car has the smaller 60-kWh battery pack, and the margins were just too close--hence his need to top up at the Nissan dealers' slow Level 2 charging stations.
Thinking about road-tripping in your Tesla? Buy the big battery. Period.
Today's Supercharger spacing does make us wonder, however, how practical they'll be if Tesla is able to introduce its less expensive next model, in 2017, which is expected to offer about 200 miles of range.
(4) Even electric-car owners want to take road trips occasionally.
This lesson runs counter to the line espoused by many electric-car advocates: People can learn to live within the limits of electric-car range, which even at 75 miles covers the vast majority of everyday use.
That's largely true, but if you have a big, stylish, comfortable electric luxury car like the Tesla Model S, it's a natural to want to use that car as much as possible--including for the occasional longer trip.
Why? Because electric cars are just nicer to drive than their gasoline or diesel counterparts.
What other lessons did you take away from the two Tesla road-trip reports?
Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.