Travelogue: Tesla Model 3 Daytripping

May 2018, California's Central Valley.

We’ve had our Model 3 for about a month now and this morning we decided to take a day trip to explore new places we hadn’t seen before. I charged the car to 80% the night before – putting about 245 miles in the pack (Model 3 EPA: 310 325 miles) – so after breakfast we piled in and set off to visit a Redwood grove in Mendocino County.

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All strapped in, ready for the trip, and yes, they like the view.

Our destination was about 160 miles away, 3+ hours of driving. We left at 9AM and planned to drive till noon and eat lunch in Ukiah while using the Supercharger.

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Driving from the Central Valley towards the Coast Range Mountains. We passed Clear Lake on the way.

So we drove out of the Central Valley and up into California’s Northern Coast Range mountains. Our route took us along scenic roads and past Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake within California. We arrived in Ukiah at noon, plugged in, and walked down the street to find some lunch.

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Our car charging while we sip some clear brew.

The car took 30 minutes to charge and we took just a bit longer to finish our meal and pay up. That short break gave us fuel for hiking and gave the car all the juice we’d need to get to the Redwood grove and back home later that day.

Scenic

Orr Springs Road is a beautiful drive.

The drive from Ukiah to Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve takes you out Orr Springs road. This short drive is only about 15 miles, but it climbs up past 2500 feet and winds through the mountains along hairpin turns. This is a road made for driving.

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Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve – it’s worth the visit.

And the drive was worth it. Montgomery Woods is a quiet refuge that is home to old growth Redwoods and has some of the tallest trees in the world. We spent two hours walking along the trails, past giant Redwoods that are centuries old and can be counted among some of the oldest living things on Earth.

Return

Out of the mountains and back down into the Central Valley toward home.

We wanted to stay longer, but it was Sunday afternoon and we needed to get back so we buckled up and I pointed the car home. My passengers fell asleep and I sat back and enjoyed the scenery. And how about the car? There’s nothing I can say that you probably haven’t heard or read many times by now. The Model 3 is nimble, quick, responsive, smooth, quiet, and simply a blast to drive.

So why am I sharing this story with you? After all people drive to beautiful places in their cars every day. That’s the point. Electric cars have evolved very quickly in the past 10 years and you can now make these routine trips in an EV.

Three reasons to Drive Electric:

  • 1) Goes without saying, this is an amazing car. It is driving made simple. By combining long range electric cars, a nationwide charging network, and an onboard computer that guides you along the way, Tesla allows you to go many, many places. Cross-country in fact. Hopefully other auto makers get busy.
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We used 70 kWh to drive 309 miles.

    • 2) The image on the right tells an important story. Electric cars use far less energy, and produce far less pollution than any gas powered cars out there. The Model 3 is rated at 126 MPGe on the highway, we got close to 150 for this trip (Click her to read about calculating MPGe, for EVs). By driving electric you use domestic energy and greatly reduce pollution and emissions. We produce electricity with rooftop solar, further reducing the impact of our driving. Minor note: we used 70 kWh for this 309 mile trip, which suggests we might have done the whole trip on a single charge (full battery capacity has been estimated at 70 to 75 kWh and up to 78 kWh usable by various sources). But Tesla’s Supercharger network gives you the flexibility to explore and change plans without worrying about range.

  • 3) This car feels like the future, but it’s here. Now.
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Exploring California’s Central Valley in the Tesla Model 3.