Can a Big Western Road Trip Be Done in an Electric Car?

Vehicle:
Distance:
1000 miles
Region:
Trip Date:
2020-04-07
Starting Place:
Los Angeles
Destination:
Utah

Here’s another big one, where the owner of the Tesla Model 3 wanted to put to test if EVs efficiently make it through road trips to desert and remote locations in Utah. Electric vehicles are becoming popular among the environmentally conscious, but are they realistic for road trips to more remote destinations? This trip report answers just that

Key Highlights

  •  A 1,000-plus-mile mission from LA to national parks in Utah: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches.
  • Superchargers line the major interstates in Los Angeles and dot Interstate 15 to Las Vegas and beyond to make the passage possible
  • According to Tesla’s app and website map, there are currently 16,858 superchargers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. While stations are easy enough to find along well-trafficked routes, EVs, with their charging times and still limited battery ranges, are not ideal for the stretched-out road trips required to reach isolated campgrounds and remote national parks\
  • When I checked the weather and saw temperatures falling to below zero overnight, tension squeezed my shoulders. Extreme cold is so tough on the Tesla’s battery that below a certain temperature threshold, the car displays a snowflake next to its battery-power icon and reduces its estimated remaining mileage. I watched the range drip from 20 to 19 miles as I circled the lots.
  • When I talked or Tweeted about our trip, a few people said it’s proof that EVs aren’t ready to fulfill most people’s needs. I disagree. Electrics already have the range and capability to tackle the errands, commutes, and close-to-the-highway road trips that make up most American driving.

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