Journey to 500K Miles in a Tesla: First Road Trip

Ben Hommerding
5 min readMay 23, 2021


A Better Route Planner’s Trip Details


For Misty’s Birthday, we took a two-and-a-half-day trip to the Placerville, CA area for some car camping and hiking. Our round trip was a total of 502 Miles.

The Trip

We left around noon on a Friday and ran into a fair amount of traffic along the way. I used Autopilot and AutoSteer a lot on this journey and I have a few thoughts. Overall both features are pretty great and generally better than the other systems I have used. Autosteer could be better, as I have stated before, in terms of having to constantly re-engage it and it being a bit sensitive to hand movements. Autopilot’s adaptive cruise is generally pretty great too.

However, there still seems to be a way to go with getting it to slow down more proactively and smoothly in traffic. There were more than just a couple of occasions that I wasn’t sure it would stop and I started to break at the moment it started to engage, leading to some pretty rapid stops. Misty has been rear-ended in a couple of accidents over the years and gets nervous with sudden slow-downs, especially on the highway. The late, hard breaking of Autopilot was a little too much for us. Several times, Misty thought we were going to hit the vehicle in front of us or that someone wouldn’t be paying attention and hit us from behind. The sudden slowdowns also prevented Misty from napping (Tesla lost points for that for sure) once the traffic got more congested since it created a lot of jerkiness. I would like to see it break earlier and come to a stop more smoothly. Hopefully, that happens in future updates.

Other than that, things were smooth. We left home with around 96% battery and arrived at our campsite with about 34% of the battery left.

Our Campsite

Charging and Driving at Elevation

We used a Supercharger for the first time ever and really had a great experience the entire way. There was no range anxiety at all. On Saturday we woke up ready to make some coffee and have breakfast, but we quickly learned that we forgot to pack anything to start our cookstove with. So instead we packed our day hike bags and went to town to charge the car and get some much-needed coffee and food.

Placerville Supercharger

The Placerville Supercharger is a 150 Kw charger. It’s not the fastest station, but both times we were there we had no issues being able to charge and get on our own node. This supercharger is right next to a gas station, McDonald's, and a very short walk to Starbucks which is where we charged our own batteries. By the time we ate and stopped to get a lighter for our camp stove, about 25 minutes, the car had added 41% of the battery back and cost us a total of $16.72. We were ready for the day with 75% charge.

Bassi Falls

It’s important to note that we were at around 4000 ft of elevation and there was a lot of uphill and downhill driving. The battery decreases pretty quickly on the climbs (the only time we had even a little bit of range anxiety), but it’s pretty awesome to see the battery fill up coming back down.

We drove about an hour to Bassi Falls for a short hike, then about an hour back to the Flemming Trail System for a longer hike before heading back to camp for the day. When we made it back, we had about 58% of the battery left after traveling about 88 miles for the day.

Sly Lake Waterfall

On Sunday, we drove to Sly Lake and hiked the entire way around with a quick stop to see a waterfall before heading back to charge up for the drive home. When we arrived at the Placerville Supercharger, we had about 50% of the battery left. We grabbed another coffee and waited for about 28 minutes and added 35% back to the battery at a cost of $14.66.

The charger's max output was lower this time around for whatever reason. We did choose a different charger this time, and it took a few minutes longer to put less energy in the car than the day before.

After that, we headed straight home and ended up in some serious traffic at one point again. When we got back, we had about 30% of our battery left.

So that was it. Overall it was a great little 500-mile weekend trip. We had a great time seeing some fantastic natural beauty, and the Tesla performed very well. Supercharging was pretty painless and we learned that long trips are still pretty easy in electric cars.

The total cost of the trip for the Tesla was $40.58 with some at-home charging before we left. That same trip in our Sant Fe (28 mpg) would have cost about $73 at $4.10 a gallon. However, in Placerville, the gas ranged between $4.20 and $4.70 depending on where you stopped so that number would be higher. This is saved us at least $32.92 just for this trip.

Let me know if you have any questions or want to hear about anything else! I’ll probably add a monthly cost to own update in the next couple of weeks. I’d love to hear what other posts you would like to read as well. I’m still working on my first video, but I did get some great footage from the trip so hopefully, I can get that all together soon too.

Current Milage: 1,343 miles


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