After a bit over 4 months, we finally had a long road trip in the Tesla Model Y. As I live in Colorado, we went to the mountains to ski. This post covers two trips, a day trip and a multi-day trip.

Day Trip

My wife and I took a day off and drove to the Keystone on a Thursday for a day ski trip. I charged the Tesla up to 93% overnight and we headed up on a snowy day. A fairly heavy snow was falling as we left the house and kept falling until we were well into the Colorado mountains on I-70.

The snow tires worked well, and I felt the car was gripping well on the road. Traffic wasn’t too bad, and the drive went as smoothly as it had gone in other cars.

The one place where I was careful was driving through Dillon, CO, where the roads were snow-packed, and there are some substantial curves. I was careful here, as the Model Y is a heavy car and slips a bit more near the bottom

A few stats from the drive up (109 miles)

  • Power: 48% of the charge (93%->45%)
  • Cost: $4.81 (37kWh * $0.13)

The drive down:

  • Power: 38%
  • Cost: $3.64 (28kWh)

As a comparison, 110 miles in the X5 costs about $20 (at $3.50/gal). The Prius would have been about $9.20 or so.

We skied most of the morning in about 20-25F weather. We then left and headed home, having lots about 2% of charge while the car was sitting in the parking lot. We drove down to Idaho Springs, and at around 28%, we stopped at the Supercharger to add some power.

We spent about 10-15 minutes adding power (about 25%). We sat in the car, checked some email and chatted, though this location is walking distance from a number of restaurants in Idaho Springs. On another day we might have walked over to have a quick lunch and left the car, as many others did.

It was an easy trip and a pleasant experience for our first trip into the mountains.

A (Cold) Three Day Trip

The next week we went back, staying up at Keystone for three days. I charged the car up to 87% and we drove to coach kids and then left from the gym for a late night drive up. It was cold, around 20F, and we again used about 50% of the power. In this case, 87->33% with a few stops  along the way.

The next morning, we were down to 26% on a night that dropped to about 8F. That was a 7% drop overnight. An interesting data point.

We drove over and skied, and then went to the Silverthorne Supercharger, arriving with 18% power left. Our plan was to get a cup of Starbucks while it charged, as the chargers are in the parking lot for Starbucks, but the store was closed. Not enough staff with a few out sick..

Not a problem. Rather than drive over to another place, we just charged and talked with our kids on the phone. Interesting, I pulled into charger 4B and plugged in. The car would say “starting to charge” and after 2-3 minutes it would say that something was wrong and I needed to unplug and plug it back in. I did that twice, and got the message.

I switched to a different flow and things worked flawlessly. The charger immediately jumped to about 50Kwh, putting around 240miles/hour of charge into the car. We spent about 25 minutes there, getting up to 75% before I decided to stop. I was hungry, so we left.

Overnight the temps were close to 0F, and we dropped about 15%of charge that night. The next night was –8F when I woke up, and we’d dropped about 18% of charge. Not insignificant, and I can see why people recommend waking up and charging in the am before a long trip.

As we charged the next morning, it was interesting to see the car need to heat up the battery for 5-10 minutes before it started charging. Once it did start, the time passed at around 190-200mi/hour being added to the car.

If we were planning on a long drive, I’d have gotten up, gotten coffee and then gone and parked at the supercharger to eat, work a bit, and fill up. Slightly more cumbersome than a gas station, but really, I’d be moving some work time into the car rather than sitting inside and then hitting a gas station.

Overall, the car worked well under cold, winter conditions. We didn’t have any range issues, and easily charged up at the Superchargers along our route. I could pre-heat the car before driving, and I’m getting used to remembering to do this. Most of the time I think about this about 10 minutes before we pack up and go, which isn’t inconvenient. It certainly is nice to pre-heat the car as I’m paying a bill in a restaurant and have the heat going when we get in the car.

Tires worked well and gripped in the snowy conditions. It was informative to see how the battery faired driving into the mountains, as well as overnight in some of the coldest conditions I’ve seen in years. Not a lot of battery/range anxiety and charging was smooth and easy. Taking 15-20 minutes with a cup of coffee and my wife wasn’t a big interruption to our lives, and we didn’t mind taking a few breaks during our short holiday.

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