Motel charging beats Supercharging for Electric Car Tourism


Yesterday, I detailed issues with using superchargers on a Tesla roadtrip.

For part two, I examine the solution we really want, namely charging at hotels. It's not very common yet, but when it is, it will match my rule for electric cars, which is to not treat electricity like gasoline. Charging while you sleep takes no time, so is better than any supercharging. I depict how hotel charging should look, and then touch on the fact that once the cars are robocars, we don't need any of that.

Read For electric car tourism, hotel charging is the answer, not supercharging.


I agree, and note that if you know you have destination charging, it speeds up your trip - you can arrive at your destination with low charge, like 10%, which probably means less charging time at the previous Supercharger. We are starting to use Airbnb to get a cabin/cottage for the family, instead of a hotel room. A cabin/cottage can be nice and more homey, and there's often a 250v dryer receptacle at a house, so you can charge fast and not have to find a hotel with level 2 chargering.

The big question is whether the dryer plug is anywhere near where you can park the car. Often it's not, so you could carry a 25 foot dryer extension cord. And an adapter between the two dryer plugs. And it still might not work. And you have to get the cord out a window or door. I have also found the dryer plug to be sometimes quite hard to get at. What has been your experience?

The other issue is that AirBNB is OK for planned trips, but it's more problematic for the way I travel, which is, search for a hotel around 5pm. We should encourage AirBNB to add charging as an amenity, or of course if they brought keyword search back...

Good points... I did make a 20' extension cord (my cost about $60, used 3-conductor wire from Lowe's), from 4-prong dryer plug to 14-50 receptacle. So that's 40' total I think, between the extension and the mobile connector. Now I'm making a 5' 3-prong to 4-prong dryer plug adapter (my cost $20). At the one place I've used it, distance was not a problem, but am using it again in June in Panama City; we will see. Agree on Airbnb adding this an amenity; will try to suggest that to them. It will be nice in 10-30 years or whatever, when more/most houses have convenient 240v plugs...

You can buy such cords, but you saved a little money. Of course, AirBNB wants to keep their interface simple, so at most they might allow search for EV charging. For Tesla owners who can use Tesla connectors, 1772 and even 14-50 connectors, that's great. Other cars can't use Tesla connectors without an expensive adapter, though if I had a Bolt I would probably get one if I wanted to road trip.

Tesla has a web page that lets you search for destination chargers. It works well enough for me that I didn't need to use the Plugshare app.

The Tesla list of destination chargers (even the car has that on the screen) is not super useful. It doesn't tell you their prices and if they have a room available. That's what real hotel search does. Also, while Tesla destination chargers are definitely a superior choice, in most cases J1772 or even 14-50R are perfectly suitable destination charging, and they are not in Tesla's map.

"For Tesla Electric Road Trips, Hotel Charging Is The Answer, Not Supercharging"
This is incredibly blatant click bait title. Shame!

"Such [Non-Superchargers] can provide you with 240 or more miles in a typical overnight stay, which is usually all you need."

This is misleading. The SC (supercharger) network is for those trips in which you do not only have to go 240 miles. It's the difference between a Tesla and other EVs that do not have a supercharger network. It allows a Tesla to do what they cannot; Go more than ~250 miles without having to stop for 4+ hours to charge. I wouldn't buy any other electric car if I wanted the option to go on a long distance trip.

The issue with hard to find Level 2 chargers will go away within a few years as those chargers, Tesla and non-Tesla, chargers are deployed en masse. Charpepoint which has around 60,000 chargers around the world, has raised $500 million from the likes of Daimler and BMW to expand their network from ~60,000 to 2.5 million by 2025. That's a lot of chargers. That's one company!

As I write in the article, for those days with very long driving, superchargers are of course the answer. That's always true for long driving, whether it's a road trip (ie. tourism in a car) or just a long drive to get somewhere.

Actually, there's a fair bit of DC fast out there now for the Bolts and coming >200 mile range cars. Not as fast as supercharging, but getting there.

Level 2 chargers are, by and large, useless except for overnight charging or all-day charging at work. They are an artifact of the current situation, where people drive cars with less than 100 miles range, and are forced to charge for a few hours while parked at a destination. >200 mile range cars are entirely another story. They almost never use level 2 charging except in those two situations (overnight or at work.) They don't need to and it's not worth the hassle and it's usually overpriced.

Most people on a road trip (the tourist road trip, not the nonstop long haul drive) don't drive more than 240 miles in a day. That's too many hours driving. For them, most days are fine if you have hotel charging, with superchargers serving only as secondary charging on days where the driving is a bit longer.

With regret of course, because overnight charging takes zero time, while even the fastest supercharging compromises your time or eating.

It's a bit misleading as one doesn't replace the other. You need both. Hotel chargers would be pretty useless if we didn't have superchargers as well. Most people who need such things are driving more than 300 miles in a day for their road trip. Ideally we would have a network of both, making the title pretty click baity, but deep down you know this. As you state, the content of the article does backstep that a bit, also a common feature of click bait titles.

To me, a "road trip" is a tourist thing. "We're going on a road trip." Driving more than 4-5 hours is rarely the plan on this type of road trip because the journey is the point. You travel to visit things, do activities, not just to get somewhere.

Many other people read "road trip" and thing, "I need to get somewhere 600 miles away and will drive non-stop" for which, obviously, superchargers are necessary.

Not that car tourism doesn't use superchargers. But the plan should be, as the headline says, to prefer the use of hotel charging over superchargers. In my experience, because you can't easily find out what hotels have charging, that I've ended the day with (crappy) dinner at a supercharger, then selected my hotel during the dinner, to pull in and find it had charging. A major disappointment as I could have avoided the supercharging, and eaten wherever I wanted. That's what it means to say one beats the other. (Along with various other advantages described.)

To avoid confusion, I will probably retitle it.

I have taken long road trips in my old Tesla model S P85. One trip was to Malaga in Spain from Copenhagen with my wife. We looked at Tesla destination chargers on the Tesla website for hotels that were convenient and not overprized for us. We booked a number of them on the trip, but we also used the superchargers a lot. The 20-30 minutes charging time on the model S is convenient after driving a couple of hours and we do not think in terms of how it would be with a diesel car. This is not our comparison. It would be nice with shorter charging time sometimes. When we had lunch on our trip the car happily charged fully to 90% before we were ready. But at others times we stopped for a roundtrip to the bathroom and a cup of coffee and the car was almost ready then. We are getting a model 3 long range AWD and that will charge twice as fast and that seems more ideal than the model S.

So I would say that the superchargers are essential to do long road trips and hotel chargers are a nice addon, but not a replacement at all.

As part of my work as a photographer I drive to Italy 4-5 times a year from Copenhagen and on that trip hotel chargers does not make a lot of difference although I do them from time to time. The model 3 is much better than the model S for that and the new V3 superchargers will even cut the charging time further in half. So the model 3 with V3 superchargers will be about 25-30% of the time I currently use for charging the model S on these trips. But still the model S is just fine. But you need to get used to the cahrging stops and take it as a good thing.

This is fairly peripheral, but a nice down sleeping bag, rated to freezing (0 C) will weigh about 1 kg, and will easily stuff down to the size of a gallon jug, smaller if needed. Such a beast will cost around USD$200 new, less on sale, and much less used (I bought mine used but in new condition for less than half new retail).

Such a bag will be 3-season comfortable for most people when combined with a simple underpad and any sort of tent. The pros and cons for car-camping are that you don’t have to rearrange your cargo (though you will have to set up the tent).

An ordinary but usable 2-person tent will weigh 2.5 kg. Conservatively add 4 kg for sleeping pads, and you’re talking about a sleeping kit that will weigh about 10 kg, sleep two, and fit in the volume of a carry-on bag. If you push into light or ultralight gear, you can easily cut the weight and volume in half. (my hammock tent, underpad, and bag have a combined weight under 2.5 kg, to sleep one person, and none of those items are ultralight).

A nice thing about tent-beside-car is that failure is always an option: if it gets too cold, wet, or windy for you, retreating to the car is a way nicer plan B than suffering.

Many people tent camp, but it's a different thing from motel rooms. The very small tents tend to be more work to set up and tear down, but even the "instant set up" tents are far from instant. It's a different experience in terms of comfort, space, bathrooms etc. The Tesla model 3's trunk is not tiny but it's not large either, and an easy set-up tent, air mattress, sleeping bags, pillows and other gear take up a noticeable amount of space, depending on what else you want to carry. It will work for some, but not for others. But there is charging at almost every RV campground, so it has that attraction.

I've done a few road trips in Tesla and, in a full day (10-12 hours) drive on highways in winter I usually supercharge once in the morning sitting in my car, once at lunch whole eating lunch, once in the afternoon while testing and snacking, and once at night while sleeping. It's not bad, but would be harder if I had a car full of well rested co-drivers with me and want to move faster. If I camp in my car, I camp near a supercharger.

My Tesla has been my sole car for about 3 years including multi day trips covering about 600 miles per day. After driving 600 miles with a Tesla I arrived much fresher than the same trip in the previous gasoline car. The combination of autopilot and getting out and walking around for 30 to 45 minutes several times during the day make a huge difference. No one will take a multi day trip and stop every 200 miles to spend the night.

To make it clear this is talking about car tourism, not driving 600 miles just to get somewhere. Tourism, where the journey is the reward, not driving to a far away place.

I'm not sure if you mentioned that Tesla publishes locations of destination chargers on its website and in-car maps. We've quickly found this to be a reliable go-to resource for trip planning as many of the locations these days are affordable versions of major chains, complete with Tesla charging and a full breakfast. Clearly this is in response to competition from AirB&B. While superchargers are still essential on long trips, charging overnight en route really speeds-up getting on the road in the morning.

I have not found the Tesla map as useful as you have. My sampling has not been nice affordable places like you name. Any contention for the charger?

Obviously it is great to get charging, but I'm not going to pay $50 more to get it, so I want to be able to search in a regular hotel search (google, kayak etc.) and have it highlight the ones with charging, or search only for them if I wish.

Having to go through a map, and check each hotel one by one for availability and rates is not really workable -- especially the way I often travel where I am doing this at 6pm and looking for a room that night.

My family of five is traveling in a model s. We are at a tiny motel in upstate New York. I brought a 25' extension cord and my tesla mobile charging cable. We are charging slowly at 12 amps/120v. About 3-4 miles per hour. We have about 12 hours before we leave. That will give us plenty of range to get to a supercharger after we ski tomorrow. I asked the owner nicely to either use a outlet they had outside. :). Some of the fancier places we have stayed at had destination chargers by tesla.

I describe doing that in the story. I now have the 25' 12/3 cord. I even have the 20amp plug if they have one. But sure, even the 50 miles extra range can often make the difference. Even if you supercharged 10 miles away from the hotel it can be worth restoring those 10 miles -- if it's easy. Not worth getting the inn to make a fuss for that, but if there's a dedicated plug just sitting there...

I will be congruent with my position. I think the very near future in less than 5 years will be Self Driving vehicles. So I do not take care about actual electric cars, but about the may be same electric car, but self driving car.
1) A supercharger, damage the battery, reducing his life.
2) A SCharger is more expensive.
3) We cannot put any amount of SCs at any place.
Am I wrong in 1,2,3?
4) It seems that SDC, better will go to a charging place where besides it can get another Robot services meanwhile (cleaning, others),instead to look for motels or other places.
5) A battery package, standard in size, weight, capacity, connectors, will be cheaper than different types of batteries.
6) 200Km. of autonomy may be will be enough for 70 or 80 % the trips a SDC will do during several hours. I think today a 200 km. battery will be good enough, lasts a lot and be
cheaper compare with more powerful batteries. Not need fast charging, so cheaper chargers, larger life.
7) Having all SDC same type of battery in the same place with same connections will be easy to have an autonomous arm battery changer.
8)For long trips, some SDC can have 2 or 3 packages, and travel 400,600 km without stop. Anyway, at any case the battery change will need only few minutes.
9) I do not have the knowledge to know if this is a technical possible solution.


Major deployment is not 5 years away. Perhaps deployment in a few cities. Electrics are coming at the same time.

Superchargers are not great for the battery, but a moderate amount of supercharging is OK. New battery and charging technologies are in the lab to change that.

And that's the reason why we should not standardize batteries. There is lots of innovation going on there. You only standardize once you are done innovating.

1)once SDC are ready to run in some cities that means that the technology is ready to run near everywhere,except in the areas where still is not ready to run even 1 SDC (heavy snow, jungle, others).
2) I do not know how many electric cars are running now, some of them (Tesla, and....) just are near to be SDC and will be easy to become SDC. The actual electric cars factories, can transform theirs EC still in the factory in SDC fast and easy.
3) All actual electricars actual running can become SDC or be changed for new SDC, recycling the parts that could be. So very soon all actual EC and even ECs in the factory line will become SDC. No more EC , all SDC
4) when do you SDC will be ready think


1) Once SDC start to run a lot of problems and good services will arise in the cities where
SDC start to run.
2) That will be prompt that SDC will be banned for the city, area or country, or the opposite, that measures will be taken to assure that very fast all the city, area or country will have only SDC.
3) So the cities, areas, countries still without the SDC will take one of the two positions
: Banned or Full SDC deployment as soon as possible.
4) Unless the actual automakers

Each city is different, different written and unwritten rules of the road. You don't want to ride in a car that's not been road tested on the streets it is going to drive you in. So no, once you have done one city, you can't just do every other city. And electric cars, while a good platform to build robocars on, are just that, still cars. They are only slightly easier to convert to autonomous in their design, and the Tesla is not anywhere close to being a robocar yet.

"Each city is different, different written and unwritten rules of the road. You don't want to ride in a car that's not been road tested on the streets it is going to drive you in. "

OK. I prefer to talk about areas not cities. An area can be Manhattan, but not all NY, or can be all Singapore, or some streets in LA, SFO and the routes conecting SFo and LA.
, Las Vegas and 10 km around, All Patagonia including cities, towns.
If an aerea are not ready for SDC, or the SDC are not ready for that area, so even one SDC will be not allow there, excluding RC with driver, justly testing.
Once one area is ready for one SDC, means that is ready to full and only SDC.

I wrote about 10 years
By January 2022, for example, some areas will be ready. Other areas will be preparing to receive SDC in June, others in 10 months ... 120 months. The HDC could be moved and used in areas not yet ready, covering the needs of new HDC and the factories could be 90% to 100% producing only SDC.

This will avoid all conflicts arising from the coexistence of HDC and SDC, lower costs of production and adaptation of areas and avoid the production of HDC that no one will want or could use.

If an area does not want SDC, it will not have SDC and will continue with HDC. It will not even have even onen SDC, except for controlled demonstrations to be able to change the decision.

There will be areas that may never be suitable for SDC, just as there are places today only to travel on foot or on horseback.

Letting the SDC be used at random, anywhere will be cause for great problems, conflicts, unnecessary deaths, delays in usufruct the benefits of SDC, astronomical costs and lost decades of happiness.

4)When do you think SDC will be ready? Jan 1st 2020., 2021, 2022...? just add 10 years and the world will be only with SDC.

4) Unless the actual big automakers ,the big dealers, the insurance companies and politics joint against the SDC, like happened with VHS against Beta , I beat for the happy, and useful SDC technology.

THE PROBLEMS with HDC and SDC together

a )Trafficc accidents, Who is guilty?
b ) more accidents (because HDC)
c) not enough services for SDC (growing slowly), Not enough services for HDC (gas station, mechanic, body repair ,parking desappear).
d) social tension against SDC because job lost.( do not need to put the list).
f) People suddenly will not buy a normal car, dealers of new and second hand cars will finish (either factories). Nobody will find a buyer for his old car, so cannot buy a new SDC.
g) Others
With an organized total deployment in one area, the problems that could arise could be avoided in advance.

On the other hand the advantages of SDC will be diminished and delayed in time, causing another problems.

My position is that if actually in 10 years all the vehicules woldwide can be substitute for new ones (actually yearly output), so if instead of normal vehicules all factories start to make Self driving vehicules, in 10 years we can have a better world.

How to do I can write if you allow (I respect and love your web).

Just again with my question. Is technically possible, to make a battery package that can be change in 10-15 mimutes?

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