LA to Vegas via Barstow Supercharger: Who has done it?


On the fence between 40 and 60kW battery. I live in Las Vegas and infrequently drive to LA. Assuming worse case weather conditions, how reasonable is it to assume I could drive to the coast in my 60kW Model S with 3 passengers and luggage at a speed equal to the flow of traffic using the Supercharger in Barstow? Is the additional battery capacity of the 60kW battery going to make my Model S a reasonable choice (A/C running, cellphone/iPad plugged in) over our ICE vehicle for this rare trip?

We'll be doing the opposite in two weeks, bringing the 60 kWh home to LV from Fremont via Barstow. It will probably need a range charge in Barstow to make it home, as it is about 170 miles from the SC to the house, and I anticipate we'll have to drive conservatively, drive the speed limit, not use much climate control, etc. LV-Barstow is the longer segment on the trip, I think, and Barstow-LA seems like it wouldn't be a problem, depending on where you're going (Anaheim is only another 100-110 miles from Barstow).

I was also on the fence between 40 and 60. I decided on the 60 because of the SC capability, and it opened up the possibility of making the LA trip or even PHX depending on where the SCs are located. As the batteries lose capacity over time, the 40 also might end up with a real world range of just over 100 miles, and that seemed short, even for primarily local use. The 60 was the sweet spot for me.

Back to the 60, worst case weather conditions means the pass west of Primm is closed due to snow, and that will make the LV-Barstow run very difficult. If the weather is sketchy, I'd take the ICE. Another complicating factor is speed equal to traffic flow, which is 10-15 mph over the limit at least. That would also make the LV-Barstow segment tough. We plan on doing the limit on the way back, unless it becomes clear we have plenty of range.

It's good to know there is another S owner in town. Feel free to send me a private massage over on TMC, where my user name is Darmok, and we can email offline. I'd be happy to let you know how the trip goes.

I think the only way you will make it with a 60KWh is driving at the posted speed limit. Forget driving with the flow. You want some safety margin in range - at least I would. Personally, if driving back on forth between the West Coast is a must, I would spring for the largest battery.

You will be fine but to be safe switch to max charge when charging at the Barstow station.

I also wonder how fast is supercharging with 60kWh battery, I guess it will be slower, but how much? Maybe 110 mi/h instead of 150 mi/h ?

typo... I mean 110 miles per 30 minutes :)

I'm in exactly the same boat -- I live in Las Vegas and take one or two trips per year as far as Los Angeles or Phoenix.

I'm sure that the 60kWh battery can do either of those with one charge along the way, but what about when the battery is 5 or 10 years old and has lost maybe 25% of its capacity? So I gritted my teeth and clicked the 85kWh button. I can "go with the flow" for the first few years and drive more economically (i.e., slower) on the longer trips after a few more years.

My Model S arrived just before Christmas (thanks Santa!) and its first Disneyland trip is on the President's Day weekend.

@blephneiben: Is that you, Matt?


It will be slower in terms of miles/minute, but not in terms of % of battery size. It's pretty much "proportional". 50% charge in 60 and 85 will be similar.

Blephneiben and Carefree, thanks for responses. You both validate that the 60kW makes the trip possible but not with recklessness. Carefree the last time I made the round trip was 2007. 75% of time we're flying out of town but having the 60kW does seem to be the breakpoint between "town car" only and "road trip" capable now. 85kW makes it simple and I initially configured for a Performance S but the reality is the 40kW meets 99.99% of my daily needs. Now I just have to rule out later regrets for not spending $10,000 for that remaining 0.01% of travel I really want to do in this car.

Blephneiben, I'll pm you.

I had the same dilemma. I was going to go with the 40. But i decided to future proof the car and got the 60 with dual chargers and the supercharger. I will be making the vegas trip in April. I hope someone can report back to see how the LA to VEGAS trip went.


if it helps on the caculation of rate per 30 minutes, I charged my 60 kWh at Harris Ranch for 45 minutes. I went from 26 rated miles to 176 rated miles. I am going to Vegas on Friday with some friends and asked them to take their hybrid. I was a little concerned with not much in between Barstow and Vegas, uphill grade (?) plus no spare tire. I have not purchased a repair kit yet. I only have an old fix it can.

forgot to meniton, if you have an adroid phone get the beta app from the play store. It will tell the per hour charging rate.

I assume you have seen the MT trip
before the supercharger was available in Barstow, and they had an 85kwh version.

and perhaps of interest, is
this site does elevation route for bicycles, but same route is true for cars, do click lots of times along the road.
to help plan the elevation change on your route. Looks like you gain 4000 feet going from Barstow to Vegas.
When I drove from Tejon Ranch to Arcadia (near Pasadena) over Hwy 5, there was also 4000 ft elevation gain, so I think you should be OK going 170 miles to home, with a rated 208 miles of the 60kwh battery, just drive no faster than 65mph would be my advice.

Or check out It computes range of a Model S, taking account of terrain.

I have recently made the trip in a P85. I took some data along the trip to help others conquer the range fear. I used gps to track elevation and speed along with the S data of range and power. Here it is:
Leg one, home to barstow. The most conservative run due to us breaking our range fears...124 miles, elevation climb of 1300 ft. 51.5 MPH avg with a Max speed of 72. Averaged 333 Wh/mi.
Leg two after mind blowing charge at Barstow! Confidence is setting in. 158 miles to Vegas. Elevation drop of 300 ft. 66.7 MPH avg speed with Max speed of 83. Amazing average of 306 Wh/mi considering our open cruise speed between 70-80 MPH.
Coming back home, 158 mi to Barstow, climb 300 ft. 66.6 MPH avg. With Max speed of 84. We averaged 338 Wh/mi. It is a bit high due to a 10-15 MPH headwind we had to fight leaving Vegas.
From Barstow to home it was 124 mi, a 1300 ft drop. Avg speed was only 61.6 due to some slowing traffic thru LA. We were bookin in the open road! A Max speed of 89 MPH. Even with the high speeds, we avg only 294 Wh/mi because of the elevation drop.
After the dust settled it was 605 miles with an avg of 322 Wh/mi, with avg speed of 61.6 MPH.
In regards to the motor trend effort, we covered the same ground in the same time WITH lunch and charging at Barstow! I hope you see that you can drive like you mean it with no worries with the supercharger.

Ya, you can/must drive extra fast to make up that half-hour at the Supercharger!

Just don't expect to make the drive in freezing weather at night. Starting with 220 mile range in Vegas, at 71 mph I arrived in Barstow with 21 miles left. Turned off the heat the last 30 minutes to avoid stopping at Yermo to charge at the RV park. A SuperCharger in Primm would help bridge the gap during imperfect conditions.

That's exactly what I needed to hear,...real numbers from somebody who has gone out and done it the way I would. Configured with the 60kW this afternoon. We'll be able to bring home from factory tour/delivery and not worry above power depreciation over battery lifetime.

You're welcome. Other minor factors were the wind which I mentioned, but we hit rain the whole way up to Vegas and were occasionally running the HVAC to clear the fog in the windows. Temps were in the 50's on the way up and in the 60's the way back. Plus it was me, my wife and her Mom and we had to pack for four nights in Vegas! Ladies going to Vegas for 4 cold nights? Yeah we had some serious luggage! I was impressed with the numbers. I think you'll do fine with 60kW keeping to the posted speeds, 70 and 75 in some sections. Elevation point to point is the biggest concern if you ask me... the middle stuff all averages out.
Have fun!

Mark Z;
In freezing weather at night, drive 61 instead of 71. You'll have heat and miles to spare.


Just curious where you charged at? I'm thinking the best places would be the casino hotels.

Don't forget to account for battery age. You should expect to have about 30% less range in 8 years. That will bring your 60 kWh battery EPA range down to about 145 miles. Remembering that EPA range is set to fairly benign driving, you will have to plan to hypermile (ie drive around 60 mph with minimal heat or A/C in 8 years to make it to Barstow.
I have no doubts that this will be possible but be prepared to take it easy if you expect to be doing the drive in 8 years.
The 85 kWhr battery definitely adds some safety margin to the drive.
Of course, in 8 years, there may be a lot more chargers available as well.

Yes, the casinos will be happy to fill your car while they drain your bank account! >B-P

@Brian H

Yeah thats what i was thinking. lol
I was looking at all the activity from recargo, and looks like MGM and Sands resort are the places to charge at.
It would be Xcellent if Tesla had a store there along with a couple of charging stations.

@Paulwireless - the 70% range after 8 years is debatable. There are active discussions and statements made by TM that degradation could well be limited to single digit percentages over 8-10 years. YMMV

@Paulwireless, I'll definitely let you know how the trip goes, in particular the Barstow to LV stretch.

I didn't see a PM from you over on TMC.

Blephneiben, I can't seem to get my password reset at TMC. Please shoot a message at pj

I'm thinking your name comes from a 66 mustang. Mine comes from my 67 coupe!
Anyway, I made reservations at Palazzo because they said they had Tesla HPCs there. They are only for roadsters and we were sent to Venetian for standard J1772 charging in the public parking garage. We decided to charge at TheShoppes at Mandalay bay because their chargers are located in a nice spot in their valet garage. Had several issues with the PEP station there. It either slowed charging to 15 amps, or quit completely, so our first few nights I was struggling to recover a charge. My goal was to get at least 200 in the battery before the 160 mile trip back to Barstow.
Frustrated we went to the Venetian and they had a GE Durastation and it was much more reliable doing a consistent 30A, 17-20 mi/hr charge. They also had one Tesla roadster charger. So while it wasn't our favorite location, it was a better charger.
I highly recommend getting the app for your phone. I was still on 4.0 and we didn't have the app, so I had to physically check on the car every hour or so, but had no issues with the GE unit.
I'm hoping some hotels trade their old roadster chargers in for S units!

For anyone doing the Vegas trip, here is a site I found the most helpful. It has all the locations and notes for each charging spot in Vegas!

Have fun!

For Las Vegas visitors who make it to the west side of town, I have shared my NEMA 14-50 on Plug Share. No takers yet, and I haven't even gotten to try it myself yet (11 days to go, but who's counting). People are welcome to stop by to top off.