4000 Mile Tesla Road Trip from Minnesota to California & Back

by Zan Lano on Mar 03, 2023

After a long 4000-mile road trip I am ready to share my thoughts on the trip with an electric vehicle and go over some numbers. If you missed the first blog, a quick recap is that many people including friends/family members are under the impression that Electric vehicles cannot go very far and takes hours to charge up, which gave me the idea to go on this road trip in an Electric Vehicle.

My Tesla Model 3 Long Range can travel up to 354 miles on a 100% charge. This does not factor in wind direction, incline on hills, charging handheld devices, and using built-in car features like the air conditioner. These things do affect normal Gasoline cars as well but have much more impact on the electric vehicle since they all draw power from the Battery Pack. For this trip, I decided to not drive conservatively and utilized all of the things mentioned above to give the fairest comparison between the two cars.

As of writing this (September 2022), the US gas price averages around $4.90 per gallon and Tesla Supercharging rates are around .32 cents per kilowatt. The total charging cost for the entirety of the trip was $426.30 using 1253 kWh of electricity. Comparing this to a gas vehicle in the United States with an average rating of 25 mpg, the estimated gas cost for the same trip is $789.59 using 161 gallons. I do feel it is fair to mention that gas price averaged at $2.50 the last year 2021 which would bring the total gas cost to $402.

Back in 2019, I made the same trip when I relocated from California to Minnesota in my Honda Civic. I drove the 2000 miles and only stopped for gas, the trip took a total of 32 hours. This time around in the Tesla Model 3 I drove double the distance from Minnesota to California and back. On average I spent about 20-30 minutes per charging stop and took 75 hours to complete 4000 miles.

I initially expected this trip to be more mentally draining since I’m covering double the distance. Having to wait 20 minutes to charge every 3 hours allowed me to reset my mind and stretch my legs. That and paired with Tesla’s basic self-driving, this trip was not as bad as my trip with the Honda.

Both gas and electric cars can perform these long road trips. Gas cars definitely have the edge on convenience since refueling is so accessible but from a comfort and enjoyment perspective, the Tesla definitely wins. I would take either car if given the opportunity in the future. If I was given the choice of which car to choose, I would definitely go with a Tesla. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed driving/writing it.

– Noute Lor (LPA’s Application Specialist)