Tesla Model S - Road Trip to Santa Barbara
All-electric road trip
from Orange County to Santa Barbara

We planned a Valentine's weekend getaway to Santa Barbara in 2015 starting from Orange County using my Model S.

With two Supercharger road trips under our belt, one two years ago to San Francisco and another one last year ago to San Luis Obispo, plus my Supercharger Table, planning this one was pretty easy.

This trip was made more logistically complicated by multiple rendezvous to leave our kids with my in-laws so that my wife and I could have a weekend on our own.

So here's a picture log of our trip in my Model S.

Santa Barbara Tesla Model S
Model S OC-SB Road Trip
Days Charging at
Supercharger   Public
2 1
Cargo Space
The ample cargo space in the Model S was vastly more than enough for this trip. I filled the front trunk with luggage for my wife and I, then used the back trunk for all the kids' luggage and toys. frunk   trunk
Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger - Northbound
As we traveled, I logged the time, odometer, and range remaining for every event of interest.

TimeEventRange Remaining
3:41 pmDeparted Home178
6:08 pmArrived Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger99
Range/Distance ratio: 1.41
Conditions: Heavy Friday Holiday Traffic

Friday traffic is bad. Holiday weekend traffic is bad. Obviously putting the two together is worse.

Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger

More importantly, Rancho Cucamonga isn't on the way to Santa Barbara at all. We went because that is a convenient location in between our home and our in-laws'. It is also a natural stop because this Supercharger is embedded in Victoria Gardens, a huge shopping mall with a huge selection of restaurants.

The kids' schools dictated leaving right when traffic was horrible. So we got to dinner when we got there. With the pain of traffic fresh in our minds, we intentionally took our time eating so that congestion would subside.

We ended up with 261 miles of range in the battery pack far earlier than we cared to return to traffic. Cost: $0

TimeEventRange Remaining
8:10 pmDeparted Rancho Cucamonga261
10:12 pmArrived Santa Barbara98
Range/Distance ratio: 1.16
Conditions: Mild Traffic

After we got through LA county, traffic lightened up to the point where it fairly smooth to drive. We didn't rush but wanted to get there in a reasonable time.

Local Charging
Prior to the trip, I knew our hotel didn't have charging, so I researched local charging stations.

Fortunately, the Santa Barbara County headquarters, a couple blocks from our hotel, wisely installed EV charging stations, one of which I plugged in overnight, much like I do at home, which added 162 miles of range by morning, at a rate of 7c/kWh, less than I pay at home. Cost: $3.97

Santa Barbara charger nightime   Santa Barbara charger daytime

This extra energy boost nearly topped off the battery, much more than enough for unstructured local travel and sightseeing.

Visiting Santa Barbara

On Saturday we took the car out to see the Santa Barbara Mission and tour around town.

Most of the rest of the weekend we walked around town. The next day we bought a few souvenirs and visited the beach and the pier.    trunk

Oxnard Supercharger - Southbound
TimeEventRange Remaining
9:45 amDeparted Santa Barbara236
10:21 amArrived Oxnard Supercharger192
Range/Distance ratio: 1.22
Conditions: Hills

We wanted to stay, but we had to go return to our lives with the family. We didn't really need the Oxnard Supercharger to get home, but I wanted to see it. We had drinks and a morning snack at Panera Bread and visited a local Whole Foods, all a short walk across the parking lot. The time it took to charge wasn't enough to visit the rest of The Collection. Cost: $0

TimeEventRange Remaining
11:01 amDepart Oxnard253
12:37 pmArrived Home154
Range/Distance ratio: 1.05
Conditions: Traffic, Hills

Oxnard Supercharger
While we faced some traffic in LA county, we took this drive easy. Meanwhile there was no plausible way we would run out of range. After we got home, we coordinated picking up our kids from relatives, and we certainly had enough charge for the loop out and back to retrieve the little monsters.

Like before, the Model S is a fabulous road trip car. Traveling without the extra engine and transmission noise, creating an low-frequency rumble and roar that shakes one's innards, makes possible a very relaxing driving experience. I no longer experience the fatigue I had in gas cars before.

Fighting traffic was the worst part of the trip and happens regardless of power train. The Model S and the Supercharger network provided plenty of flexibility for multiple stops determined by multiple goals.

Thanks to Tesla Motors and Santa Barbara County, the cost to refuel on this 334-mile trip was less than $4. Sweet!

Dean E. Dauger holds a Ph. D. in physics from UCLA, where his group created the first Mac cluster in 1998. Dr. Dauger is the award-winning author in multiple American Institute of Physics' Software Contests and co-authored the original, award-winning Kai's Power Tools image-processing package for Adobe Photoshop. After founding his company, Dauger Research, Inc., its debut product, Pooch, derived from Dr. Dauger's experience using clusters for his physics research, was soon awarded as "most innovative" by IEEE Cluster and continues to revolutionize parallel computing and clusters worldwide with its patented technology.

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