While there are already other similar options out there, it is nice to see that Tesla has now launched an official trip planner on their website.

The interface is basic: a Google map showing supercharger locations as red dots and a sidebar on the left where you choose your car, your starting location and destination. You can also add additional stops to your trip.

This shows exactly why if you travel at all you should opt for a longer range car, because not only would you have to stop more frequently with a smaller battery, but charge times take longer.

The tool only lets you choose the long range Model 3 which has 310 miles of range, but we can pick the Model S 75D which has a range of 259 miles to get a closer estimate to the 220+ mile range of the standard Model 3. 

I'll share a couple of instances that would be common for me coming from Asheville, North Carolina.


NC to MI

To get to our destination in Michigan in our gas car, it takes us about 13 hours total, with two required gas stops, and a few breaks for rest areas and eating. We could get there in under 12 hours without any stops other than gas.

In the long range Model 3, it will take us 15 hours, 9 minutes.

In the Model S 75D, it would take us 17 hours! Remember, this car has longer range than the standard Model 3, so add some more time to that. You can see right at the beginning of the trip, a stop is required outside of Knoxville TN, which is actually out of the way.

For comparison's sake, I used a Model S 60 on EVTripPlanner to see how long it would take on the same route, as that car has a closer range to the base Model 3. It gave me 18 hours and 17 minutes! That's 5 hours longer than our gas car!


NC to FL

Now onto our other big trip we like to take. This time we're heading south, to Palm Coast Florida. This trip is not as long as our other trip.

In our gas car, this is an 8 hours 30 minutes trip, with one required gas stop and a couple other breaks.

In the Model 3 LR, it will take us 10 hours. Tesla actually takes us on a different route, through Augusta, GA, but the time to go through Columbia, SC on I-26 to I-95 near Charleston also shows 10 hours on their map.

In the Model S 75D, the trip will take us 10 hours 17 minutes. Not a huge difference, but again, remember that the 75D has longer range than the standard Model 3.

EVTripPlanner shows the Model S 60 taking 11 hours 12 minutes on the same route. That is probably more accurate, and it's nearly 3 hours longer than in our gas car. 


Final Thoughts

The response I typically get when I mention this is "Just rent a car to take the trips. It costs less than the battery upgrade." Sure, it does, but why would I buy this amazing car with Autopilot only to leave it at home and drive a gas powered car? No thank you. 

The Tesla Trip Planner is clean and easy to use, but is missing lots of valuable information like distance between stops. It also does not let you choose older Tesla models. EVTripPlanner has you covered on both of those fronts, though the interface is not as nice.

For added comparison, I thought I would see how long it would take to make the Michigan trip in a Chevy Bolt. Unfortunately I cannot find a site to plan this out, but the range is similar to a Model S 70, which would take 17 hours 15 minutes. 3 hours of that is charging time, which would be double or more in the Bolt, so approximately 20 hours for the entire trip? I'd like to talk to someone with real data on that one.