Electric Cars

Plan a Tesla road trip using its new website tool

It's a simplified version of its in-car trip planner, to help reduce EV-related anxiety for prospective owners.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles have in-car trip planners that help you plot out a road trip, including stops at Superchargers. Now, you can do the same thing on Tesla's website, in case you've got concerns ahead of taking the plunge on purchasing a vehicle.

The trip planner is pretty straightforward -- just put in a starting point and a destination, and the planner takes care of the rest. It suggests the route to take, and where to stop to juice up. It even tells you how long you'll have to wait at a particular charger to get enough juice to complete the trip, as well as the estimated gas savings along the way.

You might only need to stop once between Detroit and Chicago, but if you want to head to, say, Denver, the stops will add a few hours to your trip time.

Tesla

The planner works with every Tesla model currently on sale, including the Model 3 with its long-range battery. Eventually, I assume Tesla will add the shorter-range 3 to this planner -- whenever it gets around to building and delivering the thing.

As a quick example, I had the tool determine whether or not it would be feasible to make it from Detroit to Chicago on a single charge. The driving distance is 283 miles, which is within a single-charge range of nearly every Tesla variant. But, likely out of an abundance of caution (traffic can get gnarly on I-94, especially in Indiana), Tesla suggested a quick, 20-minute charge stop at a Supercharger bank outside St. Joseph, Michigan.

The tool claims I'll save about $37 in gas by taking the trip in an electric car, which is dead-on accurate based on all the times I've driven that route in gas cars.

This isn't really a tool for current Tesla owners, so much as it is a tool for prospective owners. If you've been on the fence about buying a Tesla -- especially if you have range anxiety -- the trip planner will help allay those fears. It won't apply much to any other EV, as they won't have access to Tesla's Supercharger network.