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A road-tripping Tesla Mom tells all
Posted on March 22, 2019 by Charles Morris
We never get tired of reading about Tesla road trips. There’s no better way to see our beautiful country than in an American car, powered by American electricity. The latest EV odyssey to cross our desk comes from the Baltimore Post-Examiner, which follows Tiffani Van Ee and her 7-year-old daughter Abbey on their trip across the US in a silver Model S called Vivienne.
Above: Tiffani Van Ee in her Tesla Model S (Instagram: teslamom.usa)
“With full camping gear, stocked Yeti cooler in the frunk, and a surprisingly luxurious bed in the back,” the three ladies set out from Los Angeles for a Zero Emissions Road Trip. Vivienne’s 60 kWh battery has just under 200 miles of range, and Ms. Van Ee set off hoping to power the whole trip on free Supercharging.
Everything goes smoothly through the red rock and cactus of Arizona, where the ladies make a spiritual pilgrimage to Sedona. The first opportunity (known to less hardy souls as a “problem”) comes up in Gallup, New Mexico (of Route 66 fame), where the local Supercharger station is out of commission. “Tried all 4 chargers and nada. No power,” writes Van Ee. Fortunately, Tesla comes to the rescue. “Called Tesla. They offered to tow me west to Holbrook AZ, the charger I just came from! After I explained, Tesla offered a complimentary tow to Albuquerque, the next Supercharger on our route. Over 140 miles!”
Back on the road, Van Ee learns to use cruise control to maximize battery range, and is impressed by her Tesla’s connectivity. “In some remote areas, I lost all cell reception, yet this computer I’m driving still had premium connectivity, satellite-view maps and music streaming.”
Above: Getting cozy in the massive Model S trunk (Instagram: teslamom.usa)
The next hitch is announced by Vivienne herself: the Low Tire Pressure light comes on, and it turns out there’s a screw in one of the tires. The intrepid travelers make it to a Tesla Service Center in Houston, where they pass on an offer to buy an expensive new tire. Instead, they go to a nearby America’s Best Wheels and Tires shop, which repairs the leak for free.
The Road-Tripping Tesla Mom is back on the highway, and ready for the second part of her cross-country trek. The next stop is New Orleans, for a breakfast of beignets and a horse-drawn carriage tour through the French Quarter.
When it’s time to charge, Vivienne suggests a Destination Charger at the Ritz Carlton hotel. Ms. Van Ee and her daughter aren’t staying at this luxury establishment, and they approach the valet with trepidation. However, with true Southern hospitality, he says, “Yes, ma’am! You are more than welcome.” While Vivienne fills her battery pack, the ladies relax in the Davenport Lounge on a comfortable Victorian sofa, sipping warm beverages and listening to live piano jazz.
Above: Mom's Model S is named Vivienne (Instagram: teslamom.usa)
Now, there’s an answer for the invariable question: “What do you do when there are no Superchargers?” Unfortunately, not every town has a Ritz. Furthermore, Destination Chargers, which typically add between 25 and 50 miles per hour of charging, are appropriate for overnight stays, but for highway pit stops, a Supercharger, which adds between 200 and 300, is the way to go.
In fact, Van Ee admits that she and Abbey occasionally sleep at Supercharger sites (don’t worry, we won’t tell Elon). “I simply close the hatchback remotely using the key fob from inside. Then with the Tesla app on my phone, I lock the car and set the AC. Using my phone’s hotspot, I connect Wi-Fi on my laptop. Then we snuggle up in the surprisingly roomy and luxurious Tesla bed, ‘Netflix and chill’ until we pass out. So far, no problems. As long as you’re supercharging, no one bothers a Tesla.”
The electric trailblazers push on to Florida, and after a visit to the white sandy beaches of Pensacola, they arrive at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, with Vivienne low on charge. Tiffani and Abbey watch inspiring exhibits on SpaceX, including shots of Starman driving Elon Musk’s Roadster into deep space. “Isn’t it great?” Ms. Van Ee asks her daughter. “How all the different countries work together to stock the Space Station? In space we’re not Americans, we’re Earthlings.”
Above: Tiffani's daughter Abbey at a Supercharger (Instagram: teslamom.usa)
Now it’s time to find a place to charge - the ladies dashed to the restroom on arrival, then became so engrossed in the exhibits that they forgot all about it. Surely there must be a charging station at the Space Center. Of course, there they are: Tesla Destination Chargers, in the front row of the parking lot.
Check out more photos of the Van Ees’ Zero Emissions Road Trip on Instagram.