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TomB985

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I just returned from a two-week trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas and back. I was planning a trip to get out and see the country that would have me back in time to pick up my boys for the weekend. I usually travel alone, but I invited my mom to join me through the mountains because she’s always frustrated that my dad never wants to get out of the house. She didn’t want to be gone for too long, so I picked her up at the airport in Las Vegas and dropped her in Denver on the way back. About 2/3rds of the trip was by myself.

This was the easiest trip I’ve taken so far. The first 700 miles were back roads through rural Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. I used Superchargers until I got to Sioux City, then it was slow Chargepoint 62 kW units through Nebraska until I reached I-80 in North Platte. I chose this route because I wanted to get off the beaten path. 90-minute charging times from these slow units isn’t the way if you’re trying to make time.


I had choices to make when I hit I-80, with Superchargers and Electrify America stations every 80-100 miles from there. Superchargers are usually cheaper, but Electrify America has stupidly low rates in states like Nebraska where they bill by the minute. This works great for the Lightning because it holds a higher average charge rate than most EVs, so I was paying the equivalent of $0.10/kWh. Tesla uses a graduated rate in these time-billed areas, so $0.74/min over 100 kW is a heckuva lot more expensive than EA’s $0.24/min regardless of speed.

Charging west of Denver was the easiest part of the trip, with Superchargers every 40 miles. EVs really shine in the mountains because of regenerative braking. I got awful efficiency climbing to Loveland Pass out of Denver, but I gained it all back on the western slope as I came down, so my overall efficiency was similar to what I get on flat ground. My Lightning was the only thing around that didn’t care about the altitude; I had full power all the way to 12,000 feet. My camper isn’t real heavy at 2,800 lbs, so it’s no surprise that my temperatures never left the usual range I see while cruising on flat ground. To the best that I could tell, the truck didn’t care that it was two miles above sea level.



Green River, UT was the only charge stop that concerned me. It’s in the middle of the desert as the only stop with services on a 100-mile stretch of I-70. The only chargers in town are an old V2 Supercharger that we can’t use along with a notoriously unreliable Electrify America station. There are four units and two of them were down last September, and it’s not uncommon to see long lines. I came through on Thursday and Monday planning on a wait, but I was the only car there on both occasions.


I arrived at Las Vegas on Friday afternoon and found an RV park attached to a casino in the center of town. I picked my mom up from the airport and we headed to Zion National Park the next morning. We went to Arches National Park the next day which has a conveniently located Supercharger a few miles away in Moab. We topped up and found a primitive campsite at a BLM-run site next to the Colorado River. This is where the Lightning really shined. Generators aren’t allowed between 8 PM - 8 AM, but we were plugged into the Pro Power Onboard outlets in the bed. We had full power for the A/C, microwave, and coffee maker without making a sound. I shut things off when I go to bed to avoid wasting power, but I usually burn 3-5% of the battery powering the camper through the evening and following morning.


We headed east from there and spent the day on Tuesday driving through the mountains. We took a detour south to see the Camp Hale national monument before coming back over Loveland Pass on our way into Denver where I dropped my mom at the airport and headed for home.

I stayed in campgrounds about half the time, and I was able to charge from the 50-amp outlets at each place. DC fast charging is usually $0.35-0.42/kWh, so the amount of power I got from the campsite was usually enough to offset the campground fee.


To sum it up, I’m still really impressed with how the Lightning handles camping trips. I love the convenience of silently powering the camper from the bed outlets, and the truck handled high altitudes better than any ICE powertrain ever could. The only thing I’d change is having a larger battery so I could stretch more than 130-160 miles between charge stops, which makes the Silverado an attractive choice for my next one. I felt that less on this trip than any of my previous trips because of how many chargers were on my route. The charging networks are improving faster than I’ve ever seen, so it only gets better from here.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas 1716081659509-xw


Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas 1716081659571-s4


Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas 1716081659618-ad


Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas 1716081659653-v5


Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas 1716081659696-tt
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DesertEV

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I just returned from a two-week trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas and back. I was planning a trip to get out and see the country that would have me back in time to pick up my boys for the weekend. I usually travel alone, but I invited my mom to join me through the mountains because she’s always frustrated that my dad never wants to get out of the house. She didn’t want to be gone for too long, so I picked her up at the airport in Las Vegas and dropped her in Denver on the way back. About 2/3rds of the trip was by myself.

This was the easiest trip I’ve taken so far. The first 700 miles were back roads through rural Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. I used Superchargers until I got to Sioux City, then it was slow Chargepoint 62 kW units through Nebraska until I reached I-80 in North Platte. I chose this route because I wanted to get off the beaten path. 90-minute charging times from these slow units isn’t the way if you’re trying to make time.


I had choices to make when I hit I-80, with Superchargers and Electrify America stations every 80-100 miles from there. Superchargers are usually cheaper, but Electrify America has stupidly low rates in states like Nebraska where they bill by the minute. This works great for the Lightning because it holds a higher average charge rate than most EVs, so I was paying the equivalent of $0.10/kWh. Tesla uses a graduated rate in these time-billed areas, so $0.74/min over 100 kW is a heckuva lot more expensive than EA’s $0.24/min regardless of speed.

Charging west of Denver was the easiest part of the trip, with Superchargers every 40 miles. EVs really shine in the mountains because of regenerative braking. I got awful efficiency climbing to Loveland Pass out of Denver, but I gained it all back on the western slope as I came down, so my overall efficiency was similar to what I get on flat ground. My Lightning was the only thing around that didn’t care about the altitude; I had full power all the way to 12,000 feet. My camper isn’t real heavy at 2,800 lbs, so it’s no surprise that my temperatures never left the usual range I see while cruising on flat ground. To the best that I could tell, the truck didn’t care that it was two miles above sea level.



Green River, UT was the only charge stop that concerned me. It’s in the middle of the desert as the only stop with services on a 100-mile stretch of I-70. The only chargers in town are an old V2 Supercharger that we can’t use along with a notoriously unreliable Electrify America station. There are four units and two of them were down last September, and it’s not uncommon to see long lines. I came through on Thursday and Monday planning on a wait, but I was the only car there on both occasions.


I arrived at Las Vegas on Friday afternoon and found an RV park attached to a casino in the center of town. I picked my mom up from the airport and we headed to Zion National Park the next morning. We went to Arches National Park the next day which has a conveniently located Supercharger a few miles away in Moab. We topped up and found a primitive campsite at a BLM-run site next to the Colorado River. This is where the Lightning really shined. Generators aren’t allowed between 8 PM - 8 AM, but we were plugged into the Pro Power Onboard outlets in the bed. We had full power for the A/C, microwave, and coffee maker without making a sound. I shut things off when I go to bed to avoid wasting power, but I usually burn 3-5% of the battery powering the camper through the evening and following morning.


We headed east from there and spent the day on Tuesday driving through the mountains. We took a detour south to see the Camp Hale national monument before coming back over Loveland Pass on our way into Denver where I dropped my mom at the airport and headed for home.

I stayed in campgrounds about half the time, and I was able to charge from the 50-amp outlets at each place. DC fast charging is usually $0.35-0.42/kWh, so the amount of power I got from the campsite was usually enough to offset the campground fee.


To sum it up, I’m still really impressed with how the Lightning handles camping trips. I love the convenience of silently powering the camper from the bed outlets, and the truck handled high altitudes better than any ICE powertrain ever could. The only thing I’d change is having a larger battery so I could stretch more than 130-160 miles between charge stops, which makes the Silverado an attractive choice for my next one. I felt that less on this trip than any of my previous trips because of how many chargers were on my route. The charging networks are improving faster than I’ve ever seen, so it only gets better from here.

1716081659509-xw.jpg


1716081659571-s4.jpg


1716081659618-ad.jpg


1716081659653-v5.jpg


1716081659696-tt.jpg
Awesome! Great trip and post!!!
 

CavRider

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I just returned from a two-week trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas and back. I was planning a trip to get out and see the country that would have me back in time to pick up my boys for the weekend. I usually travel alone, but I invited my mom to join me through the mountains because she’s always frustrated that my dad never wants to get out of the house. She didn’t want to be gone for too long, so I picked her up at the airport in Las Vegas and dropped her in Denver on the way back. About 2/3rds of the trip was by myself.

This was the easiest trip I’ve taken so far. The first 700 miles were back roads through rural Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. I used Superchargers until I got to Sioux City, then it was slow Chargepoint 62 kW units through Nebraska until I reached I-80 in North Platte. I chose this route because I wanted to get off the beaten path. 90-minute charging times from these slow units isn’t the way if you’re trying to make time.


I had choices to make when I hit I-80, with Superchargers and Electrify America stations every 80-100 miles from there. Superchargers are usually cheaper, but Electrify America has stupidly low rates in states like Nebraska where they bill by the minute. This works great for the Lightning because it holds a higher average charge rate than most EVs, so I was paying the equivalent of $0.10/kWh. Tesla uses a graduated rate in these time-billed areas, so $0.74/min over 100 kW is a heckuva lot more expensive than EA’s $0.24/min regardless of speed.

Charging west of Denver was the easiest part of the trip, with Superchargers every 40 miles. EVs really shine in the mountains because of regenerative braking. I got awful efficiency climbing to Loveland Pass out of Denver, but I gained it all back on the western slope as I came down, so my overall efficiency was similar to what I get on flat ground. My Lightning was the only thing around that didn’t care about the altitude; I had full power all the way to 12,000 feet. My camper isn’t real heavy at 2,800 lbs, so it’s no surprise that my temperatures never left the usual range I see while cruising on flat ground. To the best that I could tell, the truck didn’t care that it was two miles above sea level.



Green River, UT was the only charge stop that concerned me. It’s in the middle of the desert as the only stop with services on a 100-mile stretch of I-70. The only chargers in town are an old V2 Supercharger that we can’t use along with a notoriously unreliable Electrify America station. There are four units and two of them were down last September, and it’s not uncommon to see long lines. I came through on Thursday and Monday planning on a wait, but I was the only car there on both occasions.


I arrived at Las Vegas on Friday afternoon and found an RV park attached to a casino in the center of town. I picked my mom up from the airport and we headed to Zion National Park the next morning. We went to Arches National Park the next day which has a conveniently located Supercharger a few miles away in Moab. We topped up and found a primitive campsite at a BLM-run site next to the Colorado River. This is where the Lightning really shined. Generators aren’t allowed between 8 PM - 8 AM, but we were plugged into the Pro Power Onboard outlets in the bed. We had full power for the A/C, microwave, and coffee maker without making a sound. I shut things off when I go to bed to avoid wasting power, but I usually burn 3-5% of the battery powering the camper through the evening and following morning.


We headed east from there and spent the day on Tuesday driving through the mountains. We took a detour south to see the Camp Hale national monument before coming back over Loveland Pass on our way into Denver where I dropped my mom at the airport and headed for home.

I stayed in campgrounds about half the time, and I was able to charge from the 50-amp outlets at each place. DC fast charging is usually $0.35-0.42/kWh, so the amount of power I got from the campsite was usually enough to offset the campground fee.


To sum it up, I’m still really impressed with how the Lightning handles camping trips. I love the convenience of silently powering the camper from the bed outlets, and the truck handled high altitudes better than any ICE powertrain ever could. The only thing I’d change is having a larger battery so I could stretch more than 130-160 miles between charge stops, which makes the Silverado an attractive choice for my next one. I felt that less on this trip than any of my previous trips because of how many chargers were on my route. The charging networks are improving faster than I’ve ever seen, so it only gets better from here.

1716081659509-xw.jpg


1716081659571-s4.jpg


1716081659618-ad.jpg


1716081659653-v5.jpg


1716081659696-tt.jpg
Great report. Thanks for sharing. What charger are you using at the 50 amp outlets in the campgrounds?
 

Jimbalf

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I recognize that Green River site. Worked great for me as well. Went thru there after Arches and Canyonlands on our way to Capital Reefs. And Mesa Verde. Love that truck in the mountains and hills.
 

Texas Dan

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How much trouble did you have accessing chargers with the trailer connected? Did you ever have to disconnect the trailer so you could charge? Any recommendations for charging with a trailer connected?
 

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TomB985

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Great report. Thanks for sharing. What charger are you using at the 50 amp outlets in the campgrounds?
I have the Ford and Tesla mobile connectors, but I’ve had problems with older breakers tripping at 32A. This is the only EV I’ve owned that doesn’t let me adjust charge current, so I bought a Lectron 32A portable charger that lets me turn the current down. No issues at 32A on this trip, but I’d hate to arrive at low SoC and not be able to charge because of old, trippy breakers.

Yes, I have three mobile chargers. Don’t judge me.

How much trouble did you have accessing chargers with the trailer connected? Did you ever have to disconnect the trailer so you could charge? Any recommendations for charging with a trailer connected?
I had to disconnect about 20% to avoid blocking busy parking lots. My biggest suggestion is to be creative; nobody’s ever bothered me as long as they can get around the trailer.

I pulled in and jacked into an L-shape when I first went into Green River.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240509_185519284_Original


The second time, I backed into a three-point turn to do the same from the other side.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240512_174654050_Original


I’ve parked on the opposite side of chargers before.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240506_213009621_Original


Cocked around the end of a row.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240412_232448769_Original


Used the pull-in spot at a Supercharger.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas IMG_0712


If the adjacent spots are clear, I put the trailer as close to to the parking row and nose in to give room around to the left.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas IMG_1571


The tightest on this trip was behind City Hall in Fruita, CO. I had enough room for a garbage truck to get around me, but it was kind of tight. I would have disconnected if it was any tighter.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240509_165509822_Original
 

TaxmanHog

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Awesome report!!
 

On the Road with Ralph

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I just returned from a two-week trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas and back. I was planning a trip to get out and see the country that would have me back in time to pick up my boys for the weekend. I usually travel alone, but I invited my mom to join me through the mountains because she’s always frustrated that my dad never wants to get out of the house. She didn’t want to be gone for too long, so I picked her up at the airport in Las Vegas and dropped her in Denver on the way back. About 2/3rds of the trip was by myself.
As someone who has made eight trips of more than 1500 miles in his Pro SR and nearly 20 trips of more than 300 miles (tho' not towing) I don't normally read the travel reports posted here. You know: Been-there, done-that.

But I very much enjoyed reading this travel account, and picked up a couple ideas for my future journeys. I appreciate the OP's report very much, and it is still another piece of real-world evidence that road-tripping - even while towing - in an EV truck is not only possible, but even pleasurable.

I've previously commented that in 2023 we experienced the first EV Road Trip Summer. It will be interesting to see what happens this summer. Will the expansion/improvement of charging networks, combined with the opening of the Tesla Superchargers to Fords and others, lead to better experiences, or will the growing number of EVs continue to overwhelm the system?
 

mb0220

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I recognize that Green River site. Worked great for me as well. Went thru there after Arches and Canyonlands on our way to Capital Reefs. And Mesa Verde. Love that truck in the mountains and hills.
I know that site too! Stopped there on a trip from Iowa to Oregon.
 
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TomB985

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I appreciate the OP's report very much, and it is still another piece of real-world evidence that road-tripping - even while towing - in an EV truck is not only possible, but even pleasurable.
That’s the biggest tareaway I’ve had from my recent trips. We don’t have the flexibility of easily going to some of the far-flung areas without charging, but that’s getting better every day. EVs add another layer of convenience with the smooth power, V2L output, added frunk storage, high altitude manners, and silent powertrain. I had to drive out of the campground at 0430 on Wednesday to drop my mom at the airport, and nobody around me heard me leave. That’s harder to do with the smelly, noisy diesel that my neighbor used.

I've previously commented that in 2023 we experienced the first EV Road Trip Summer. It will be interesting to see what happens this summer. Will the expansion/improvement of charging networks, combined with the opening of the Tesla Superchargers to Fords and others, lead to better experiences, or will the growing number of EVs continue to overwhelm the system?
I think Supercharger opening is a big inflection point for the industry. There are more Superchargers than all other DCFC stations combined, and Tesla’s network has far more capacity than needed in most areas. They seem to be aggressively building out despite their internal turmoil, and everyone else is building faster than ever. Every trip seems easier than the last, and I think that trend will continue. I’m also a permanent optimist, so I’m always gonna think tomorrow will be better than today.
 

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Amazing report! What kinds of highway speeds were you doing and what kinds of mi/kWh efficiencies were you getting?
 
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TomB985

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Amazing report! What kinds of highway speeds were you doing and what kinds of mi/kWh efficiencies were you getting?
I usually cruse between 60-62 MPH when I’m alone, or up to 70 MPH on cruise control behind a truck. I seem to get the same efficiency at 70 with the ACC distance at the closest setting, so I draft when it’s appropriate. Average for both trips totaling 6,200 miles was 1.4 mi/kWh, which is my base assumption at those speeds.

This trip:
Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas IMG_1590


This is my trip to Texas last month. Return:
Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240413_220452177_Original

Outbound:
Ford F-150 Lightning Towing from Minneapolis to Las Vegas PXL_20240406_160643953_Original
 

On the Road with Ralph

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I seem to get the same efficiency at 70 with the ACC distance at the closest setting, so I draft when it’s appropriate.
One of the realities of the Lightning is that it has all the aerodynamics of a brick. Headwinds can be range-killers at highway speeds, since parasitic drag basically doubles between 60 and 80 mph. I have found drafting semi-trailers to have a significant positive impact on energy use. There are multiple variables - speed, wind velocity, vector, slope, etc. - but I usually get .2 to .4 more miles/kW when drafting. On two recent trips on the open plains of north Texas and Oklahoma, drafting was the difference between reaching the next charger, and not, when driving into headwinds.

I have also noticed elevation effects on mileage. My travels regularly take me across northern Arizona and New Mexico on I-40, where hundreds of miles are above 5000 feet, and a significant portion of that is above 7000 feet. Again, there are a lot of variables, but I generally can drive four to six mph faster than usual for the same energy burn as my normal cruise speed (about 68 mph) when traveling above 5000 feet.
 

Joneii

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The Lightning is great for camping and towing as long as you have a lot of time for the trip. The Supercharger network is a huge bonus. They just built a new 16 station installation in Selinsgrove, PA (a DCFC dead zone). It is out of the way in a Target parking lot and all the stations have longer cords that will allow the Lightning to nose in and charge while only taking one spot. The only complaint I have with the installation was the lack of any pull through spots. There is room in the lot to park creatively if you are towing, but purpose designed pull through spots would be nice.
 
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TomB985

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I have also noticed elevation effects on mileage. My travels regularly take me across northern Arizona and New Mexico on I-40, where hundreds of miles are above 5000 feet, and a significant portion of that is above 7000 feet. Again, there are a lot of variables, but I generally can drive four to six mph faster than usual for the same energy burn as my normal cruise speed (about 68 mph) when traveling above 5000 feet.
So it’s not just me! I noticed similar efficiency gains at higher altitudes, but I wasn’t sure if the thinner air had that much of an effect. Seems like it does.
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