In June of 2022, we were scheduled to drive to Eden Prairie, MN, for our granddaughter’s high school graduation. We had done this trip several times in our Tesla and never had a problem charging it along the way. Since we had the time, we decided to make it a real road trip (or at least an eighty-year-old’s idea of a road trip) from Minnesota, over the top of Lake Superior, out to Quebec City, and then back home. The accompanying map shows the general route. Just to be safe, we checked Tesla’s charger map (tesla.com/findus) to be sure there were superchargers along the whole route.
Our normal route to Eden Prairies was via I-74 to Bloomington, IL, and then north through Illinois and Wisconsin to the Twin Cities area. This time we decided to experiment with going from Bloomington to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and up I-35 to the Twin Cities. That actually took us through an intense thunderstorm in Peoria that became a tornado as it moved further east.
After spending three days in the Twin Cities area, we headed up I-35 past Duluth, MN, and into Canada, spending the night in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Crossing the border was not easy. We handed our passports and Covid shots documentation to the officer, and he asked if we had filled out the ArriveCan app. We had no idea of what he was talking about. I had done extensive research on whether there were Covid restrictions, but I never saw mention of ArriveCan. He saw the panic on our faces and told us to turn around and go back through US immigration to a duty-free store where they would help us. Once we had the app installed and filled out, we were let right into Canada.
I was counting on using the HotWire app on my phone to find a hotel in Thunder Bay. but I immediately discovered that I had lost my cell phone connection as soon as we crossed the border. I suggested that we pull into a Mcdonald's parking lot and use their Wi-Fi to find a hotel. That worked, and once we were in the hotel, I contacted my provider to set up a roaming account. One other thing happened. After crossing the border, I noticed that our Tesla had automatically switched to metric without me doing anything. It turned out that the majority of our trip in Canada would be at a speed limit of 100 km/hour, which is roughly equivalent to 62 mph.
Our trip from Thunder Bay to Quebec City routed us down the east side of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie and then following the Trans-Canada highway north of Algonquin Provincial Park to Ottawa, Montreal, and then Quebec City. I was somewhat familiar with the Algonquin Provincial Park because I had accompanied two of our sons on a Boy Scout 75-mile canoe trip through a series of lakes in the park. It certainly seemed like the “northern wilderness” to me then, and now we were driving north of the park. Despite that area being sparsely populated, we found superchargers all along the way.
We spent two days in Quebec City and did our own walking tour of Vieux Quebec and were impressed by how clean and modern it was, mounted high above the St. Lawrence River. We had been there in the ‘80s with the kids, and it was much simpler and picturesque then. We headed home via the southern section of the Trans-Canada highway that more or less bordered the US border and then re-entered the US via Detroit.
We intended to do an extended international road trip, and we did it. We traveled a total of 3,450 miles, all on electricity. We charged at superchargers 18 times with an average of 192 miles between charges. We generally stopped to charge, not because we needed to but because we needed a bathroom/food break. That’s analogous to stopping at rest stops and gasoline stations/restaurants on a regular long road trip.
The nominal range of our 2022 Tesla Model 3 LR is 358 miles. The total cost of charging was $335. We noted that gasoline prices in Canada averaged $7.50 (US) per gallon. One final note is that Tesla superchargers in Canada were typically located at Canadian Tire dealerships, which are a combination of a tire shop and an automotive/sports/hardware department store. They have restrooms only in the tire service area, and they do not serve any food. In contrast, most US Tesla superchargers are at supermarket and shopping center locations where restrooms and food are typically available 24 hours a day.