Sierra and foothills roadtrips in an electric car

More electric vehicles are on the road, with Northern California ranked as the top EV region. By 2022, California’s electric vehicle sales are expected to be more than double the total for the next three most popular EV states.

EVs aren’t just for intercity travel. Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors, which is building an EV battery “gigafactory” in Reno, has a string of strategically placed “Superchargers.” This means you can make a long-distance roadtrip in a single day.

Our region is well-equipped to handle EV travelers. EV charging stations are often located near roadside diners, cafes and shopping centers. Road trippers can stop for a quick meal and have their vehicles charged when they’re done—or make it a destination. The Miners Foundry Cultural Center in historic Nevada City has a charging station.

“This was our favorite public charging stop we have made,” said one EV driver of the station at the cute Amtrak Depot in Colfax. “We topped off our Toyota Rav4 to easily make it to Truckee with 50 miles to spare. A short walk from this site was a nice, friendly pizza restaurant, Mexican food and coffee.”

Some of our editor’s favorite roadtrips in the Sierra and foothills are here.

Here are some EV charging stations, including Tesla’s:

SR 49Placer County Community Development Resource Center, 3091 Country Center Dr.

I-80Amtrak Station, 99 Railroad St.

US 50 Folsom Premium Outlets, 13000 Folsom Blvd.*

SR 20Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St. (110 volt)

1-80Walmart, 5414 Crossings Dr.

I-80Westfield Galleria Mall, 1151 Galleria Blvd.*

1960 Squaw Valley Rd., next to Cornice Cantina

I-8011290 Donner Pass Rd.* *Tesla “Supercharger” station


Wi-Fi is a top priority for travelers. Free Wi-Fi trumps parking and a complimentary breakfast when it comes to choosing a hotel for leisure travelers. Public Wi-Fi spots, in restaurants and cafes, also are in high demand.

Despite its mountainous and rural terrain, our region has good Wi-Fi access in its historic towns, including Auburn, Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee. Some state parks and campgrounds also have Wi-Fi.

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