If you drive an EV everyday at home, renting a “normal” car on vacation is the worst.
When I was planning our recent family trip, the big challenge was getting from Seattle to Vancouver for our Disney cruise. Seven years ago, when we sailed to Alaska with Disney for the first time, we setup two one-way rentals with one of the most popular car rental companies, so I knew the drive to Vancouver would be enjoyable, if only I could drive the same car we have at home.
Introducing Turo: a car renting/sharing service that creates a link between travelers (like us) with those who have a car they want to rent out. I found it while searching for a Tesla we could rent, hoping I wouldn’t have to drive a gas-guzzling SUV or minivan to get to and from our cruise. Finding a few available Teslas in Seattle brought more excitement to our trip and opened the possibility of further exploration after the cruise.
We rented a white Model X, almost identical to our own car back home, but with 7 seats instead of 6 and a 90 kWH battery offering more range than the 75 kWH we’re used to. It seemed a shame to rent such a nice car just to get to Vancouver and back, leaving it parked at the cruise terminal for a week, so I started looking at ways to extend our trip and soon our simple Alaska cruise became the Big Family Trip.
The drive from Seattle to Vancouver was as nice as I remembered (even nicer thanks to the huge panoramic windshield in the Model X) and the boys were comfortable in a familiar car, with the same entertainment center we use at home. We brought both car seats (a Peg Perego convertible for Kasper, and a large Britax Frontier booster for Henrik) and the suction-cup tablet mount that holds an iPad between the Tesla’s front seats.
Our range on the 90D was enough to get us all the way to Vancouver without stopping, so we didn’t check out either of the Tesla superchargers between Seattle and the border. Instead we visited the one closest to the cruise terminal, which was ~20 miles south at the Tsawwassen Mills Mall.
A downside of driving someone else’s Tesla was not being able to check the app or get notifications when we finished charging, so the car was likely full for some time before we left. The mall was an excellent spot for a supercharger, though, with a nice food court and excellent play area for the boys, and we enjoyed it after the cruise as well, making sure the car was fully charged before our ferry ride to Victoria.
This was our first experience on a ferry, and the only hassle was waiting for the ferry to arrive, then waiting to board. No issues with the falcon wing doors, even with a sprinkler head right above us, so we were soon wandering the two upper decks, checking out the kids area and the snack bar of course.
The ferry ride was nice, and there were opportunities for beautiful photos on both sides of the boat as we passed between islands. Sadly, Henrik wasn’t feeling good that day so he needed me close at all times, and he wasn’t interested in going out on the open decks where I would have been able to take some photos.
Driving off the ferry was a fun experience, at least for a first-timer, and from the dock at Swartz Bay we drove the 22 miles south to Victoria, winding our way through town and taking the scenic route along the coast to our rental home.
I’ll share more on the rental property itself next week, but for three nights this Model X sat parked in front of a beautiful garden across the street from the Straight of Juan de Fuca, the body of water that separates Vancouver Island from the northwest tip of Washington state.
During our stay in Victoria, we drove to some beautiful sights both near and far, always enjoying the comfort and familiarity of the Model X. Charging was tricky, even though the island is covered in public EV charging stations. The only supercharger was a long way from Victoria, and although there was a Tesla destination charger a few miles from our home, it wasn’t quite close enough to park for any length of time.
I have a lot more to say about Victoria, of course, but the remainder of our time with our Turo rental was excellent. We enjoyed another ferry ride from Victoria to Port Angeles, followed by a long drive around Puget Sound to get back to the Seattle airport.
Saying goodbye to the Model X was sad, especially since I was unable to secure a Tesla for our next stop in Houston. Although there were a few Teslas available, Turo isn’t designed to handle picking up and dropping off at different airports, so we had to settle for something much less enjoyable.
Overall it was a great experience, and when our travels take us to another destination where a private car is a must, I’ll always be looking for another Tesla to rent. Had it not been for this particular Model X, we wouldn’t have thought to visit Victoria or explore Vancouver Island, and as you’ll read next week, that turned out to be our favorite part of the trip!
Check back Monday for a closer look at our rental home, followed by some highlights from the island!
Are you interested in using Turo for your next car rental? Use this link to save $25 off your first trip! Or if you’re thinking about buying a Tesla Model X (or Model S) for yourself, use our referral code for free supercharging!