Non-Tesla EV Charging on the East Side of the Sierras along Hwy 395

By Paul Gipe

Recently I was asked about charging a non-Tesla EV on the “East Side” of the Sierra Nevada along Hwy 395. It was a good question and I’ve decided to post my response for others who may be interested.

The Hwy 395 corridor runs north and south from the LA Basin to Carson City, Nevada essentially along the east side of the Sierra Nevada. This is Southern California’s outdoor playground both in summer and winter. During the summer, there’s hiking, camping, and climbing in the Sierra’s famous backcountry. During the winter, there’s world-class skiing at Mammoth Lakes.

If you drive an EV you want to be able to get there—and to get back. Tesla solved this problem for its cars years ago. But only recently have you been able to drive up Hwy 395 with a non-Tesla EV. It’s doable now and here’s a summary of non-Tesla stations.

Remember, PlugShare is your friend. Use it.

DC Fast Chargers

Electrify America has installed stations with four kiosks each at four locations.

Caltrans has installed single kiosk stations at three locations.

EV Connect and ChargePoint have installed some stations on the southern reaches of the corridor.

Level 2 240-Volt EVSEs

There are also some scattered Level 2 EVSEs along the corridor, mostly Tesla destination chargers, one ClipperCreek J1772, and two 240-volt outlets at small motels.

Just south of Bridgeport is the Virginia Creek Settlement where they have a single Tesla Destination charger for guests.

Charging at a lodge in Mammoth Lakes, Califor.

There’s a public double-headed Clipper Creek J1772 at Gus Hess Park in Lee Vining. It also happens to be solar powered.

There’s a cluster of Tesla Destination chargers at resorts in Mammoth Lakes. These have Tesla wall chargers and typically one ClipperCreek J1772 for guests.

Two small motels in Independence offer NEMA 14-50 outlets for charging. You have to bring your own EVSE with a NEMA 15-50 plug and pay for your usage. We’ve stayed frequently at the Independence Inn, but we’ve never used the plug at the other motel.

PlugShare still lists NEMA 14-50 sites at several RV parks along Hwy 395. We’ve never used them. The listings were posted on PlugShare years ago, when there wasn’t any else for tens of miles, and may no longer be valid. You’ll need your own EVSE or portable charge cable with a NEMA 14-50 plug and expect to pay for your use.

Charging overnight with a portable EVSE at a motel in Independence, Calif.

Some motels may permit you to use outdoor 120-Volt outlets. I don’t recommend this for two reasons. First, your charge cable will often have to lie across a sidewalk or travelway. This is an accident waiting to happen. Second, the outlet and its circuit breaker may not be up to the heavy current draw of your EVSE.

I charged once on a 120-Volt outlet at a motel. Their ice machine was also plugged into the same outlet. I should have known better. Nevertheless, the next morning I woke up and our car wasn’t charged, there was no ice in the ice machine, and there was a very irate motel operator.

With careful planning and judicious use of PlugShare modern non-Tesla EVs should have no problems driving Hwy 395 on the East Side.