July 27, 2021: Visiting Texas Hill Country Wineries with your Electric Car
Before we broke ground on Kalasi Cellars, we loved to visit Fredericksburg as tourists. A few years back, we always wanted to drive our newest and nicest car, our Tesla Model 3, whenever we visited the Texas Hill Country. However, there are a few charging hurdles to plan for when making a trip to visit the Texas Hill Country wineries. Here’s some of our advice for enjoying the Texas Hill Country with your electric vehicle.
Tip 1: Always bring your charging adapter! There are limited car charging stations in the Texas Hill Country, but if you bring your own charging adapter with a NEMA 14-50 plug and standard outlet plug, you’ll open up a lot more options.
Tip 2: Pay attention to timing! Many chargers are at businesses that may not allow after hours access. Also don’t assume that just because you see a charging station on a map that it will be available for use when you arrive. You may need a backup plan to ensure you are able to charge your electric car.
Tip 3: If you’re charging for free at a business, definitely be a customer of the business. A level 2 charger may mean you need to plan to spend an hour or two at the business to get enough juice, so plan to enjoy a tasting, a glass of wine, food, etc. during your charge.
Tip 4: There are limited car chargers throughout the area, so once you have enough charge, unplug your car and move it so that other customers can plug in.
Car Charging Options
Depending on your car’s range, which wineries and businesses you’re planning to visit, and how long you’re staying in the area, you may or may not need to plan any car charging. Along your way to and from the Texas wine region you’ll have a few charging options.
This may seem obvious, but Austin has some great charging options. When Nikhila and I would drive down from Dallas to visit Fredericksburg for a weekend, we would often stay in Austin so we could charge overnight. One great spot to stay is the Domain. It’s not far off I-35, so it’s very convenient to get to when you’re driving from Dallas and not too far out of the way if you’re coming from Houston. There are some level 2 chargers you can use overnight. Lastly, it’s usually pretty easy to book the hotels in the Domain last minute, so it’s a safe option to ensure you can charge up before you make it to the Texas Hill Country wineries.
Just under an hour from Austin you’ll run into Johnson City, which has a few public chargers with J-1772 plugs. Johnson City is a fantastic little town where you can definitely pass some time while your car charges. Things to do include walking around to the shops, grabbing some lunch or dinner at Pecan Street Brewing, visiting our friend Henry at Crowson Wines (definitely make a reservation!) where you can try their natural wines, and much more!
As you continue down 290 heading toward Fredericksburg, there are a few wineries that have electric car chargers. Since the EV chargers are at private businesses, pay attention to the hours of operation, whether reservations are required, the last time for a tasting, etc. so that you can arrive with enough time to charge while you’re enjoying some wine at the winery.
If you make it all the way to Fredericksburg, there are again a few options for charging your car. At Kalasi Cellars (right next to downtown Fredericksburg) we have two Tesla wall connectors that provide excellent charge speeds as well as a J1772 plug for all other EVs and four NEMA 14-50 outlets (note: you’ll need your own charging adapter).
In downtown Fredericksburg there is a public EV charging station with two connectors. It’s close enough to main street that you can charge and walk around for a bit.
Lastly, there are a handful of B&B’s that offer car charging, which is great for overnight stays. However, B&B’s tend to book up weeks in advance (some book up months in advance), so don’t wait until the last minute to try to book a B&B with a car charger!
Special Route Tips
Dallas to Fredericksburg: If you’re coming from Dallas to Fredericksburg in a Tesla, then you have your selection of Supercharger stops in Italy, TX and Waco, TX (Bellmead). Typically we skip over the Italy Supercharger and continue to the Waco Supercharger as the Italy one is so close to Dallas you probably won’t need to charge yet. If you fully charge and are going straight to Fredericksburg, then you can probably make it without any additional charging. However, if you’re driving a shorter range EV, want some extra range, or will make it in to Fredericksburg the next day, there are some additional options.
As you continue south on I-35, you’ll want to pay attention to traffic in Austin. If traffic isn’t bad, then you can drive on I-35 to 290. There are a couple Superchargers along the way. The Gateway Shopping Center location (9607 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759) has a good variety of stores to visit during a charge, so that’s our preferred charging stop. Alternatively you can stay in Austin overnight and charge your car by your hotel in the Domain.
Non-Tesla electric cars will likely need the CHAdeMO charger in Bellmead, and then other CHAdeMO chargers near Round Rock or Austin. Alternatively, you can charge in Bellmead and then use a level 2 charger in the Domain to top up your car charge overnight.
Once you’re in Fredericksburg and Johnson City, check out the advice above!
Houston to Fredericksburg: This route is a bit easier than the Dallas to Fredericksburg route. If you’re in a Tesla, then the Giddings Supercharger is definitely the best charging option. After you charge up there, then you’ll pass through Austin which has numerous charging options. The Austin Supercharger is likely your best bet (6406 N. Interstate 35 Frontage Road Austin, TX 78752) though the charge stalls are limited so plan to arrive with enough range to make it to another Supercharger if all the stalls are full. If you plan to stay the night in Austin before making it to Fredericksburg, then check out the hotels in the Domain where you can use a level 2 charger overnight. Once you leave Austin, check out the tips for Johnson City and Fredericksburg electric vehicle charging.