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10,000 miles in 15 days - Lessons Learned in Long Distance Travel

Discussion in 'Model S' started by rdematos, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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    I just completed x-country loop covering over 10,000 miles, 102 supercharges in over 32 states. This trip was done primarily to gather vehicle to infrastructure data
    for my thesis work at MIT. It was also an amazing chance get to know this amazing country with my beautiful wife.

    Model S 70D is super reliable vehicle that is backed by an even more reliable charging infrastructure. The vehicle was driven on average for 15 hours per day for over 15 days in temperatures well over 100F through midwest and southwest. No issues what so ever. You can see the timelapse of the trip at Untitled Map

    Autopilot:
    I drove over 9000 miles on autopilot - in two weeks - and can absolutely vouch for its safety and convenience in most driving conditions: from the infinite straightaways in Kansas and South Dakota, to the sweeping 70MPH curves in Colorado and Utah, to the bumber-to-bumper traffic in LA and DC. The harmony between driving and automation is simply beautiful - again, in most driving conditions. Here are some pointers for enhancing your autopilot experience:
    * Always be ready to take over immediately at any point, specially when driving over bridges or over rolling hills where, for some reason, it tends to veer off past lane markings.
    * Keep your hands on the wheel. Not only is it safer but it dampens the ever-so-slight lane hunting autopilot does in straight roads.
    * Do not pass large vehicles with more than 15MPH speed difference; not only is it unsafe but you will also trigger the collision avoidance maneuver.
    * Avoid driving on the side of the road with exits as vehicle will hunt for exit.
    * Pick who you follow wisely. Professional truck drivers at a safe distance are the best to lead autopilot: they are large predicable objects that travel at constant speeds.
    * Create a driver profile for autopilot driving position. It allows you to switch modes safely and quickly.


    Telemetry:
    * Always tell the car where you are going. Charging estimates and traffic avoidance all work beautifully when you do that.
    * Always monitor at the state of charge % at arrival. Navigation system knows your route and elevation change and, unless you get lost or hit inclement weather, it will be very accurate in its estimates.
    * Practice range recovery - it is nice to know that you can go from the scary red 6% to the yellow 12% if you need to.
    * Practice range depletion too - specially if it is your last leg prior to destination charging - it will help you learn what habits make a difference.
    * Always check the ETA for the overall trip - you will find that slowing down may actually decrease the ETA as it will reduce the charge time. Save the fast driving for last segment prior to destination charging at the hotel.

    Charging:
    * If you know where you are going, there is no need to overcharge by more than 5% for the 70D in normal summer conditions. If you don't know where you are heading, charge it up to the max to avoid surprises.
    * Check wind conditions on the next segment prior to leaving the supercharger. Add 1% buffer for each MPH of headwind; 1.5% per MPH of headwind when it is raining.
    * When possible, avoid charging immediately next to another vehicle as you may be sharing the max available current.
    * Make sure that you are charging at the highest possible current (300A); If not, consider moving another spot.
    * Think really hard about skipping superchargers if your destination range estimate is less than 15% and the weather along the route is unknown. Longer segments are less predicable than shorter ones and the 15% can quickly become a scary 5% if you hit some bad weather.
    * Traffic is good for range. Electric vehicles do very well in slow moving heavy traffic. If you know you are going to hit traffic, there is no charge beyond the estimates.

    Comfort:
    * Be ready walk across mall parking lots and multi-lane roads to get from supercharger to the next available restroom.
    * There is a nice flat bed back in the Model S. If you are under 6' tall, you can easily lie flat in the trunk with the rear seats down.
    * If you do decide to sleep while charging, turn on the volume on the navigation and nav system will automatically wake you up when the car is ready.

    All in all - it was an amazing experience. After 10,000 miles, I like this vehicle a lot more than I did when I first picked it up. It just makes sense - every bit of it. I am also forever thankful for the unprecedented infrastructure Tesla has deployed to support it.

    Keep up the good work Tesla. I can wait to experience what you will do next!

    ricardodematos.com
     
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  2. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    Great write-up, and I really like the time-lapse mapping.
     
  3. JSergeant

    JSergeant Member

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    I agree, great write up. Can you elaborate more on this comment about the collision avoidance maneuver?
     
  4. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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    Maneuver is an automatic moderate brake application and sounding of the takeover alarm. I experienced this about 5% of the time when passing large vehicle traveling at much slower speeds.
     
  5. OLD BOATER

    OLD BOATER Member

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    Really great write up and super time lapse map. I learned a lot from your experience and have only 1 question: did you ever experience "range anxiety" ? In my case it was due to speeds on the west coast and once a serious head wind...
     
  6. Hugh Mannity

    Hugh Mannity Mediocre Member

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    Very cool, will be doing the run from Detroit through Kansas City and up through Washington in a few weeks myself! Thanks for the tips!
     
  7. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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    The north south corridor in the middle of the country is not suited for the 70D. There is a very long leg (199 mile) to get to Omaha and the separation distances keep you at the supercharger for longer than 30 minutes - which is way longer than you want to spend in a parking lot next to a corn field. Needless to say, I got to Omaha with 11 miles left... and managed to miss the exit to supercharger where eventually arrived with 4 miles to go.

    If you need took travel north and south in the Midwest, get a 90D!
     
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  8. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    I would change this to choose a stall that is not does not already have another car charging on the same stack. They are not always next to each other. Very often they are every other stall.

    Tesla should give you a Model S for your work. I'd give you more likes and infos if I could :)
     
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  9. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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    You are right! The transformer bank seems to correspond to the number of the charger stall so if 2A is occupied, avoid using 2B.
     
  10. Btr_ftw

    Btr_ftw Court Jester

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    Nice writeup. Id love to see that thesis (or parts of it) after its graded etc.
     
  11. Blue Millenium

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    Excellent work here. Could you pls expand on the following;
    1. Where can I find estimates of wind resistance
    2. Could you expand on adding % buffer MPH estimates for wind and rain.

    Check wind conditions on the next segment prior to leaving the supercharger. Add 1% buffer for each MPH of headwind; 1.5% per MPH of headwind when it is raining.
     
  12. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    WindAlert. Great smartphone app. Historical and forecast wind info. There's a free version and a pro version but free is enough for this. I use for sailing.
     
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  13. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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    These values are anecdotal and a bit conservative, specially for roadways in the southeast which are typically surrounded by trees. Bottom line to pull up your weather app towards the end of the planned charging time, (myradar.com is really good for this) check wind speed and direction relative to the direction of travel to next segment, and wait a little longer to get the additional buffer you need.
     
  14. bonaire

    bonaire Active Member

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    70D - cross country. Kind of shows that there is really no reason for 90 kWh on board an EV. Once more superchargers are out there, the 60 continues to be a much more economical solution for EV buyers. Even 50 not too far in the future.
     
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  15. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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  16. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Nice write-up and sounds like an exciting trip. But I have to ask. What happened to the trip on Hwy 1 where you disappeared? The map shows a big gap there. Did aliens abduct you and tele-transport you to Fremont?:)
     
  17. rdematos

    rdematos Member

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    Haha! Dataset shows locations where I could establish at least one connection to At&t, Verizon, Fi, or TMobile. PCH was remote than Montana in certain areas!
     
  18. CarpetMan

    CarpetMan Member

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    Great write up! One question though, what do you mean by range recovery? You mention you're able to go from 6% charge up to 12% by using this method?
     
  19. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    He just means that the estimated charge you'll have at your destination can be raised by slowing down, turning off AC, etc.
     
  20. Branzo90D

    Branzo90D Salt and Pepper

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    Based upon my experience, range recovery is fairly easy. Monitor the battery status and slow down. You'll see the battery status indicate an increased amount of charge at destination. It takes a few minutes to update so be patient. ;)
     

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