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10 Road Trip Observations (1,000+ miles)

MoHazee4

M3 LRD
Jan 26, 2019
140
97
Rockies
Took our first long road trip. 1,000+ miles.

Here are my findings
  1. Long distance travel is not about charging back to 100% each stop - it's about charging back enough to reach the next, furthest charging stop.

  2. Interstate charging stations seem to be spaced apart at the average time someone needs to pee during a road trip.

  3. Autopilot is a game changer for highway driving. We only have EAP, not FSD - and it was a game changer.

  4. Plan on wandering around a truck stop gift shop for about 20 minutes. Interesting experience.

  5. Looking at Where the charger is located on google maps (satellite view) ahead of time is helpful - so you can find the charger. --- a few of our were behind hotels or in odd areas that were not so obvious.

  6. Use a gas station sponge/wiper for free to clear the windshield.

  7. Find a creative way to kill time while you are charging - food, walking, ask for free samples of ice cream.

  8. Idle fees -- Tesla will charge you for letting your car sit at the charger once it's done charging - so, you need to get back to your car asap when it is done charging, or you will be charged.

  9. Bring your J1772 adapter -- if you don't have one, get one. Bring your travel cord, we didn't need it - but just in case.

  10. Check with Tesla for any service bulletins for your vehicle before your trip. We had the charging pins replaced 1-week before the trip due to a SB indicating some have broken off - would suck while traveling.
 

sduck

Mr. Duck
Nov 6, 2017
1,530
1,594
Nashville TN
I've done a number of LONG road trips, and generally agree with your findings. The main thing is that the model 3 is a beautiful thing for long days of driving - with autopilot on for most of it, the road hypnosis goes away. I used to do the "top it off to 100%" thing the first trip, but for the last few I've kept the charging max at 90% and have been fine.
 
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Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,197
21,945
NC
Autopilot is a game changer for highway driving. We only have EAP, not FSD - and it was a game changer.


FWIW there's no functional difference right now between the two.

(there's many differences between them and the new basic AP cars have come with since March though)
 

Zaxxon

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 11, 2012
4,679
21,934
Colorado
Long distance travel is not about charging back to 100% each stop - it's about charging back enough to reach the next, furthest charging stop.

Absolutely. This is one that new owners will struggle with, but the proper mentality is to try to hang out in the 5%-70% charge range if you are looking to get to your destination as quickly as possible and the Supercharger geographic distribution allows it. I just completed a 3,300-mile road trip in my LR 3 yesterday. Via TeslaFi, my stats are below. They pencil out to:

794 kWh added via Superchargers at 27 stops. Add in 3 travel charges to make the math accurate, and you get an approximate average distance-between-charges of only 111 miles. 7.73 hours charging at SCs across 27 stops yields an average charge time of only 17 minutes 10 seconds per stop. Keeping the charge range lower yields a higher average charge power, and a better 'bang for the buck' in terms of your time spent stopped. Once you pass 50% or so of charge, the Supercharging rate starts to drop. By 70% it's a very drastic drop. IMO, charging past that point in order to avoid another stop is rarely worth it.

A couple of other interesting things that jumped out to me:

-My efficiency was actually pretty good IMO, at just shy of 80%. The bulk of this trip was open Midwestern interstates with high wind and prevailing speeds of ~80 mph, and temps were inching toward fall weather.
-Tesla's free Supercharging miles are pegged at 400 Wh/mi consumption (probably so that X owners aren't hosed). Tripping in a 3 at 292 yields a nice buffer where you are 'charged' for far fewer miles than you consume.

upload_2019-10-21_15-13-18.png
 
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Trips

"Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next?"
Sep 22, 2015
1,224
1,456
Omaha, NE
I just finished a 3,262 mile trip, 937 kWh, 287 Wh/mi. I was in the 10% to 65% charge range for all but one stop. That does not leave you much time to explore as you are done in a hurry.

Additional that I learned
1. Eddie's between LA and Vegas is awesome.
2. Tesla does a great job estimating the range remaining at the next destination. I think they are taking into account your driving behavior and that might be why people have seen a drop in range.
3. AP jail should be at 20+ and not 90mph.
4. If your car does not want to go to a certain Supercharger you might want to listen. Next thing you know you have to apologize and tell it that they were right. That's very tough for some of us.
5. Colorado will ticket and tow ICE cars.
6. People do not understand the A/B charging concept. A recommended charging spot would be nice. If you pull into 8 spot station with 4 open the cars could easily see who should be done first.
 
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RKowch

Member
May 23, 2018
7
4
Guelph, ON CDA
Took our first long road trip. 1,000+ miles.

Here are my findings
  1. Long distance travel is not about charging back to 100% each stop - it's about charging back enough to reach the next, furthest charging stop.

  2. Interstate charging stations seem to be spaced apart at the average time someone needs to pee during a road trip.

  3. Autopilot is a game changer for highway driving. We only have EAP, not FSD - and it was a game changer.

  4. Plan on wandering around a truck stop gift shop for about 20 minutes. Interesting experience.

  5. Looking at Where the charger is located on google maps (satellite view) ahead of time is helpful - so you can find the charger. --- a few of our were behind hotels or in odd areas that were not so obvious.

  6. Use a gas station sponge/wiper for free to clear the windshield.

  7. Find a creative way to kill time while you are charging - food, walking, ask for free samples of ice cream.

  8. Idle fees -- Tesla will charge you for letting your car sit at the charger once it's done charging - so, you need to get back to your car asap when it is done charging, or you will be charged.

  9. Bring your J1772 adapter -- if you don't have one, get one. Bring your travel cord, we didn't need it - but just in case.

  10. Check with Tesla for any service bulletins for your vehicle before your trip. We had the charging pins replaced 1-week before the trip due to a SB indicating some have broken off - would suck while traveling.


Agree, my wife and I drove our SR+ M3 from Ontario to Florida over the Christmas holidays which is about 2,500KMs. Google maps says it is a 24 hour journey but the ABetterRoute Planner App Navigation said it would take 29 hours with charging stops. We decided to take 3 days to do the drive to Florida and stopped 2 nights. Our first day took 11 hours stopping 4 times to charge at Superchargers and staying at a hotel in Lexington, KY that offered 4 Tesla destination chargers to charge over night. The second day was 4 stops and took 11 hours and got us to Tifton, GA in a similar hotel. That left us 7 hours on the final day to Naples, FL with 3 stops. The superchargers were GREAT. They were close to the highway, never full and always near food or shopping. After 5 days in Florida the return home was equally as easy going 5,000KMs.

The auotpilot made driving these long distances less taxing. If anyone is doubting if an EV can be used for long road trips they shouldn't worry though only Tesla has made it easy with their fast charging stations. I had 7,500KMs of free supercharging to use up but RoutePlanner said it would have cost me $97 in charging. Last time I drove this trip in a gas car I spent over $400 in fuel! And best of all I did this trip without burning any carbon!
 
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Rottenapplr

Active Member
Apr 6, 2019
1,015
536
LOS ANGELES
I've done a number of LONG road trips, and generally agree with your findings. The main thing is that the model 3 is a beautiful thing for long days of driving - with autopilot on for most of it, the road hypnosis goes away. I used to do the "top it off to 100%" thing the first trip, but for the last few I've kept the charging max at 90% and have been fine.
Ya I stopped going to 100%. It’s not needed for me since I have the LR. In the 10 months I’ve owned it I’ve gone 100% 8 times maybe. I haven’t charge to full in months now. Range anxiety gone.
I agree with the poster. I thoroughly enjoy my tesla for road trips. I actually like charging because you get to walk, and stretch. The only bummer about supercharging ARE THE FREAKING LINES!!! The 101 near San Luis obpispo is notorious for lines now. We had to wait 30 mins one time. Other times going to Joshua tree there was a long line so we skipped the charger and went to the next one with no line.
I’ve learned for road trips, check map to see how busy the superchargers are. They should incorporate that feature on the tesla app so you can see chargers and their status and how busy they are across the USA.
 
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