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1000 mile weekend, random thoughts (long)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by flyeyes, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    After the Pearl, MS supercharger opened last week, I decided to take a real road trip. Memphis has been isolated, with only the Nashville supercharger within the car's range, so I have done very little highway travel to date.

    Weather conditions were probably close to ideal, with temps in the 50s and a light quartering tailwind. Some rain towards the end of the trip.

    From East Memphis to Pearl is 218 miles, most of it on interstate highway with a 70mph speed limit and few rolling hills. I averaged about 75 mph after getting out of Memphis traffic and arrived in Pearl with 23 rated miles. The trip planner wanted to route me through the Slidell, LA supercharger first (which is well beyond the car's range). I kept trying, and once the range was down to about 150 miles it offered a direct route.

    The supercharger in Pearl is conveniently located to 55, and right on one of the common routes from Memphis to the gulf coast (55 to 49 to 98, jackson, hattiesburg, mobile). It is in the parking lot of what looks like a new outlet mall with a food court. I parked in the closest slot to the mall and plugged in. Charging was slower than I expected, took an hour and 12 minutes to go from 23 to 212 rated miles. I gave up at about 225 and left for the next leg to Mobile, AL. The mall closes at 9:00 on a Friday, but the area seems well lit and safe even after hours.

    Once again, the trip planner wanted me to go southwest first, and said a total of 470 miles to mobile. The iPhone said 183 and the onboard nav would take Hattiesburg as a destination (83 miles down the road) so we launched. About 10 miles outside of Hattiesburg the nav would accept a direct route to Mobile.

    This was an easy drive, mostly 4-lane but frequent stops and enough traffic to keep average speed to about 65 which made range a non-issue. For some reason, the Nav estimated about 1.5 hours longer than it actually took, and didn't fully correct until we were less than 3 miles away.

    I'd read about issues with the Mobile SpC, but decided that we'd probably be OK since there was a forecast for moderate rain about the time we'd show up, which should keep ne'er-do-wells indoors. This was a mistake. The parking lot with the superchargers was unlit at that hour (about 0100) and there was active criminal activity within sight of the charger. I was anxious (and my wife was terrified) and I left as soon as I had adequate charge for the last leg. It turns out that I could have called either mall security which is available 24/7 or the Mobile PD which said they'd be happy to send a cruiser.

    The onboard nav actually worked OK for the last leg to Destin, except for overestimating the time required by at least 50%.

    The Good:

    The Model S is a very, very, good road car. It is quiet, stable, has gobs of torque for passing and everything works really well with only a couple of exceptions. It is a very easy car to drive

    The internet radio is nice, no commercials and never out of range. The headlights work well and I think the auto high beams are as good as they can be.

    The autopilot decreases workload by more than I expected. It was nearly perfect, with only a few minor glitches the whole time. This was on a mix of interstate and secondary roads, day, night, and light rain.Far more relaxing to let the autopilot drive 90% of the time.

    The Bad:

    Limited range. The Tesla is better than anything else electric, but our other car is a diesel BMW X5 which will easily make this trip unrefueled. The paucity of superchargers in this part of the country and the poor performance of the trip planner exacerbate range anxiety. In a perfect world, someday we'll have teslas with a 500 mile range, which is about as long as I want to sit in a car.

    Trip planner/Nav. This is just awful compared to the rest of the car. 15 year old Hondas do better, and every smart phone or $75 Tom-Tom/Garmin portable does vastly better. I'm mystified why this can't be improved, at least to the point of usability. Right now it's worse than useless for traveling. In town it does OK.

    Windshield wipers are marginal. At speed, about 25-30% of the bottom of the blade doesn't even contact the windshield. Worse than any car I've owned in decades. Better than my 1968 VW beetle, though. Barely.

    The HVAC fan is a constant annoyance. Most often it needs to be at least two units higher than it is. It would be nice to be able to have an "offset" that would automatically increase it to two over whatever thee algorithm thinks it needs. This has improved a lot from earlier versions of the software, but there is still considerable opportunity for improvement. My wife, who is used to the "set and forget" system in our 2010 BMW, was not impressed.

    I miss the swiveling headlights from the BMW, especially on poorly lit secondary roads. I though this was a gimmick, but it actually helps a lot.

    Whoever decided that shiny chrome was a good idea for the arms that support the side mirrors should be taken out and whipped. At least figuratively. At some angles glare from the sun is unbelievable. I'm planning to try "dipping" these pieces, at least on top.

    The Ugly:

    Mobile SpC location. It was fine during business hours on the way back, but I wouldn't go after hours again unless I could confirm that security or Mobile PD will be there.

    The trip home, mostly in day light, was easy. I left Destin with a full range charge courtesy of the HPWC at club intrawest, I charged there to 90% the afternoon before leaving, and scheduled a charge to start at 2:00 am from the 120 outlet at the condo so we'd be ready to leave late morning.

    With electrons to burn , we made very good time to Mobile, and by the time we ate lunch were back over 255 miles of rated range (85D). The mall is run down. but it seems they are trying to renovate and move upscale. Hopefully this will happen.

    Mobile to Jackson was also easy, except that the onboard nav wanted me to go 100 miles out of the way through Slidell, LA rather than direct. I ignored it unitl close to Hattiesburg where it again allowed a direct route. The time estimate was still way off.

    On the return, I charged in a different stall in Pearl (Jackson) and charged at a normal rate. I didn't see any other Teslas on the entire trip, except for three in Sandestin.

    The last leg was a little long at 218 miles, with a headwind of 8-10 knots. At 70-75mph I was running about 315-325wh/mi which was going to be tight. I settled in behind a mail truck for about an hour on AP and the wh/mi dropped to about 250. i tried settings between 3 and 5 and it seemed to make little difference to the power used. he was running right at the speed limit (70) and slowing a little up hills and a little faster down. Driving this way with the autopilot was completely relaxing. We just turned up the radio and watched the world go by. It also gave me a nice pad, and I got home with over 50 miles of rated range
     
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  2. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    Yikes! Care to elaborate??

    Sounds like other than that it was a nice trip.
     
  3. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    image.jpeg Pearl, ms supercharger

    Mall in background
     
  4. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    image.png I image.jpeg Slow charging in pearl one way, after an hour and 12 minutes, starting at 23 miles


    fast charging on the way back
     
  5. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg Drafting behind mail truck
     
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  6. zer0cool

    zer0cool Member

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    You can disable the trip planner thing. When I got my car and entered a destination, it wanted me to go somewhere totally far to charge when I could definitely make it to my destination. I realized immediately that it's totally shitty. So just disable it. Then the nav works just like google maps. Just put in where you want to go, and it will show you estimated % left to the location and roundtrip (if makeable). Google maps is, of course, great. Now I never have any issue using the nav.
     
  7. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    Other drivers have reported witnessing drug dealing and vandalism occurring at the Mobile SC. This worries me because I plan to use it. Guess I'll finally have to get my concealed carry permit.
     
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  8. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    Or just phone the local Mobile police and let the law handle such activity vs a private citizen...taxes pay for such things...
     
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  9. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    PS - You weren't drafting that truck; way too far behind. You were in his turbulence.

    When you're drafting, you're 1-1.5 car lengths behind, and when you open the window almost no wind noise.
     
  10. BigAirHarper

    BigAirHarper Member

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    Yea too bad they aren't around all the time...and will doubtfully be there when you need them most. My gun always will be there ;)
     
  11. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    I've seen data to suggest an effect as far back as 10 car lengths. Closer is more effective, but not as safe. My wh/mi reproducibly dropped significantly behind the truck at the same speed, and didn't vary much between a setting of 3 and 5 on the stalk.
     
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  12. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    Most of what I saw was either ephemeral (donuts and drag racing in the parking lot, trashing a golf cart and speeding off) or I couldn't be 100% sure (what appeared to be open air drug deals, maybe 150 yards away). I wasn't sure what the cops could do unless they were willing to wait with me for deterrence as I charged.

    I did talk later to mall security and the Mobile PD. They were both pleasant and said they'd be happy to wait with me or at least send a cruiser. Neither were surprised and they shared my assessment of the area.

    The neighborhoods to the east of the charger towards I-10 seemed very nice. Large, old well-maintained houses, huge live oaks with Spanish moss. Kind of reminiscent of Savannah, GA.

    During business hours was fine, but if I go back at night I'll call ahead to have security meet me at the charger. They said they were willing to do that 24/7. I certainly get the feeling they are trying to improve things
     
  13. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    Check for yourself; there is almost no wind noise when you are effectively drafting. Sure it's unsafe. And the trucker will hate you.
     
  14. cbin97

    cbin97 Member

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    Did you use "range mode?" When I turn off Ludicrous and put it in range mode it makes a night and day difference on range.
     
  15. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    Yep, in range mode the whole time.

    Also, I'd like to emphasize that even though I'm pointing out all the things that weren't ideal, this is an amazing car. I've owned a lot of nice cars, and a few crappy ones. None have been perfect. As long as your daily mission isn't high speed long distance, this is the best car I've ever owned by a considerable margin. When the super her network reaches critical mass in this part of the country, it will,be even better.
     
  16. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    Oh, that sounds like every strip mall parking lot I hung out at in my 20's when I had my Z28, so much fun, so little time. Went through three sets of rear tires in two short years before I moved away. Most of the people and situations were harmless.
     

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