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1100+ miles with 2 MTBs


Jun 4, 2019
AZ --> VA
Thought I would share our recent trip from Springfield VA to Hilton Head Island with our carbon fiber mountain bikes (Yeti and Specialized) on a Thule T2 rack (attached by eco-hitch). As we expected, our June 2019 M3 LR AWD (19” conti/45 psi cold) performed nominal. With just under 32K miles we departed on 15.8 software, then received 15.10 the morning after we arrived. On island and drive home was on 15.10 then installed 15.12.

A few notes that may be useful to others:
  • Supercharging with bike rack: We were able to charge backing into spots with the MTBs! I was sure (and lost a bet to my wife) that the cable wouldn’t be long enough with the extended length including the MTBs. The MTBs fit in between the chargers and was about 2 inches from hitting the pole in the center of the parking spot for the charging cable to not be tight. My wife’s better plan was to use the last charger in a row and park the car perpendicular to the spot with the bike rack in the car spot and the car perpendicular to other general parking spots. Her plan only worked if there were other general spots open. Bottom line, we didn’t have to dismount the MTBs to charge. We were successful using this method on a previous trip with road bikes as well.
  • Supercharging down I-95. The lack of 250KW chargers south of Richmond VA was a bummer. While there were locations along the way with 12 150KW chargers, the sharing part was painfully slow. Bottom line: need more V3 chargers south of VA. They may get plentiful in Georgia and Florida, but in North and South Carolina, I-95 is just painfully slow with the amount of Tesla’s heading north/south.
  • Autopilot (Lane Keep) issues. There were times I didn’t want the car to change lanes on its own. The issue is while following (on both 15.8 and then again on 15.10) the car would sometimes loose its mind and drift farther back, then it would speed up to the correct distance. It seemed to do this at random times, and I got better at predicting when it was happening, so I was able to use the pedal to prevent it. Maybe it is a feature? About 60% of highway miles were conducted using this feature.
  • NOA. Both versions of SW have what I would call “late breaking” habits. While the car was never unsafe, the late breaking was giving my wife a bit of nervousness, so it was only really used in open I-95 travel. The late breaking habits weren’t as prevalent with standard Autopilot. About 35% of highway driving was using NOA.
  • Navigation: I have one concern with the navigation. When a supercharger is set as a destination, and the car realizes it can’t make it to the next stop going the expected speed limits, it informed me to slow (or drive below X to make it to the charger). However, to my dismay when the car realized it couldn’t make it to the charger at no matter what speed, it didn’t recommend or just re-calculate me to the closer one. I just “assumed” it would direct me (or at least recommend a route) to a different charger. I truly believe the car couldn't calculate how bad the drag was from the MTBs, which through the range estimations way off.
  • Efficiency wallop! Prior to the trip, ECTO-1s avg WH/MI after 32K miles was 240, now sits at 242. I consider this good as I am on the factory Contis. I still have 5/32 left as of last week. I drive around in chill most times and don’t blast around often. Heading south it ramped up to an impressive 360+WH/MI at 75 MPH, what an eye opener! Slowing to 70 still was north of 350WH/MI. Late in the trip (late hour) heading south I tried drafting full length semis with under skirts at a follow distance of 2. WH/MI dropped to 335. This improved WH/MI by about 8%. I calculated my range to be about ~180 miles (90-10%). I wasn’t initially prepared for that much usage. Prior to the trip using ABRP I guessed the increased drag at 300WH/MI. BLUF, my stops went from 3 to 5, and added time at each stop. I was able to better plan heading home (avg 335WH/MI). Faster supercharging on I-95 (see section b) would have helped a lot. On the road bike trip there was a moderate increase (290WH/MI) for comparison at highway speeds. Normally, that car performs somewhere between 245 and 265 going 70-75.

Overall, our M3 did great. Seats remain comfortable, enormous trunk swallowed our luggage for a week’s worth of sun and fun. The frunk contained the charger, adapters, and 100ft ext cord. We understood that following/drafting at a 2 could lead to increased front end nicks. None noticed after washing the car off. I hope this helps others!

Attached are photos of the bikes on the racks.

Adam “ECTO-1”


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Nov 27, 2019
Philly metro
When I‘m drafting, I’ve found that 2 puts me in the vortex buffeting zone and that I do better drafting about 4 or 5 lengths - that gets me fewer rock dings, too. Problem is, other motorists take that as an invitation to insert themselves and disrupt my jam.
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Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
San Diego
Efficiency wallop!

Yep. When traveling with two bikes, I have just put the two bikes (e-bike and a mountain bike) inside the car, with moving blankets (very important) to protect them from any rubbing. And I pile luggage carefully on top, and squeeze it in in various places. Pack light! Nice clean configuration that way. Also spares me the cost and inconvenience of the hitch. I don't even think twice about stuffing my mountain bike in the car for travel around town these days (moving blanket below to keep the filth out of contact with the vehicle). Haven't nicked the rear bumper cover yet...knock on wood.
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Jun 4, 2019
AZ --> VA
Your 4 bikes are worth more than you car. Obviously your priorities are correct! I suggest a Kuat 4 place rack with a follow up consumption report.
Now that is funny! When they were new, they did each cost a pretty penny. I can get the T2 ad on and get 4 bikes loaded. Our other vehicle is a 15 Jeep GC which would normally be our travel choice, however, she likes the M3 more. So I don't question, load 'em and go!


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