TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

1K Mile Road Trip With Kids and Without Superchargers

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by breading, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. breading

    breading Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #1 breading, Mar 19, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
    Our second week of Tesla Model S ownership and the kids’ spring break converged last week with only one possible outcome… family road trip!

    We decided to visit family in Indianapolis, IN. We planned the 1008 mile round trip drive from Shawnee, KS (a suburb of Kansas City, MO) using Google Maps to plot the course and find 50 amp RV parks and ChargePoint to locate additional 30 amp charging options. Since our P85 with 19” wheels has a range of about 250 miles we decided to do the round trip in four legs with brief stops to charge up in the middle of each and an overnight stay in St. Louis. Ranges listed below are rated range rather than ideal range.

    After fully charging in Max Range mode on the 240 volt 50 amp outlet at our house, we left Kansas City at 12:22 PM with 268 miles of range and a fully loaded car including two adults, three kids (8, 6, and 2 years old), and luggage for our five day trip. Our two oldest boys were excited to ride in the rear facing seats and happily piled their backpacks, blow up beds, blankets, pillows, balls, and even a stroller all around them. They decided to forego I-pad movies on the way out and instead we streamed The Hobbit from my I-Phone.

    The weather started out perfect for a road trip. The sun kept us warm despite the 30-40 degree weather and we didn’t need to run the climate control for most of the trip; but, I still put the car into range mode just in case. We kept the cruise control set at 60 mph. Not being used to traveling at such a sedate speed resulted in our only hair raising incident on the trip. An SUV was slowing down to exit the highway and without a second thought I moved over into the left lane to pass. A few seconds later, a truck horn blasted through the car and I was shocked to see a truck grill rapidly filling up the small rear window. As soon as the SUV was out of the way, I pulled back into the right hand lane and exchanged greetings with the truck driver. I waved with all my fingers by way of apology. He only felt the need for one finger. After that, I was more careful to stay in the slow lane.

    We arrived at the midway stop for our first leg in Columbia, MO at 2:53 PM without further incident and with 126 miles of range remaining. We could have stopped at an RV park just north of Columbia with 50 amp outlets; but, that would have required 10 additional miles of driving which would have nearly offset the increased charging rate. Instead, we accepted Joe Machens Nissan dealership’s offer of free charging on their 30 Amp J1772 chargers (19 miles/hour). They also let us spend the nearly 2 hour charging time in their waiting area and gave us complementary beverages to go with the lunch we brought with us. We spent some money in the vending area just to feel a little bit of independence. After extolling the virtues of the car to several of the service technicians, we pulled out at 4:44 PM with 155 miles of range.

    Our trip east along I-70 continued through Wentzville where a fellow Model S owner had offered us a charge up if needed. Since we were doing well on charge, we continued on I-64 to our next stop in St. Louis. We arrived at the Moonrise luxury boutique hotel at 6:50 PM and since our range had dropped to 36 miles, we quickly plugged in to the one perk that really interested us, a free J1772 charger. While the single charger was free, it is in the $17 valet parking area right across from the front door. Given the relatively late hour for the kids, we got some excellent food from the hotel’s Eclipse restaurant and ate in our room. Then, after charging at 19 miles/hour, the car was ready to go in the morning. The valet attendant was in awe of the car and didn’t even want to drive it. He said it was the most amazing car he had ever seen at the hotel.

    IMG_2721.jpg

    We left at 9:33 AM with 267 miles of range and continued on I-70 E toward Effingham. The second day of travel was cloudy and we felt the chill a bit more; but, with 5 people in the car the temperature didn’t get too cold and we actually vented the pano roof a few times and ran the climate control occasionally to decrease the window fogging. Our midway stop for the second leg was the Lakewood RV park in Effingham, IL on Lake Pauline. We arrived at the RV park at 11:58 PM with 150 miles of range and after showing the car to the park attendant we hooked up to one of their 50 amp outlets and began charging at 27 miles/hour. We played some football and then ate the Subway sandwiches we picked up in Effingham in the campground game room, played a game of pool, pinball, and some video games. Then we packed everyone back in the car and headed out again at 1:35 PM with 193 miles of range.

    DSC04060.jpg

    We followed I-70 E and since our car still has temporary registration papers taped to the back window and a “Zero Emmissions” plate we got a few honks and thumbs up along the way. We skipped our safety stop at the Terre Haute KOA to arrive at my brother in-laws home on the southwest side of Indianapolis, IN at 5:03 PM with 45 miles of range. Because we still had some range, we headed out to eat at the kids favorite, The Spaghetti Factory, and plugged into a 30 amp charger in the nearby parking garage.

    DSC04084.jpg

    My brother-in-law is an electrical engineer. So, he made us a conversion extension cord that we could plug into his 30 amp dryer outlet when we returned to his place. I dialed down to 26 amps before plugging in over night; but, the wall outlet still got hot to the touch so I dialed it down further to 20 amps and the wall outlet felt cooler to the touch. With a full charge in the morning, we took the car out for some spirited driving and took the kids to the Children’s Museum.

    DSC04077.jpg

    The next night, I dialed the amps down to 12 so that the overnight charging would complete about the time we left at 11:36 AM with 268 miles of range. We stopped to see the world’s largest wind chime in Casey, IL. Then, we continued on to the Lakewood RV park along I-70 W and arrived there at 1:49 PM with 115 miles of range. Since it was the weekend, there were more people in the campground and the kids found some friends to play football and tag with. They were disappointed when it was time to leave and after charging at 50 amps, we left with 152 miles of range at 3:21 PM.

    DSC04166.jpg

    We arrived back at the Moonrise hotel at 5:23 PM with 34 miles of charge. I was disappointed to learn that I had just missed a St. Louis Tesla Motors Club meet up earlier that day at the new service center. We walked down Delmar to eat at Fritz’s where the kids loved to watch them bottle the soda pop. The next morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Eclipse (My 8 year old and I highly recommend the Banana’s Foster French Toast!)

    DSC04177.jpg

    Then, we left on our final leg of the trip at 11:19 AM with 264 miles of charge. The boys decided they wanted a change of scenery and asked to sit in the middle seats. When I was rearranging the luggage, a man came out of the hotel with an incredulous look and said, “Excuse me sir, but I couldn’t help notice that you were packing bags into both the front and back of your car.” I explained Tesla’s electric drive system and he left saying he would have to check that out.

    We left a bit later in the day since we hoped the predicted wintery mix of rain, snow, and sleet would turn to rain later in the day. The weather was just cloudy until we got to our midway stop in Columbia at 1:55 pm with 140 miles of charge. I dropped the family off at a bowling alley across the road from Joe Machens Nissan and then drove over to start charging at 19 miles/hour. The dealer was closed on Sunday; but, the service manager said he leaves the chargers on for anyone to use over the weekend.

    After one game at the bowling alley and some bowling alley pizza, we were ready to go again. We left at 3:25 pm with 169 miles of rated charge. But, we should have bowled one more game. The rain picked up and with the increased resistance from the rain, headlight use, windshield wipers, and climate control to prevent fogging, our range began to drop quickly. I decreased the cruise control from 60 mph down to 58 mph and still the range was dropping. We found a charger on the east side of Kansas City where we could stop if needed; but, since our speed decreased even more as we got into the city traffic, the range stopped dropping and we decided to keep going. We arrived home at 6:10 pm with only 11 miles of range remaining.

    Overall, it was a great trip. Sure, long distance travel without superchargers is not this cars strong point; but, our Model S performed admirably as expected and the range was very predictable on all but the last leg due to the rain. We found traveling at a slower speed (60 mph most of the way) rather relaxing. The Slacker radio was a hit and we all took turns requesting favorite songs which really helped to pass the time when we got tired of listening to The Hobbit. The seats were comfortable and the lumbar support on my seat was greatly appreciated. My wife sat in the middle row of seats part of the way with my 2 year-old daughter, and the cup holder on her car seat gave my wife a place to put her drink. We could have used one more cup holder for the boys in the rear facing back seats.

    Once superchargers are in place across the country, the Model S will truly be a no compromise vehicle!

    Our overall trip stats were 1085.5 miles at 336.7 kWh and 310 Wh/mi over 5 days. (This included a bit of more aggressive driving in Indianapolis in addition to the more sedate highway driving)
     
  2. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,938
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    I actually love reading these stories much more so than the delivery stories. I'm happy for everyone who gets their car after so much waiting. But reading about people "living" with this car is simply wonderful.

    Can't wait til I can add my own chapter to the growing book of stories.
     
  3. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    California
    Thanks for sharing this 'real life' story. I love how it shows if you want it to work, you can make it work and without disrupting life. Indeed, the family had fun and took pleasure from the simplier things in life like bowling, and song requesting, and just being together. In a strange way, the Model S brought the family together.
     
  4. bluefuego

    bluefuego Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    273
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    That was a great writeup! Sorry you just missed out on the service center tour here in STL. The manager was not able to be there, but his assistant was great. They had a few S's in the shop being prepped for delivery and at least another 3 in a gated portion of the parking lot outside. I am also glad to see that staying at/charging at the Eclipse worked out. My husband and I have spoken to the valet there and they were very nice. I'm hoping that I will be able to take my S over to the KC area later this summer for a cousin's wedding. It would be sweet if there could be a supercharger around Columbia by then.
     
  5. Cheerose

    Cheerose Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Messages:
    161
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Thanks for sharing this ... were all of the overnight charges Max Range?
     
  6. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Messages:
    475
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Very impressive!

    I did my first electric-powered road trip last weekend (although it was the supercharger assisted variety) and it was very similar to previous road trips (except in a much better looking and more powerful car). I was actually a bit giddy afterwards. The combination of an 85 kWh battery and a network of 90 kW chargers is the perfect solution. No need for battery change stations, hydrogen fuel cells, or crazy flow batteries. It was kind of like the first time I saw the web browser on the original iPhone. An "aha- that's how this should be done" moment.

    But you just showed that with a little creativity and planning, you don't even need the 90 kW charger!
     
  7. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,938
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Well, may not 'need', but still definitely 'want' :biggrin:

    Lest Tesla see such stories and decide they don't need to rollout the Superchargers as fast as humanly possible haha....
     
  8. breading

    breading Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Yes, all overnight charges except for one night when we stayed in Indianapolis were Max Range.
     
  9. breading

    breading Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Yes. We may not have 'needed' superchargers for the trip; but, no question they are 'wanted' as soon as possible!

    It was a lot of fun and we demonstrated it is doable; but, without superchargers we might take my wife's Highlander next time to avoid the necessity of staying overnight in St. Louis.... Nah, I'd probably still take the Tesla! As Krugerrand mentioned, the extra time with the family is priceless.
     
  10. Wattson

    Wattson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Great road trip report! Thank you! I also love reading these reports more than new car reports. These really give you a sense of the capabilities of Model S.
     
  11. napabill

    napabill Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,327
    Location:
    Napa, California, United States
    Hey Jomo, just noticed you opted for the Brown with body color roof! Congrats, and almost welcome to the club! Believe that's 3 of us in AZ.
     
  12. Jdcleary

    Jdcleary Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    Bella Vista, AR
    #12 Jdcleary, Mar 20, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
    1k trip is encouraging for long trip north

    Nice story! Our Tesla is only 12 days old so we have a little range anxiety but your story is encouraging as we are packing for a trip north from Bella Vista, AR to the Minneapolis area. Perhaps we can make it. :smile:

    We will write up the details when we return in a couple of weeks but our plan is to leave tomorrow morning about 5 AM and drive 202 miles to a generous Tesla owner's home in K.C. We expect to charge on their 50 amp outside unit for 6-7 hours as the snow flakes begin to fall upon us. When we have charged enough to make it to Ames, IA (236 miles) we will leave and accept another generous Tesla owner's offer to charge up as we stay overnight in Ames. Our last leg is to Cottage Grove, MN (225 miles) where our son has installed a 50 amp 14-50 for our use.

    I am waiting for my HPWC and hopefully after that is installed I can reciprocate for those that have help us and for any others that may be passing my way.
     
  13. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,938
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Thanks Bill! Seeing yours and Kishdude's definitively sealed the deal for us on brown.

    And I'm saying it'll be 2.5 of us since you're only here part time haha!
     
  14. rage_777

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Messages:
    157
    Location:
    US
    Nice writeup. You take better notes than a NY Times editor that I read.
     
  15. breading

    breading Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Nice trip! I would offer the use of our 50 amp 14-50 but it sounds like you already have it worked out and our place on the Kansas side would be a little out of your way.

    Hope it goes well. I will say that with the potential for bad weather you might want to have a safety charging spot picked out between KC and Ames just in case you need to bump up your charge a bit. Our range dropped quite a bit when we were driving through rain and sleet. It seemed like every 10 miles or so we lost about 1-2 miles of range from our buffer. We expected to arrive home with about 30 miles of range remaining and after driving 139 miles we got back with only 11 miles of range left.
     
  16. Jdcleary

    Jdcleary Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    Bella Vista, AR
    Thanks. I have found a couple of chargers in Des Moines and will stop if Ames (another 40 miles) appears to be out of reach. Weather predictions tomorrow north of KC appear to have no snow or rain.
     
  17. breading

    breading Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Kansas City
    I added some photographs today. The fourth photo shows my brother-in-laws extension cord NEMA 14-30 to 14-50 converter in use in his dryer plug. It worked well; but, I am still hoping my Tesla 14-30 adapter comes in soon.
     
  18. zax123

    zax123 CDN Model S P308

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    Candiac, QC, CAN
    Just wanted to say that that was a great story and an encouragement and inspiration to other MS owners. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. Sounds like your kids really love the experience too which is priceless in and of itself.
     
  19. K Hall

    K Hall Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Great narrative of your trip. Thanks for posting.

    We just finished a 1,700 mile spring break trip with similar results.

    It did eliminate all range anxiety as we now fully understand the capabilities of our MS.

    We will add the details of our trip in the near future.
     
  20. elecblue

    elecblue Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    248
    Location:
    Singapore (for next 2 years) previously Chicago, I
    What chargers in DesMoines? I was going to take my S there but window control problems kept her in the shop so I had to gas it (Ugh!).

    Anyway, good story. My wife and I went to Detroit (separate road trip thread) which wasn't as smooth b/c we drove during a snowstorm (not recommended), but our S did well.

    I concur about family time and stopping to smell the roses - on these EV trips you take time to do the things that are relaxing and create great memories that you wouldn't otherwise do on an ICE trip.
     

Share This Page