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2,250 mile road trip in my chargegated 85D

What with the pandemic and everything, I hadn’t seen my parents for nearly a year and a half. So, now that we’re all vaccinated, my wife and I loaded up the dog and headed down to my folks’ place in Naples, FL for a week. Got back on Sunday.

Overall conclusion: reduced charge speeds are a PITA, but provided you can start the day with a full charge a ‘chargegated’ S can still be a viable road trip car. The range / lack of degradation helps, I’m still getting 266 miles at 100%. We generally found that, at least on the first leg of the day, it was our desire for coffee or breakfast that caused us to stop, rather than the need to charge. And although it’s not the quickest way of covering a lot of miles, stopping for 20 minutes every hour and a half is a very civilized way of doing it.

I have vast amounts of TeslaMate data to unpack from the trip as and when I get around to it. But the TL:DR is:

Thursday 5/6: Easy drive to a friend’s house in Chapel Hill, NC. Left DC at 99%, arrived in Chapel Hill at 8%, charged at Chester, VA from 46% to 79% (Sandwiches from WaWa FTW 👍). Friend in Chapel Hill has a NEMA 14-50 in his garage.
Saturday 5/8: Longer but easy drive to more friends just south of Jacksonville, FL. Left Chapel Hill at 99%, charged at Lumberton (Panera breakfast), Santee (ran around with the dog), Hardeeville (gas station sandwiches) and Brunswick (bowling alley parking lot - not much to do), arrived St Johns, FL at 7%.
Sunday 5/9: Not such an easy day. Could only charge from a 120v outlet so left St Johns at 27%. Charged at County Road then on to Daytona Beach where the power was out … detoured to Port Orange, then onward through [email protected] I-4 traffic to Celebration, Lakeland and Fort Myers to finally get to Naples. Arrived with 17% and could probably have cut out either Lakeland or Fort Myers, but decided to play it safe.
Friday 5/14: Left Naples at 99% thanks to the dryer outlet. Dinner in Venice, charged briefly at Sarasota while running into Wholefoods for breakfast stuff, arrived at friends NE of Tampa with 27%. Charged o/n on a 110 to 41%.
Saturday 5/15: I was concerned at not being able to charge to 100% overnight, but nonetheless this was a pretty straightforward day. Brief charge at Wesley Chapel (WaWa!) then to Ocala, Yulee (great charge stop, new development with tasty burgers), Hardeeville (again) and arrived at Santee with 19%. Dinner at Clark’s, o/n at the Holiday Inn across the street.
Sunday 5/16: Long day but straightforward apart from the usual I-95 traffic coming in to DC. Left Santee at 6am with 97%, breakfast charge at Lumberton, pit stop at Rocky Mount, WaWa lunch at Chester and got home at 3:15 with 14%.

Aside from the hiccups caused by (a) lack of 240v overnight charging and (b) Daytona being out, it was all very straightforward. Sure, a couple of the stops (esp Rocky Mount where there is very little to do) were longer than I’d have liked but others were shorter; and I’m still figuring out where my comfort level is in terms of anticipated arrival charge level.

Final thought: AP1 is exactly the right level of ADAS for this kind of trip, and I have no desire right now for “FSD”. AP1 plus FUSC, albeit chargegated, makes for a very relaxing way to travel. Sure, we could have got there and back quicker in our Audi but we’d have used $300 or so in gas, and the overall experience would have been much more tiring.

Roll on the next trip - Boston in a few weeks.


Should have noted this in the original post: when supercharging from a fairly low SoC my charge rate peaks at between 120 and 130kw, then settles down to the follow “charge rate plus SoC percentage = 110” rule - sometimes it goes up as much as 115, occasionally it goes down to 108 or 107.
Should have noted this in the original post: when supercharging from a fairly low SoC my charge rate peaks at between 120 and 130kw, then settles down to the follow “charge rate plus SoC percentage = 110” rule - sometimes it goes up as much as 115, occasionally it goes down to 108 or 107.

Interesting, I had not seen this rule before, and sadly mine is below the curve then.


Aug 25, 2018
Hardeeville SC is a treat... but it's busy. I was quite surprised recently. There was a line.
Brunswick GA... damn that's a lot of SCs... a lot of empty ones too!
There are 3 SCs just south of Jacksonville. One at a Wawa near the outdoor mall and Costco. One further south about 15 minutes at County Road 210. It has the Winn Dixie and a few restraints across the street. A little further south about 15 minutes there is a SC at a very walkable outlet mall. All this is to say, no reason to leave St. Johns Co. without an adequate charge. And, go see your parents more... Naples is beautiful!
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Reactions: JimmyB
Wait - are we calling 120kw bad? Even 100-SOC is not terrible.
Last several times I checked, I get 40 kw from my 70D when 105kw was typical before. I just had to park car at public charger overnight (ie get dropped off by an ICE) to make it back on a short trip rather than SC at 40 kw.
I have to admit that I have not tried perfect temp, 10% SOC charging, but I haven't exceeded 40 kw when pretty close to ideal conditions.
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Reactions: Greenms60
Good feedback. I am planning a trip to Ocean Isle, NC this summer for a family member's wedding. Not nearly as long a haul (1 day travel) but it's the longest since my car's inaugural drive back from Chicago. Charging down that area is pretty slim with the closest destination charger about 30mi away in Southport, so that's where we're staying. I contemplated only using SCs and not using a destination charger, but that would require a significant detour with more charging on the way down and a much longer trip home.
@JimmyB, Do you vary your speed based on how far away the destination is? What's your average speed and Wh/Mi in your 85D (I'm researching for first Tesla purchase), if you don't mind sharing?
Nope, I pretty much just keep up with the traffic. Although on certain stretches it appears my “how far over the speed limit do you go” comfort level is less than others’ - in a 70mph limit I set the AP1 to 77 or 78 and was getting passed by a lot of folks. I did ‘draft’ behind a guy doing 82 or so pulling a race car trailer most of the way up through Georgia, it was fun to watch the energy meter get ever more optimistic. The only time I actually limited speed was the stretch from Chester to Chapel Hill, because I wanted to avoid another charging stop. I got the “stay below 70” message and arrived with 8% remaining.

I do wonder if staying at 70 or below would result in shorter journey times overall due to reduced charging times. Something to ponder for the next trip.

According to the in-car data, average energy use over the total 2,263.5 miles was 344 Wh/mi - that includes a handful of local drives in and around Chapel Hill and Naples. TeslaMate gives more detail: of the drives over 50mi, the most efficient was the stretch from Chester back home at 322Wh/mi (average speed 51mph, ranging from crawling in stop-start traffic to 80+ on the express lanes). Least efficient was Hardeeville to Brunswick at 414Wh/mi (av speed 72). I love all the data the car generates :D
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Reactions: AustinP
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit jealous about your S's charging ability and range. Our S85 has been all over the place in that regard with a calculated 100% range between 234-246 miles depending on the day and a random Supercharging sessions that might see a blip at 127kW with an initial low SOC% or we might see a max in the low 70s. So most of the time we'll see that combined number (charge rate + SOC) around 110 for the first 45% SOC, but the taper has been a little dramatic lately where it hangs out at ~40kW as early as 45% SOC.

Typically we don't drive more than 480 miles in a day and we follow a similar pattern of driving for 1.5hrs/SuC .5-.75hrs. The car still has great utility as commuter vehicle, but I would look forward to a more robust battery pack upgrade in the future. In the meantime, I can tolerate the lower range and longer charging sessions. It's somewhat a wash for me in my region because there are so many more SuC sites and stalls now. Before 2019 when our car had more range and quicker charging sessions, there were far fewer SuC sites and stalls that we had to charge to a higher SOC% in order to make it to the next nearest SuC...sometimes having to wait up to an hour just to get an available stall.

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