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 and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

20,000 mile USA road trip with a Model 3

Discussion in 'Model 3: Driving Dynamics' started by typer1998, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. typer1998

    typer1998 New Member

    Jul 26, 2018
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I drove a 2018 Model 3 RWD long range through 31 US states from August 2018-September 2019. I drove 20,000 miles/32,000 km and spent $500 USD on supercharging. I usually charged for free at my hotel, airbnb, or at ChargePoint chargers. I used superchargers when I was traveling a long distance from say Las Vegas to San Francisco on a particular leg of the trip to get from one destination to another. Once in town for a few days I would find a local charger or charge wherever I was staying. One of the reasons I took this trip was proof of concept. I wanted to see if I could drive anywhere I wanted in this country similar to a gasoline car. One of the biggest impediments to EV adoption is charging and range anxiety so I wanted to experience and resolve it for myself. TetonsTeslaSnow.JPG

    Tesla has the complete version of this post.

    In short, my 2018 Model 3 long range is the best car I could ever imagine. Fast. Quiet. Economical. Green. Handles amazingly. Slows down when I take my foot off the accelerator without braking. Fun to drive. Lots of rear trunk space. An additional front trunk. Best navigation and back up camera with the largest screen available on any car. Free streaming music and news! Handles extreme temps from -10F to 110F with ease. If you are in the market for a 4 door sedan I recommend this without reservation.

    1. To purchase is cheaper than it appears. I paid $56,500 out the door but got $7500 fed tax credit, $500 from my utility company, and $2000 from the state of California, so $10,000 in total reducing the cost to $46,500.
    2. It’s inexpensive to operate. I spent only $500 to go 20,000 miles. This would cost $1000-$3000 depending on your mileage for a gasoline car. Figure charging would cost $2500 or less for 100,000 miles since I was on the road I had to supercharge, but if at home or one place for a long time free chargers are not difficult to find. To drive 100,000 miles, gas would be $5000-$12,500. That’s a $2500-$10,000 savings every 100,000 miles if you drive a Tesla. How much would gas cost to drive 20,000 miles? Gas ranged in price from $2.00-$3.00 a gallon outside of California. In California gas is $3.00-$4.00 a gallon. To go 20,000 miles, a person would need 400-1000 gallons depending on the mileage of the car. Factoring in the price per gallon and MPG, fuel cost would be $800-$3000 Looking at the table above, a Tesla is clearly the most economical car for energy cost. Even a Prius getting 50 mpg and paying an average of $2.75/gallon will pay more than twice as much for fuel compared to a Tesla Model 3.
    3. Do you want to wait in line to get gas at costco to save 10 cents a gallon? Now you can refuel/recharge at home.
    4. Low maintenance costs. I spent $50 on tire rotation and an inspection. I had to put air in my tires twice in the last year. I have filled up the windshield wiper reservoir with 1.5 gallons of fluid. Other than that, the car has needed nothing.
    5. Tesla firmware upgrades are free and fast. Just connect to WiFi. New features are added, current features are enhanced, and bugs are fixed with each release. They come out every few months, about once a quarter. Know of any other manufacturer that does this?
    6. It’s fast, 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Honestly, you don’t want to go this fast and faster may sound good on an ad comparing it to a Porsche, but unless you’re a race car driver on a track, accelerating this fast can be dangerous. The only time I punched it was on empty on ramps to get up to highway speed but that’s it. Scary fast acceleration is only half of the experience. In a gas car when you accelerate quickly say from 0-60 mph, it’s noisy and you can feel the car shift gears and vibrate. The Tesla is super quiet and smooth, no shifting or car noise is heard. You will hear road and wind noise though.
    7. Recharging – Is usually done at home unless you’re on a road trip. Very convenient. True of all EVs.
    8. The GPS screen and backup camera are massive. It’s like a large iPad. Baby boomer eyes will appreciate.
    9. The LCD control panel is familiar, similar to an iPhone. The UI takes a few days to learn and then it’s second nature and you’ll wonder why aren’t all cars like this? I wonder if Tesla will adopt this UI in future cars beyond the Y?
    10. From -10F to 110F or -23C to 43C no significant issues or problems whatsoever. When below freezing, the door handles will freeze shut. Just smack them with the side of your fist and they’re fine. That’s the only temperature issue I encountered. If you are in below freezing temps, I’d recommend parking in the garage at night and attaching to a 120 volt plug to keep the battery on a trickle charge and warm if you plan to drive in the morning.
    11. Tesla Killers aren’t going to kill anything. I doubt they will take any significant number of sales away from Tesla. Notice how the media called the $150,900-$185,000 Porsche Taycan a “Tesla Killer” but in Sept 2019 as the car is closer to shipping and media members have actually driven one and realize it’s slower, has less range, and is outrageously more expensive, they now refer to it as a competitor or addressing a different market? The reality is it’s a vastly different market and if you want to drive it long distances where you would need to charge 1-3 times in a single trip it will be difficult and will require planning ahead of time. Moreover, fast charging a non Tesla EV is expensive. <insert rates>
    12. The supercharger network is the key differentiator for Tesla and all other EVs. This cross country trip was a proof of concept, that I could drive a Tesla anywhere I wanted to in the US and not worry about running out of electricity. I proved this to myself with some exceptions. I saw only 4-5 fast chargers that support CHAdeMO and the combo charger. Usually in a Walmart parking lot. When I went online I found a different story though. See the CHAdeMO map. Note the wrench symbol means it is a planned station and not yet operational. I’m not sure how my experience of seeing 4-5 of these chargers in 20,000 miles and one year of traveling isn’t consistent with this map.
    13. Fast Charger locations are often at Walmart. Plenty of parking, bathrooms, shopping, and food available. Superchargers tend to me at more upscale areas, outlet malls, malls, shopping centers, restaurants. If you drive a $150k Porsche Taycan, would you rather hang out at Walmart or an upscale outlet mall?
    14. Fast Chargers are expensive. Example:
    15. Fast Chargers often have only 2-4 stalls! This means waiting
    16. Fast chargers are not uniform. They are from different companies, have different membership/apps, different pricing, not as clear as a gas station that has their price in big numerals. Some use a combination of CCS, CHAdeMO, or Jplug.
    17. Tesla can use any charger except CCS with an adaptor, the Jplug would be the most common and the adaptor is included. CHAdeMO has an adaptor, but is not worth the $450 since there will be a supercharger nearby unless you have an extreme fringe case. I expect that case to be temporary too. There is no CCS adaptor that I know of. Email Tesla if you want a supercharger in a particular location and push on local businesses to install Tesla destination chargers at 40-50 amps.
    18. Non Tesla EVs cannot use a Tesla supercharger so they are at a massive disadvantage. Honestly, the vast supercharger network alone would make me choose Tesla over ANY other brand EV. I expect the non Tesla charging infrastructure to catch up in 3-5 years, but Tesla won’t be stagnant either.
    19. Sentry Mode is pretty cool and gives me security and confidence my car won’t be broken into.
    20. The Frunk (front trunk) is great. It is not accessible by thieves unless they pry open the frunk lid so they’ll probably break the glass and fold down the seats to get to the read trunk instead. The frunk is a good place to store valuables.
    21. The mileage indicator is really accurate regardless of temperature, AC, speed up to 80 mph, etc.
    22. Don’t have to worry about getting your catalytic converter stolen. Yeah, that’s a thing for gas cars, especially a Prius.
    1. The navigation to the superchargers in Elko, Nevada and Jackson, Wyoming took me to the wrong area. Map it out ahead of time if you plan to charge at either of these. In Elko, NV, the GPS took me to an area about 3 blocks away from the actual supercharger which is right near Denny’s. I drove around but couldn’t find it. Tesla tech support had a 30 min wait. I went to the nearby RV park and spent the night and charged there for $25. I found the supercharger the next day when I went to eat at Denny’s. Use 2405 Mountain City Hwy, Elko, NV 89801 for the Denny’s and you’ll see the superchargers. In Jackson, Wyoming the GPS took me around the back way to the supercharger on private property. There is a fence and no way to get to the actual supercharger so I drove around the block the other side and there it was. Put the Jackson Whole Grocer and Cafe 1155 US-89, Jackson, WY 83001 in your GPS and you’ll see the chargers at the back of the parking lot. Note that I found shoppers moderately hostile towards Tesla owners parking in our spots when there are plenty of other spaces. These were the only times out of the 50+ super chargers that I visited that I had a problem with the navigation.
    2. Supercharger status – There should be a supercharger status on the app and inside the car on the LCD panel that tells the driver what stalls are not functioning, what is available, even indicating how soon the car will be done charging, idle fees, more precise location with landmarks. The GPS would say I have arrived but I still didn’t see the chargers. Referencing landmarks, like “Behind Denny’s” or something would help out. I only saw one charging station where 2 cars were waiting but they got a space pretty fast.
    3. The app should indicate if a supercharger is within a paid parking lot and how much it costs to park there.
    4. The Tesla delivery guy didn’t tell me anything about the car. When I asked him for a business card he didn’t have one. When I asked for his name he responded with, “Why?” Anyways, he was terrible. The film on my LCD caused all kinds of problems yet he never told me about it. I figured it out months later at the Tesla dealer in Arizona.
    5. Eliminate free supercharging at congested superchargers. It will ease congestion at the superchargers from locals and get people to charge at home or work. It will cut down on the overuse by locals. There are people who can’t charge at home like apartment and condo dwellers. They need to push on management to install chargers or at least 240v 40 or 50 amp outlets.
    6. The Sentry mode is not sticky. I have to set it every time I use it. I think this is fixed with the latest update.
    7. The Sentry mode would not record any video and not give me an error message. My usb drive just had no footage on it. Still figuring out what the problem is. I formatted it according to the directions.
    8. The speed limit mode was set somehow and my 4 digit pin doesn’t work. Really weird.
    9. Idle fees – Money that Tesla charges you when your car is done charging but you don’t unplug it. $1.00 per minute after the 5 minute grace period! If there are 40 stations and you are the only one charging, you will still be charged. I really hate this. Its not a money grab but is a kick in the ass to move your charged car so others can charge. A good idea but as an end user I hate it. This is how I work around it: If you want to charge to 270, set the car to 230 and then when you get the notification that it’s almost done, increase the range to give yourself some more time. Why are idle fees a pain? When you charge it will say 50 min max, so you go to the rest room and sit down at Denny’s or wherever to eat and before you are done eating the car will be done charging so do you quickly eat the rest of your meal? Get it to go? Pay, but tell the waiter you’ll be right back, go out to your car and unplug it and then come back and finish your meal? All of these scenarios are annoying. I do think idle fees are necessary but should take into account how many plugs are free. If 9/10 plugs are free, why charge me an idle fee? No one is waiting on me.
    Can you drive anywhere throughout the US? In general yes. I drove 20,000 miles from California to NV, UT, WY, AZ, NM, TX, LA, Miss, AL, FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, DC, DL, NJ, PA, NY, CT, RI, MA, NH, ME, NH, VT, NY, MI, IN, KY, TN, MS, LA, TX, NM, AZ, NV, back to California. I was never stranded with an empty battery. However, there were times that I had to alter my route since I didn’t have enough charge left. Bryce Canyon National Park has no Tesla or any other brand chargers. When I charged in an RV park the charging failed and the error message said, “Bad cable, replace.” I called Tesla to send me a new one but they replied it would take up to a week. They said they could tow me to the nearest Tesla dealer 400 miles aways. All poor options. I left my car plugged in and after a couple hours it started charging and I had a full battery after 10 hours. As it turned out, the error message was wrong. The problem as the Tesla service guy explained it to me was that RV parks have dirty power, power that fluctuates up and down and the Tesla charging system recognizes it and won’t charge the car. The car will keep checking and when the power smoothes out, charging will start. Glacier National Park also has no nearby chargers. I rented a gas car and did this park on another trip in 2018. In Maine near Acadia National Park there are no Superchargers and the chargers I found on the Chargepoint app were either not working or were occupied. I ended up driving all the way back to Brewer, ME about 40 miles one way just to supercharge. This was poor planning on my part, but still a situation you can get into without careful planning. So to summarize, in general you can just go drive anywhere, but if going on a long road trip I would make sure that you charge up before going to an area that doesn’t have any superchargers like Acadia National Park or Glacier National park and have a charging plan. This of course can be eliminated with just one supercharger station inside the park. The town closest to Dinosaur National Park is Vernal, Utah but they don’t have a Supercharger either. Dinosaur Inn has a Chargepoint charger. I recall the cost was $1.00/hour and I got 20-30 mph of charge from it.

    1. ALWAYS check the supercharger nozzle before plugging it into your car! Sometimes they are damaged or vandalized.
    2. Some superchargers don’t work. One charger flat out didn’t work. Another charged at around 100 mph and when I switched to another one in the same location I got 300-400 mph. It’s not just how many people are charging at that location either since I was the only car there. If you only get 100-200 mph, consider switching to another charger.
    3. There are handicapped chargers now so only park in them if all others are being used. This is a new thing, when I started out on my trip I didn’t run into any.
    4. You’ll hear loud dull clicking noises from your car when you start and end charging. I don’t know what these noises are but I assume they are normal.
    5. You DON’T have to buy a dedicated 40-50 amp wall charger for home. I just use the supplied portable charger. However, you can buy a wall charger for $500 and hook it up to your dryer plug in the garage and get 20-35 mph of charge. To get a NEMA 14-50 plug and your panel upgraded to a 50amp breaker will be an extra expense that I found not worth it. I will probably convert my dryer plug to a NEMA 14-50 plug and buy a wall charger at some point in the future, but in the mean time the portable charger and my dryer plug work fine. I charge at 24 amps at 22 mph and that’s plenty fast. I converted to a gas dryer a few years ago knowing I’d want to use my dryer 30 amp plug to charge my Tesla. I’ll probably convert to a NEMA 14-50 plug but still charge at 30 amps so I don’t have to upgrade my panel.
    6. Different supercharger locations charge different $ rates. California seems to be the most expensive.
    7. Some superchargers are inconvenient. In Philly the ones downtown are all in paid lots so you have to pay for parking as well as charging. The art museum had free destination chargers but in a paid lot. The app doesn’t tell you its a paid lot but you can tell it’s a garage and if so, assume you’ll have to pay to park there.
    8. Free supercharging is not worth much. If you are comparing to gas it may seem like a $10,000 perk over the life of the car, but in reality most people won’t supercharge but will charge at home or work. Supercharging is usually for road trips. I think people consider how much they spend on gas and think if they get free supercharging it will be equivalent to what they spend on gas.
    9. 300 miles of range is really misleading. You have 240 miles of range. You need to leave 10% in the tank at the top and bottom so you only charge to 270 and recharge before you reach 30 so you will drive about 240 miles before charging. In practice this is more than 3 hours of driving so most people will need a break after driving for 3 hours. So most people won’t need a bigger battery than the long range Model 3.
    1. In Sept 2018 when I was in Yellowstone charging, the app stopped working. Apparently the servers were down. Luckily I had my car in my wallet so I could still get into my car and get it to work but other Tesla owners were not so lucky. This is the first time I have heard this happened but it’s a good idea to keep the card on your person just in case.
    2. You can meet other Tesla owners and have a good conversation. This never happens at a gas station. This happened at Jackson Wy, and ? but most of the time other people charging just ignore you.
    3. The Kettleman City, Calif supercharger has their own lounge that you need a key code to get into. It has AC, rest rooms, WiFi, comfy seats. The only one I ran into but since that Highway 5 is heavily traveled between SoCal and NorCal it was a great idea.
    4. You will be constantly asked: Wow, cool, how far does it go on a charge? How long does it take to charge? How much does it cost to charge? How much did it cost? Is it fast? Any problems? Is it easy to find a charger? Does it use gas? I figure in a year this happened 30-40 times. After 20 you’ll get tired of it. Some people that are interested in buying a Tesla ask even more questions and think they can monopolize a total strangers time. Just say you need to use the restroom. I considered getting a card or flyer printed with all the answers to these questions and a link to my referral code. I’d recommend doing this.
    5. In Vernal Utah near Dinosaur National Park, I was getting something out of the frunk (front trunk) and a woman drove up to me and asked me if I needed a jump. At first I didn’t know what she was talking about.
    There are Tesla and EV haters out there. This hate manifests itself in vandalized charging plugs, gasoline cars parked in Tesla supercharger spaces, and verbal assaults. This happened a few times during my trip. The Buffalo, NY superchargerhad one of the charging ports vandalized. I recommend inspecting the plug before putting into your car since the damage is not always obvious like this one:


    I’m not sure where this hate comes from. It could be a class issue and unlike other expensive luxury and sports cars, Tesla’s have their own designated parking spaces and are consequently more visible. It would be more difficult to vandalize a gasoline Porsche for instance since where would you go? A gas station? The Porsche dealer? Still, it is not just Tesla. In July 2019, this downtown Boston Chargepoint charger was comprehensively vandalized so it’s not just Tesla superchargers. This took some significant effort.

    These are gas cars parked in EV and Tesla destination charging spots. This was at the Holiday Inn in Metairie, LA on New Years Day 2019. The staff should really tow these cars to other parking spaces. There were at least 20 available spaces when this truck parked here. If there were no other spaces at least that would make some sense, but when there are plenty of available parking spaces then… The Jackson, Wyoming supercharger had several people parking in the Tesla supercharger spots. To be fair, the sign says this is allowed, but when there are opens spaces closer to the front door then you have to see this as some sort of passive aggressive behavior directed at Tesla owners.

    So not everyone hates us. One guy at Niagara Falls parking lot asked me, “Hey, when are you gonna get a muffler for that thing!?” I responded, “yeah, I’m going to the dealer next week.”

    Okay, I have never heard of this but it did cross my mind if it was pouring rain and I plugged in the supercharger could I get shocked? I charged in the rain several times. I don’t know the engineering behind the safety of this, but it seems to take a while before juice starts to flow from the charger into the car. Also I’m sure there are safeguards.

    Defined as: Getting overly worried that you’ll run out of charge and get stuck in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. It’s normal but also easy to treat and address. I had a slight case of Range Anxiety but overcame it on this trip.

    At a policy level, the Fed Government should step in and mandate every gas station have at least one level 2 charger and give incentives to install fast chargers. Imagine if EVERY gas station throughout the US had level 2 and fast chargers? That would squash Range Anxiety overnight. This will probably never happen so at an individual level:

    1. Buy a Tesla if you haven’t already. They have an extensive supercharger network that I’ve never read about when authors are writing an article about a so called Tesla Killer that they now call a Tesla competitor. The supercharger network is the least talked about yet most important aspect of owning a Tesla. The ability to charge in 10-50 minutes depending on how low on charge you are and how far you need to go. You don’t have to “fill up” either, just get enough to get to the next supercharger.
    2. Plan out your trip with Go Anywhere so that you can rest assured you won’t run out of juice. Note that there are chargers available that don’t appear in this app, so use Chargepoint and just do a google search. All three are required.
    3. Install the chargepoint app. On the freeways you’ll use superchargers but once in town, look for the Chargepoint chargers since they are usually free! They send you a card in 1-2 weeks after signing up online. You need to carry the card with you since there are chargers in garages that have no WiFi or cell service and you won’t be able to get the charger to activate if you only rely on the app.
    4. Don’t buy the ChaDEMO adaptor. I don’t recommend these fast charging adaptors. They cost $450!!! The adaptor is just another thing you have to carry around in the frunk. They are not small. The price to charge at these fast chargers is outrageous (insert pic of price and compare to super charger). Moreover, even driving 20,000 miles around the country I only saw 4-5 of these fast chargers. The Walmart in El Paso, Texas had 4 stalls, one other Walmart, and Yermo, Ca had 2 workings and 2 under construction at Eddie World. You won’t need it unless you have a super special use case where superchargers are not available but the fast CHAdeMO chargers are.
    5. The vast majority of Chargepoint chargers are free! At least that was my experience, so find one when you get to a town you plan on staying in a while. Jackson had 2 locations with 2-3 chargers each so I stayed a while.
    6. SAE J1772 Charging Adapters are absolutely required. I used mine almost every time I charged excluding a Supercharger. $95 but one was included in my charging kit. (Insert pic)
    7. Charging at your airbnb. I made a point to select only airbnbs that allowed me to charge my car. It’s a great convenience. However, if you are charging and something else of high amperage is on the same line and comes on, you may trip the circuit breaker.
    8. Philly was the worst for supercharging or charge point charging since all of the chargers were located in paid lots that cost $2-$10/hour. Best to charge before getting into Philly and charge up at your airbnb.
    9. Boston was also difficult to charge. The Chargepoint charger closets to me was on the street so you have to pay the meter $2.00/hour. I’ve never seen a charger on a public street like this. The worst is that out of 4 chargers, 3 were not functioning. Though 2 were marked as such the third one wasn’t but I figured out it wasn’t going to charge after working with tech support for 15 minutes on the phone trying to get it to work. There seems to be anti electric car sentiment here too as you can see from the damage to chargers that people cause. So senseless.
    1. What’s the range? 300 miles is my standard answer but it’s really not in practice since 10% on the bottom and top would be 240 miles before having to charge again.
    2. How long does it take to charge? Charging at home on my 240v 30 amp dryer plug I get 23 mph of charge on 237 volts at 24 amps. On a standard 120v outlet I get about 4 miles per hour of charge. On a supercharger, I get 100-600 miles per hour of charge. This always shocks them. The MPH takes a while for them to understand that I’m referring to charge and not driving.
    3. Any problems? Nope.
    4. How much is maintenance? In 20,000 miles I rotated the tires once, put air in the tires twice, and added 1.5 gallons of windshield wiper fluid. That’s it.
    5. Is it difficult to find places to charge? Nope. Tesla has a vast network of superchargers and the navigation shows you where you have to stop and how long you need to stay there before continuing on your trip. It’s really amazing. There are also public chargers all over the country and most are free.
    6. Does it drive around by itself? Not yet, but they are working on it.
    7. Do you recommend buying one? Yeah, I highly recommend buying one since you’ll never need to buy gas again. I only paid $500 to go 20,000 miles so it’s 1/2-1/8 the cost of a gas car just for the fuel.
    At some point, I felt liked I worked in Sales for Tesla but wasn’t getting paid. People anywhere outside of California or a major city have not really seen a Tesla before. They are a rare sight. Strangers also feel they can monopolize your time while they ask you all these questions. “Excuse me but I have to go to the bathroom,” I found is the best excuse to just walk away from them. I considered printing up a card with all the questions and answers above to just hand to people. I might do that before my next trip.

    1. 80 mph is a good speed limit. A note will pop up to “Keep it under 80 if you want to reach your destination.” which oddly has much more influence over my speed than the fear of getting a ticket for speeding.
    2. Hot Weather. 90F-110F Not a big deal but I wish I could lock the seat heaters off since there were a few times I accidentally turned them on. Seat coolers/fans would be a welcome upgrade. I’d pay extra for it. Sometimes the AC seems to drift and get warmer and then get cooler even after being on for a while. At highway speeds the AC seems to get colder. Other than that, performance in hot weather is without any flaws. Amazing.
    3. Cold weather. The door handles will freeze shut. Just smack them with the side of your fist and the ice will break up and the handles will free up. The battery will say warming up or something. There is absolutely no hesitation or anything else you’ll notice car wise except for cold seats and a cold steering wheel. I’d turn on the seat heaters remotely if I could. A steering wheel heater if it was an option I would probably opt in if $100-$200. The car runs perfectly in -10F as it does at 70F temps. Amazing.
    1. The OS upgrades over WiFi are super convenient and a model EVERY car manufacturer should follow for ALL of their cars. What if a recall could be fixed with an update over WiFi or 3G? So much more efficient.
    2. The overall UI of the iPad like display screen interface is amazing. I’d recommend Tesla consider doing this for all future models to simplify design, maintenance, and support.
      • The GPS is amazing. The large display and zoomable iPad like touch screen interface is absolutely a game changer for people with over 50 year old eyes.
      • The backup camera image size is absolutely amazing.
    3. Sentry Mode – A great idea. It will record video of anyone getting too close to your car and even play the stereo really loud to scare them away. Keep in mind you’ll lose 10-20 miles of range over night depending on how many “events” you get throughout the night. My USB did not have any video on it, so I have to investigate.
    4. The glass roof looks great but if I were to buy again and there was an option to save $200 or more on having a solid roof and not the glass one I would opt in in a heartbeat. I have the shade on it and have never removed it or looked up through it. Okay, once when I slept in my car I looked up at the stars but that is the only time. I don’t plan to sleep in my car much.
    5. Buy all four 220v charging adaptors. I have used all of them on this trip. Have the 50amp and two 30 amp adaptors so you can charge up in garage dryer plugs, and RV parks. I ran into another the NEMA 6-50 used by welders and electric ovens so I couldn’t charge since I didn’t have that adaptor. They are one $35 and can get you out of a tough situation. There is a 2-3 week delivery time so order before you leave on your trip.
    6. RV park voltage fluctuates and the charger will refuse to charge, but if you leave it plugged in, it will start to charge when the voltage evens out and oddly will continue to charge. I suppose I got lucky but it didn’t seem like it.
    7. Use the Sentry Mode since you never know what area you might travel to and park your car. However, it draws juice, like 10-20 miles a day, maybe more so be aware of that.
    8. Install the charge point app and make sure it works. It takes weeks to get the card so plan ahead.
    9. Some garages have no WiFi or cellular reception so it’s a good idea to have a Chargepoint card since the app won’t be able to connect to their network. I only used Chargepoint brand of chargers besides the Tesla superchargers. I haven’t found a need to use any of the other brands. I don’t really see them around. There was one charging station in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that had the fast chargers but Model 3 doesn’t have those ChaDemo adaptors as of yet.
    10. For some reason the Sentry Mode is not sticky so you have to reset it to On every time you use it. Annoying. It takes up energy since I noticed my mileage decreasing while it was engaged. Like 10-20 miles throughout the night. This is significant so keep that in mind.
    11. There is animosity towards the cars and owners. In Cape Cod I pulled into a $60 a night hotel, the cheapest one in town and these beer drinking guys said, Oh, you think you’re better than us cuz you drive a Tesla? I moved across the street to the $120/might place but got a good nights sleep. Holiday inn in Metairie near NOLA gas cars park in our charging spots. Jackson Wy grocery store shoppers will park in our space even when there are plenty of other spaces. Note the spaces are shared but why would you park there if there are plenty of other spaces? I noticed an attitude from the people that parked there too.
    12. Only problems I’ve had is back up camera doesn’t immediately show the back view. The passenger side mirror did not retract twice when the car was turned on. I’ve also had my car reboot spontaneously for no particular reason. A bit unsettling and I lose my GPS since the screen goes black, but it comes back on after a minute or less. Other than that, the car has been perfect.
    13. GPS will be off by 1-4 blocks when taking you to a supercharger. Don’t panic. Just drive around for a few blocks and if you can’t find it ask someone at a store since they’ll probably know.
    14. Autopilot is $3000. It’s high end adaptive cruise control that keeps you in your lane. All you have to do is steer on the freeway at least a year ago I had to steer. Full Self Driving Capability is $6000 is working towards what you would expect, typing in an address into your navigation and the car just goes there. I didn’t get either since I figured I could just pay for them when they are perfected. I got a 14 day trail a year ago and was impressed but didn’t purchase. I plan to buy in the future.
    What a Model 3 can't do
    1. Off Roading- So off roading is obviously not something to do with a RWD M3. However, I did drive slowly on good quality dirt roads. Specifically from Highway 191 down Schwabachers Landing Road in The Grand Tetons National Park.
      I also drove it on Hohokam Road to Golden Gate Road in Saguaro National Park. Drive slowly and look for potholes and anything that might damage the tires. AWD isn't really as much of an issue as ground clearance and suspension. There were several roads on this trip that I avoided due to ground clearance and the worry of getting stuck or damaging the car. The AWD dual motor is really for ice and snow.
    2. Deep Snow- I have the RWD model since the AWD model was not available in June 2018. Having a RWD car is the least desirable drivetrain when on snow or icy roads. However, it was never an issue. Why? The roads are always plowed in Jackson, Wyoming and everywhere else I went. Cities with tourists depend on their infrastructure for commerce so they plow the roads constantly during the snow season. The deepest snow I drove through was 3-5" with ice underneath but I was fine driving slowly and not steering or braking abruptly.
      The roads were icy especially first thing in the morning, but this was never a problem. I bought the Tesla chains but never used them. Difficult to see but this was road was totally iced over. Difficult to walk on, but ok to drive slow on. [​IMG]
    3. Notice the ice above? On flat roads it's no problem but on a hill I experienced some slippage. AWD would come in handy in these situations, but the key is to drive slowly and do not brake or steer abruptly. The regenerative braking was the key. This slows the car down without braking so you won't risk skidding. I never experienced deep snow. Most of the cars are Subarus or the Ford F150 here in Jackson, WY and other states so they are ready for the snow. If in a snow state or area I would get the dual motor model. I'd also trickle charge the car on a 120V system so it will be ready to drive in the morning. I think the battery has to warm up or something so this trickle charging should help.

      The mornings were tough since temps were below 0F to 10F (-17C to -12C) and it took about 15-25 minutes to thoroughly de snow the car. I used this $10 snow brushfrom Amazon but this Snow Moover brush looks even better.
    A word about media coverage omissions:
    Media coverage of EVs focus on the EVs themselves and ignore the charging infrastructure that we all don't give a second thought to coming from gasoline cars. The charging infrastructure should be a major part of every EV discussion. I drove 20,000 miles from California to NV, UT, WY, AZ, NM, TX, LA, Miss, AL, FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, DC, DL, NJ, PA, NY, CT, RI, MA, NH, ME, NH, VT, NY, MI, IN, KY, TN, MS, LA, TX, NM, AZ, NV, back to California. With no charging plan I wanted to see if I could just drive around the country like a gasoline car not worrying about finding refueling. I ran into 1 problem in Bryce Canyon, Utah but that was it. It will be years before a non Tesla charging infrastructure is developed. This is fine if you mainly drive from work to home and back and occasionally go within 400 miles round trip of your home, but for anything longer, a comprehensive fast charging infrastructure is required. Tesla is 80-90% there. Everyone else, I'd guess about 10-25%. I saw 5 fast chargers in 20,000 miles of driving and always at Walmarts. Tesla superchargers can even have their own private lounge with WiFi, restrooms, AC, and nice leather chairs. See the Kettleman City, CA supercharger location. Another key point? As the fast charger network gets built out this benefits Teslas too since they can use them with an adaptor, but a non Tesla can't use the Tesla supercharger network.

    Besides just comparing the range of an EV, it's important to note that you won't run your range down to 0 before charging, nor will you charge it to the maximum possible. Charging the battery to 100% reduces its life and regenerative braking doesn't work at that charge level. A good rule is 10% from the bottom and off the top so a 300 mile range is effectively 240 since you charge to 270 or less and recharge at 30 or more. This is fine for cars that have a stated range of 300 miles, but for anything less, you can see how this guideline really impacts them. If you compare this to a gasoline car it may come up short, but in reality, going 80 mph for 3 hours or more you'll want to take a break to recharge and use the restroom. The range war is really over. Tesla won. Others will catch up, but where are they going to charge? Tesla wins here definitively.

    In conclusion, I highly recommend getting a Tesla, especially a Model 3.
    • Like x 7
    • Informative x 3
    • Helpful x 2
    • Love x 2
  2. Msjulie

    Msjulie Active Member

    Jun 26, 2016
    Monterey Bay Area
    Love your post but take issue with acceleration being dangerous .. a person can be dangerous in so many ways having nothing to do with getting going.. sometime you need acceleration to safely merge into unending streams of traffic as an example. Don't be a moron is my rule ;)

    But like I said, great post.

    Oh and

    There are too many posts online showing how to pop the frunk with a 12v .. just saying
    • Like x 2
  3. XLR82XS

    XLR82XS D M C

    Jul 26, 2019
    SWFL | Vegas
    How? Always tapping the seat icons? They are placed away from other functions used more often and I always keep climate control on AUTO unless holding down the fan icon to power the climate control off.
  4. Fossil Fool

    Fossil Fool Member

    Aug 13, 2019
    Prescott, AZ
    #4 Fossil Fool, Sep 22, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    Fantastic post of real life experience vs bullpucky on the forums. Good for you and keep rolling up the miles! Read your web posts as well.

    I have one question and that was the aeros. Did you specifically select them for the trip?

    Great photos! Michelin should hire you!
  5. Phlier

    Phlier Bluebird

    Jun 12, 2019
    @typer1998 Member since July of 2018 and only two posts? Even though I don't agree with some of the stuff you wrote, overall I think it was *very* well done, and would love it if you'd post here more often! :) C'mon, man, two posts in a year? Give us more!
  6. typer1998

    typer1998 New Member

    Jul 26, 2018
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I made several typos. I wanted to edit but didn't see an edit button after I posted. I want to delete the title, "What a Model 3 can't do" since driving in deep snow isn't any different than any other car, but I realized my mistake after I posted.

    Didn't know you could pop a frunk with a 12 volt. I haven't really been reading Tesla forums, but I wanted to share my experience over the last year and 20,000 miles with other Tesla owners.

    Regarding the aero wheels, I selected when I configured the car since they were the cheapest wheel option. I think they're great. I scraped up the passenger side rear aero cover a couple of times parking so I was glad I had them.

    As far as fast acceleration=dangerous I would reword that section if I could figure out how to edit after posting. I think comparing 0-60 mph times after a certain point say 6 seconds or under is silly and only something a race car driver would be concerned with. For the average driver accelerating as fast as a Tesla can go from 0-60 mph or faster is in my opinion a bit dangerous and a spec that the automotive press stresses that isn't significant for the average driver. Just my opinion and you are free to disagree.

    I also think I posted in the wrong forum but couldn't find a general, road trip, or extended test drive type of forum.

    I don't "always" tap the seat icons, but I did accidentally a few times when it was 90F+ outside. I had the AC temp on low, not on auto, and the fan at 7 and then after I get up to freeway speed and the cabin cools down I turn the fan down to 2-4 and would accidentally hit the seat heater. Not a big deal.

    I forgot to add that my car rebooted without warning a couple of times when I was driving. My LCD screen and GPS were blank, music goes silent, it's a bit startling, but I think it's fixed.

    The Model 3 is as close to a perfect 4 door sedan as I could imagine. The main thing I'd like Tesla to change is not anything with the car, but the Idle Fee fee structure. Only charge people when say 70% of the chargers are in use? Adjust the number to make it work. Being charged a $1/minute idle fee when there are no other chargers being occupied but the one I'm using just seems ridiculous. Other than that, all the other stuff is minor and I love the car.
    • Like x 1
  7. Phlier

    Phlier Bluebird

    Jun 12, 2019
    Unfortunately, you only have a few minutes after submitting your post to edit it, unless you pay to become a supporting member of the forum; one of the benefits is having longer to edit your posts. Go figure.
  8. Phlier

    Phlier Bluebird

    Jun 12, 2019
    Mine actually started doing this regularly. I tried the usual ways of resetting... two button method, two button with brake pedal method, but neither worked. What finally fixed it for good for me was using the "Power Off" button on the MCU. I then waited for two full minutes, touched the brake pedal, and no problems since. Might want to give it a shot next time your car starts acting up.
  9. typer1998

    typer1998 New Member

    Jul 26, 2018
    San Francisco Bay Area
    My clocks time zone also didn't update from EST to MST to PST. I rebooted and the time zone and time were correct. I assume it did the same thing traveling from PST to MST to EST but I rebooted a couple of times going east and never noticed.

    Yes, it's pretty disconcerting when the car reboots while driving with no warning. It only happened a couple of times in the same week last year and I think the OS update fixed it since it hasn't happened again since.
    • Like x 1
  10. Rottenapplr

    Rottenapplr Member

    Apr 6, 2019
    Omg I can’t believe I read that whole post hahaha

    anyways that’s so cool man 20k miles. I love this car. I’ve done 6 road trips in 5 months in my model 3. I can’t stop driving it!!!
  11. jkoya

    jkoya NA2 NSX

    Nov 21, 2018
    Northern CA
    Nice post and I like all the pics - Thanks for the write up !
  12. TM3blu

    TM3blu Member

    Sep 20, 2018
    Great post, I'll refer any interested friends. Made two 5K trips this past summer. Supercharger network seals the deal, without it Tesla would be like all the other brands. I do question the placement of some SC stations. Deming, NM is at a gas station, on the side of the building where everyone wants to park. Memphis, TN is in the middle of town, far off I 55 and I 40 two heavily traveled routes. Shopping malls are ok, except they're closed at night.
    I know, "first world problems".
  13. Darmie

    Darmie Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Clear Lake TX.
    Loved the story. Our Model S we had two years ago we did some road tripping. Loved every mile of it.

    S life time.JPG
  14. UrsS

    UrsS Member

    Mar 9, 2017
    Placerville, CA
    You mention Chargepoint several times but not Plug Share. In my experience Plug Share has almost all available chargers on their map. Often there are comments of recent users alerting you to malfunctions or other problems, or just that they had no problems charging - say the day before.
    • Helpful x 1
  15. boriszima

    boriszima Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Very cool long post. This is like cliff notes on EV driving 101
  16. cab

    cab Active Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    Grapevine, TX
    typer1998 - do you have a pic of your route (i.e. google map of U.S. showing your route?). Would be cool to see the ground you were covering? Were you shooting for national parks or ???
    • Helpful x 1
  17. RKowch

    RKowch Member

    May 23, 2018
    Guelph, ON CDA

    Love your post. 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 for a total of 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!

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.