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2200 Mile Supercharger Trip (DC to Omaha and Back)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by sublimejackman, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    #1 sublimejackman, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    Last week I took delivery of a new Tesla Model S 75D and I thought, I should take this on a road trip. I wanted to pick a state that I had never been to. Unfortunately I have been to every east coast state and most midwest states. However, after a friend made a joke about Nebraska, I decided on my destination: Omaha. Despite many of my friends casting doubt on the idea of driving a Tesla 2200 miles using only Superchargers, I left the next day.

    Leg 1 - Friday Sept 22 7pm-11pm Washington, DC to Cranberry, PA (287 miles)
    Drove to the Breezewood, PA Supercharger. This was my first experience charging, period. I had just taken delivery of the car less than 24 hours earlier and hadn't installed the 14-50 plug yet. So I pull into the stall and I am completely alone. After not shoving the charger in hard enough 3 or 4 times, the car charges up enough to make it to Cranberry, PA. Cranberry has a Supercharger in a Marriott parking lot, so this was the obvious place to spend the night. Charge to 100%, park and go to bed.

    Leg 2 - Saturday Sept 23 730am - 6pm - Cranberry, PA to Aurora, IL (514 miles)
    I slowly start to realize the overhead factor of the Superchargers and the strategy of keeping the battery between 15 and 60 percent. I also start to realize that at my current pace there is no way I'm going to make it back in time for a meeting at 3pm on Tuesday. The built in google maps doesn't seem to plan for more than one Supercharger stop. This trip had over 20. So after some research (on this site) I found abetterrouteplanner.com. I cannot overstate how important it is to use this tool during a 250+ mile trip. You can customize when you stop and keep it running in the web browser to get real time data and charging times. Also, this is where the community aspect of owning a Tesla came into play. At every Supercharger stop there were other Tesla owners, many on their own road trip. We would chat and one guy even bought me lunch after stopping at the same three Superchargers in a row!

    Leg 3 - Sunday Sept 24 530am - 8pm - Aurora,IL - Omaha, NE to Iowa City, IA (681 miles)
    This is when things got real. The night before I figured out that I only have two choices to make it back to DC in time for my meeting on Tuesday. Either turn back now or suck it up and drive two 15 hour days and a 5 hour day in a row. I woke up at 430am and hit the road by 530am. I was now falling into a routine. I would drive 90-130min to a Supercharger, charge for 20-30min, put the next Supercharger into google maps (as suggested by A Better Route Planner), then rinse and repeat. Around 3-4pm, I make it to Omaha! Over a 1000 miles, looked around for about 18min and turned around for the drive back. Drove another few hours back the way I came and spent the night in Iowa City (note the trend: all these hotels are within 10miles of a Supercharger).

    Leg 4 - Monday Sept 25 430am - 830pm - Iowa City, IA to Cranberry, PA (694 miles)
    Things started to get a little rough. I was running on only a few hours of sleep for several nights (working at night from the hotel rooms) and I spent so much time in the car that standing started to feel weird. The good news is that I have been driving about 80% on AP2. This helped in a way that I can't fully express with words. The whole trip just wouldn't have been possible if I had to drive through stop and go traffic and keep pace without it for 14+ hours a day. I really wanted to be pretty rested for Tuesday so I pushed myself a far as I could. It so happened that I ended up back in Cranberry. Which is actually great since the Superchargers in the parking lot allowed me to charge to 100% before parking it for the night.

    Leg 5 Tuesday Sept 26 1015am - 230pm - Cranberry, PA - Potomac, MD (289 miles)
    The finale!! Got plenty of sleep, only one Supercharge stop and made it home in the nick of time.

    I must admit that there were times that I was beyond tired, became frustrated with the longer (40min+) stops and sick of driving. But in the end, I am really glad I did it. I kind of see us (Tesla owners) as pioneers and what do pioneers do? Go west. I drove west using only the Supercharger network and made it without a single show stopping problem. There were always chargers available, people at the chargers were awesome and AP2 is one of the coolest pieces of tech in the world. This experience is definitely not for everyone. There is a fair bit strategy and a lot of patience required to drive a Tesla for thousands of miles. However, I now feel comfortable driving my Tesla anywhere or any distance. Living in the DC area crushed my love of driving but the Tesla allowed me to rekindle that love.
     
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  2. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    I know the timing is a bit off. Sorry. I wrote this up fairly quickly without a proper review.
     
  3. Nda721

    Nda721 Member

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    I enjoyed the read! Great job!

    Love the 18minute trip and then return! hahaha I've done that before.
    Remember AP is great in traffic!!!! #DMVtraffic
     
  4. tpham07

    tpham07 Member

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    This is amazing. i wish i had enough free time to just randomly drive somewhere for "free" haha. Welcome to the family.
     
  5. blincoln

    blincoln Member

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  6. bmah

    bmah New Moderator, Model S / Model X Forums

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    Awesome. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Bruce.
     
  7. Impala1ss

    Impala1ss Member

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    good story.
     
  8. icefree

    icefree Member

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    Excellent story! Btw what firmware are you running? I’m on 2017.32 and I recently did a multi-supercharger stop trip. The navigation system listed all the supercharger stops that I would need to take, what remaining charge I would have on arrival and how long I needed to charge to get to the next one. I wonder if that had changed?
     
  9. Rogue one

    Rogue one Member

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    Thanks for sharing, makes me a little nervous for our first long distance trip in our model 3. (Wisconsin to Denver) We are used to making this drive in one shot (14 hours) according to a better route planner it will take 19 hours in the standard or 17 in the long range. Both doable but I’m not sure how my wife will feel about 3 hours of charging, let alone 6 hours... / : I’m so very torn between long range vs standard, especially since we live in a cold climate half the
    Year.
     
  10. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    I'm running 2017.36. If I plan a multi charger route, it just shows the first charger then a dead battery symbol. Not sure if they've changed it or not. I've only had it a little over a week.
     
  11. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    Yeah. I on another fairly long (450mi) trip right now (I drive a lot). There seems to be a 20-30% overhead compared to making gas stops. It's all in the the timing. You really want to balance number of stops with battery percentage. As you charge the battery past 65-75% the charge rate drops rapidly. Theoretically you would never be above 60% and below 10%. That 10% is in case you need to divert to a level 2 charger or a power outage. A better route planner is pretty good at this but not perfect. It also sometimes plans fairly inefficient routes. The road trip in this is really all about strategy. Plan each day of driving the night before. Food stop at a charger so you don't lose time, quicker stops frequently, etc. I personally never go longer than 2hours or so between chargers. I try to hit as many as possible after the first one (since the first stop will likely be after you left your house or somewhere you can get a full charge). In the end, I don't lament not getting the 100D v the 75D. The longer battery life would be nice but until they can hold 400+ miles on a charge, you'll probably have to stop every 1.5 to 2 hours for 30min.
     
  12. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    It's awesome! So much better than the built in one!
     
  13. Rogue one

    Rogue one Member

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    Sound advice, thanks

    My other consideration is the slower super charging on the standard range vs long range. Then again $9,000 is a lot to spend on saving a few dozen hours per year. It will probably come down to a final hour decision at order time. Honestly my biggest concern is cold weather performance, we enjoy a warm car so if cold weather produces a rang hit of %20-%30 as other say then long range it is.
     
  14. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    Also I think the longer range one is substantially faster. In a cold climate plus the acceleration, I would go big!
     
  15. Rogue one

    Rogue one Member

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    It will be the fastest car I have ever owned long range or standard range. LR 5.1 0-60 or SR 5.8 0-60... I think no mater what I chose it will be plenty fast for me.
     
  16. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    My arrival and the first 8 seconds of my 1000 second visit to Nebraska!
     
  17. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

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    Wow! Your first road trip during your first week of ownership! That's fantastic.
    When you start the day with a full charge, you'll find that your first 2-3 stops will be fairly short as you'll still have some buffer in the battery to continue your trip to the next leg. Then you get to a point where you need to stop longer to top the battery back off. Timing THAT stop with a meal works best. Wash, rinse and repeat for as long as you're able, but a 14-15 hour day is not unreasonable. This is where a little pre-planning comes in handy with identifying the longer stops with good meal options nearby.
    And by the way, since it looks like you're going to be hard-core, consider coming over to the supercharger usage leaderboard. I predict good things for you, young jedi. :)
    Superchargers Visited
     
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  18. The Duke

    The Duke Member

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    Great story, except maybe "pioneers go west". I live near Tesla factory, not much chance of a trip west. We went to Mt Rushmore instead.
     
  19. sublimejackman

    sublimejackman Supporting Member

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    Awesome. Added myself to list with 16. I guess in 8 days, that ain't too bad. Still a Padawan!
     
  20. bmah

    bmah New Moderator, Model S / Model X Forums

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    This has to be the craziest (in a good way) new Tesla owner story I’ve read yet. :)

    Bruce.
     
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