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3,000 mile road trip in Model 3 SR+

Just finished a road trip in my 2021 Model 3 Standard Range Plus and thought I'd post my overall impressions. This was my first real road trip in the car. It was my wife, my two dogs, me, and 100-200 pounds of baggage leaving Missouri and doing a week-long tour of Vermont. Originally my car had a max range of 253 miles, and now it's teetering on 245 miles. I have the LFP battery so will charge to 100% fairly often compared to people with other chemistries.

My take-aways from this trip:

1. The standard range (RWD) Model 3--coupled with the supercharger network--is more than capable of road tripping. I passed by a lot of superchargers during the trip, because I didn't need them. I rarely supercharge in normal conditions, but this experience made it clear how big an advantage Tesla has with its charging network. In our experience, the car can go farther on a single charge than our bladders can tolerate. And in almost every case, the car was ready to continue before we were at each charging stop. So the notion that you have to wait around for your car to charge is--in our experience--pure myth.

2. As good as the supercharging network is, I didn't need to totally rely on it. Using Plugshare, I was able to charge at a lot of Level 2 chargers while we were stopped. Sometimes that'd be while we were eating at a restaurant, sometimes while we were staying overnight at a hotel, and sometimes while we were sight-seeing. It was great because in those cases we were going to be stopped anyway, so adding 10-20% SoC while we were visiting a tourist attraction was awesome, cheap, and usually easy. I highly recommend people download and make accounts on all the major charging apps. I also recommend everyone "check in" to chargers on Plugshare, because it gave us peace of mind looking at our next destination and seeing a recent check-in at a charger in the area, plus we could see if there would be dining and bathrooms nearby. Plugshare was a really good friend on the trip, and is maybe underused in the Tesla community because the supercharger network is so reliable.

3. My car's efficiency was not as good as I'm used to seeing (i.e. power consumption was higher than I had planned). In good whether, it's not unusual to get 200 wh/mi over my 100 mile commute (often lower). But the long sections of freeway driving at 70-75 MPH (with no regen) would often leave me at 250-260 wh/mi, effectively reducing my actual range closer to 200 miles. As soon as we were in Vermont for our vacation there, this range improved since we were driving on local roads and state highways. But doing plug your "normal" consumption figures into ABRP and expect them to hold true during transcontinental travel.

4. Speaking of ABRP, I think it may be overrated for trip planning. I used it the first couple days--entering and adjusting all the pertinent numbers as we went. But BY FAR the car's trip calculations were more accurate and reliable than ABRP. To the point that I stopped using it, except maybe to do occasional pre-planning from a hotel room.

5. I don't have FSD, but Autopilot is all you really need for road trips. Autopilot was almost flawless on both interstates and highways during my trip. I had maybe 2-3 cases of phantom braking the whole time (I was expecting far more. I would take over driving in tricky situations or when we were about to exit the interstate, but for a trip like this Autopilot effectively does 80% of the driving between destinations. Because I wasn't so mentally exhausted from the driving, I found this extended my driving day from 8-10 hours to 12-14 hours. It decreased a 3 day trip from Vermont to Missouri down to a 2 day trip.

6. I brought a little chargable vacuum, glass cleaner, armor all, and some rags with me. Before we set out each day, I would vacuum up interior and wipe down the dash, etc. Seems like a little thing, but it made the car far more pleasant than if I'd just let it get disgusting during the trip. The exterior got really dirty, but keeping the interior tidy was a bit like slipping into a fresh pair of underwear--it just helped set a positive tone for the trip.

Those were the big things that stuck out to me. If anyone has any questions, let me know. For the record, my wife commented many times about how comfortable the Model 3 was for her on the road trip--I used to drive Nissan Frontier pickup truck, which would hurt her back on long trips, but the Model 3 seats were to her liking. We also had a pet seat cover in the rear for our (small) dogs, and used seatbelt harnesses for them while driving.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a very, very dirty Tesla Model 3 to detail.


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Great, thanks for sharing!

On your ABRP point, I believe that very much depends on how you drive. There are people reporting that the car's navigation is spot on, and it might be the case for you. In my case, I guess my driving isn't quite what the algorithm uses, and I have sportier tires. The car navigation is always optimistic for 5-10% SOC initially and adjusts as I drive whereas I can get ABRP spot-on. YMMV as they say :)
 
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Great, thanks for sharing!

On your ABRP point, I believe that very much depends on how you drive. There are people reporting that the car's navigation is spot on, and it might be the case for you. In my case, I guess my driving isn't quite what the algorithm uses, and I have sportier tires. The car navigation is always optimistic for 5-10% SOC initially and adjusts as I drive whereas I can get ABRP spot-on. YMMV as they say :)

I'm sure you're right about that. One thing I found myself doing was to view the energy graph periodically while I was driving, just to watch for any major changes in the predicted arrival SoC. That way I wouldn't be caught off-guard if the current drive wasn't aligning with the pre-drive calculation.
 
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Yes, checking the energy graph as you drive to see if conditions change is a great thing to do. Even though I plan with ABRP, I drive with the car navigation and check that to make sure I can make it to my next stop, and maybe even speed up if there's "too much" energy left :)
I forgot that my ABRP is linked with my Tesla account so the consumption figure that ABRP uses reflects my real world consumption which includes my sporty tires. Using the default ABRP-provided consumption figure for your car model or entering one that doesn't reflect you next trip's conditions (as you indicate) might not give great results.
 
Yes, checking the energy graph as you drive to see if conditions change is a great thing to do. Even though I plan with ABRP, I drive with the car navigation and check that to make sure I can make it to my next stop, and maybe even speed up if there's "too much" energy left :)
I forgot that my ABRP is linked with my Tesla account so the consumption figure that ABRP uses reflects my real world consumption which includes my sporty tires. Using the default ABRP-provided consumption figure for your car model or entering one that doesn't reflect you next trip's conditions (as you indicate) might not give great results.
Oh yeah, that probably makes a big difference.
 

SteelClouds

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Tesla nav software is good, but.. it can route you to some very out of the way paths in search of the fastest way from A to B. There were a few times on my last trip that I would have very unhappy for my daughter be on the road picked alone because they were very sparsely traveled and cellular was spotty at best.. fastest route or not, it would not have been the best choice for a single female.. The far better route only added 30 mins and kept to the major highways. So this is a case of "trust but verify". This happened several times in 1500 miles. Apple Maps was not good at the fastest route.. but it stuck to major highways/road much better. At one point, I had Tesla Nav up, ABRP up and Apple Maps open for the same destination just to see who did what and how. Something to keep in mind
 
I agree about PlugShare. We just came back from a 1000-mile roundtrip and loved how fast the Y Supercharges compared to our previous Model S that had lifetime free Supercharging but was much slower.

We also never had to wait for the charge to complete because we were still busy eating and/or not done with our break. PlugShare informed us one of the museums we planned to explore had free charging so we utilized that while we looked at exhibits all day.
 

SteelClouds

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Nov 12, 2021
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I will add this.. I wish I had my Chad and CCS adapters before my last trip.. I would have felt a lot better about stopping at the grand canyon.. it would have been marginal with my short legged SR+ and I didnt want to have that headache on that trip. As it turns out now with my CCS/Chad, I could have stopped in Williams and used either to top off
 
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I will add this.. I wish I had my Chad and CCS adapters before my last trip.. I would have felt a lot better about stopping at the grand canyon.. it would have been marginal with my short legged SR+ and I didnt want to have that headache on that trip. As it turns out now with my CCS/Chad, I could have stopped in Williams and used either to top off
I'm looking forward to putting the ccs adapter to use on my next trip.
 
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