Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

3000+ mile road trip in the 85D

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
Not too long after becoming an owner of my 2015 85D, we went out on a long road trip from Dallas to San Diego. Not being the brightest of bulbs, I thought this would be a good idea. All-in-all it was but there were a couple of times when I thought this had not been my greatest decision.

Prior to the trip I made a number of day trips to superchargers surrounding the Dallas area to become accustomed to the car and what kind of range I could expect. Nothing went wrong during any of these trips though a few were during very hot weather and I got to hear the air conditioners making a great deal of noise and the range efficiency seemed to trail off quite a lot. The worst was after a trip out to Sulphur Springs (east of Dallas) when it was in the high 90s. The 210 miles of range listed after charging to 80% dropped like a rock on the return leg much faster than I thought it should.

The only other item I noted during these test runs was the main display was very slow to update while navigating. At the same time, I really was fallen for this new-to-me car.

I read about the eMMC issue, but Tesla refused to honor the "recall" on the memory board since the car was working, even if it was slow. I decided to spring for the upgrade to the MCU2 since my plan was to take the car to the west coast and I didn't want to have the system freeze up on me going across the desert SW. While the car was in for the MCU2, I also asked Tesla to look the car over for anything else since I was going on the trip. Certainly the display was more crisp with less delay, but since I did not get to know the only set-up all that well, I am not sure if I really got all the bang for the buck I was hoping for.

I don't want to get spun up here about Tesla service here on my first post, but I have not had the best time with them. After getting the car back about 36 hours after it was initially promised, other than the the new MCU2, Tesla told me the car was very smart and it would tell me if there were any problems, but they checked the tire pressure all the way around. They also left the interior a dusty fingerprint filled, footprint trampled mess.

I had mapped out all of the superchargers from Dallas to San Diego on both what we call the Southern Route (through El Paso, Las Cruces and Tucson) and the Northern Route (through Amarillo, Albuquerque and the Mogollon Rim). Next stop Phoenix. We leaned toward taking the northern route and so did Tesla navigation. We were ready to depart.

For posts about this trip to keep these shorter, I plan to break them up.

BroncoRemy
2015 Tesla Model S 85D
47K miles
 
  • Like
Reactions: D33pDish

Big Earl

bnkwupt
Supporting Member
Jul 12, 2017
5,815
10,791
Springfield, VA
Be sure to check wind and weather daily. A 20 MPH head wind can eat up a ton of energy - more than what you’ve already experienced with the air conditioning. I find www.windy.com to be a great resource for this.

That’s really my only advice. Enjoy your trip!
 

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
The plan changed a little at the start. We had to be in Oceanside CA a half-day earlier than we thought so we left the afternoon-night before the original plan. The car and the trip was about on par for what I thought, so far, which is to say excellent. The only thing of note was that I was coming in a little under what the car was telling me I would for charge at each next supercharger. I don't think I really *saw* and *understood* that at the time. I know *now* that I was seeing it, but this was all still relatively new to me. We stopped at Tucumcari, NM at about 3 am for the night. I had been paying attention to the Charging menu and when it said we were ready to go for the next hope we went.

The next morning, we charged at Tucumcari right up to where the charging menu said to. Next stop Santa Rosa, NM. Again we charged right until the system said go. Here is the first wrinkle in the trip. Since the car was coming in on the longer legs of the trip about 5% under the charge number that Tesla was predicting, the leg from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque for me was my first case of serious range anxiety almost to skin hives. We had been cutting the charging time off right at the limits. By the time we got to Albuquerque I was in a nervous sweat because the car was down not to 10 or 11% as in the prediction but right at about 5%. So, for me, big lesson #1 was that while I absolutely love my Model S, I don't trust that charging number any longer. All stops from that point were longer and I tried to double the range shown to distance for the next leg. Wasn't always possible but most of the time it was or close to 2x.

BR
 
  • Like
Reactions: D33pDish

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
Got to Albuquerque and found the first case of an extremely busy supercharger. Right off of I-40 by the Applebees. I thought I needed a few drinks at the restaurant even if it was still in the morning, so we were happy to have lunch and let the car charge all the way since the next leg to Gallup was another long leg.

So far on the trip all was going very well. The rookie drivers had a little case of the nerves on that last leg, but with the new plan we were ready to go.

Made Gallup, NM with no issue then Holbrook, AZ. We had a couple of stops along the way so we rolled into Holbrook just after dark. The supercharger was at a very dark Burger King (they had the parking lot lights out) and there was not a soul around. That BK was drive up only so this stop was a little sketchy to us sitting in the dark. A person was rummaging through the trash at the BK when he turned and started walking toward the car. I had my big mag-lite flashlight and a little summin-summin else with me. I really did not want my vacation to go that way, though. I am a fairly big guy so the moment he saw me come to the front of the car he turned and gave us a wide berth then disappeared into the bushes behind the supercharger. Never saw him again, thankfully. Another family pulled up as we were finishing and I let them know about the encounter and that he was back behind the charger who knows where.

Off to Payson and the Rim. I was disappointed at our change of schedule since I wanted to drive through the Rim when we could see it. We rolled in to Payson at about 0230. Big, nice supercharger with plenty of stalls and plenty around it. Of course at 230 to 3 am nothing was open. Finished this leg of the trip at about 430 or so into the Phoenix area and our first family stop. To this point, we had learned one good lesson without any pain and the car was fantastic.

BR
 
  • Like
Reactions: D33pDish

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
For us, though we have been in TX for long enough to rear our children, Phoenix is a place we lived before TX and have very fond memories of. We were up and visited with family there then were ready to head to the coast. My plan had been to take I-8 into San Diego then up to Oceanside. All the time we lived in Phoenix, you take I-8 to get to San Diego (is what I had in my head). Didn't need navigation in the Phoenix area so hadn't really brought it up yet. At the supercharger in Buckeye, AZ just west of Phoenix the navigation system threw me a curve, it wanted us to take I-10 then turn south at Riverside then down through Temecula. I hadn't expected that. Had never entered my mind to head toward LA. So, we decided to follow the route toward Palm Springs. We thought we could have late lunch, maybe dinner there and make it to Oceanside just in time. Sadly, that was not to be.

Side note: the Carl's Jr at Buckeye right next to the supercharger is not very friendly toward Tesla folks. Lots of signs on the doors about restrooms for customers only. I get that and I support it, we should support the businesses that support us but something just struck me wrong about the number of signs there. I walked over the other way to the Cracker Barrel instead.

We made Quartzsite near the Colorado River then Indio, CA without any problems. It was hotter than Hades at Indio, CA. We set-up at the supercharger there and went for something to eat. When we came back, the car had experienced a problem and had shut down the charger and was itself in the process of throwing errors and eventually shut itself down entirely. This was a disaster scenario, 1300 miles from home and the car is not responsive. I have been wrenching on cars since I was 17 but I had no idea what to do with the Tesla at that moment. Before it shut itself off completely and became unresponsive, I noticed the temperature indicator on the dashboard was reading 127F.

There is a service center near Palm Springs so I called there. It was Friday afternoon and it was getting close to closing time. The representative said I would have to bring the car in to the service center then transferred me to roadside assistance without so much as a word. As I was having my own nervous meltdown, roadside assistance said it would be a while before they could get to me and how was I going to pay. That was not what I was interested in hearing at the moment. Not their journey in life to hand hold me but I felt quite abandoned by Tesla at that moment.

We needed a plan. I called AAA, they got the process rolling on getting some help to me (or at least they said they did). After waiting for 2 hours, AAA guy called and said he couldn't tow the car to the Tesla Svc Center because there was no place to leave it since the Service Center was closed now. He asked me where I wanted to take it and how was I going to pay since our coverage is for 7 miles. Well, since I am 1300 miles from home, I told him I had no idea where to take it other than to Tesla. Can't go there, if he was going to help me I had to tell him where to take it. This got snippy pretty quick after that so I believe I told him to go pound sand, he was no help to me. Now AAA had left me stranded.

New plan. We got a rental car from Palm Springs airport and called the Indio police to give them contact info in case there was any issue. They said they made no promises a few times but I had the sense that this was not a bad area. The Model S was unresponsive so it wasn't going anywhere. Off to Oceanside we went, 2.5 hours away. My hope was that the car would cool off as night rolled in and begin to talk to me again over the app then we could see what happens (this was my best case scenario). Worst case, I would make my way back up here on Saturday morning and try to get the Model S to the Service Center and salvage my vacation as best as I could.

I promised earlier that I did not want to dump on Tesla service, but after this in Indio and the earlier somewhat sour experience with the Plano TX service center, it would have to be a very large problem before I had anything to do with Tesla service again. Similarly, I have been a member of AAA for over a decade and this incident made me question if we would continue to be a member next year.

BR
 
  • Like
Reactions: D33pDish

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
There had been no response from the car the rest of the night. Nada, zip, nothing. At 0530 Saturday morning, I got up and made ready to deal with getting the car to Tesla. I cannot tell you the relief I felt when the car was talking to the app and it was right where I left it the night before. The charge level was right about where it had been when the overheat condition occurred. Using the app, I turned on the climate control, then vented the roof. Those things worked. Then I cycled a few other things and every indication was that things were working. There probably had been an overheat condition and the car had shut itself down.

The new plan was to get back up there to the car and if the good conditions continued, to get it back to the cooler weather on the coast before the heat got cranked up again in Indio.

When we got to the car, everything was in good order. The car worked, it rolled forward in drive and back in reverse. It was responsive. There were no indications of any errors any longer. The cooling system was working. Now that all of those things checked out good, I tried to get the charging system going and it, too, was working well. We had to charge to make it to the next stop. After charging, we turned the rental car back in at Palm Springs airport. We tried the Palm Springs supercharger since I read that it was covered, we could get something to eat and it would get the car out of the sun, but it was full and busy.

The car was back to normal, but I was not sure what had caused the issue. We made it to the supercharger in Cabazon and I stayed with the car to make sure nothing got out of bounds while the family went to the Outlet Mall. Walking through any mall is torture for me anyway but shopping malls are Mrs Broncoremy's favorite places. Worked for everybody.

After charging, shopping and eating, we made our way south to Oceanside. The S was operating as if nothing had happened. I did not need to take it to Tesla. The rest of the week in and around Oceanside and Carlsbad was without incident and the car was and is fine. Though I wonder if there may be latent effects of the overheating that may show up in degraded battery capacity or life or other issues.

I had been quite a pill to be around for the rest of that Friday night before, so I cannot give enough credit to the broncoremy family who didn't throw me off a bridge or off the pier in Oceanside.

It would only be after I got home that I found out what I believe the cause of the issue was. It is an issue I have now seen a few posts on here on the forum. The process for the fix will be a different thread.


BR
 
  • Like
Reactions: D33pDish

glide

Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
3,684
3,846
USA
Not too long after becoming an owner of my 2015 85D, we went out on a long road trip from Dallas to San Diego. Not being the brightest of bulbs, I thought this would be a good idea. All-in-all it was but there were a couple of times when I thought this had not been my greatest decision.

Prior to the trip I made a number of day trips to superchargers surrounding the Dallas area to become accustomed to the car and what kind of range I could expect. Nothing went wrong during any of these trips though a few were during very hot weather and I got to hear the air conditioners making a great deal of noise and the range efficiency seemed to trail off quite a lot. The worst was after a trip out to Sulphur Springs (east of Dallas) when it was in the high 90s. The 210 miles of range listed after charging to 80% dropped like a rock on the return leg much faster than I thought it should.

The only other item I noted during these test runs was the main display was very slow to update while navigating. At the same time, I really was fallen for this new-to-me car.

I read about the eMMC issue, but Tesla refused to honor the "recall" on the memory board since the car was working, even if it was slow. I decided to spring for the upgrade to the MCU2 since my plan was to take the car to the west coast and I didn't want to have the system freeze up on me going across the desert SW. While the car was in for the MCU2, I also asked Tesla to look the car over for anything else since I was going on the trip. Certainly the display was more crisp with less delay, but since I did not get to know the only set-up all that well, I am not sure if I really got all the bang for the buck I was hoping for.

I don't want to get spun up here about Tesla service here on my first post, but I have not had the best time with them. After getting the car back about 36 hours after it was initially promised, other than the the new MCU2, Tesla told me the car was very smart and it would tell me if there were any problems, but they checked the tire pressure all the way around. They also left the interior a dusty fingerprint filled, footprint trampled mess.

I had mapped out all of the superchargers from Dallas to San Diego on both what we call the Southern Route (through El Paso, Las Cruces and Tucson) and the Northern Route (through Amarillo, Albuquerque and the Mogollon Rim). Next stop Phoenix. We leaned toward taking the northern route and so did Tesla navigation. We were ready to depart.

For posts about this trip to keep these shorter, I plan to break them up.

BroncoRemy
2015 Tesla Model S 85D
47K miles
Did Tesla really you that your 85 battery pack is likely being crippled by them with regards to range and supercharging speeds?

I’m guessing they conveniently left that part out. 85 packs are not great for road trips. I wound up selling my P85D over the battery gate/charge gate issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AMPd

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
2,050
2,547
USA
great writeups. Couple notes:
-When the car acts up, always try a reboot. Hold both steering wheel buttons for several seconds and your screens will go dark and after a short period, they will come back up. Often a reboot will clear things..just like your PC or phone.
-In a pinch, slowing down to a speed thats right at the speed limit (or slower if you can safely do so) or drafting behind an 18wheeler can you get max miles/max range if needed
-If you are traveling with passengers and luggage, expect less range.
-Might be good to consider using hotels with Destination Chargers as well. Those hotels are listed somewhere on Tesla's website I believe.
-For very long trips like this, next time may want to consider taking along whatever adapters are needed to also be able to use third party charging stations in a pinch if needed. Tesla sells the adapters on their websites.
-Some persons have also reported being able to pull into certain trailer parks and using their NEMA 14-50 plugs there. Not the fastest, but can get you ~23 miles or so of range in an hour.

You MCU2 has restored your ability to use voice commands reliably and ensure your navigation occurs timely (vs directions coming so slow that you've already passed the turn) and almost totally eliminates screen freezing/random reboots. Plus you now have a variety of games in the arcade
 

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
After our stay in CA we retraced our route back home with a stop over to visit family in Phoenix.

Driving from the coast up into the CA desert went from 75F to 104F, as expected. No overheating in the Mojave this time. We stopped in Beaumont this time, not Indio. I really did not want to go back to Indio.
Driving from Phoenix up on to the Rim did the opposite from 103F to 77F, as expected. This time we went through the Pines above Payson during the day so I enjoyed the scenery.

The Holbrook, AZ supercharger was still a little sketchy for location but it worked and got us charged up. How that Burger King stays in business is beyond me.

The Albuquerque supercharger was as busy this time as the last. I wasn't paying attention and we stayed too long for lunch and I got dinged for my first idle fee, though it was waived since I am a first time offender. By following the charging plan I outlined previously we had no issues with range or any anxiety.

Sadly, near the NM-TX border the car caught a rock on the windshield. The crack started at the edge and ran inward. I am sure the crack will keep running until I replace the windshield. A future thread for another time.

We were in Childress, TX for fireworks, not by design just by the luck of the draw. There was no city display that I could see, we just had fireworks going off in all directions for the whole hour+ we sat there charging. I enjoyed that a great deal. I really like the superchargers that are located at facilities that are open 24 hours, like this store & gas station. Pak-a-Sak I think it is called. Very nice place.

The supercharger at Henrietta, TX is fantastic. The store is wonderful. The dinosaurs there are very nice.

Traveling while using auto-pilot is just not for me. I have tried it a number of times while we were by ourselves on the road and it works, except when the car cannot find the lines and it starts to hunt. There was one point where the car started moving back and forth trying to gain its bearings and I thought to myself that it might look like I was drunk to an observer. And that was that. I don't think I will use that feature very often. I do like the speed sensitive cruise control a great deal.

To wrap this up.
- We traveled from North Dallas, TX to Oceanside, CA and back. 3000+ miles.
- We had a near disaster, that turned out fine.
- I will have to buy a new windshield.
- Except for the rental car, our costs for gasoline was zero. How you folks in CA do not revolt over gas prices is beyond me. You are paying more than $2 a gallon more in some cases than we are in TX. The gas for the rental was about $75. The rental was about $100.
- Beside the overheat condition in the CA desert the Model S was fantastic to drive and travel with. The only drawback was you trade paying for gas by paying with time.
- Tesla service and AAA took major hits with me with respect to reputation and trustworthiness.
- Auto-pilot is not for me. I do like the cruise control a great deal.
- The experience is one that I will not soon forget. I do not know if we will do it again in the S as the charging adds a good deal of time to the trip. Not sure, we will see.

And, finally, after I was home and while cleaning the car and trying to remove the many pounds of bugs it seemed we collected on the front, I noticed that there were doors or flaps on the lower outside portion of the front end. Further, I noticed that the driver side was shut tight as a drum, while the passenger side was broken and thrashed pretty good. 2 of the flaps or louvers were hanging there moving freely in the breeze. I am new to this Tesla car and I had no idea these louvers were there.

That is the reason I asked the Service Center in Plano TX to look the car over for anything that I might not know to look for before I head off on my continent wide trip. They told me they checked the tire pressure. My car almost melted itself in the Mojave desert but the trained technicians at Plano checked the tire pressure for me. That is so reassuring. Some may think that this happened during the trip and how could the techs have known, in that case. I considered that, but after I got the front fascia off I saw that the driver's side condenser was pristine paradise - not a bug, not a bent fin, no sign of any disturbance in the force. Meanwhile, the passenger side was a thrashed mess, choked with bugs and there were few places in the condenser that do not look like I ran through the debris field at Alderaan. No, the passenger side has been broken for a while; maybe a long while. Thread where I fix this to follow shortly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: D33pDish

broncoremy

Member
Jul 14, 2021
27
26
Plano, TX
Did Tesla really you that your 85 battery pack is likely being crippled by them with regards to range and supercharging speeds?

I’m guessing they conveniently left that part out. 85 packs are not great for road trips. I wound up selling my P85D over the battery gate/charge gate issues.
I had not heard about this issue until now, but I experienced it. I read threads about others getting these monstrous charging rates at superchargers, yet I rarely see my S 85D get to 100 KW and it never stays there, it quickly drops into the 40 to 50 KW range. That may be why we spent so much time at chargers during our trip.
 

glide

Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
3,684
3,846
USA
I had not heard about this issue until now, but I experienced it. I read threads about others getting these monstrous charging rates at superchargers, yet I rarely see my S 85D get to 100 KW and it never stays there, it quickly drops into the 40 to 50 KW range. That may be why we spent so much time at chargers during our trip.
Yup. That’s a charge-limited battery. It will keep you at the supercharger 3-4x longer than necessary.
 

JimmyB

Member
Sep 7, 2014
177
114
Washington, DC
In case you haven’t already discovered it, abetterrouteplanner.com and its companion phone app is a godsend for road trips with older / charge limited batteries. It will direct you to stop more frequently but for much less time, using the lower portion of your battery before the taper sets in too badly. And it can recalculate on the fly based on your real-world energy consumption.

As has been said above, charging overnight on trips like this is essential - being able to set out in the morning with a full battery, or close to, pays dividends for the rest of the day.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

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.


SUPPORT TMC
Top