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6.1 + SuperChargers == "You Are Free to Move About The Country"

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Pollux, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Dear TMC,

    Round-trip Boston/DC required compromises but was do-able 14 months ago. Round-trip Boston/New York was EASY last Friday. I have 6.1, the SuperCharger build-out, and Tesla to thank.

    Only 14 months ago, I drove my P85+ from Boston to Washington, DC, on some earlier firmware rev (5.X?). No problems encountered. Went via the SuperChargers at Darien, CT and Newark, DE. It was my first major Tesla road-trip. I had the wife, two kids, a ton of luggage, Nokiian Hakka R2 snow tires, winter cold and Thanksgiving traffic to deal with. We wound up dropping our speed to 50-55 mph, turning off the climate control in favor of the seat warmers, bundling up, and generally making accommodations so that we wouldn't run out of juice. These tradeoffs were needed because it's 165 miles between our house in Boston and the Darien SC and another 168 miles between the Darien SC and the Newark SC. We were burning rated miles due to the temperature, cargo and maybe snow tires. And I was an inexperienced SuperCharger user, afraid to have a small mileage buffer when I arrived at the SC. On that trip, I arrived at each SC with between 40 and 60 rated miles remaining. We had to spend pretty much the maximum amount of time at each SC to guarantee that the battery was mostly or fully charged. But it all WORKED. We drove on electricity the whole way there and back. No problems or disasters occurred. It just took some extra time.

    Last Friday, the wife and I hopped in the same P85+ for a quick trip down to New York City, to see a show on Broadway. We drove in light snow part of the way, with some ice and snow still remaining on the roads from the big storm earlier last week. Temperatures peaked around 25 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit and by the time we got down to NYC they were in the teens with wind chill below zero. But this trip WAS EASY. In only 14 months, along this particular route, Tesla has added SuperChargers in Greenwich, CT; West Hartford, CT; and Auburn, MA. (There are also a ton more SuperCharger options headed south from New York to DC, too!) So rather than poking along at 50 mph with the climate control turned off: we set the interior temperature to 68-70 (target cycles, as the wife cranks it up, I realize what she's done, I crank it back down, then she cranks it up again). I drove at 75-85 mph the whole way. We stopped at the Auburn, SC and spent 30 minutes there instead of an hour; and, truthfully, most of that time was due to my wife looking for clothes for me in the attached mall, which I was resisting. We didn't need that much juice; we could've left after 10-15 minutes. We zoomed down to Darien, CT, where we spent about 20-25 minutes. Wow, does the mileage coming roaring back when your battery is low. I arrived with a much smaller mileage buffer than ever before, and I could do that with confidences thanks to the trip and energy planning software in 6.1. I could see my predicted target battery percentage; I didn't have to do any calculations in my head; I could watch my actual usage deviating from the predicted use, and then watch the prediction change; and generally drive with much greater confidence that I would arrive safely at my destination with adequate range to spare.

    The biggest reason to spend time at Darien turned out to be the desire to accumulate sufficient range so that I didn't have to charge in NYC. Rather than worry about finding a hotel with a charger, or a public charger, I just said the heck with it, we'll charge up at Darien and have plenty of juice to make the round-trip back. How could I be so sure? First, because I did a little advance planning using EVtripplanner and Google Maps. Second, because once at Darien, it was so easy to plug in the address of our final destination and have the trip planning software estimate the energy usage to get to the hotel and the energy usage to round-trip back to Darien.

    So: in short: WOW, WAS THAT A PIECE OF CAKE!

    THANK YOU, TESLA!!!

    Alan

    P.S. Yeah, still takes more work if you're not traveling an artery lined with SuperChargers. But given the haste with which Tesla is deploying SCs, this story not only is getting better it is getting better RAPIDLY.
     
  2. ken830

    ken830 Model S (Res#P12,447)

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    The rate of change is mind-blowing -- Even for someone like me, who thinks 2-day delivery from Amazon and same/next-day delivery from Google Express is not quick enough!
     
  3. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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    Good to know! I travel to DC at least once a year but haven't tried it yet with the Tesla.

    Recently used the trip planning upgrade (6.1) to travel from Belfast, ME to Boston and it helped immensely! It was very intuitive and easy to see how we were doing with our buffer. Before, to travel somewhere with enough battery left required some math and intuition, but was obviously still doable if you just make sure your EPA range remaining never got lower than the nav's estimated distance remaining.

    ...But with this update it was so much easier. The hairiest stretch of the trip involved 7 degree weather and was very snowy. The new nav estimator said we would have 7% of our battery range at our arrival to the Beachmere Inn to top up. We drove normally and saw our buffer go down to 4% over the course of 20 minutes. It warned us to drive slower, so we did and eventually our buffer went up to 10%!! We found a sweet spot in terms of speed and the 10% buffer stayed that way for the rest of the hours long trip and we eventually arrived at the Inn with indeed 10% of battery remaining. OMG it was so easy.
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing.

    Stories like yours are why there are those of us who get excited about Superchargers we may never use: every new Superchargers enables somebody's trip and could be the difference between buying or waiting.
     
  5. 1101011

    1101011 Proud TSLA/SCTY shareholder since 2012.

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    Just finished a round trip from Cleveland to eastern Pennsylvania involving multiple SCs. I first charted it all in Evtriplanner, which was of great assistanceso I knew what I should encounter. Then, 6.1 confirmed what I could expect and increased my confidence.

    When Tesla gives us multiple waypoints in the nav system, it will only be that much easier.
     
  6. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    The entire east coast is pretty much a piece of cake at this point.
     
  7. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    @1101011 - multiple waypoints. Yes!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    @wk057 - With the amount of power you are going to be able to accumulate at your house, I'm surprised you can't drive your house up and down the east coast. :)

     
  8. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    Don't give me any ideas! :p
     
  9. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    very encouraging to hear

    of course, the moment that these threads become anachronous is when we can breathe easy and know range is no longer an issue.
     
  10. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    Range was not an issue with me when we never even heard of superchargers. Range issues are in people's minds. I don't care if you put superchargers every 25 miles, someone will wonder if they can make it. And then there are the areas where there are not, and will not be for years, any SCs. Range issues because you have to go around a whole state (like the eastern half of Oregon) because there are no SCs. Is that a range issue, or a logistics issue?

    Semantics, or I'm just being silly.
     
  11. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    i was actually referring to the avg normal person in the world, not just you.

    but i appreciate you letting us know it exists 'only in our minds'
     
  12. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    @roblab,

    I don't at all think you're being silly but I do think there's a real issue in play.

    I'd argue that "range anxiety" would be better termed "time anxiety" or perhaps as you suggested, "logistics [anxiety]".

    I'd argue that many (most?) people drive their vehicles in a simplistic mode of waiting until they get down to a quarter of a tank / eighth of a tank / warning light is on, at which point they look around for a handy gas station, and expect to incur a 5-10 minute hit in total for diverting to the gas station, refueling and paying. You can't do that with an EV, and certainly not with a Tesla specifically. It's not because you can't refuel a Tesla at all. There are way more 110V plugs in the world than gas stations. But the number of Tesla-suitable refueling stations that offer quick refueling is relatively small. So that becomes "time anxiety", how much extra time (and planning) do I need so that I can refuel at a pace that's appropriate for my needs. It becomes "logistics anxiety" when you have to do advance planning in a way that you don't routinely have to do with a gas vehicle.

    As you say, there are plenty of places in the country that have no SCs and there always will be. But I expect that over time the situation will continue to improve. Not just due to the rollout of Tesla Superchargers but also alternate networks such as Sun Country and even the relatively anemic offerings from Chargepoint.

    Anyone who has an engineering mind set may not even notice that range anxiety / time anxiety / logistics anxiety even exists. It's just another constraint to factor into the planning. But most people don't have minds that work that way.

    Finally, I'd offer that even people who drive gas-powered vehicles experience range/time/logistics anxiety; e.g., crossing the Mojave desert. It's not that any such anxiety is unique to the EV driver; it's only that right now we don't have rapid refueling stations as widely deployed as the gas station network, so we have to think about this issue more frequently than the ICErs do.

    Am I making sense?

    Alan

     
  13. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    it is def true that ICE suffers range anxiety

    the diference is, that anxiety is tremendously eased by the fact you're surounded by gas stations, across most of the world, even in poor countries

    and if you really desire, you can buy a gallon of gas in your trunk, as back up.
     
  14. Twiglett

    Twiglett Single pedal driver

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    The issue is very real, not anxiety as such, but still a real issue that cannot be swept under the carpet.

    Everyone is brought up on ICE vehicles where they do not have to be that concerned about refueling.
    It is no great concern to start on any journey without enough fuel to make it because there are so many options open to quickly fill up with almost no impact on journey time, because gas stations are everywhere and refill time is negligible.
    For an EV, most journeys need planning and much more time allocated - THAT is the biggest difference.

    I have no anxiety driving my Leaf - but I also don't get in my car for a 90mile local trip and expect to make it without some serious planning and time allowance.
    My commute is 55 miles round trip, so on the days I need to go further I have no choice but to plan recharge time.

    That is why folks looking at EVs for the first time see it as anxiety - previously simple local trips now need planning as soon as they get close the range of the car - and that distance is way less for any EV compared to ICE.
     
  15. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    @Twiglett,

    Agreed.

    IMHO, this is one reason why the Model S sells like hotcakes, even at a luxury car price. The range is sufficiently large that, given home charging, most buyers can easily convince themselves that they can meet their daily driving needs *without* anxiety. Even in cold weather. I don't believe that buyers feel the same way about the Leaf (sorry, not trying to pick on you) or other BEVs that typically have 30-70 mile ranges -- BEFORE deductions for wind-speed, elevation changes, temperature, driving style and any other factor. And I think that's also why it's so popular -- relatively speaking -- to pair what I'll term a "low mileage" electric drive train with a gasoline engine. Buyers immediately understand that they shouldn't feel anxious because there's a familiar gas engine still present in the car.

    Ironically, I wonder whether the presence of that gas engine has the paradoxical effect of reinforcing "range anxiety". The buyer thinks, "oh, the manufacturer doesn't have any confidence that electric alone can meet my needs".

    Alan

     
  16. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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    It reminds me a bit of the transition from pay phones to cell phones. At one point there were so many pay phones that a life without cell phones was very doable. Any time you needed to make a call you just drove around for a few blocks till you found one or you went into a type of establishment that was always known to have them.

    Then cell phones came along and there was this crazy new found freedom but you had to keep the damn things from dying all the time. Eventually people adapted and started bringing chargers with them everywhere they went or certainly before a long trip, and they always made sure to leave the house each day with a full charge. It took some doing and people complained along the way, but eventually they got over it and learned a new habit. Very few people now would want to return to a world where pay phones were the only option.
     
  17. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    (1) good example.

    (2) except Superman.

    And (3) it seems you took delivery of your car one year to the day after I received mine!

    Alan
     
  18. jvonbokel

    jvonbokel John VonBokel

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    Excellent point. Engineers (myself included) often struggle to imagine other mindsets apart from their own. Even in my old Chevy S-10, I had a ScanGuage, so I was often well aware of how many miles of range I had remaining. I just didn't have any anxiety about it because I knew I could stop at several different places on my way to/from work and add a few hundred miles of range in minutes.

    Had not thought of this before, but I love the analogy. And now with phones growing in size (and batteries as well), carrying chargers around is becoming less necessary. I dream of a future where 400-500mi batteries for our cars will have the same effect.

    Brilliant! :)

    All in all, some great discussion here about the nuances of so-called "range anxiety" and what it takes to alleviate it.
     

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