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6 States, 8 NP, 4k + miles and one blissful drive.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by MaadP, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. MaadP

    MaadP Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Portland OR
    85kW Model S - Took delivery October end 2015. 4 passengers - 2 adults and 2 kids (13 & 11).
    Starting mileage: 10124 on June12 '16. Portland Tesla service center rotated our tires prior to our trip but said we don't need anything else. Finishing mileage: 14422, July 3 '16.

    Disclosure1: I never drive on speed limit. I always drive 5 to 20miles above speed limit depending on the road.
    Disclosure 2: I use AP all the time and in all kinds of road : if AP is ready - it is ON when I drive.

    Revelations:
    1. We desperately need more destination chargers. If EV's are to become main stream - and go whereever ICE cars go - the number of destination chargers has to increase tremendously. We need more destination chargers than SC.
    2. In my opinion auto pilot is the greatest improvement to driving - EVER. More than fuel injectors to ICE or antilock brakes / GPS to cars in general - AP is going to revolutionize driving.
    3. Never hesitate to plug in the car at night - even to a regular 120v/12amp outlets. It adds 40-50miles (2-4 miles per hour) to the range which helped us tremendously many times throughout the trip.

    0-448 miles
    Supercharger visited: Dalles, Pendleton (sprawling lawns to kick balls or throw Frisbee), Baker city.

    This was the longest leg of our trip - very straight forward autopilot highway driving. I cannot make my friends understand the beauty of AP. The freedom of not having to look at the road constantly and the resultant stress free driving has to be experienced to be believed. Supercharger breaks are great especially with kids. Even though there is a SC at Boise - we stayed at Candlewood Suites([​IMG]) - because of the Tesla destination charger. I cannot overemphasize how convenient destination chargers are and I prefer them to SC.
    Auto pilot worked flawlessly in the highway. It slows down nicely at curves (a little too much to my liking). Often I accelerate a little while still on AP at the curves in highway. I noticed if I gently accelerate - the AP doesn't switches off. But if I accelerate hard it disengages.
    If I had to use 80% of my attention in a Non AP driving - then I am using only 20% attention while in AP. STRESS FREE.

    448 - 874 miles
    Supercharger visited: Twin falls (breathtaking views of the snake river), Tremonton, Salt lake city (located at the Tesla showroom - nice lounge with refreshment).

    We stayed at Park city for 2 nights. There are 3 destination chargers at Park city but unfortunately because of our commitment to Sunrise lodge I didn't use any of them. My plan was to fully charge at Salt lake city SC and drive to Park city (~30miles) and then to Price SC (122miles) - 2 days later. Unfortunately I had to drive back to Salt lake city to retrieve a cellphone. Overnight charging at Sunrise lodge in a 120v/12amp added 46 and 52miles - enough for our local driving and to Price. I could have gone to one of the destination charger location and charged over a meal.

    AP had trouble looking at traffic cones. If they are arranged in a straight line it see's it has a line. Once, a traffic cone was well inside the lines and AP did not stop and I had to manually swerve to the other lane to avoid hitting the cone. This of course happened at highway speed and it will be a good idea to be extra vigilant when on AP around road work.
    In a 4 lane road at 50 miles - an on-coming car made a fast right turn and I instinctively applied the break. I might have applied the brake a little sooner before the AP could react - but after the tragic incident in Florida involving a tractor I am wondering ... Mobile-eye has said their technology cannot see a fast turning car till 2017 but Tesla has said they have improved the technology and I believe them.
    At another instance, I had to apply brakes urgently in a small road when MS accelerated towards a car stopped for red light when the car in front changed lane. I can't wait for Tesla to let AP read traffic lights.
    These were the only instances when I had to actively take over from AP in our entire trip. Rest of the trip was miles and miles of AP bliss.

    874 - 1126 miles
    Supercharger visited: Price, Green river (we could have skipped this).

    Stayed at Moab for 3 nights and visited Arches NP, Dead horse SP and Canyonlands NP.
    Stayed at Moab under canvas (great little place with spectacular views) and red cliff lodge (breathtaking drive along the Colorado river surrounded by red cliffs) - both these places didn't have higher amp charger. There is only one destination charger at Moab but the SC is centrally located in downtown and we charged mostly there during meals.

    Canyonlands is huge and I used up ~ 175miles in the park. Instead of super charging I returned to the hotel and hooked up to the 12amp wall charger. That evening - 9pm - we had a astronomy tour to which I went with only 70miles. This is the only time I had range anxiety in our 3week trip and that too because of my oversight - I didn't expect the astronomy tour to take us back to Canyonlands. It was all uphill and I had only 28miles left when I reached the meeting point. On the way back the car advised me to drive at <50 miles to get to my hotel (which was 25 miles away). Instead I went to the SC which was closer. From that day, I made sure I had more than 100miles range before I set out anywhere.

    I used AP extensively inside park roads. AP driving cannot be topped in these roads as you get to see the scenery instead of the road in front. I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed to look at the scenes, spot a wild life or point out a tree. Of course you have to be more aware than in a highway. Going below the speed limit helps the AP a lot to take even more sharper turns than in the highway. If cars are too close behind you it is easy to pull out in these roads and let them pass. Of course AP disengages more frequently than in a highway. I have noticed AP also disengages if there are lot of ups and downs in the road - especially when we get to the ups (crest) - I think the AP loose sight of the 2 white lines abruptly and disengages. It is important to realize that cruise control is still ON even after the AP disengages and the car will be speeding at the set speed limit.

    1557 - 1856 miles
    Drive to Bryce canyon.
    SC visited: Moab, Richfield.

    Before I set out on this trip - the 2 places I was concerned about charging was Bryce canyon and North rim. The backup plan for Bryce canyon was to drive back to Richfield (102 miles, mostly downhill) or find the camp site outside the park to use the 40amp charger (I read about this camp site option in this forum). We stayed at the Bryce lodge for 2 nights and during check-in when I asked about charging - they straightaway showed me how to get to the maintenance building (they must have done this many times before) where I could use a 12amp outlet. I could use it only between 5pm and 7am - but that was enough to add 51miles to the range the first night and 46miles the 2nd night. While at Bryce we drove to Rainbow point (32mile round trip from the lodge - with multiple stops on the way back with lot of hiking options).

    When I left Richfield SC to Bryce I had 260 miles. When I reached Bryce I had 154miles. When I left Bryce I had 192miles. Worked out more than satisfactorily.

    1856 - 2096 miles
    Bryce to Zion via Kanab: 125 miles

    We stopped at Kanab to apply for The Wave lottery - unsuccessfully. The drive to Zion from Kanab is all the way downhill and spectacular. We stayed at Zion lodge which has 2 - 80amp chargers. I was the only one charging my car the 2 nights we stayed but there are 2 other destination chargers just outside the park (<5miles) at the east entrance in the beautiful town of Springdale.
    The next morning I drove back to Kanab to try the Wave lottery again (unsuccessfully). The drive to Kanab visitors center was 44 miles - all uphill. I was charged to 245 miles when I left Zion lodge and when I parked at the Kanab visitor center there were 190 miles left. When I parked at the Zion lodge 90minutes later I was amazed when I saw there was 157 miles left - exactly 88 miles round trip. (More on uphill driving later).
    AP couldn't handle the curves of the Zion - Mount Carmel highway (route 9). Even in really low speed the curves of this road was too much for AP to handle especially the hair-pin bends. As the fine tuning of the AP continues - there will be a time when it can negotiate these kind of roads.
    AP also can do better when the car in front changes lane or turns at slow speed. The car comes to almost a full stop before accelerating - responsiveness of this has to improve. We can always gently help AP in these situations by accelerating gently.

    2096-2216 miles
    Zion to Marble canyon

    This is the only segment of our trip I think we could have skipped. I wanted to get as close as possible to North rim because that's the only place I wasn't sure if I could charge the car. So I decided to stay at Cliff dwellers lodge in Marble canyon 75miles north east of North rim (the closest destination charger to north rim). The drive to Marble canyon was all down hill past the Grand canyon turn off at Jacob Lake. The views of the Vermillion cliffs was breathtaking as you decent into Colorado plateau towards marble canyon. But all the charge I gained from charging at the 80amp Tesla charger at Cliff dwellers lodge was expended driving to north rim - all uphill. From 265miles we went down to 153miles (75 real world miles) when we reached north rim. This I could have probably achieved driving from Zion to north rim straight.

    2216-2341miles
    Marble canyon to North rim (75 miles)

    When we checked in at the north rim lodge they said there is no place near the lodge to charge the car. I spoke to a ranger who said I could charge at the gas station at the outskirts of the campground. But while I was walking around the lodge area I saw at least 2 maintenance building with regular outlets. I went and talked to the manger (?head) at the maintenance and they were more than happy to help. They let me charge at one of the maintenance building from 5pm to 7am. The 12amp outlet added 50 and 48 mile - the 2 nights we stayed at the North rim - enough to drive to Cape Royal and then to St. George SC on the way to Las Vegas. Drive to cape royal is a must for people visiting north rim - 44 mile round trip has multiple scenic spots with breath taking views of the canyon especially Angels window.

    2341-2642 miles
    Las Vegas
    SC visited: St. George

    There are many destination chargers and a SC around the strip. The SC is located in the art district inside a covered parking with lot of dinning options close by. Having many choices to charge our cars gives a great peace of mind when we are on a trip. It will give the freedom of not having to plan many months ahead (even though I had to plan many months ahead to book some of the lodges at NP). Multiple destination chargers are the way to go especially in small places in between SC.

    2642 - 3089 miles

    Drive to Fresno from Las Vegas was the 2nd longest stretch in our 3 week trip. We stayed at Best western () which had one 80amp Tesla charger but unfortunately there were 2 other Tesla's - so we ended up charging at the SC. I would have loved to charge my car overnight after a long drive but I couldn't. These are the little things that can be drastically improved for EV drivers by widespread adoption of at least 40amp chargers at multiple sites.

    3089 - 3338 miles

    Drive to Sequoia and King's canyon NP was all uphill and when we reached Wuksachi lodge after multiple stops on the way we had only 65miles left. Driving 109 miles from Fresno SC to Wuksachi lodge dropped the mileage from 245 to 65. This huge drop is the result of me driving fast uphill. I am sure people who drive slower can save more electrons but I wasn't too worried as I know I can plug in at Wuksachi Lodge and my return journey to Yosemite would be all downhill. Overnight 12amp charging left me with 120miles and we spent most of the day in Sequoia and King's canyon (Moro rock[​IMG]). By the time I reached my next stop - a Airbnb in Coarsegold - I had only 15miles left and that's the most I have drained the battery in my car. (I should have stopped at Fresno SC).I had driven 139 real world miles and the mileage reading dropped from 120 to 15 all due to downhill driving. The car was constantly reminding me that there is no chargers nearby - I guess the charger at the Airbnb wasn't recognized even though I found that place from the Tesla site. The Airbnb at Coarsegold had 2 chargers - Tesla 80amp and a GE charger.

    3338 - 3412 miles

    After fully charging the car overnight we headed to the beautiful Yosemite valley which was 69 miles from Coarsegold. We stayed at Yosemite lodge and I didn't charge the car overnight as the Tesla chargers were 2 miles away. I plugged in the next day at the Ahwanee (now the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) while we biked around the valley (what a great way to see the valley -Vernal falls). I asked the valet at Ahwanee if I should leave the key if anyone else wanted to charge but they said no. So I left my number and expected time of return on the dash (an etiquette I learned in this form). I tried looking for the other charger at the Yosemite village parking lot but couldn't find it.
    The next day we topped up the charge over breakfast at Ahwanee and did a little detour to Lake Tenaya before turning north towards home. I repeated my uphill driving experiment: from: the route 120 turn off (from the big oak road) to: Lake Tenaya was 92 real world miles round trip. The mileage dropped from 259 to 171miles. I think we don't have to be worried too much about uphill-downhill driving - just treat it as any other drive.

    3412 - 3673 miles
    Drive up north

    SC visited: Manteca SC - even though we had enough charge to get to Napa we stopped to charge so that I didn't have to drain the battery to really low levels.
    We stopped at Napa river inn before heading to Ashland, OR. This hotel has 2 Tesla 80amp charger and 3 other chargers. Just perfect. I hope we'll see this all over world so that EV can go everywhere ICE cars can go.

    3673 - 4001 miles
    Supercharger visited: Corning; Shasta Lake; Stayed at the beautiful Ashland, OR for 2 nights.

    There is a big time construction happening on I5 - south of Shasta Lake and this was the only place we had traffic delay during our entire trip (close to 60 min).
    Of course AP works best in this kind of stop and go traffic. This is also ideal driving conditions for some hands free driving (we can easily override the 'hold steering wheel' warning by gently resting our knees on the under side of the steering wheel). Even though AP works great in stop and go traffic I believe there is room for some fine tuning. When the car in front comes to a complete stop and then start again - there is a definite lag before MS starts (which can be overcome by gently accelerating while still on AP). This can create a big gaps between the car in front with people cutting in front. Also MS accelerates too fast to close the distance only to stop abruptly when the car in front stops again. I noticed this especially when the cruise is set at highway speed limit and can be smoothed out a little by reducing cruise to 30 or 40 mph.
    There is only 1 destination charger at Ashland. We just plugged the car to a 12amp outlet at the cottage we stayed and as we walked everywhere it added >100 miles to the range.

    4001 - 4298 miles

    Home stretch was relatively easy. I made sure I had enough charge to skip Grant Pass SC so we just had one SC stop (Eugene-Springfield SC) before we reached home.
    We topped up our car charge over breakfast at the Plaza inn destination charger in downtown Ashland - very friendly people who had no problem that I wasn't staying at their hotel. 2 Tesla 80 amp charger is located in the basement level of the car park - a little tight.

    I am proud that I drive only EV. We can go pretty much anywhere with little planning. Adoption of more destination charger's will make this more and more easy.
    At all the 16 places we stayed they were welcoming to EV - even at NP lodges they were helpful finding a charging spot. This is a good indication that EV are going main stream. I spoke to everyone who would listen about putting higher amp chargers. I hope this happens faster than present rate.
    I don't see anyone buying cars without some kind of AP in the near future - once people realize what a great invention it is. I don't understand people spending close to 100k for a car - right now - without AP. After Model 3 comes to the market every car manufacturer will have to have some form of AP to stay in business.
     
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  2. rhumbliner

    rhumbliner Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Las.Vegas Jackson.Hole
    Sounds like a great trip! We took delivery of our MS in Las Vegas on June 13 and began our road trip on June 19 -- up the Pacific Coast Highway to Victoria & Vancouver and we are now enjoying a brief layover in Jackson Hole. We're off to Newfoundland next.

    I completely agree with your thoughts on AP and destination chargers. We do use SC's, but it is so much more convenient to charge overnight at a destination charger.

    I might add that PlugShare, EVTripPlanner, and AirBnB have been indispensable tools for route planning. Whenever I find a BnB with some type of EV charging I've added it to PlugShare so others can take advantage of their hospitality.

    Keep rolling!
     
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  3. javawolfpack

    javawolfpack Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2016
    Messages:
    313
    Location:
    Chico, CA USA
    I'm jealous, there are a few of these places I haven't been to yet, and on the list of things I'm considering doing once I have my Tesla :) But I agree with you... I really hope they will start putting EV charging into NPs as some of these locations are hard to get to on a single charge, so getting back out becomes more difficult w/ out somewhere to charge up. Many of the larger NPs have gas stations in them, so a paid charge station for all kinds of EVs including Tesla in the park would be a great addition.
     

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