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745 miles (5 supercharger sessions) in one day

Discussion in 'Model S' started by JoshG, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. JoshG

    JoshG Member

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    #1 JoshG, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
    Had to be in Los Angeles Monday afternoon... decided to drive there in the morning from home in Saratoga, CA. Drove back that same night. Overall 745 miles in 18 hours. Only doable thanks to Supercharger network. 5 visits. Gilroy, Harris, Tejon, then on way home, an RV park for an hour on a N14-50, then Tejon and Harris SC's to home.

    Car was great, and comfortable, for such a long extended drive. Got to learn lots about it during that time.

    A few tidbits:

    Napping while charging:
    if you're stuck at a SuperCharger late at night with little open/interesting around you (I'm looking at you Tejon and Harris!), it turns out you can have quite a comfortable nap in your S. (Pulled into Tejon with just 9(!) miles range left on way home arter tooling around L.A. and climbing back up the grade going north).

    Instead of reclining the driver's seat to nap, try instead leaving the driver's seat upright and fold your rear seats down flat, and climb in the back. You can quite comfortably sleep in the flat space now created from the trunk to the back seats. Made me want to put a little air mattress and pillow back there... it's actually quite spacious (I'm ~5'10"). Control your audio choices via iphone bluetooth, and quite comfy and functional. Given the amount of storage space you can still have while preserving the trunk and back seat for resting (Frunk plus floor of rear seats), you could actually do a bit of "RV-ing" in your S if you really were so inclined. (Sun shade and privacy shade of some sort for rear windows and hatch and pano roof would be nice additions). ​

    Other things noticed/discovered on a long trip:
    • Seats are great, handling and basic road mannerisms are excellent even after a long drive.
    • Long drives help you realize the car is NOT silent. There's a constant "hum" from the motor itself above 65 or 70mph coming from the back of the car that I only started noticing on long highway stretches. Becomes quite annoying/tiring. I think it could use more sound deadening around the motor itself. (problem familiar to us roadster owners)
    • Cruise "nudge" lever has +1/-1 MPH level as well as +5/-5 levels. smart. (Yes, it's in the manual but never noticed it).
    • Nav basics work fine, but as detailed elsewhere on the forum, needs a lot of features to bring it up to the standards of even a cheap aftermarket unit today. Hate that you can't do multi-destination journeys, no favorites, no alternate routes, no route preferences, etc.
    Interestingly, you can now type "Tesla Supercharger" into Nav search bar and the system does accurately bring up exact locations of each of the stations.

    • Dome lights are a pain to turn on via the touchscreen. But, turns out you can just push the lens on a desired dome light to turn it on or off (also detailed in manual but didn't see that either)
    • Energy app is a must-have, always-on touchscreen app when you're on a long trip. learn a lot about what costs you power, what saves it, and how much those things matter or don't.
    • There are a ridiculous number of TuneIn radio channels and programs... interesting, bizarre and everything in between But what a horrible interface... can go 9 levels of lists of topics (often redundant topics) and then an item "More Stations" that opens another arbitrary list of topics/stations, plus more "More Stations" buttons. Really needs a complete UI rethink.
    • The browser (during recharge sessions!) is really terrible. Sorry, but it's true. You want to treat it like an iPad browser, but it's nowhere close. Not only is the 3G speed too slow, but the UI and basic browser functions make it really tough to use. ("back" button that always takes you to TOP of page, not to the scroll level you left off at, check-box items on web pages that are impossible to click, even if you zoom in, unresponsive/slow UI or processor so multitouch gestures are a gamble if they even register, no cut/copy/paste, no highlighting of text in address bar for retyping as in iOS, etc.)
    • Audio sources can vary wildly and blast you or become inaudible when you switch. Switch from XM to iPhone's music app or Pandora via bluetooth CAREFULLY...
    • Bad bug in the system: once you start charging, if you're choosing to stay in the car and rest/relax, you can't turn headlights on, off, or to "parking lights" setting if charging has started. UI changes, but the headlights stay in whatever mode they were in before you started charging. Doesn't impact you when leaving the vehicle while charging, as the "lock" function overrides the headlight setting-stickiness. But if you want to stay in the car and read or listen to music, but change the headlights setting, you're out of luck if you didn't think of doing it before you plugged in. Workaround - click your keyfob lock, then unlock, and you now have control over your headlights again via the touchscreen controls while staying in the car during charging.
    • also detailed elsewhere: Superchargers work best on lower-half of your battery capacity... 300 miles of range per hour added at start, 250A draw, but drops to MUCH lower once battery is at ~75%. Frustrating as you're waiting to hit a certain capacity level before leaving and you watch the car start slowing down its draw.
    -josh
     
  2. tdiggity

    tdiggity Member

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    Nice!

    What speed were you cruising at on I-5? I usually like to do 80mph in my ICE and that can be slow at times.
     
  3. JoshG

    JoshG Member

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    Yes, I typically had set the cruise control to around 75 in day, closer to 80 at night. NOT ideal for range obviously, but can't handle driving 60-65 in a 70 zone.

    - - - Updated - - -

    a few pics from the marathon EV journey:
    IMG_2695.jpg

    IMG_2699.jpg

    IMG_2701.jpg

    IMG_2703.jpg

    IMG_2706.jpg

    IMG_2708.jpg
     
  4. sublimaze1

    sublimaze1 8Dec2012 / Leeroy Jenkins

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    Very well written and detailed out. Thank you, Josh.
     
  5. PhatCat

    PhatCat Kisco Kid

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    Thanks for the cogent write-up. These practical observations are really helpful to us soon-to-be owners. Or not-so-soon for those us waiting for the new red.
     
  6. ClearwaterBchSteve

    ClearwaterBchSteve P445 / VIN 1794

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    Great post Josh. You've certainly proven that the Supercharger network can "work". I'll be glad when we have stations in FLA - I'll take a road trip just to experiment. The good news is most if not all of the "negative" things you've found can be solved by software updates :) It still amazes me that a consumer product can safely be used while dealing with 250A of current. I can't wait to try! Using the back for a resting place is a smart idea. Makes me think of something else to do in the back of the car :wink:
     
  7. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Really nice report. I fully expect to be doing some similar trips in the future (when the superchargers make it to the midwest).
     
  8. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    do you have any details of each leg of the journey... miles driven, energy consumed, time spent charging, etc?
     
  9. stephenpace

    stephenpace VIN S00219

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    #9 stephenpace, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
    Do you have suggestions for good Energy Apps?
    Did you try Slacker? I really like the implementation. Only TuneIn I've really used so far is Houston Police Band Radio. :)
    I agree about the browser--given the low 3G speed, both the browser and maps should cache like crazy. In fact, I'd love to be able to use part or all of my hard drive for that. There are times when I move around in maps and it has to slowly redraw a map that should have already been cached since I just looked at it.
    Who will be the first to sell a Model S bed for camping? :)
    I am very jealous of you CA folks that already have SuperChargers. Come on Texas deployment!!
     
  10. SoCalGuy

    SoCalGuy Member

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    Is there a Tesla advised limit to how often/how much one should use the Supercharger before damaging the battery? I presume daily use if you live nearby is not advisable?
     
  11. PRJIM

    PRJIM Member

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    Tesla has stated that supercharging frequently will not damage the battery. Charging frequently in range mode will cause premature wear on the battery though.
     
  12. mcornwell

    mcornwell Active Member

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    Stephen, I think Josh was saying that having the Tesla energy app on the screen at all times is a must.
     
  13. JoshG

    JoshG Member

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    Yes, was referring to the built-in energy app. While it could use improving, it's pretty good. And I don't think a 3rd party app would have access to enough of the battery SOC data to be useful, but I could be wrong. (Maybe if it had an OBD dongle?)
     
  14. JoshG

    JoshG Member

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    #14 JoshG, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
    Afraid I didn't keep accurate records, sorry.

    While I did prove to myself that this can be done, I'm not sure, even with Superchargers, that I can say it's a piece of cake, or that it's for everyone. It's not like filling with gas. It produces some anxiety as you weigh tradeoff of waiting for more charge level (as the rate of charging begins dropping) vs just going with less "cushion" of range. The other thing that nearly got me in trouble were the relatively large elevation changes which drastically affects range.

    But in the end, charging time added more than a full hour of time to the normally 5.5 hour journey, each way. Not something everyone will find acceptable, and that's with easy access to Superchargers my whole journey. Half-hour supercharges are NOT enough to safely get to the next one.

    So Superchargers minimize range anxiety, but don't eliminate it.

    And there's a new anxiety that's very real: Supercharger availability anxiety. If the station is in use, you might have multiple hours of delay. Owner could have wandered away shopping, sleeping, or whatever and you have no way to charge until he or she returns.

    Tesla needs to have a reservation and alert system. The network knows which car is charging and Tesla can reach the owner by phone or SMS to get them to move if someone else needs the bay. I think owners need to agree to be reachable in exchange for the free fuel. To make sure you're reachable, maybe you need to reply to an SMS every 20 minutes of supercharge to keep the juice flowing and see if you now need to share the charge bay with another owner who may urgently need a charge.

    It's going to happen - the bay(s) are full and an owner with very little power left will need the spot and the other owners are off shopping or on a hike or whatever. We have to find a way to avoid monopolization of the Superchargers. As it is, even with pretty few S drivers in California, as you see in the pictures, at both Harris (1bay) and Tejon ( 2 bays operational), had another driver pulled in, there'd have been no way to charge, and no way to reach me if I had walked to a restaurant or gone to a movie.

    Owners could put their phone numbers on their dash, but some may not be comfortable doing that. Better that Tesla knows how to reach them if needed while their car is supercharging.
     
  15. TonyWilliams

    TonyWilliams Active Member

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    The Rav4 shares the same noise issue, however the noise is right at my feet (with the motor in the front).
     
  16. tdiggity

    tdiggity Member

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    This is very true. Imagine next year...holidays are going to get crowded. In the other thread in charging infrastructure, people think drivers will be nice and it'll all work out. But in reality there are going to be people waiting 1+ hours at each supercharger.
     
  17. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    That, or they could put a button on the supercharger itself that is active when the charge cable is deployed. If someone else comes up and needs the charger, they can press the button to send an SMS alert to the currently charging owner to let them know someone else is waiting. For bonus points it could look at how long you have been there to allow at least 30 min or something, "please move your car within the next xx minutes".

    - - - Updated - - -

    Josh, great write-up. Question to you and others who have been using RV parks: What kind of plug can they usually provide? 14-50, J1772, other?
     
  18. radinator

    radinator Member

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    Josh, Thanks for posting this info. Along with MikeW's thread from Thanksgiving weekend, I have had a lot of my questions answered as I will be making the NorCal-SoCal-NorCal journey later this month:

    MikeW's thread - 900 mile Supercharger road trip

    Agreed that a reservation and/or notification system are needed, especially in the case of Harris Ranch with only one SuperCharger spot. I've been very curious to see where they are going to put up a Harris Ranch SuperCharger station setup like they have at Tejon Ranch. Also glad to hear it didn't really add a lot of time to the drive if the SuperCharger spots are open. I am willing to trade the extra time for not having to spend $60-75 on gas each way. Really looking forward to witnessing and taking advantage of the future growth of the SuperCharger network across the country.
     
  19. stephenpace

    stephenpace VIN S00219

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    I'd agree to that. Perhaps the Tesla smartphone apps could have a role to play there as well via in-app notifications. Not a requirement (since some people don't have smartphones), but one of the options.
     
  20. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    np... many thanks for the information :smile:
     

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