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A few quick thoughts after my first short (900 mile) road trip with my Model S

Discussion in 'Model S' started by BrettS, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. BrettS

    BrettS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    391
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I got my 2015 Model S 60 about 4 months ago and until this weekend I never took it far enough from my house to need to charge on the road. I went to a supercharger and used a destination charger shortly after I got the car just to see how they worked and such, but I didn’t really need the power from either.

    But I took a long weekend with my parents and two boys and we drove down from my house (between Daytona and Orlando) to the Everglades and then the keys.

    My parents had done a lot of the trip planning and we didn’t decide to take the Model S until the last minute, so the plans weren’t really made with an electric vehicle in mind. However, I noticed that there were superchargers within 5 miles of the two hotels we had planned to stay at, so we decided to take the Model S and see how it did.

    I’ll admit that initially I was definitely feeling a bit of range anxiety as this was the first time my parents had seen my Model S and I didn’t want to run out of power or make a desperate emergency stop somewhere and tarnish their impression of the car. However as I spent a little more time planning the trip and seeing the distances that we would have to travel between superchargers I was feeling pretty comfortable.

    Initially I had planned to drive right from my house to the Port St. Lucie supercharger, but at the last minute I needed to go north to Daytona to sign some papers before we headed south to the Everglades. While it only added 15 or 20 miles to the trip it was enough to make me a bit worried about being able to get all the way down to Port St. Lucie on our initial charge, so we made a quick stop at the Port Orange supercharger and had breakfast while we picked up some extra power. It was the first supercharger experience of the trip and it went pretty well. I did get to use summon here as well because initially I didn’t back up quite far enough and the supercharger cable didn’t reach, so I summoned it back a few more inches and plugged it in.

    From there we had a straight shot down to Port St. Lucie and got there at about lunch time. By the time we finished eating we had charged up to about 97% (I kept the max charge percentage pretty high over this trip since I only have an S60).

    After that we made a stop for an airboat ride through the Everglades, then we got down to the Florida City supercharger arriving right at dinner time. Again, we charged while we ate and wound up around 90% by the time we got back to the car. Our hotel was 4 miles from that supercharger, so we went to the hotel and checked in and discovered that they had an L2 (6kw) charge point there. We had a few problems getting it working (apparently it was new and not actually turned on yet, but the front desk contacted maintenance and they were able to get it going).

    The next day we toured the Everglades. Even though the supercharger was only 4 miles away it was really nice knowing that there was a charge point at the hotel so we didn’t have to plan to eat or spend time at the supercharger. For future trips I will definitely be looking for hotels with charge points.

    After charging at the hotel overnight we headed down to the keys. We had plenty of power to get to the hotel, so we made a stop for lunch on the way without worrying about charging. The resort we stayed at in the keys was only a few miles from the marathon supercharger and we drove by that supercharger at one point as we made a stop on marathon, but we decided to see if we could charge at the resort before we spent time there. After we checked in we discovered that they had a standard 110V 15A outlet for us. Since we planned to be there for two days and we didn’t really plan to leave the resort I went ahead an plugged in there and about a day and a half later the car was full again, so we never needed to use the marathon supercharger. I also had an opportunity to use the ‘keyless’ driving feature here. The outlet where we could charge was near the pool, but not too close to our room. We drove to the room to drop off our luggage, then we wanted to move the car to plug it in and go swimming, but I didn’t want to bring the fob to the pool with me and risk losing it or anything. I had planned to bring my phone anyway, so I left the fob in the room and unlocked the car and started it with the phone app, drove it over to the outlet, then we walked to the pool and I didn’t have to worry about the fob at the pool.

    We drove back home yesterday stopping at the Florida City supercharger for lunch, then hitting Port St. Lucie supercharger after that. This was really the only stop where charging was somewhat inconvenient. Port St. Lucie was the last supercharger on the route and we needed to charge for about 50 minutes for an hour to get enough power to make it home. Unfortunately we arrived there only about 2 hours after lunch, so we really weren’t ready for another meal. We went to Starbucks and had a snack and some coffee, but still wound up waiting 20 or 30 minutes until the car was ready to go. It certainly wasn’t the end of the world and over the whole trip losing 30 minutes to charging isn’t bad. Probably would have lost at least that much time to gas stops anyway since you have to sit and wait while the gas is pumped.

    The only other issue I had was on the long drive back from the keys yesterday about an hour from home (and 6 hours into the trip) we noticed that the air conditioner suddenly seemed to be struggling. We were still getting cool air from the vents, but there was very little air coming through the vents, even after turning the fan all the way up to 11. It was hot and humid yesterday (This is Florida after all) and we had been running the AC pretty hard and I suspect what happened is that the coils iced over blocking the airflow. I turned the AC compressor off and left the fan running and we started to see more airflow. We also decided to go ahead and stop for dinner, so we let the car sit for 45 minutes or so as well. By the time we got back from dinner things seemed to be normal again and I didn’t see any issues with the AC for the rest of the trip or this morning.

    Overall we went 920.4 miles and used 263.3kWh for an average of 286Wh/mi, which doesn’t seem bad. My ‘lifetime’ average (at least over the four months that I’ve owned the car) was 275Wh/mi (although this trip bumped the lifetime average up to 276Wh/mi). I suspect that the additional power usage came from the fact that we had 5 people and luggage in the car while it’s normal for me to be driving alone or just with the kids.
     
    • Like x 11
  2. RLC3

    RLC3 Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Portland
    Nice trip report. Glad you are enjoying your S. My S60D is a few months old, and my first long trip experience was like yours. My pre-trip worries were unfounded. Supercharging worked very well, with most charging time overlapped with eating, bathroom breaks, and leg stretching. Almost no range anxiety once we were under way.

    You may want to be careful about charging all the way to 100%. It's fine to do it when you need to, but don't do it when you don't need to. There is a very small degradation of battery capacity when at 100%, particularly when it is hot. I've heard numbers like .01% capacity loss per hour - but don't know if that is accurate. This should not deter you when you need the range - just don't do it as a normal practice when you don't need it.

    And yeah, the Keys! I'd love to take a trip there!
     
  3. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    4,607
    Location:
    florida.
    there is no issue with charging to 100% providing you don't let the car sit for a long period of time at that level.
     
  4. Pale_Rider

    Pale_Rider Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    If his 60D is software upgradeable to a 75D, there is no harm in charging to 100% all the time. The degradation only happens if you charge to the actual full capacity of the battery and leave it like that for a while. But you are correct, if he has a true 60 kWh battery, he should save that charge for trips and then start driving as shortly after the charge is complete as possible.

    Chris
     
  5. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I have a 2015 S60, so it’s a real 60, but I usually just charge to 90%. I did charge to 100 (or close to it) a few times on this trip, but I only did so when I felt that I needed the extra range and only when I was going to be driving soon... I didn’t let it sit overnight at 100%
     
  6. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,963
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Great trip report! Approximately what speed do you drive at?
    So jealous of your lifetime efficiency, I'm at 326 or 327Wh/mi
    but that's with an 85 and subject to winters...

    Were your parents blown away?
     
  7. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    On the highways I usually keep it around 75 and on local roads it’s usually about 5 over.

    Like I said, my “lifetime” number is only over the 4 months or so that I’ve owned the car, but after this trip it’s also been 7552 miles. Being in Florida with no need for heat and no hills probably helps.

    And yes, my parents loved it. My mother even loved autopilot, which surprised me a bit as she’s usually a pretty nervous backseat driver. But she loved the fact that it could keep a pretty good distance between us and the car in front of us (I left the distance set at 5) and I think she was actually more relaxed on this trip than she normally is in a car.
     
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  8. ElectricTundra

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
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    Tundra
    The air conditioning systems we used for cooling equipment buildings (computers, communications stuff) would often have a heating system built in to melt ice buildup in hot/humid environments. The mfr (Liebher?) called it a reverse heat pump though that sounds to me like regular AC. In any case, when it sensed ice beginning to build it would run hot for a bit to melt and dry the coils.
     
    • Helpful x 2
  9. ig_epower

    ig_epower Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
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    Location:
    Oakville
    I did a long drive with my ICE vehicle from Toronto to Atlantic City (there and back in two days). I used the ICE because my wife was too nervous and felt we would be wasting too much time charging. I insisted that the following week, I wanted to take the MS on the same trip to pick her up and compare the experience. She reluctantly agreed. Overall, she didn't mind the experience and was surprised by the number of people that came by at the SC stations to ask questions about the car. She started to even answer some of the questions herself. The AP did make her pretty nervous but she liked the fact that the car's speed is pretty fixed. If I drove manually, I tended to drive faster than she was comfortable with so the trade-off was my speedy driving over a semi-autonomous robot doing the driving at a slower speed. I had to leave the spacing at 7 and even then she preferred an 8 or 9 if there were ever such a setting. However, I noticed that a 7 is pretty much at the upper limit of radar detection anyways.

    I have done long trips before and this one was no different. I love taking this car on long trips - the only anxiety I may have would be to get a flat tire. I did experience my first flat last week and luckily it was on my way home. I made it to my driveway and just refilled it every 30 minutes before a mobile service guy came to swap out with a spare. On road trips, having to wait for a mobile repair guy and having to chase down my original tire to repair/replace will definitely be a pain.

    I look forward to my next road trip wherever that may be (probably up north 2 hours away in the woods).
     
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  10. 365gtb4

    365gtb4 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
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    Location:
    Redlands
    My 2015S also will ice up. We turn it off for a few minutes and let the fan run to melt the ice. Our model X also will ice up under certain conditions. I think the cause is we run the fan on low and there isn't enough air moving to stop the condensation on the coils.
     
  11. BadWolf

    BadWolf New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    California
    Wonderful report! We intend to take our (on order) Tesla cross country and it is great to hear about your trip- especially the AC. Now I know what it likely is and how to fix it (turn it off for a bit)

    Life is good!
     
  12. SMAlset

    SMAlset Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Nice report and glad you had a good trip. We were in a similar situation as you and recently did our first trip. Soon to plan a second. Also was overly cautious about the charge state not having done this before. Being on the West coast with mountains, I can say just wait until you experience driving up and down mountain roads! What a fabulous, enjoyable ride. Our 75D seemed to float effortlessly along the 7% grade in both directions without experiencing an ICE engine struggling on the way up and downshifting on the way down (have done this same trip a number of times in our other cars).

    We drove in 90-100F weather during our trip and our AC (incl. ventilated seats) worked great. All black interior BTW. Stayed comfortable throughout the trip. I will comment that prior to this trip hubby had complained that he wasn't getting air out of the driver side of the car, but it was fine on the passenger's side. Problem was simply that the vent control was pushed to the far "closed" position which in minimal Tesla fashion isn't marked on the vent like our Toyota. Duh.
     

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