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Another Texan Drives a Tesla

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Stenn, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    Hello, my name is Steve and I'm the proud new owner of a Tesla Model S 85D. I test drove my first Tesla at the Houston Galleria showroom and knew I had to have one before I'd gone even a quarter mile. What an awesome car!

    My previous car was a certified pre-owned 2011 Mercedes E350 Bluetec diesel. This was my first luxury car purchase so my expectations were high. Boy, was I disappointed! The car had problems from Day 1. I'll spare you the gory details only to say that, of the many cars I've owned, my Mercedes came the closest to taking my life, TWICE, for no fault of my own. Dealer support was a joke. When Mercedes said, "The best or none" I should have chosen none.

    In spite of my governor's best attempts to keep a Tesla out of my hands, I ordered one on-line, financed it through a 3rd party lender, and Uber'ed my way to the new north Houston service center to take possession of my car. The process was not without its faults, but nothing I couldn't muddle through. Every Tesla employee I dealt with was super friendly, professional, and helpful without question. Delivery was much more relaxed and thorough than the bum's rush I got from Mercedes.

    After driving my Model S for about a month, I can say without reservation that I love the car. Everything has worked as advertised. The performance is breath-taking. The styling is just plain sexy as hell. My only regret is getting the piano black accents instead of carbon fiber because the shiny black bits collect dust like crazy. Other than that, I'm very pleased and finally living the luxury car experience that I had hoped to enjoy with my Mercedes.

    Around town, my Model S is as fun as a carnival ride. I've never had so much fun accelerating to 35mph and it only gets better when I pull onto a quiet stretch of Westpark from a side street doing 50mph by the end of my turn. Woo-hoo!

    Out on the open road, things are not so cheery. While the new-fangled cruise control and internet radio make long trips akin to a trip to the spa, my approach to nirvana takes a detour down Range Anxiety lane as I attempt to get to Corpus Christi from Houston and back in 100+ temperatures. Since there's no Supercharger in Victoria (where one is desperately needed to reach any part of south Texas) I end up getting routed through Columbus which adds considerably to my trip time. But fortunately, time in a Tesla is quite a bit better than unpleasant. Once in Corpus Christi, I plug into an old 30A dryer plug which easily gets me the juice I need to get back home.

    So, that's my story. No obligatory car photos, just a grateful owner of an American product that delivers the best one can get in an automobile, BIG-TIME.
     
  2. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    Hello All!

    In spite of my state's anti-free market government, I now drive a Tesla Model S 85D.

    My first luxury car purchase was two years ago when I got a certified pre-owned, fully-loaded, 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec diesel with low miles. I won't belabor the details of my experience with this car only to say that, of all the cars I've owned, the E350 gave me more trouble than all the rest combined and failed in such a way to threaten my life, not once, but twice. Clearly, they're not making E-class Mercedes' like they used to. My experience with the local dealers and Mercedes corporate was not much better. With their newer, more economical models and CPO program, Mercedes service seems completely overwhelmed and unable to deliver luxury-level service for their cars.

    Anyway...

    While fighting with my Mercedes, I started seeing Teslas in my neighborhood. There's a blue one that always parks at the breakfast diner. Then I saw a white one. Then a grey one. Then a red one. Then I saw a green Roadster in London, of all places. Out of curiosity, I visited the Houston Galleria showroom to ask a few questions and take a test drive. I was in love in less than a mile. I put in my order, arranged financing, installed a wall connector, traded in the E350, and then waited impatiently for my car. I have no regrets after a month of blissful, trouble-free driving. The interior is clean, simple, and comfortable. The exterior is sexy as hell. The performance is breathtaking. I've never had so much fun accelerating to 35mph. Instead of turbo-lag, I now have power at the wheels like turning on a light switch.

    My only complaint is the range. I was assured by several Tesla folks that a Houston to Corpus Christi trip was do-able. It is, but only by driving 40 miles out of my way to hit a SuperCharger in Columbus, TX. This gets the job done, but adds an hour to an already long trip. If you remove the Columbus SuperCharger from the route, the car predicts arrival with 5% margin of error. Not good enough for this scaredy-pants. I look forward to a SuperCharger in Victoria, TX which would open up most of south Texas to Tesla drivers.

    That's it for now. I look forward to reading around in the forums to see what I can learn. I'm now going to make up an excuse to go somewhere in my wonderful new car. Bye! :tongue:

    Stenn
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The distance is 210 miles vs 250 miles. Do a range charge at home. Charge for about ten minutes at Columbus. It shouldn't add anywhere near an hour. But 210 miles is something I'd do in my S85 as long as I knew there was destination charging (about 220 miles is the limit of my comfort zone). Use EVTripplanner
     
  4. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    +1 on using EVTripplanner. It is very accurate. It shows that if you have 100 degree outside temps, set AC to 72, and drive the speed limit, you'll be able to do it with about 20 miles to spare. Driving the speed limit sucks, but it is better than a detour, and safer too. The car can do it, you just gotta trust it! BTW, the car's trip calculator is not very accurate and should be used for entertainment purposes only. If anything, it is conservative. Use EvTripplanner for long trip planning.

    Another data point - if the local Houston store employees said it is possible, I'd believe them. They no doubt have done a similar trip themselves. Finally, you can ask on the Texas forum for people who have done this trip and see what they recommend.
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    FWIW, I typically do quite a bit better than what either EVTripplanner or the onboard Nav says. Then again, I've had a lot of practice.
     
  6. SW2Fiddler

    SW2Fiddler Bannd Member

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    #6 SW2Fiddler, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
    I am looking forward to the planned Rosenberg, Victoria and Corpus Superchargers. For now, traveling down 59 is still "exciting" but there are worse things than peace-of-mind Columbus top-offs. I am so over timing chains and oily valves.
     
  7. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    Howdy All,

    Thanks for the good advice regarding EVTripplanner. At first glance, it looks like a pretty cool tool.

    Houston to Corpus may be 210 miles, but from my origin in Houston to my destination in Corpus is 221 miles which narrows the margin of error a bit. I'll admit, I made some efficiency mistakes during my last trip. I'll try driving smarter next time. Driving from Corpus to Houston, I have the option at Victoria of charging vs not charging in Columbus so I'll try my experimenting when north-bound. Also, I'll check the Texas forum to see who's getting where without the aid of emergency roadside assistance.

    And yeah, stopping in Columbus doesn't necessarily add an hour, unless you're tempted by nachos and a drink at the taqueria adjacent to the supercharger station. :)

    SW2Fiddler: Wow, charging stations in Rosenberg, Victoria, and Corpus would be perfectamundo!

    Oh, and sorry about the double introduction. It appeared that my first attempt at introducing myself went into the bit bucket so I tried again. Apparently, both posts were stuck in mod review.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, and I just about cried when Tesla announced the 90kWh battery mere weeks after taking delivery of my 85kWh car. That extra 5.88% would be of considerable comfort near the end of my long trip.
     
  8. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Isn't there is upgrade available to take your car to 90 kWh?
     
  9. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    Yeah, if you're willing to cough up the bucks. However, Mr. Musk tried to discourage 85kWh owners from upgrading to 90kWh implying that one should instead wait for a larger battery to be revealed in the near future for the same upgrade price. We'll see...

    In the mean time, EV Trip Planner says my car will make it from origin to destination, but only with a tailwind. Looks like I need to learn to love Columbus, TX until some new charing stations open.
     
  10. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    I made the trip from Houston to Corpus and back again this weekend. From Houston to Corpus, I stopped at Columbus and charged because I had work commute miles on the battery before I began my long trek south. From Corpus to Houston, I drove straight without charging.

    The good news is that I made it. Hooray! :) The bad news is that I had to drive 0-10 miles per hour less than the speed limit with the AC set just barely cool enough to avoid breaking a sweat. While I'm happy I made it, there are now hundreds of Texan drivers out there that know Tesla as, "That expensive, slow-moving obstacle on the highway to be passed with scorn." :(
     
  11. SwedishAdvocate

    SwedishAdvocate Active Member

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    Thanks Stenn for doing the right thing!
     
  12. SW2Fiddler

    SW2Fiddler Bannd Member

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    I've never charged at the Shady Oaks RV park between Vic and Houston, but it is there. It's on 59 in Ganado.
     
  13. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    I'm not sure what I did, but I'm glad I did it right. :)

    Perhaps what I did right was this: the only gasoline station that I stopped at, I stopped at to pee.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yeah, that would be a good place to charge at geographically, but I'm still pretty new at this whole electric vehicle traveling stuff and don't feel quite adventurous enough to hit up a random RV park for a few kWh's. How does that work? Do I need a Good Sam's membership or what? How many amps do they typically offer? Their website was very unhelpful.
     
  14. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    No. The $3000 upgrade is for ordering a NEW car with 90 kWh battery rather than 85kWh.
     
  15. SW2Fiddler

    SW2Fiddler Bannd Member

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    Yeah, smart money will wait for the Eleventy KiloWattHour retrofit (S110). This would fit the Seventy/Ninety/Eleventy lineup they seem to be preparing.
    Functional GigaFactory may be required first.
     
  16. Ugliest1

    Ugliest1 S85: "Sparky"

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    Depends on the RV park. A lot of them are very helpful, know about the existence of EVs, and are happy to provide charging. Usually (?) there is some kind of fee or charge or charitable donation, with a few parks demanding an entire night's rate for a few hours. Only way to figure out which kind they are is to contact them directly. But if it's a trip you do regularly, it would be better to strike up a relationship on your route.

    However, the tradeoff is you'd be spending more time on the charger at lower charging rates. Be warned, too: the adaptor you received with the car will only work on big-rig-park 208/240V 50A connections; for the 30A outlets at smaller parks you'll need a different one (that Tesla doesn't sell... I'm told they're easy to make, but with my skills I bought one from TMC member Lloyd). On a 50A outlet you would probably (correct me if I'm wrong, people!!) see around 20-25 mi/hr charging. The good news is, you only need to charge long enough to give you whatever buffer you want. Once you get comfortable with your driving style and what the car will do and what the route is like, you can get that buffer down to 10 or 15 miles. So maybe you'd only spend ½ hour at RV park. Anyway, it's a workable choice.
     
  17. SW2Fiddler

    SW2Fiddler Bannd Member

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    #17 SW2Fiddler, Sep 7, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
    That was what I would suggest. I haven't made that 59 trip more than once yet. Someone will have to be the first to talk to the Park owners about it.

    (There's some 50A connections at Brackenridge/Lake Texana too while we're on the topic)

    Obviously PlugShare isn't too informative about an RV Park until actual EVs start charging there.

    When on the road, I just note locations and phone numbers, but truth be told, I still have never used an RV Park. Yes, 25ish MPH would be what I'd plan for.
     
  18. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    Wow. An 110kWh battery would pretty much nullify my need for a SuperCharger in Victoria.
     
  19. Stenn

    Stenn Member

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    #19 Stenn, Sep 7, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
    Thanks for the insight regarding RV park charging. At this point, it seems I can make the drive between Houston and Corpus without charging as long as I don't have a headwind. (EVTripPlanner claims success is totally dependent on wind direction and I've found that to be true.) Driving north, I have the option at Victoria to abandon a straight shot to Houston and head to Columbus instead to SuperCharge. Alternatively, I could hit the Brackenridge campground. One way is more driving time but less charging time. The other way is less driving time but more charging time. Decisions, decisions...

    Driving south, it would be good to have emergency charging options. Years ago, my family stopped at a nice little RV park near Rockport that had a restaurant/cafe and pool. I'll have to see if I can find it again and, while I'm at it, I'll look for options in Refugio and Bayside.

    Edit: A quick search reveals that, if I choose to make my approach to Corpus Christi via Rockport, there are dozens of RV parks 50 miles out from my destination. Perfect! Now I just need to call around to find out who's Tesla-friendly.
     
  20. SW2Fiddler

    SW2Fiddler Bannd Member

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    #20 SW2Fiddler, Sep 7, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
    It bears repeating, Tesla plans a chain of SuperChargers to connect Houston and San Antonio to the SpaceX launch facility on Boca Chica Beach... or to enable beach outings... or both!
    These are on the "2015" map but as the map also says, exact timing and location can vary.
     

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