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Any Hesitations Taking Kids on Long Road Trips?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by MassX1317, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. MassX1317

    MassX1317 Addicted to TMC

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    Planning to take a trip from NH to Florida in the late fall/early winter. I would love to take the Tesla instead of flying.

    Should we have any hesitations making this trip in our Model S....with two young children in car seats (because of the car not because of the kids)? The plan would be to drive 6-8 hours per day and use superchargers for the duration of the trip. I worry about the car becoming disabled and not having a service center nearby. Even a flat tire could leave us without a car for a couple days depending on where we are.

    Overthinking it or bad idea?
     
  2. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    I will let others chime in about the distance and supercharging (I haven't done either), but for my kids (10 & 12) turning the regen to low helps with their car sickness. It's really hard to be smooth with the go pedal in slower traffic, but it's no problem at highway speeds.
     
  3. pgiralt

    pgiralt Active Member

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    Probably overthinking. Have taken my 6 and 9 year old from NC to FL (about a 14 hour drive) as well as NC to New York (about a 13 hour drive) with no issues.
     
  4. breading

    breading Member

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    I think it is a great idea... at least I hope so. We are taking a road trip from Kansas City to San Diego at the end of the week with three kids (one in a car seat and one in a booster).

    I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  5. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I don't understand how this different than a road trip with any other car where the car becomes disabled and you're a bunch of miles from nowhere? A flat tire can be fixed nearly anywhere. It's just a normal rim and tire.

    Anyway, I vote for over thinking it. The odds of a problem occurring are low. The odds of a problem occurring that's worse than you'd run into with an ICE is "struck by lighting" low.

    What's the absolute worst case? The car dies, Tesla arranges a tow and you forget about the car while Tesla gets a cab or some such to drop you off at the closest rental agency. Again, not sure how that's different than an ICE :)
     
  6. mgdurand

    mgdurand Member

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    Hm, here in the West I and my 6-yr old regularly make 250 mile trips, and just completed a 3,000 mile PHX-SEA venture. We had a great time.

    I did opt for the 19" wheels to lessen the chance of tire problems though I wanted the +.... Glad I did it, 23,000 miles later on the OEM set.

    Supercharger stops are just the right amount of time for kiddo to get out, run around, whatever. McDonald's playland, park, even went picking blackberries by a creek in Shasta. Great times. I don't get the regen causing car sickness, I mostly use cruise control all day, though this isn't the I-95 corridor.
     
  7. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    I try not to take my kids more than 1 mile in the car.
     
  8. MagicDoc

    MagicDoc Member

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    I am speaking from having the 3rd (rear facing) seat option:
    In my opinion, several factors for taking children on a long trip. Having my granddaughter throw up due to the heat is one consideration. It will also get very boring not being able to see the scenery while sitting in the back. Constantly being thrown "forward" while accelerating is unpleasant.
    If in appropriate safety seats in the middle (second row), a much better option for long trips.
     
  9. AndyM

    AndyM Member

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    Model S is a car. A GREAT car.

    If you'd consider taking your kids in a 19+ hour trip in any car, then Model S will be a great car for that. It is smooth, roomy, and quiet.
    I take trips with my kids a couple hundred miles every month. I've NEVER had an issue with car sickness because of the regen settings.

    Why would you worry about the car becoming disabled? There are so many more things that can go wrong with an ICE car that we never think about - spark plugs, fuel pump, alternator, radiator, et cetera... Model S has so many fewer things to go wrong... it's a better choice, actually.

    As for a flat tire: been there. Had to do an overnight with the kids away from one once because of a screw in the sidewall, and a 21" low profile tire was not readily available. Remember, you don't need a Tesla service center for a tire replacement - a good local shop can fix or replace a tire. I would not give up my 39,000 EV-only miles because I had one flat.
     
  10. MassX1317

    MassX1317 Addicted to TMC

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    Thank you for the sarcasm. Good suggestions may have been to carry a spare tire in case of emergency, get the car inspected before leaving or sticking to the major highways.

    We've already had to replace two tires (1 cotter pin, 1 curb). They were replaced at the service center, not a local tire shop. I don't think local tire shops would have the matching tire either.

    It's not really the easiest thing to be stuck on the side of the road with a 1 and 3 year old waiting for AAA. It's not as simple as hopping in a cab when you have two car seats. I was looking for advice from people who have done it before, not snooty replies.
     
  11. GSP

    GSP Member

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    Remember that the OP is comparing driving to flying, not to taking another type or brand of car.

    That said, I would drive if I had the time. Flying is not as great an experience as it used to be.

    GSP
     
  12. MassX1317

    MassX1317 Addicted to TMC

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    I've actually never taken a road trip over 5 hours in any car. If I ever drove to Florida I imagined I would rent a car and if there were issues I'd just hop in a new rental. The only reason I'm considering doing it is because I love driving the Tesla. I'm not too worried about major failures because I know there are service centers up and down the east coast that would get us a loaner so we could continue our vacation. I know Tesla would have that type of customer service response.

    The big fear is the tire. Like I mentioned in the previous post we have already replaced two for freak incidents. Our previous vehicle went 80k miles without touching the spare, same with our current ICE. The two tire replacements in 5,000 miles with the Tesla were just a stroke of bad luck but I now have worry about getting stuck in middle of no where Georgia with two toddlers!

    I'm glad to hear that people for the most part have not encountered this issue.
     
  13. GSP

    GSP Member

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    #13 GSP, Sep 22, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
    If you take a 12 Volt air compressor and a can or two of fix-a-flat you could limp to a tire store. Tesla sells this as an accessory, or get them at an auto parts store.

    That and Tesla's roadside assistance number should be good for any trip.

    GSP

    PS. The last time I had a flat, I used my 12 Volt air compressor to just add some air and drove to the Goodyear store for a permanent fix (patch inside of tire). No need for the goo most of the time, since leaks are usually slow.
     
  14. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    Tesla road trips are fun, flying is not fun. Flying with young children is even less fun. I remember flying with our twin sons when they were about two. My wife pushed the stroller and I manhandled about 8 pieces of luggage at baggage claim. Once you get there, you will have to rent an ICE.

    I worried a little about tires when we have gone on Tesla road trips. We went about 30 years without a flat, but I have had one in the model S and we have had two in the Porsche--both cars do not have spares. If your tires are in reasonably good shape, go for it. Tesla roadside service is really good.
     
  15. invisik

    invisik Member

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    #15 invisik, Sep 22, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
    I took a longer trip myself earlier this year. I e-mailed [email protected] to ask if there were any known or planned outages for any superchargers along my route on the weekend I was travelling. They said there wasn't any, but I thought it was a good idea to ask.

    Have some bags for garbage somewhere in the back seat! I use the small red Tesla cloth bags I got for free from our Service Center and hang them on the door handles, works great and is logo'd. (I have black performance leather so matches the red piping too).

    I bought the Tesla tire inflator kit to help prevent being the car being totally disabled due to a flat.

    I also bought some 10-30 and 6-50 extensions cords... did not even think about using them once, I wouldn't bother bringing them if you know you're on the supercharger line.

    Sounds like great fun! It's super quiet in the car, very pleasant to listen to music, etc.

    Good luck and have a blast.

    -m

    Oh, also I made and printed a document of all of the Service Centers along the way. They, for some reason, aren't as accessible in the navigation as the Superchargers are. I also programmed the Tesla Roadside Assistance number into my cell phone (and always have my AAA card with me). I felt I could get myself out of any situation with all this info one way or another.

    OH, and read some check-in notes on PlugShare.com for the superchargers you plan to visit. People often mention amenities nearby or places they stopped at that were good. You can find alternate charging locations there as well (and tesla.plugshare.com works in the car's browser pretty well)
     
  16. breading

    breading Member

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    In addition to the trip we will be starting at the end of the week we also did a trip from KC to Indianapolis with the family prior to superchargers. The older kids started out in the rear facing seats and by the end had moved into the second row seats. It was cool so heat wasn't the issue. They just liked facing forward and were more comfortable in the second row.

    I didn't take a flat tire kit with us before. Luckily we didn't have any issues. I have a kit in the car for this trip just in case.
     
  17. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    I drove my wife and 9-year-old twins (they turned 9 during the trip!) from DC to Ft. Lauderdale this summer, with southbound stops in Myrtle Beach and Savannah, and a northbound stop in Charleston. My wife was actually the most apprehensive about it out of all of us, and her reaction after the fact was that it wasn't as bad as she thought it would be. :) The kids mainly read books and played on Android tablets in the car. The "forced breaks" every 2-3 hours for supercharging worked out perfectly for us -- we always needed a break of some sort around that interval anyway. And with kids age 1 and 3, you might even need breaks more often than the superchargers.

    If you have the time to drive, and your time in FL will be at least a week, I'd say go for it! Though, in the interest of full disclosure, our next trip to FL will be by plane, mainly because we won't have as much time or flexibility, and also because we're not planning on any interim destinations.

    Depending on where in FL you're going, unless of course you're staying really close to a supercharger, be sure to plan your destination charging. We mainly used 120V outlets at our South Carolina and Florida destinations, which worked just fine to cover daily local driving and build up enough range to get to the next supercharger. (BTW, consider buying the NEMA 5-20 adapter if you don't already have it. We ended up not using it because everything we found was 15A, but many commercial buildings have 20A outlets outdoors.)

    I-95 supercharging is generally super-easy, though there are a few locations with limited amenities. We couldn't find all that much to do while supercharging in Rocky Mount or Savannah, for example, so they were really just bathroom breaks. I can't comment on the superchargers north of Hamilton NJ (yet). I had one issue at Port St. Lucie where the car wouldn't charge; I called the supercharger support phone number after trying 2-3 stalls; the rep on the phone could tell me almost immediately that only 2 stalls were working at the time, and told me which ones. My other issue was that the adhesive on the magnet keeping my charge port closed failed during the southbound trip, but it didn't prevent the car from driving (I called roadside assistance to make sure it would be safe to continue), and the Dania Beach service center took great care of me (valet service and all) while I was in Ft. Lauderdale.

    I found EVTripPlanner.com to be quite accurate in calculating the range needed between superchargers. I wrote myself a small cheat-sheet with all the expected numbers for each leg, and my actual rated-range usage always ended up somewhere between actual miles and EVTripPlanner's estimate.

    6-8 hours of driving per day tells me you'll probably need ~3 overnight stops, again depending on where in FL you're going. You've likely considered this already, but try to make each overnight destination something at least moderately fun/interesting for the kids. Even if it's as minor as finding hotels along I-95 with indoor swimming pools.

    In terms of breakdown concerns, well, as others have mentioned it's a possibility in any car. Part of my wife's concern I think stemmed from a childhood trip she took with her family, where their car broke down 3x en route, and they had to turn around before their final destination. I did have a flat tire kit in the car, but I didn't buy it just for the trip. Worst case for Tesla, there's roadside assistance / ranger service.
     
  18. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    I expect your anxiety has more to do with your lack of experience with a long road trip versus the Model S itself. As you will notice, there are many people here that have taken extensive road trips without incident. Plan well, but relax, and you'll have a great time, especially if your kids like riding in the car.

    One final thought, toddlers can be tough on planes too.
     
  19. Mike_Schlechter

    Mike_Schlechter Model S - P457

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    I've done several long trips with my now 5 and now 9 year old without issues. The charge stops actually make for a nice breaking up of the day and gets them out and about.

    If you plan just a little and have plugshare at hand for unscheduled stops you can easily make it a fun and stress free experience for all.
     
  20. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Traveling with a 1 and 3 year old is rough. It's all about going to the bathroom. Whether finding a stop or changing diapers. My girls were 6 when we took our first Tesla road trip last November to TN. 16 hours to Asheville for an overnight and charge then another 1.5 to Knoxville. I found it to be painless, so much so that we did it again in April this year. The first trip I was worried about making it between Glen Allen and Burlington in the cold weather and from Burlington to Asheville. They hadn't filled in South Hill yet. The second time I knew exactly what I needed to do to make the distances with adverse weather. For what it's worth, I have 23k miles and no tire issues. I think you just had some bad luck.

    Do you like driving that much? Would it feel part of your vacation or just a slog to get where you're going? Answer those questions honestly and you should know whether to drive or fly. taking the Tesla vs an ICE is irrelevant in my opinion, there's nothing to suggest that it's more likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road.
     

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