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any real-world input on charging vs. driving time for road trips?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by ljwobker, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. ljwobker

    ljwobker Geek.

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    We're doing 3700 miles next week, Raleigh to Palo Alto california. As part of the planning, I'd love to hear some real-world experience on how much "charging time" overhead people experience... in an ICE, I can pretty accurately estimate average speeds and how far I can go in a day. With the Tesla, not so much. Clearly we can overload some of the charge time with eating and rest stopping, etc... but I'd love to hear from people who have actually done long trips.
     
  2. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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  3. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    I have 56,000 + miles on my 2 year old. We have been from Napa Valley to Canada (2500 miles round trip), I go to Fallon, NV all the time to see my brother and Mom (600 miles RT) and to Phoenix to see son, 2000 miles RT. My wife and I usually drive a couple hundred miles in the morning, charge during late breakfast, and drive another couple hundred to a motel. Any more, now we have Supercharging, we start full, drive, top up, drive, and top up, and then charge at the motel overnight. We get in 400 - 600 miles a day.

    Since this planning gives for a relaxed day, I don't push it on the road. I drive in the right lane, at about 65 mph. I don't care that the speed limit is 70 or 75. Anyone can go around, and I have never felt concern for my safety. You have to do what is right for you. All I'm saying is that personally, I get more miles between charges, which I personally believe saves me more time not sitting at a charger.

    Either way, Supercharging gets you on the road again pretty quickly.

    The only experience I want to share is that you need to plan on a buffer (ie. you have 130 miles to next charger, fill up to 170 and keep the 40 extra as a buffer as you drive. That way you won't all of a sudden realize you are ten miles from the next charger when your battery is at zero. Most importantly, some people have never understood that speed takes more power than anything. If you have to drive 75 or 80, know that you will be drinking electrons by the bucket. Plan on that. Watch your buffer. If you are sucking electrons too fast, SLOW DOWN. After you get the hang of how far and how fast you can go on a charge, it is not a problem.

    The other thing that uses a lot of juice is the heater. Make sure your temp is as low as you can stand it, and fresh air to the front window to keep off the fog. Otherwise, you will find your miles per watt hour are really low.

    A cross country drive should be relaxed and fun. Have a safe trip!
     
  4. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    During the summer on two drives from NY to Chicago and Dayton, OH, I found that I needed (well, preferred) a minimum 25% buffer. So if the next SC was 100 miles away, I'd charge to at least 125 or more likely 150 since the time difference was only a few minutes. I think only once did I run the battery down below 30. For total trip duration, if it would take you 10 hours to drive some distance in an ICE, again add 25% to that for the MS... so for a 10 hour trip, plan for 12.5 hours which includes stops for charging.

    If it's cold or rainy or hilly on your journey, up the buffer to 50% to 100% of the distance to the next SC.

    Finally, and I'll do this for my next trip to Florida next month, I plan to look for an overnight stop NOT near a SC. I think that would be a waste of time unless the SC is right at a hotel where I would want to stay. Otherwise, you have to charge at night or in the morning before you continue your journey. If I stop between SC stops, I don't have to worry about charging at the hotel (unless it's convenient there), and I can roll in, get dinner, go to sleep, and hit the road in the AM and not worry about charging until the next SC stop.
     
  5. auger

    auger Member

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    In my limited experience, you can add 25% to your normal ICE time if you can use Superchargers the whole way.
     
  6. rpo

    rpo Member

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    I've put 5,500 miles on my car in the five weeks I have owned it via two road trips from Seattle to California and back. I've done the same road trip with an ICE about a dozen times, and I was able to tie by best time in the Tesla by driving 5-10 MPH over the limit and charging for 20-30 minutes at a time. I also would start with a 90% charge, and then only charge enough to get to the next charger plus 30 miles. The reason for this is the car charges much faster from 0-80% than it does above 80%. You'll save time charging what you need. Also, driving faster does use more energy, but the time savings more than offsets it.

    For example, my road trips were 770 miles each way, and my quickest time was 13 hours and 20 minutes including 5-6 charging stops. That's an average speed of 57 MPH.
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Member

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    Please share your experience when you return. I always enjoy the stories. Unfortunately, I don't have enough vacation time each year to account for several days in a car. Generally, I fly when drive time is over 6 hours. I do enjoy occasional road trips and the Tesla seems to just beg for it. I don't need much excuse to jump in the car :).
     
  8. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    It's not as hard to plan the time. Drive time is the exact same as with an ICE car. Just plan the time based on distance and speed limit on the roads. For each Supercharger stop add 35 min. There will be some variation but overall that will be pretty accurate. Planning that way kept me right on track on my 4200 mile road trip.

    A few things to save time:

    driving faster using more energy vs driving slower to use less energy: When using Superchargers it is overall faster to drive faster and use more energy. It's because Superchargers recharge much faster than you can drive.

    Plan on arriving at a Supercharger on a low state of charge. The lower the battery level, the faster it will charge. The fuller the battery is, the slower it charges at a Supercharger. You only charge as much as you need to get to the next Supercharger (plus some buffer!) to minimize charge times.
     
  9. invisik

    invisik Member

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    I did Minneapolis to Nashville this summer in pretty much ideal conditions with A/C on all the time. Yeah 30 minutes max at supercharger stop, takes longer to go to the bathroom and get coffee sometimes so plan your food stops accordingly. I found virtually no difference between driving 55-60 versus 75 in different speed limit stretches, so driving faster was fine. Using some heat now will take some more juice, but on my trip with A/C I was getting exactly physical miles to rated miles. I charged a buffer of about 20-30 miles.

    Don't discount the fact you might be able to skip a supercharger along the way. Some are closer then others, but get a feel for your actual consumption before deciding to skip. For example, Minneapolis to Eau Claire WI is like 100 miles and then 100 more to Mauston WI, so I skipped Eau Claire. That can help reduce a couple of stops.

    I also found range charging on the supercharger didn't take an hour or longer as some people report, may help you go further.

    Best of luck, I'm watching your blog thread!

    -m
     
  10. Bardlebee

    Bardlebee Member

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    This! Exactly this! I had the same experience with the superchargers and honestly its a no brainer. Sure, some ICE cars can go 400-500 miles then you have a 5-10 minute fill up. But, honestly its a road trip and I am comfortable waiting 15-20 minutes instead. As invisik mentioned, 30 minutes was the maximum and that was only because I would want to put as much miles as possible even more then the buffer I needed. Here is a very wordy and lengthy reddit post I made some time ago with my experience in road trips. I found the issue isn't the supercharging, because the time is frankly negligible compared to the time you save going to the gas station all the time on a regular basis when you can plug in at home. But regardless of that time save, spending 10-15 minutes at a supercharger is awesome when its free. I am sure anyone would take that trade if it was gas. Here is my post, I found destination charging is currently more complex and time consuming then the supercharging network, of which will only get better with time!

    Driving Long Distances - A Tesla Owners Experience : teslamotors
     
  11. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #11 ChadS, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
    My wife and I did an 11,000-mile trip in September. We did a LOT of waiting around in Montana (there was only one Supercharger there at the time, so we were charging at 240V). But for the rest of the trip...almost none. Of course it depends on how you travel, but for us almost all of our time at Superchargers was spent doing things we were going to stop for anyway: using the restroom, stretching our legs, eating meals, getting tea, changing drivers, giving the driver a chance to check email or make a phone call, etc. My wife has wanted to stop at least every 2 hours on all of our road trips for more than 2 decades. So Montana aside, the trip took us very nearly the same time that we would have taken us in a gas car.

    Of course I am assuming you're going to do all of those things at the Superchargers, and not make other stops at other places. Some people might not like the choices at Superchargers. But it worked great for us. We did up to 600 miles a day, though generally my wife wanted to stop before we got that far. Traveling with somebody else, I've done over 900 miles in a day (and we were definitely not pushing ourselves; we pretty much stuck to the speed limits, we didn't hurry our meals, and we were in a 90kW A-pack car so charging was slower).
     
  12. ModelS1079

    ModelS1079 Member

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    11K miles? ChadS, that is impressive.
    On the road, I find I drive 2.5 hours, stop for 17 minutes, as we'd do anyway rive again, and that works out great for driving about 5 hours/day. That covers most of our trips.
     
  13. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    Portions of trips with superchargers are pretty straightforward. On a recent trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle (with superchargers along the entire route) we got into a rhythm of a short 20-25 minute stop for a coffee break and a bathroom break followed by a longer 45-50 minute stop for lunch or dinner at the next supercharger. Having a printout from evtriplanner to figure how much to charge during stops was helpful, although at least in my experience it usually overestimated the range needed by 10 to 15 miles. An elevation app on our smartphone and some quick math on the fly was also helpful for areas with large elevation changes (6-7 miles of range per 1000 feet of elevation change works pretty well).

    Without superchargers, things are very different. Overnight stops with 14-50 outlets or HPWCs are key since most public chargers are too slow to fill up an 85 kWh battery during an overnight stop. We also had to stop at an RV park in Wilcox AZ for a few hours to top off since charging options between Tucson AZ and Las Cruces, NM were pretty limited. On the plus side, air resistance is noticeably lower when the elevation is 4,000 feet above sea level so we got better than rated range between Tucson and Las Cruces even though we were driving 65 mph.
     
  14. ljwobker

    ljwobker Geek.

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    So I'm sort of replying to my own thread here... we're about at the end of our 3rd day of the cross country trip. The pseudo blog is here: ElectricStartupSuperTrip pseudo-blog thread!

    So far, when we are "just" driving - not counting extended stops to see friends, etc -- we've been averaging pretty much right at 50mph. This passes the smell test - we basically drive 1.5 hours, stop for 20 minutes, drive another 1.5 hours, stop for 40 minutes. That's 3 hours at 70 or 210 miles knocked down, in 4 hours. If you manage to overnight somewhere you can charge, you basically get one of those "charging stops" for free. But we've also hit some massive winds through Minnesota and South Dakota - let me just tell you that driving 70mph into a sustained 25mph wind that's directly in your face will really put a hurt on your efficiency!

    And clearly there are lots of other factors involved, but the 50mph average looks like it would be at the very least a decent starting point.
     
  15. JayBoy

    JayBoy Member

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    I have 57,000 miles on my P85 after 19 months. My longest trip was from Raleigh to San Francisco round trip (10,000 miles). I drove 10mph over the posted limit, unless it was a very long stint. Normally I went 400 miles/day. Some days I'd go 650. Used 56 Superchargers with no issues. You can figure how long to charge based on battery capacity:
    Rated Range Left

    - - - Updated - - -

    Rated Range Left 10 minutes (miles)
    0 63
    50 45
    100 40
    150 35
    200 22

    This assumes you're not sharing your supercharger.
     

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