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Are supercharging road trips time consuming?

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
8,597
11,170
Boise, ID
This is an interesting discussion. For me, a road trip is about getting to my destination. I prefer to get there as fast as possible. My last road trip was from New York to Florida (and back) and the drive took 16 hours covering more than 1100 miles in my Audi only stopping for gas and to eat & hit the restrooms.

There's just no way I could possibly come close to matching that time in an EV today. I hope we get there some day with longer ranges and shorter charging times.
Sorry, but I don't agree at all. I've mad a similar trip with my cousin in his M3 LR and it took MUCH longer.
It might or might not be, because you left out an extremely important detail. Were you doing this 1100 miles 16 hours in one single day? If so, then yes, I would agree with you. It's a horrific and masochistic way to travel and is that "peeing in a bottle" thing, but it's true. I'll do 600-700 miles in a day, but that's about all I will stand for, regardless of what kind of vehicle I'm taking. I don't want to feel like s*** and simply would like to break that up into two days with a real night of sleep if it's going to be 1100 miles. So with the 600-700 miles per day condition, then the gas versus electric thing isn't too significantly different.
 
It might or might not be, because you left out an extremely important detail. Were you doing this 1100 miles 16 hours in one single day? If so, then yes, I would agree with you. It's a horrific and masochistic way to travel and is that "peeing in a bottle" thing, but it's true. I'll do 600-700 miles in a day, but that's about all I will stand for, regardless of what kind of vehicle I'm taking. I don't want to feel like s*** and simply would like to break that up into two days with a real night of sleep if it's going to be 1100 miles. So with the 600-700 miles per day condition, then the gas versus electric thing isn't too significantly different.

Yes, of course. 16 hours start to finish....not 16 hours of driving time. I was talking about getting to my destination quickly, so I figured it was obvious that I meant 16 hours start to finish. If you read my original comment, I said "...the drive took 16 hours covering more than 1100 miles in my Audi only stopping for gas and to eat & hit the restrooms." So yeah, the ONLY stops were for gas and to grab something to eat and go to the bathroom.

And I can only chuckle about the peeing in the bottle thing. Nope, never peed in a bottle at any point in my life and don't intend to start now. My Audi can exceed 500 miles per tank of gas, so it only needs a few fuel stops on my New York to Florida drive. Figure 10 minutes stopped to refuel and pee and we're good to go again. Snacking in the car is pretty common.
 
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RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,845
2,494
Durham, NC
Driving is always my preference over flying, unless it's a drive that takes me more than 24 hours. There's also the advantage of having my car with me and no restrictions that you deal with flying.
So in other words there were other considerations other than getting there "as fast as possible". Which is fine, but it's important to acknowledge that there are other factors at play. At which point, you should also then actually acknowledge that maybe things are also not quite so black and white. For example, if your personal travel style is such that you literally do only pee/fuel once every 8 hours (or whatever it happens to be), then yes, an EV would probably be slower than your cannonball-run style drive. But would an extra 45 minutes over a 16 hour day be so much of an inconvenience to outweigh all the other benefits of an EV the rest of the time when you are not driving 16 hours in a single trip? Is the requirement of finishing that trip in 16 hours rather than 16:45 of such importance that you would rather put up with having to go to a gas station every week or two on a regular basis? (this is only an example, not saying this is your particular tradeoff).

Also, if you did have an EV that was incapable of making the trip on the schedule that you require, then what about renting a car that IS capable of making that trip in the time you need it to? It seems like that would eliminate most of your other concerns except having YOUR car with you. Not sure if you literally mean your car, or a car (i.e. is there something special about your car that makes it desirable to have at the remote end?) I know many people that rent cars for long trips even without the EV consideration, simply because they don't want to put a bunch of miles on their own vehicles, so this is not an uncommon thing (although I personally have gone that route and don't prefer it for my own reasons).
 
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bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
860
969
Sunnyvale, CA
I can do it in longer time too. I just said one can and I have. I also haven't said one should do it that way.
Note: I've never pee'd in a bottle either.
Not recommended. Though fast chargers at pee stops are not a bad idea, even if you only spend 5 minutes charging. The important philosophy is "always charge while you are doing something you already wanted to do" which includes sleep (by far the best), eat, but also pee, web surf, shop, and eventually stopping at "attractions." As it becomes possible to do this more and more, the amount of time taken by charging drops to very low, even less than gasoline time.

Now, today, it's fair to say that doing it well requires planning. Sometimes an annoying amount of planning. And yes, there will be times when you can't do it. This will improve with time, both with less need to plan and fewer times needed to just wait.

Web surfiing is an interesting one to consider. Almost all of us now feel we need some amount of time on the interwebs every day. In fact, if you are reading this you probably do too much of this. (Worse if you are writing it.) But it is a good thing to pair with charging, particularly for the driver. Most passengers do tons of web surfing or other phone activity while on the highway, and unless you swap drivers the driver misses out. To some extent just as well to do it in a charger as in your hotel or house, except of course that the computer in the house is better than the phone -- though a lot of people today just use their phone in the house. This would be aided by placing gigabit wifi at all fast chargers. Tesla could stick starlinks (not quite gigabit) easily enough, I think the CEO of Tesla has some influence with the CEO of SpaceX.
 
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bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
860
969
Sunnyvale, CA
At the moment I think that the owner/CEO of Twitter is getting more attention than the CEO of SpaceX 😉.
Indeed true for the moment. SpaceX is his true love though, even more than Tesla. However, he reportedly realized early on he made a mistake buying Twitter, and of course tried to get out but could not, so now is going to make a go of it, but I suspect before long he will realize he has to focus on the others.
 

Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
752
1,083
USA
"always charge while you are doing something you already wanted to do" which includes sleep (by far the best), eat, but also pee, web surf, shop, and eventually stopping at "attractions."
I'll add "exercise" to your list (basically take a walk). Early EV roadtrippers often complained of gaining 10 lbs because they spent so much time eating while slow charging.

With Supercharger speeds, however, I seldom find there is time to do much more than the minimum of anything before the car is ready to go again.
 
@White Shadow , your Audi can go 500 miles on its tank but can you constantly drive 500 miles without stopping to pee? I don't go more than 100-200 miles before I (or my wife) needs to pee anyway. Since we're stopping, might as well stop at a supercharger. As a bonus, I can go pee or buy a snack while the car charges instead of waiting beside it... Because of that, I don't feel like road-tripping in a Tesla is much slower than in an ICE.
 
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This is an interesting discussion. For me, a road trip is about getting to my destination. I prefer to get there as fast as possible. My last road trip was from New York to Florida (and back) and the drive took 16 hours covering more than 1100 miles in my Audi only stopping for gas and to eat & hit the restrooms.

There's just no way I could possibly come close to matching that time in an EV today. I hope we get there some day with longer ranges and shorter charging times.
So. you don't stop to see things like the largest ball of string ? As we age we have gotten better at relaxing into the journey. We just can't do the hours in the seat anymore--evn if we had a gas car. And we have. a Model 3.
 
@White Shadow , your Audi can go 500 miles on its tank but can you constantly drive 500 miles without stopping to pee? I don't go more than 100-200 miles before I (or my wife) needs to pee anyway. Since we're stopping, might as well stop at a supercharger. As a bonus, I can go pee or buy a snack while the car charges instead of waiting beside it... Because of that, I don't feel like road-tripping in a Tesla is much slower than in an ICE.
Yes--our last trip--between Santa Fe and Mesa Verde--requied us to charge in Farmington. NM both ways. We took different highways coming and going however, to be able to see different things. And I enjoyed the driving --even going on Highway 64, through oil and gas country---very curvy and slow with lots of white company trucks passing me and some huge logging trucks trying to get around. 25 mph curves. I had to find the "zen" of the driving. I used my little speed adjuster on the steering wheel, (what is that called?) avoiding both the brake and the gas. I found that more relaxing, for some reason.
 
A bit more than an ICE, sure. Given a large enough gas tank and a marginally economical car, I would drive 6 hours from San Jose to L.A. without stopping (down 101, not I-5; ~330 miles). I'm sure that I can't make that in my LR 3, so stopping for 15-20 minutes at a Supercharger is required. I did make a trip several years ago that went against my usual route in that I needed to go to Glendale so I took I-5 and stopped at Kettleman City, both down and back. Nice place. We got sandwiches and had lunch while the car charged.

As far as finding hotels with L2 charging, or an available 240V outlet, your best bet would be to start with Plugshare.com and change the plug filters to whatever you would consider using. When you find a place that could work for you, call them and confirm the charging situation. You can probably find free L2 or Destination Charging but good luck finding free public DC FAST stations.

Use the navigation system in the car to locate nearby charging infrastructure. Again, make sure that you set the filters (lightning bolts) to 2 or 3 to find the fastest chargers. If you're already down to 20% before you start looking for a charge, then you need to re-think your travel routine.

An EV is NOT the same as ICE. One hundred years of developing gas stations that are practically on every other street corner now allows the public to travel freely without too much trouble. EV charging is just getting started. You'll just have to get used to the little extra time it takes.
Agreed. It is a different mind set. More focused on what's around you.
 
I don't know if time consuming is the proper way to describe it but requiring more planning, with limitations on routes and sometimes limited amenities at charging stops has been my experience. At the very least one should do an analysis of the route to make sure how long it will take and what options there are at stops. I have a stop on a regular route if it is early enough nothing is open so I need to plan a nature break around that. As others have said it is getting better but it is a different way of traveling. Living in the midwest we don't have anything like the Kettleman City supercharger with it's lounge and I've found myself walking along state highways while my car charges to get something to eat or just to go for a walk which is not ideal.
 
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It depends. If there’s plenty of super chargers you can cheat. Get a 100% charge then do low state of charge from 10% to 60% stopping for 15 mins or less. I did that from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Did 100% charge while eating breakfast and did 8 min charge 8 mins charge and 3 min charge at various super chargers and got home really quickly. But there’s instances like places in Arizona when I went to New Mexico where there were barely any super chargers and I needed to hit 80% charge and that takes much longer than topping off and stopping my charge at 50 or 60%. So I. Stopping for 45 mins at a time. It was ok we weren’t in a hurry and I got to stretch my legs.
 
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@White Shadow , your Audi can go 500 miles on its tank but can you constantly drive 500 miles without stopping to pee? I don't go more than 100-200 miles before I (or my wife) needs to pee anyway. Since we're stopping, might as well stop at a supercharger. As a bonus, I can go pee or buy a snack while the car charges instead of waiting beside it... Because of that, I don't feel like road-tripping in a Tesla is much slower than in an ICE.

Sometimes. But if I have to stop, it's 5 minutes to pee max, then back on the highway...
 

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