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Charging in NC Mountains

I'll be driving my Model Y from Charlotte to Bryson City, NC, in a couple of weeks for a 4-day family reunion. I'm planning to charge at one of the supercharger locations in Asheville on the way there, and again on the way back.

I think I'll be fine for going and company, but I may drive around some while I'm there. It looks like there are only a few Level 2 chargers in the area, and none are at particularly convenient locations.

What advice do people have, for when you're going to be that far "off the grid" for a few days?

Screen Shot 2021-06-25 at 6.11.59 AM.png
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,427
1,840
Durham, NC
I've done this kind of thing many times. In fact, here is my reality (at your same scale factor) at my in-laws that I will be traveling to in a few weeks:
1624624667441.png

Their home is the purple marker...the cluster of charging stations to the north is in Canada, so not practical to get to! The cluster to the northeast is 45 minutes away. The marker just to the north is just a 120V wall outlet at a rental cabin. The nearest Supercharger is about 45 minutes to the south (en route to/from their home).

While I know that they have an easily accessible 120V outlet, I also know that their wiring is "problematic". My wife's Volt refused to charge at one of their outlets, probably because it was not a properly grounded outlet...but a different outlet did work. However, I didn't have a ton of faith in it (I limit the charging to 8A when I plug in there), and the first time I took the Tesla, I wasn't sure whether the UMC would have an issue with it or not.

For the first trip I took there, out of an abundance of caution, I charged to 50% SOC at that last Supercharger on the way there. I figured worst case that would easily get me back if I was unsuccessful charging from the 120V. Turns out there were no worries and I was able to fully charge the car before I left. Granted, it takes several days!

The next trip I set my arrival SOC target to 25% (just to be safe, plus we were planning on taking a side trip) and let abetterrouteplanner.com figure out how much I needed to charge at that last Supercharger. By the next trip I had more confidence in their outlet and I was probably aiming for a more typical 10% arrival SOC. It takes over 3 full days of charging at 8A to fully charge my Model 3 LR. (Of course my father-in-law just informed me they had some problem with that outlet and it needs to be rewired, so there goes my confidence!)

The net is, having a 120V outlet to charge from is key, whether at a hotel, cabin, or relative's house. At 8A charging speed, I get about 4 miles per hour of range. So for a 12 hour overnight stay, or 12 hour daytime visit, you can regain about 50 miles of range for your side excursions. Just make sure you have a good extension cord to use for this purpose. I have a 50' heavy duty 10 gauge extension cord. Do not use a standard household extension cord. You will melt it and/or get unacceptable voltage drop. And when you use an extension cord, avoid coiling it up on top of itself.

As for a practical recommendation, I would use abetterrouteplanner.com to experiment with various starting SOC in Bryson City for your return trip home. Find that magic starting SOC that will get you comfortably back to Asheville with 10% SOC and set that as your bare minimum target. Let's say that's 35% for example. This is the SOC you do NOT want to fall below at your remote end. Assume a certain amount of phantom drain at the remote end (make sure you disable Sentry Mode and maybe cabin overheat protection to reduce this, and try to avoid checking on the car and waking it up frequently)--maybe 5%. Then try to estimate how much you'll consume on your daily excursions. 25% more maybe? Add those up (35+5+25 = 65%) and this is the amount you will want to arrive at Bryson City with. Now flip ABRP and set a 65% arrival SOC at Bryson City and see how long you will have to charge at Asheville on the way there. Going through this exercise will give you a worst-case scenario that assumes no access to 120V outlets or charging, and you will know that what the bare minimum SOC will need to be before you leave Bryson City on the return trip. If you happen to find a 120V outlet, plug in give yourself some safety margin! If you know for a fact that you will have access to a reliable 120V outlet for part of your stay, even better...you can subtract about 1% SOC from your required Bryson City arrival SOC for each hour you will be able to be plugged in. I.e. if you know you'll have 24 hours of reliable charging time while there, you could technically arrive at Bryson City with 40% SOC rather than 65%.

I know that all sounds like a lot of work, but it's not. Hopefully you will be able to plug in most of the time you are there and you don't even have to worry about it and you can leave Bryson City with a full battery.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,427
1,840
Durham, NC
BTW, I just turned on residential chargers in plugshare and this popped up:

1624637249922.png


It's actually an inn: Luxury suites with private entrances - bed & breakfast in Bryson City NC - Calhoun House Inn & Suites so if that's an option for you to stay at during your reunion, he's got a NEMA 14-50 you can use! Maybe you could see if he'd be willing to let you plug in (in return for payment?) for awhile if the outlet is otherwise unused.

(He really ought to mark this as a public, not residential, charger--I may reach out to him to recommend that)
 
Any chance you’ll have access to a regular 110V outlet? Whenever we’ve gone to the mountains we’ve stayed in cabins where we always managed to find an outdoor plug. Even though it’s slow, you’d get a ~60 miles of range each night.

...
The net is, having a 120V outlet to charge from is key, whether at a hotel, cabin, or relative's house. At 8A charging speed, I get about 4 miles per hour of range. So for a 12 hour overnight stay, or 12 hour daytime visit, you can regain about 50 miles of range for your side excursions. Just make sure you have a good extension cord to use for this purpose. I have a 50' heavy duty 10 gauge extension cord. Do not use a standard household extension cord. You will melt it and/or get unacceptable voltage drop. And when you use an extension cord, avoid coiling it up on top of itself.
...

I am hoping to be able to plug into a 110v outlet some while there. My wife has had a BMW i3 for a couple of years, and when it goes to the mountains, it has to stay plugged into a 110 from Friday night until Sunday morning for her to feel comfortable to do the return trip. Of course, the i3 only has ~150 range!

I guess I still haven't internalized "working the lower half of the battery", but this trip will give me a chance to embrace that mindset! Once I do that, calculating how much to charge in Asheville, and supplementing on a 110 at night if possible, should be fine.
 
When we go mountain camping/cabins, I always bring my bag of adapters (get ALL the 240 ones) and my UMC extension cord. In a pinch you can always disconnect a dryer or electric stove and plug in. Long cord gives you the reach to go out a window near by and get some juice in the car.

BTW, I just turned on residential chargers in plugshare and this popped up:

...

It's actually an inn: Luxury suites with private entrances - bed & breakfast in Bryson City NC - Calhoun House Inn & Suites so if that's an option for you to stay at during your reunion, he's got a NEMA 14-50 you can use! Maybe you could see if he'd be willing to let you plug in (in return for payment?) for awhile if the outlet is otherwise unused.
...

I've wondered if I should go ahead and invest in a NEMA 14-50 plug for my Tesla UMC. I hear RV parks are a great resource for charging in remote areas, too, and I think that is their standard.

Unfortunately, the extended family is already books at a different inn, but I may contact him to see if I can pay him for charging in an emergency. I do a lot of hiking in the mountains, and having an extra "last chance gas station" for my electric car would be nice.
 
Have you looked to see if there are ChaDeMo plugs available? You'd need an adapter if you want to use one.
After NEMA 14-50, a CHAdeMO adapter is the next on my list of accessories.

In fact, the other side of my wife's family has a house near Hendersonville, and their is a VW diesel-gate settlement charger planned for there, that will have a CHAdeMO plug, so once that is operational, it might save me from having to always go through Asheville on every trip.

PlugShare - Find Electric Vehicle Charging Locations Near You
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,427
1,840
Durham, NC
I guess I still haven't internalized "working the lower half of the battery", but this trip will give me a chance to embrace that mindset! Once I do that, calculating how much to charge in Asheville, and supplementing on a 110 at night if possible, should be fine.
Understandable that it takes while to get comfortable with this. But when the "lower half", nay, "lower quarter" of the battery still gives as much range as my fully charged 2012 Nissan LEAF, it's not a huge leap of faith! This will certainly come with time. Get a feel for how well the car predicts arrival SOC based on your driving style. For me, my Model 3 predicts arrival SOC almost perfectly (on road trips), if not even a little conservatively. So if it says I'm going to arrive at the Supercharger with 10% state of charge, I can practically take it to the bank that my arrival SOC is around 10-12%. And that 10% represents 30 miles, so that's quite a safety margin already. And I know I've said it many times before in the forums, but I like to occasionally pop up the trip energy display to monitor my progress towards the destination and know whether I am doing better (or worse) than the car predicted.
Trip Energy Graph.jpg

This goes a long way towards building confidence.

After NEMA 14-50, a CHAdeMO adapter is the next on my list of accessories.

In fact, the other side of my wife's family has a house near Hendersonville, and their is a VW diesel-gate settlement charger planned for there, that will have a CHAdeMO plug, so once that is operational, it might save me from having to always go through Asheville on every trip.
While being able to avoid a lengthy diversion is certainly a valid reason, a CHAdeMO adapter is not a cheap accessory for what is essentially a dying standard. I'm still holding out hope for an eventual CCS adapter (which may or may not ever arrive). I too had pondered a CHAdeMO adapter before I got my Model 3, essentially to help cover a few gaps that existed in the network in 2018, but I'm glad I didn't because the Supercharger network has expanded greatly in that time.

Also, many Tesla clubs have CHAdeMO adapters you can borrow for trips instead of buying one yourself. I would investigate that route before dropping some serious coin on the CHAdeMO adapter.
 
I am hoping to be able to plug into a 110v outlet some while there. My wife has had a BMW i3 for a couple of years, and when it goes to the mountains, it has to stay plugged into a 110 from Friday night until Sunday morning for her to feel comfortable to do the return trip. Of course, the i3 only has ~150 range!

I guess I still haven't internalized "working the lower half of the battery", but this trip will give me a chance to embrace that mindset! Once I do that, calculating how much to charge in Asheville, and supplementing on a 110 at night if possible, should be fine.
Having a 120V around does make a huge difference. My suggestion is to plug your entire route, including a few diversions and your destination, into ABRP. Then tell it how long you will be at the destination with the 120V and estimate 1.2 kw as your available charge speed. This sounds a little low, but in practice it gets pretty close to real world charge rates with a 15 amp 120v outlet.

You might be surprised how useful the 120V ends up being, even with the Tesla.
 
Thanks again for everyone's advice.

Family reunion weekend in Bryson City turned out great.
  • Left Charlotte with 90%
  • Stopped in Hendersonville to pick up my wife
  • Charged to 90% at Asheville Outlets, just to be safe
  • Was able to plug in at the inn Thursday and Friday night on 110v, for over 10kW each night
  • Did a couple of runs into Bryson City
  • Couple of trips to Deep Creek for tubing
  • Trip to Nantahala Outdoor Center for rafting
  • Got back to Asheville Outlets with ~40% SOC, and charged to 79%
  • Dropped daughter off at camp
  • Back to Charlotte with 23%
Would have arrived in Charlotte with more, but the hour-long traffic jam, and then my teenage son's driving, used more energy than estimate.

I feel more confident than ever about the feasibility of an all-electric household.

family_reunion_stats.jpg
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,427
1,840
Durham, NC
Awesome! Glad you were able to make use of a 120V outlet.

Just curious: why not start out the trip at 100%? I get the feeling that people are afraid to charge to 100% at all. As long as you don't let the car sit at 100% for a long period of time (like more than a day at a time), there shouldn't be an issue. It's there for you to use for this type of occasion.

When I'm on a trip (and the night before I leave) I set my charge limit to 100% and leave it there for the entire trip. At my in-laws (where the car is usually just parked for the entire week) I do try to anticipate how much charge I'll get the last night and then unplug the car when I get up to that amount so that I am topping off just in time for the return trip. I did get caught out by this this past March as it was below freezing up there and I learned that the 120V charging was not quite enough to keep up with the cold temps and the battery heater and I didn't actually get any meaningful charge that last night!
 
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RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,427
1,840
Durham, NC
How many miles are you getting per hour on a 110v? Tesla says 3 miles per hour for the Model 3. Are you getting more than that?

I have a Long Range w/ 18" wheels, and when I limit my charge rate to 8A (I don't entirely trust the wiring at my in-laws' camp--good thing too, they said that outlet caught fire when they were using it last!) I get 3 mph. If I went with 12A I'm pretty sure I could get 4 mph. I've heard that SR+ cars can get up to 5 mph.
 
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How many miles are you getting per hour on a 110v? Tesla says 3 miles per hour for the Model 3. Are you getting more than that?
I get ~1.5% per hour with the Y LR on a regular 15 amp outlet. From what I remember, that is actually ~4.8 miles/hr. With a 20amp 120 outlet that jumps to 2% per hour and closer to 6.4 miles per hour. These are rated miles, though... real miles will be less.

The percentages per hour will increase significantly on an SR+ 3 or SR Y, and the miles per hour will increase by a small amount as well.
 
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Awesome! Glad you were able to make use of a 120V outlet.

Just curious: why not start out the trip at 100%? I get the feeling that people are afraid to charge to 100% at all. As long as you don't let the car sit at 100% for a long period of time (like more than a day at a time), there shouldn't be an issue. It's there for you to use for this type of occasion.
I'm not the original poster, but I'll answer for my case. I charge to 100% in the following cases:
  1. I need to in order to make a segment (fairly obvious, and also really rare, IMO)
  2. It lets me make a round trip without supercharging
  3. It lets me skip a supercharger that would otherwise be inconvenient due to timing or location of the charger
But what about cases where I'm driving to a destination 250+ miles away and there's a convenient supercharge enroute? The savings is really less than 5 minutes and not really worth it for me, in general. Since Charlotte to Asheville is <150 miles, I'm guessing this situation is similar.
 
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... why not start out the trip at 100%? I get the feeling that people are afraid to charge to 100% at all. As long as you don't let the car sit at 100% for a long period of time (like more than a day at a time), there shouldn't be an issue. It's there for you to use for this type of occasion.
We regular charge my wife's i3 to 100% for trips, because it only has about 150 miles of range. If I were road tripping where I knew I would not be near a Supercharger for a while, I would charge the Tesla to 100%, too.

When I plotted the weekend in A Better Route Planner, it said I didn't need to charge even as much as I did, so I didn't see the need to "push" the battery.

There's also the charging speed issue. Each time I got to the Supercharger, I didn't pull even close to the max charge rate, because I still so much SOC, 40% on the way out and 33% on the way back. Not a big deal when you can wonder around a mall, like in south Asheville, but I'm trying to train myself not to worry about arriving to charge with a lower SOC.

How many miles are you getting per hour on a 110v? Tesla says 3 miles per hour for the Model 3. Are you getting more than that?

The outlet I plugged into was giving me about 9A–10A, and I roughly calculated between 1 and 1.5 kW per hour. (While charging, the display always read 1 kW, but I think it only shows whole numbers.) At our average Wh/mi, that was a little over 3 mph.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,427
1,840
Durham, NC
We regular charge my wife's i3 to 100% for trips, because it only has about 150 miles of range. If I were road tripping where I knew I would not be near a Supercharger for a while, I would charge the Tesla to 100%, too.
Gotcha. I just want to make sure that people in general think that you should NEVER charge to 100%. It's definitely there if you need it or if it makes life more convenient. It just shouldn't be a regular thing.
 
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