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Charging on the go? (RV)

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by AnOutsider, May 16, 2012.

  1. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    We plan to take the Model S on its first road trip this fall -- though it will be trailered behind an RV. We have quite a few stops planned, and the Model S will be our get-around car while at those locations. Our stints between locations will be fairly short (5-6 hours), but I'm wondering if there's anyway to charge as we drive (short of the drag-in-reverse thing that's been bounced around a bit)? Never taken an RV out before, but I imagine that along with the outlets inside the actual RV there's electrical hookups to the trailer. Would enough juice flow for us to plug in the Model S somehow?

    Would be a good backup in case we don't find somewhere to charge at our destinations.
     
  2. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Not sure you'd want to go down the path of using regen to charge while towing - Tesla would surely frown upon that and might even suggest that it'd void your spanking new Model S's warranty!

    Don't know much about RVs but, I'd think you'll have to have the engine running for a long time to get electrical hookups within to serve up enough juice for the S.

    Wouldn't going with a more efficient standalone diesel generator (that has been discussed before as well) make more sense if you get the right, clean-AC-generating one?

    Btw, impressive that you are taking the newborn on such a roadtrip! Have fun!
     
  3. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    It is possible, but definitively not recommended. My guess is Tesla prefers the Model S to only be towed on a flatbed as well.
     
  4. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    You're probably right, but more importantly, I wouldn't want to drag my shiny new S around!

    I suppose. So we store a generator on board and whip it out to charge while parked? The first stop will be going to amusement parks so I'm not sure if she's envisioning staying in a hotel then or a campground. If the latter, we should be good there. If not, we'll have to see if we can plug in at the hotel. Probably won't use much range getting to and fro, but just trying to think ahead.

    Are impressive and insane synonyms now? Not my idea haha, but w/e. He'll be 6.5 months by then. What could go wrong right...?

    Pretty sure we should be OK. I didn't plan to drag the S, I planned to get a trailer that the car drove up and sat squarely on.
     
  5. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Well obviously the rear wheels would have to be dragged to charge the car via regen.

    Charging from a 110 outlet in the RV while moving sounds interesting though. Can you get 12A reliably out of that?
     
  6. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Yup. I mentioned that in my first post in a sort of facetious manner. I wouldn't want to utilize that method (and couldn't since I wouldn't drag the S). It was sort of a "I'll mention it before you do, but are there any other options?" thing.

    I didn't know enough to search for specific Amperage ratings, but I did search to see if I could get continuous power while on the road. In one of my searches:

    So it looks like you can only get that draw when drawing from an outside source. So that's sort of back to the beginning of trying to find somewhere to plug the guy in when stationary. Parking at a campground shouldn't be an issue though, and would probably be somewhat fun. At the other stops we can plug in at our family's homes (after assuring them the car won't generate a $1,000 bill of course).

    *edit* did another search to see what people do to get 110 power on the go:

    TV power while driving - iRV2 Forums

    So it sounds like it's theoretically possible, but not sure if it's worth the headache.
     
  7. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Many RVs include a small 120V generator on-board. If you really wanted to charge the S while on the go, you could conceivably run a 1500 watt+ gasoline powered generator. I don't think these are really intended to be used while in motion, and running a live 120V cable to the car trailer may also raise some eyebrows.
    Probably best to just find campgrounds and hotels with available outlets to charge while you are parked.

    Keep Your RVs Lifeline Generating | Natural State RVing
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  8. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Sounds like a fun trip. You'll have so much range with the 85 kWh pack that it shouldn't be an issue. You can easily charge on the 40A outlets at the RV parks as you said. If you did get really low, you have the advantage of driving around in your RV in an emergency to look for a place to charge (maybe a public J1772 charger).
     
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    TEG, thanks, didn't know that some had onboard generators. Would definitely be a new use for it I'd imagine. I think David's right though, the car will be used for short jaunts here and there at the first stops, and then when we get to family, should only be used to show it off a bit. I imagine we'll be riding with them if we go out anywhere, so battery pack should be pretty preserved.

    Definitely something to consider if someone was thinking of a full blown cross-country trip in an RV though. Juice up as you go (though I guess you're just putting gas in the car then, aren't you)
     
  10. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Don't most camp sites have two high-powered outlets per site? That would allow you to plug your RV in one and the S (via adapter) into the other.
     
  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I've only stopped at RV parks a few times but I've seen one 50A outlet per spot. I think one may have had an additional 30A outlet though. There were always tons of empty charge spots though so I'm sure you could talk with th RV park operators about it.
     
  12. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    You shouldn't need to worry about charging the S that much unless you will be making several-hundred-mile side trips. Occasionally plugging in at the RV park (like when you are going for a walk or something) should keep the charge up enough.

    If you aren't that familiar with RVs, why don't you rent one for a weekend and go to a nearby RV park?
    My son has recently been quite interested in RVs, so we rented a 30 footer at Cruise America and drove about 40 miles to Costanoa, between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. We plugged in, stayed 2 nights, and had most of our meals in the RV. The kids had a blast, but there were some mechanical issues with the unit that made it less fun for me. Another pain was that the RV came empty, and we had to bring all bedding, towels, kitchen, dining stuff, etc.

    As for driving, although it was only a 1 hour drive, and I had done it before, it was nerve-wracking, white knuckle driving. So many more things to worry about! Even simple things like lane changes or making turns take some getting used to, as it is so long and wide. I was afraid of hitting bicyclists, parked cars, everything. And all the stuff inside shifts like crazy. Doors pop open, everything makes noise. The carseat for my 3 yr old didn't fit in the dining table forward-facing seat so he sat facing sideways on a couch/bench. The winding mountain road was especially scary: when we rounded a corner to find the traffic stopped and I had to slam on the brakes and everything went flying. Towing a car would be all the more difficult, but plenty of people manage to drive bus sized RVs towing cars, so it's not uncommon, but I think you need experience and practice. And these things get like 10mpg.

    For me, I'd prefer to drive the Model S, bring a tent and inflatable mattress and camp at the RV park while the car charges overnight. (@Transl8r, yes I did notice that the power box had 2 outlets, a 14-50 and a 14-30, but it seemed like there were switches for each and only one side was on. Not sure if you can have both on at the same time. Sorry I don't have a picture). AnOutsider, since you have a baby, camping might be a little more difficult. He's still young enough to be on jarred food, but what you are missing is refrigeration for milk (unless he's still nursing then that won't be a problem) and a way to heat things up. It's too bad the model S drive battery doesn't power the 12V outlet, otherwise you could get a little in-car fridge (or even an inverter so you can power a fridge, hot water heater, microwave, etc).

    If you want more info on the RV, check out this detailed orientation video.
     
  13. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    I think the main reason a big RV needs 50 amp service is for air conditioning. If your trip is in the fall hopefully you won't need it.
    Then you can plug the Tesla into the 14-50 and the RV into the 14-30.

    If you plug the RV into the 14-50 and the Tesla into the 14-30 you can still get significant charge overnight. A 14-30 with proper adapter can charge a Roadster at about 10 mph at 24 amps 120 volts.
     
  14. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Quick note... I think I've seen DougG mention that he tried charging his roadster from several different generators and it didn't work.

    Another side note, if the Model S has adjustable regen perhaps it would be possible to set it to it's lowest setting before towing? (thus charging the battery slower at a more acceptable C rate)?
     

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