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Crossing the Montana Supercharger Desert; Any Generous HPC/HPWC owners along I-90?

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Vger, May 5, 2014.

  1. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Hi mountain folk,

    I am driving starting TOMORROW, May 6, 2014, across Montana along I-90 toward Rapid City and the beginning of the midwest supercharger segment.

    If anyone can offer charging faster than RV parks (>40A), I would be most grateful! PM me if you can offer an electron oasis.

    Cheers,
    V

    P.S.: I am in our Model S "Ruby", but have the adapter, so original Roadster HPC is relevant!
     
  2. JackA

    JackA Member

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    I am hoping you will keep us posted on your sojourn. Charlene and I planned this same route for a trip to Kansas City earlier this year. After several days of investigating and planning we decided to burn the hydrocarbons because of the lack in haL2 or L3 charging opportunities. RV Parks seem to be pretty consistently placed along I-90 but some are only open during the tourist season. The I-90 route is "doable" but charging time will add more than a day to the time required. Keep us posted.
     
  3. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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  4. JohnMc

    JohnMc Member

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    I am very interested in your story and experiences. We are driving our Model S from Tacoma, WA to Chicago this summer but the "Supercharger Desert" looks formidable. Would you consider starting a blog on this website for everyone to follow your experiences?
     
  5. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Sorry for going dark on everyone! I made it, and am resting up and visiting friends and family in Iowa.

    Here is my route:
    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 2.55.37 PM.png

    Getting across Montana, relying exclusively on RV Parks was a bit slow, but a great adventure nonetheless. As I found on my Roadster trip here (through Canada) 1-1/2 years ago, the slower progress and long stops was compensated by meeting a number of interesting and interested people, many of whom had never seen any kind of electric car before.

    My general approach was to pick a prime candidate RV Park, but also a "safety" spot 30 or so miles closer, in case things got ugly on the energy graph, or I could not contact or confirm with the prime location. I almost always called ahead (one exception), but waited to negotiate payment until I got there. When it was a midday stop and I was only going to stay 3 - 5 hours, I offered $10, and that was always accepted. When I was planning to stay all night (even though both times I slept in the car), I willingly paid the park's standard rate for an RV ($28-35). Even though this is much more than most of us pay at public charging stations, much less the superchargers, I feel it is important to set a good example of EV owner fairness and good faith. In every case this resulted in genuine interest in the car and its possibilities.

    I found EVTripper.com indispensable (in the absence of f/w 6.0) to accurately predict energy use in such mountainous terrain. More than once, I would have been toast without it.

    Here is an example, from my last long leg on May 7:
    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 3.00.03 PM.png

    Even with a tailwind, and travelling well below the posted 75 mph speed, I was hard pressed to keep to the predicted 353 Wh/mi. I finished that 180 mile run with only 5 miles RR to spare.

    Here are some numbers to characterize this outbound journey:

    Total miles travelled = 2,420 miles
    Highest cruising speed = 80 mph (between superchargers in SD)
    Highest avg. energy consumption = ~400 Wh/mi (same stretch; 20-30 mph crosswind)
    Lowest avg. energy consumption = 266 Wh/mi. (final run from Iowa City to Fairfield, IA; ~55-60 mph with tailwind)
    Tightest range planning = Charged to only 67 mi. RR at slow J1772 in Iowa City over dinner with my son, for a 65 mi. run; made it with 5 mi. RR to spare!
    Number of times arrived at charge stop below 10 RR = 5
    Number of times arrived at charge stop below 0 RR ("Charge Now") = 2
    Number of times "Brodered" = 0
    Longest run = 220 miles (Garryowen, MT to Belle Fourche, SD via US212)
    Best Tesla Moments with RV Park owners: "You made my day!" "Well, it is the wave of the future!" "[on phone] Yes, you can charge, but is it a Tesla? Oh great, come on in!"

    Given the weather we are having in the US Midwest, I am planning on being a LOT more conservative and patient on the way home at the end of the month. South Dakota saw 30-50 mph northwesterlies today. That kind of headwind will put a dent in your range!

    Cheers,
    V

    IMG_3813.JPG
     
  6. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Glad you made it. Nice work.
     
  7. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    Fantastic...

    Makes our trip from AZ up to Saltspring this summer look easy -- especially if the Indio Supercharger gap gets closed by then...
     
  8. RFBrost

    RFBrost Member

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    Last September, I made the 1100 mile RT from Spokane, WA to Billings, MT. I had a week to prepare and FAXed a couple dozen motels and B&B’s along the way. Only Motel 6 in Boseman, MT had a 240V 50AMP outlet which they allowed me to use for $5 above the normal cost of a room. I stayed there both outbound and inbound. I have a P85 but like to drive fast so I planned to travel not more then 200 mi/day (I don’t like driving for longer then that). My First & Last stops were at the KOA campground in Missoula. The great thing about the KOA campgrounds is that now they have "cabins". The Rustic cabin has no bathroom so you have to use the same bathroom that the Tent & Car campers use. I could only get the Rustic Cabin in Missoula and had to walk 200 ft to a Pull-Thru space in which to charge the car. In Billings, a was able to rent the Deluxe cabin (about the price of a regular hotel room) with all the amenities, full kitchen, etc. The Billings location also had a Pull-Thru immediately adjacent to the cabin to charge the car. Neither campground would allow me to plug the car into the cabin, although the Deluxe cabins in Billings, looked like they had an adequate plug outside next to the driveway for the cabin. Like all the campgrounds I have visited they have the Big 240V 50AMP plugs.
     
  9. DrGuest

    DrGuest Member

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    Vger, we have a Private Guest Room upstairs and a NEMA 14-50 240 that can reach your port if you back in. Just let me know in advance, my number is on plugin share. Sorry it's not a HPVC, I edited my plugin share account. Glad you braved the Montana Ion Wasteland and had a great time, it is a very Beautiful State. I am excited that I-90 will be Super Charged this year and await them as patiently as I can. Living In Bozeman, I,am fortunate that there is so much Beauty to see within a 100 mile radius! Right now that is where I drive my Model S VIN 27174. When those Montana SC's get put in, I will be able to traverse the Country! And I will! Hope to meet you Vger. DrGuest
     
  10. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Hey Dr Guest, thanks again for your offered hospitality, both on the phone and here. As it turned out, the phasing of my trip did not cooperate. I was going to call you on Tuesday, but slower progress than I anticipated would have put me at your door around midnight. I did not think that civil in the slightest! I stayed instead at the lovely KOA in Billings (cabin and 50A spot right across the drive). I left very early AM, so again, not a good time to stop by on Wed.

    More of a trip report on the return leg soon. I got mostly really luck on wind and weather, so made great time, getting back to BC Th night.

    And thanks for correcting PlugShare!
     
  11. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    I know I am (probably) repeating myself, but the genuine hospitality extended to fellow EVers is incredible, and is building an incredible community .
    Yes, people will still have a rough spot or two when traveling in the wild, but overall I really love how people are open, sharing, considerate and kind.
    Thanks also to Vger for documenting your trek, and having the courage to undertake your drive under less than premium conditions.
     
  12. DrGuest

    DrGuest Member

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    I just got word from our City Sustainability Manager that The Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman has been chosen as a Bozeman, Montana Supercharger Site. I will check out the site and post any signs of progress. She said she was told that I-90 Superchargers will be Coeur D'Alene, Id => Missoula, MT => Bozeman, MT => Billings, MT. Bozeman to Missoula is 204 miles and with 2 mountain passes, and cold winter conditions, it could push our range limits but Time will tell and I will let ya'll know what I see coming this way...accross the ion Desert....
     
  13. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    #13 Cottonwood, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
    Here is my view of the I-90 corridor: Ritzville, WA to Rapid City, SD - Google Maps

    You are right, Missoula to Bozeman will be a bear in the winter, and tough in a 60 in the summer. Hope Tesla wakes up and puts a Supercharger in Butte. At least Tesla should find a place in Butte to get a few 80 Amp HPWCs in a restaurants, etc. That would really help those who prepared to live off the land of Pacific NW High Amp L2 (HAL2) sites, and bought dual chargers.

    BTW, in the winter, the 165 miles from Coeur D'Alene to Missoula is no pushover, either...
     
  14. DrGuest

    DrGuest Member

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    It might sound extravagant, however, getting stranded in a Montana Winter without power can't be an option, it can be deadly. Adding Saint Regis and Butte, both, could make crossing the ion desert with the proper rations to safely traverse this amazing State of Montana and would help with North and South travel also. Time will tell.
     
  15. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry Model S - U.S. P - #1649

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    Just looking at the end of 2014 map, it looks like the supercharger at the west end of Montana is closer to St. Regis (almost at the Idaho border) than Missoula and that there is the next one nearer Deer Lodge than to Missoula. I'm hoping that's so, as it would make for safer distances. It's hard to judge though. I wish they'd make the state lines and highways darker to make it easier to zoom in and make a better judgement. As it is, I have trouble seeing where reference points happen to be.
    I hope to be making that trip to my daugher's place in Columbia, MO in early November. Denver to Columbia is almost done, but I'm concerned about Montana.
     
  16. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry Model S - U.S. P - #1649

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    Actually looking at the map, one of the red dots seems very close to Butte.
     
  17. DrGuest

    DrGuest Member

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    I was just checking out the Supercharger map on Teslamotors.com and noticed a new red dot in Montana using the Coming Soon Slider. It looks close to Billings, MT. No new signs of the supercharger in Bozeman quite yet.
     
  18. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Billings and Bozeman would be a nice start in the middle of Big Sky Country! At about 150 miles, they are a tad far apart for speedy winter driving, but not bad.
     
  19. Six

    Six Member

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    I feel like the Tesla Supercharger Map should say "Coming Soon, but not soon enough". :wink:

    I will be driving from the supercharger in Rapid City SD to Ritzville WA in early August. It is part of a longer trip from Seattle to TMC Connect in Monterey CA through Los Angeles, AZ, UT, WY, CO, SD, then back home. The superchargers on the coming soon map would make life so much easier.
     
  20. freds

    freds Member

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