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DC-Pittsburgh driving/charging experience?

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by paulkva, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    I was wondering if anyone has driven a Model S from DC to Pittsburgh, what your experience was with charging, power usage, etc. I've read one post on teslamotors.com about someone with a 60KWh battery making the trip a few months ago, but that's it.

    For those who don't know, the trip is ~250 miles each way and includes some rather hilly terrain, so I'm curious as to whether the 85KWh battery can handle it without stopping to charge.

    Thanks in advance,
    --Paul

    P.S. I've been lurking here for a few weeks, reading as much as I can about the Model S. This is my first post here (I think an earlier one didn't post properly, so if this is a duplicate I apologize). I put a deposit down on a P85 in the DC store about a week ago, to be finalized this coming week. Needless to say, I've never been this excited about a car before.
     
  2. fryfrye

    fryfrye Member

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    I have a late August delivery of a standard 85kw and will be doing this trip, although I will be exiting at Donegal and only have 207 total trip miles, so I am pretty confident. While we wait for the "grey dot" around Breezewood to turn Red, I did track down an RV park just off the bedford exit who said they will have EV charging rates with 50A service. (Camping in South Central, Pennsylvania ).

    Finding this spot was my "tipping point" for finalizing the order -- I figured if I get too crazy on 70 I will have a safety-valve stop where I could stop for an hour or two. I've exchanged a few emails with them suggesting they add themselves to plug-share.
     
  3. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    By the way, I've heard that the PA Turnpike is starting to install charging stations at some of its service plazas, but I'm not sure when they'll have sufficient coverage. And if you look really closely at Tesla's supercharger map, it looks like they're planning to install one around Breezewood PA (the halfway point of the trip) and another around Hagerstown MD. So at worst, I figure my "range anxiety" will only last another year or two. Of course if anyone has any details (rumored or confirmed) about the PA Turnpike chargers or the upcoming superchargers, I'd love to hear more.
     
  4. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Sorry I had typed up a whole response to this, and then lost it when I switched tabs in my iPad. But I was saying the same thing as you did, there should be an SC at Bedford and Hagerstown by Christmas (fingers crossed) which will make perfect places to stop and recharge, one stop in each direction of travel. I have yet to see and work begun on the PA Turnpike fast charge stations, so we cannot even confirm if they will require a CHAdeMO adapter, or maybe Tesla intercepted this and is in talks with making some of the Rest Areas into SC stops. The first four were supposed to be done this Summer, but I see nothing at Oakmont or New Stanton yet.
     
  5. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    PS, I can make it easily from Wexford to Carlisle, 213 miles, over the hilly terrain in my S85. There are also some RV parks with 50A plugs for now (Donegal exit, for example), and a Nissan dealer in Greensburg.
     
  6. Greg G

    Greg G Member

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    Paul,

    I drove from Arlington to Pittsburgh last month. I stopped at the KOA (Madison) to recharge before returning. My total distance was 220 miles, and I used 199 miles of rated range to get there. (I had the car on cruise most of the way and was driving about 55 mph.) The KOA staff were helpful, and they charged $20 for the "refueling". They also had plenty of spots 50 amp power, so they could recharge me even though they were fully booked.
     
  7. fryfrye

    fryfrye Member

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    What's your average speed once on the Pike? Even in my CTS I rarely go over 70 due the heavy enforcement on the PA Pike...

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, I already smell a Breezwood/Bedford super-charger meet up when it opens...
     
  8. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies! Sounds like I would be cutting it really close at best unless I stop to recharge. It's great to read about your experiences with the RV parks. If/when I ever find myself needing one, I'll be sure to tell them about PlugShare.

    I also saw that a couple Giant Eagle stores and the UPMC building near 76/376 have EV chargers, so I guess I could stop near the very end if I'm cutting it too close. This might be a dumb question, but why do PlugShare and the "find stations" function on recargo.com show different results from each other? They seem to be the same company...

    JakeP: superchargers at either Bedford/Breezewood or Hagerstown would definitely make this a non-issue. The trick for me is I'm expecting at least one trip, if not more, within the next 3-4 months. Worst case I'll use my wife's CR-V, rent a car, or ride with a co-worker until the SC comes online.
    Greg G: I suspect cruise control will be my friend if I want any chance of making it through the entire trip without recharging. :smile:
    Fryfrye: my delivery is also estimated for mid-August, although as I said above I haven't finalized the order yet. And I think my average speed on the turnpike has dropped over the years... :smile: And I'm sorry, but I don't think I could ever drive to Breezewood as a destination in and of itself, even to meet other Tesla owners. :wink:
     
  9. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    From my experience, when you get your Model S you'll want find ways to avoid having to drive an ICE vehicle! One caution on the campgrounds is most are not open in the off season (between October and April) which of course is the time when you need to charge the most due to losses in cold weather.

    When I drove from Northern Virginia (Leesburg) to Pittsburgh in April, I used 70 Kwh to get there, 69Kwh to get home in a 60Kwh Model S, averaging 300w/mile. I charged at Happy Hills Campground in Hancock, MD (right off the C&O canal) each way. I know the efficiency of the 85Kwh is not as good as the 60 (more weight and ?other differences) but you "might" be able to make it non-stop depending on driving speed etc. That said, you absolutely want to have at least a backup plan for charging and monitor your energy use as you go. Also remember you get drasticly improved range if you drive slower which is not so fun on a highway but can be quite fun on the scenic routes. I drove there via Rte 15 to 70 to 68 to 219 to 76 (241 miles). I drove home via rte 51 to 40 to 68 to 70 to 15 (234 miles). Also driving/drafting a safe distance directly behind a tractor trailer on the interstate can stretch range.
     
  10. fryfrye

    fryfrye Member

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    I think the 30 less miles that I have to travel on my Trip will make the biggest difference... plus, 30 of the 207 are non-highway miles... Lets hope for an early holiday present from Tesla and have a super-charger opened in Bedford/Breezewood sooner than later
     
  11. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    I know it may not be helpful for the trip itself, but if anyone ever needs a charge while in town, I am just NW of Pittsburgh in Wexford, readily accessible off of I-79, one exit below I-76. I am listed on Plugshare and Recargo with a Tesla HPWC, currently limited to 60A, but that beats 30A chargers available elsewhere in town.
     
  12. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    I just finalized my order tonight, and I'm already planning another road trip (NJ/Philly) that I hope we can make in the Tesla. (That one's much easier with the Delaware SC of course.) Even after my first Tesla test drive, I really started noticing how hot and noisy and inefficient our other cars were, and how much our garage heats up whenever we get home.

    And thanks for the reminder about campgrounds off-season and slower/scenic routes.
     
  13. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    Resurrecting this thread for a quick update. I'm leaving Monday afternoon for Pittsburgh in my new P85! :) I'll post another update here after the trip, but here are my thoughts so far:

    * I've already taken one road trip to Philadelphia and back. I consumed energy at exactly the rate for "rated range," i.e. 306 Wh/mi, and I basically drove as I normally would have in any other car (plus regen braking of course) at the prevailing traffic speed. Oh, and my EZPass worked fine.
    * We're leaving in the late afternoon Monday, and we'll likely stop for dinner and a little bit of extra charge in Frederick, MD.
    * If I'm doing significantly worse than rated range by the time I get to Breezewood, or if I can't charge in Frederick for some reason, I'll probably take Route 30 instead of the Turnpike. When I enter the trips on evtripplanner.com, it tells me I'll use significantly less energy taking 30, probably due to lower speed.
    * If I'm running low on charge near the end, I'm hoping I can at least make it to Monroeville to get a boost before reaching CMU.
    * The folks in charge of the Electric Garage were very nice and said that currently there's nearly always room for another EV. I hope to park and charge there all day Tuesday and Wednesday.
    * I haven't decided on a specific plan for returning to DC, but I'll probably plan for dinner and topping off my battery in Monroeville before I get onto 76 or 30.
    * I'd like to avoid campgrounds if possible, primarily because I'll probably be making this trip again in the winter when they're closed.

    I'm still hopeful that we'll see a Breezewood/Bedford supercharger in the near future!
     
  14. fryfrye

    fryfrye Member

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    I've been so busy, I nearly forgot to post my McLean VA to Latrobe PA (~210 miles) (almost to Pittsburgh) road trip.

    I had a pretty packed car -- wife and two kids (3 1/2 and 1), full trunk (and a full frunk on the return).

    Max charged to a rated range of 267 miles. Decided to skip the local lunch and grab lunch in Gaithersburg -- plugged in here: PlugShare - EV Charging Station Map - Find the nearest location to charge your electric car! and picked up a whole ~9 miles while eating at the Indian buffet with the family.

    On the outbound, the trip meter claimed 217 miles driven and had 42 miles of rated range when I pulled into my parents farm. Thats a net loss of about 17 rated miles on the trip after the added range for lunch. The trip
    "up" to my parents is significantly more uphill -- I did take an easy on the climb from MD to Breezewood Turnpike interchange and on the Allegheny Mountain tunnel approach -- and oh, yes it rained "to beat the band" for most of that uphill climb and then past Somerset. Averaged +5 over the speed limit with the exception of those two spots... I think my wife was tired of me pointing out how much energy those hills consumed.

    On the return (nearly full charge to 262 miles, plus about an extra 70 lbs in the frunk), the trip meter claimed about 220 miles driven and had 70 miles of rated range when I pulled into my garage in McLean. I stopped at Friendship Village Campground on my way back (Friendship Village Campground is located in Bedford County, Pennsylvania!) and plugged into a 50AMP 14-50 for about an hour... added ~28 miles of range during the stop.

    [ As a side note that I had agreed ahead of time to a flat $20.00 charge that included charging and use of the facility. They are looking to add a meter for EV charging (I was the third TESLA to charge there) -- and then are looking for suggestions on use of the facility. I suggested they include wifi but let others choose if they want to pay for the pool, playgrounds, lake, etc. I knew I didn't need to stop and charge, but they were very friendly when exchanging emails--- They are very close to the turnpike, open during the winter months with the exception of Sundays -- but plan to have a "honor" system if needed]

    So on the return I netted almost EXACTLY the rated range... I averaged good stretches "keeping up with traffic" at 80MPH in near perfect driving conditions. I may or may not have seen triple digits at one point.

    When the super-charger opens-- we plan on "quicker stops", but during nice weather we are thinking about making the campground a regular attraction for the kids... especially if they work to get the charging fee in order.

    J
     
  15. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    #15 paulkva, Sep 30, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
    MADE IT with 14 miles of range to spare! Details to come...
    2eqevary.jpg

    7u8u2y2y.jpg
     
  16. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    "It's 242 miles to Pittsburgh, we got a full Tesla battery, half a pack of résumés, it'll be dark, and I'm wearing glasses."
    "Hit it."

    I left home in the morning with the car reporting 272 miles Rated Range, which surprised me given that most people see no more than 265. I left my office in Arlington at 4pm with 263 miles Rated Range and with two passengers. The screen immediately showed us two accidents on I-495/I-270, so I re-routed us past Dulles and Leesburg. We stopped in Frederick around 5:30pm with 203 miles Rated Range, started charging at the Marriott TownePlace (http://www.recargo.com/sites/10980) and had dinner nearby. We left Frederick around 7pm with 231 miles Rated Range, drove 198 miles, and arrived in Pittsburgh around 10:15pm with 14 miles Rated Range remaining. After we all checked in, I went to CMU to charge the car, call home, and walk around for an hour or so. Weather was perfect, which I consider unusual for Pittsburgh.

    Some random observations:


    • Traffic slowed in three places: Leesburg, the PA Turnpike tunnel, and the Squirrel Hill tunnel in Pittsburgh.
    • The hills on the PA Turnpike make the energy graph look scary!
    • I spent a lot of time focusing on the difference between Rated Range and miles remaining on the nav system. It started around 32 miles in Frederick and got as low as 4 on the Turnpike (just after the tunnel).
    • If my range had been lower at the time, I could have charged in Monroeville just after exiting the Turnpike.
    • I didn't stop there or even find this out till after I made it to Pittsburgh, but the Nissan dealer in Hagerstown wants $10 for me to charge there.
    • The Nissan dealer in Frederick offered their chargers for free, but I chose the Marriott because there were more food options that we liked within a short walk.
    • Spending 8 hours parked at the CMU Electric Garage during the day wouldn't be enough to do a max range charge to get me home. Good thing I'm here for two days.
    • I drove *mostly* conservatively throughout the trip, probably 5-10 mph slower on average than I did in my Mazda.
    • I got to see dotted lines on both sides of my kW graph today, both for the first time for me.
    • Not Tesla-specific, but in 19 years of driving between DC and Pittsburgh on the PA turnpike, I have NEVER taken the trip without driving through significant construction zones.

     
  17. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Hey Paul. Congrats on your first road trip. I love the blues brothers reference!

    When you're traveling and discussing energy efficiency here, it's useful to talk in terms of Wh/mi. Rated range on the MS is 300 Wh/mi. The tripometers and the energy graph show this. On the energy graph you will see a solid line at 300. You will also see a dotted line that represents your usage, which is configurable for average 30, 15, and instant. If you're above 300 you're going to get less than rated distance. Below you'll get more.

    On this trip, because of the hills, your average Wh/mi on the way up was higher then on the way back.

    Andrew
     
  18. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    Thanks Andrew! It's actually my second road trip. First one was last weekend to Philly, which was a piece of cake with the DE supercharger. On that trip I went 348 miles right at the rated 306 Wh/mi, and I charged at 260-300 mph. I'll have to check the trip meter when I get back to the car later today, I forget what I was at last night at the end of the trip, but obviously it was above 300! What I do remember: near the top of the biggest hill, the 15mi energy graph was showing ~425 average, and the trip meter was over 350. But by the time I got off the turnpike the trip meter was closer to 310-320. Right now I'm charging at 18 mph, which means I'd have to charge overnight as well for a successful one-day trip.

    I don't think I'll try this trip in cold weather until a relevant supercharger comes online.
     
  19. fryfrye

    fryfrye Member

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    Which hill was the worst for you? Breezewood climb or Allegheny?
     
  20. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    Definitely Allegheny.
     

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