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Experience: Road Trip from Smithfield, VA to Charlottesville, VA

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by Todd Burch, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4,733
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    #1 Todd Burch, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
    Here's some feedback from my road trip from Smithfield, VA to Charlottesville, VA for the weekend.

    Drive there:

    I had about 15,500 mi on the odometer before I left (car delivered Dec. 31, 2012). My max range charge (my first full max range charge--never have Supercharged before either) showed at 255 miles rated. As to whether this is all real degredation, or partly due to imperfect estimation of rated range, I suppose it doesn't matter too much.

    I arrived at my destination in Charlottesville with about 88 miles left (159 mi distance driven)--so pretty close to rated range, which I suppose is pretty good given all the interstate and hilly driving. (There is a fairly small overall elevation gain from Smithfield to Charlottesville of about 560 ft). Ran the air conditioner the whole time. Drove a few mph slower than I would have in a gasser on the interstate--but only because I was trying to be conservative with remaining miles because I wasn't confident which charging option I'd end up having to use. Speed was still at the speed limit or few mph over.

    Charging when I got there was a bit of a pain. I couldn't charge at my destination because they had no outlets within reach of parking. So I had to use the UVA parking garage charger. Unfortunately, the charger in the UVA Parking garage is slow. SLOW. About 180V @ 30A, so 16mph if the winds are just right.

    There's a 4 hour limit for the charging--with vampire drain and some local driving, it would take over 10 hours to get back up where I needed to be. Furthermore, the garage is over 6 miles from where I was staying...so I decided to do the following:

    I pulled into the garage on Saturday morning and parked in the space adjacent to the charger (leaving the primary charging space open). Plugged in and left my phone number on the dash in case someone else came and needed to charge. I basically said to hell with the 4 hour limit--someone can call me if they needed to charge. A 4 hour limit would have meant that I'd have to come back twice to "restart charging". I had to pay $10 for the parking for the day, plus $20 for a cab ride to where I was staying. (I was able to work out a free ride there later on).

    The other issue I ran into was that I wanted a range charge (or close to it) for the ride home, for comfort reasons. But obviously I can't leave the car sitting at a range charge for long. So if I wanted to do that, I'd have to repeat the process and bring the car back right before I left to go home. Which would've meant more parking fees, etc. So I ended up charging to right around 90% SOC. I got home with 33 rated miles left.

    Moral of the story: Infrastructure needs vast improvement in our neck of the woods. All in all, with parking, cab, and charger fees, I shelled out almost $40 for 175 miles of driving or so. that's more than twice what I would have paid had I taken the Toyota Corolla. Even with the new Supercharger coming online, we need faster public charging. It would be great to just scatter cheap 14-50 connections all over cities. Speed is obviously much less important if the charging location is very close to your destination. It's sad that a plain 14-50 gives me twice the recharging speed of a dedicated EV charging station...

    Nevertheless, the car performed pretty well. I got an intermittent TPMS error while driving home (receiver probably just didn't get a reading and indicated it needed service, but the message went away 10 minutes later and hasn't returned). I also had some issues with voice control not working at all while navigating--haven't seen that issue before--but the car itself did well.
     
  2. jthompson

    jthompson JThompson

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
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    Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia, United States
    Todd Burch: Man, I got my Model S one day before you but I only have 9000 miles! iI 3 days that trip will be a whole lot easier when the Glen Allen supercharger opens!
     
  3. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Central Virginia
    Sounds like a pain. It is surprising, given how environmentally conscious C-ville is (the Albemarle County government building has a grass roof!) that there are so few charging options. There are at least 2-3 Model S' there including one owner who used to post here pretty regularly. Hopefully we'll see chargers pop up in places like the downtown parking garage; maybe that new shopping center on 29.

    I had a faulty TPMS sensor that would mostly give error messages on road trips. seemed to be worse in rainy weather. Ranger came around and fixed it a couple of months ago and problem solved.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Tjim, you need to get out and drive more! That's my mileage!
     
  4. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4,733
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    The innkeepers where I stayed mentioned that several guests with electric cars had charged previously in the parking garage and were happy with it. I was thinking to myself: Leaf or Volt owners--recharging 30 or 50 miles at 16 mph is a whole different ball game than trying to recharge an 85 kWh battery at 7.2 kW! But given that alone, they'd be amazed at how quickly they make back the costs if they just put 14-50s in random parking spaces around the city along with a box for taking donations for charging...
     

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