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Fastest long-distance: stop at every Supercharger or drain battery for faster overall recharges?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Derek Kessler, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Derek Kessler

    Derek Kessler Member

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    I'll be driving a Model S on an 800-900-mile trip in the next few weeks and I will want to keep my travel time as short as possible. Obviously, I'm going to have to spend a significant amount of time at Superchargers. So here's the question: do I stop at every Supercharger along the way and top up the battery to get me to the next with charge to spare, or do I push through to the next Supercharger (within reason, pending remaining charge) and recharge less frequently?

    I'm leaning towards the latter option to reduce overall time at the Superchargers, since the battery can charge faster when it's closer to empty, versus a slower recharge when it's more full.

    Your thoughts? Am I making any sense?
     
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  2. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Depends how far the superchargers are spaced. If it's every 100-150 mlies you'd want to stop at every one of them.
    It makes no sense to charge to 100% to skip a SpC, since you'll be charging in the taper.

    If they're every 50 miles, then I'd skip some.
     
  3. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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    From what I have read:

    Drive at 75 MPH (slower gives more range, but the added driving time is longer than the pro rata recharge time). Drive as fast as you like over the last leg to your destination, depending on SOC.

    Arrive with as little charge as possible at each SC, charge only enough for the next one - but if you need to stop for longer, e.g. a meal, then let the car charge and skip next SC if you have enough charge.
     
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  4. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    The twist to this math is that the car charges much faster in the lowest third of the range than the highest. So the fastest method isn't either of the ones you mentioned.

    The fastest approach is to drain the battery as far as you dare, likely skipping the first charging option, then stop at every charger but charging only enough to reach the next one - always arriving with less than twenty miles remaining so you can use the 120 kW capability of the Supercharger to best advantage.
     
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  5. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Wholly dependent upon spacing and more, and if you really want to fine tune, then it's also dependent upon those few SCs at which you may end up paired with someone (either through density or through a lack of knowledge on the part of the pair-er).

    Back to spacing. It's not just spacing. It's real world conditions from leg to leg, including elevation, temperature, and speed. In addition, different states have different speed limits.

    So as an academic discussion, knock yourself out. As a practical matter, you'll want to give yourself a buffer as it is far more efficient to spend an extra 12 minutes at an SC than to waste 20 minutes driving 25mph under the limit just to get to the next SC.

    For all of these reasons, you could create a scenario in which you've already visited all of the SCs in question, in both directions, during, say, a 2,000-mile round trip from Los Angeles to Portland. Or, for bonus points, from Custer, SD to the Wisconsin/Illinois border. Pre-visited, so that you know where to add 30% to rated, or, in some cases, to the "You have enough to continue" percentage which in many cases will also leave you stranded.

    With that, you could make the case, weather permitting, that traveling with enough to get to the next SC plus 5-10% will get you by in most cases. The underlying caveat is that you're able to accomplish this at +5mph over the speed limit and not at -20mph under.

    Good luck.
     
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  6. AZ Desert Driver

    AZ Desert Driver Genesis - The Beginning - MS60D in its nest

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    You used the term "pre-visited"..What is that? Is there a simulation program somewhere where one can plan an entire trip?
     
  7. CliffG

    CliffG Member

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    evtripplanner.com
     
  8. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    #8 TaoJones, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
    While evtripplanner.com and in particular the downloadable trip-specific .csv file feature contribute admirably to forecasting, by pre-visited I meant exactly that: visiting each leg of a journey *in both directions* before trying to fine tune that journey to the nth degree.

    You'll occasionally hear the rule of thumb for SC travel described as 50mph in overall time. 500-mile trip? You're doing great if you can accomplish that in 10 hours or less. That's the 50mph rule of thumb.

    Now let's say you push it and want to travel 1000 miles in a day. Up at 2am, and let's say it's north-south so there are no timezone implications. The idea is to be done with the day by 10pm. With that plan, 10-minute efficiencies start to matter. And the trip is not the same in both directions, so you can't just reverse what you did. You also can't trust Nav/Trip Planner as a rule, but you can ensure arriving without the aid of a flatbed by adding 25-40% to rated. But in fairness to the OP, the idea is to fine tune, which is a laudable goal. My point is that there are as many as five or six variables at play per leg.

    As an example, there are plenty of legs in the land for which, if you take the "Good to go now" percentage at face value, you might arrive at the next SC unaided. But you'll have done it at 50mph in an 80mph zone and have taken more time doing it than waiting an extra 20% at the previous SC. Speed zones, relative elevation, headwinds, crosswinds, temperature, those miserable construction zones with tens of miles of gravel... it all counts. So figuring on paper that it's best to charge so that you arrive at the next SC with 5% on flat ground at 65mph in perfect conditions is fine and dandy. Doesn't do you a bit of good outside that bubble. But accounting for speed limits and net elevation and wind and temperature will :). The construction zones? Well, those are just a pain in the butt.
     
  9. jmmp85d691hp

    jmmp85d691hp Member

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    I did a 4000 mile round trip last year (Phoenix to Cleveland and back) and stopped at all the SC's and a few Hotel chargers ~ because the next SC may not be working properly or at all (as happened to me) an area power outage. Also there was road work stoppages and traffic slowdowns and heavy rain. ALWAYS have a big buffer, then you can have piece of mind . I would also recommend Woodalls RV park book at AAA for plan B backup. ..... Jim M.
     
  10. AoneOne

    AoneOne Member

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    Also note that some superchargers are further from the highway than others. You might take a closer look at skipping those.
     
  11. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    I think the previsiting idea is not a good idea, first off you have to go there without knowledge to build this knowledge base.
    what worked well for me was planning with tesla.info and many of the SpCs have threads here on TMC. reaching out for info on those sub forums and the forums of the states I was passing through garnered a lot of very useful tips.
    especially the one person who advised me to add at least 30% charge for my trip west in KS via I70 because of the massive prevailing headwinds coming off of the rockies, without knowing that I may have not charged enough and might have been caught short.
    the key to sucessful long road trips in the tesla is to plan plan and plan some more.
     
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  12. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Member

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    I’ll also mention the Supercharger traveling rhythm that works well for most people if the trip is longer than one or two Superchargers. You alternate long/short stops. Here’s how that goes.

    For ballpark numbers, let’s say Superchargers are around 2 hours apart—maybe 120 to 140 miles. Long stop is when you get a meal. Leave the car’s charge limit set at 100%, so it won’t stop while you are still busy. So the car ends up charging a bunch extra while you are still eating. It’s probably almost full by the time you finish with your meal and are ready to leave. Then, the next stop, two hours later, is short, because you charged up so much extra at the previous meal stop, you’re still about half full. That’s maybe 10-15 minutes to use the bathroom and maybe get a drink to go. Then, two hours later, you are nearing empty on the car, and it’s time for another meal break, four hours after your last meal stop.

    Here’s the big advantage to this: you are hardly aware of any time waiting for the car at all, so it doesn’t seem like an inconvenience. When you are eating, you are already busy, so you aren’t actually waiting for the car at all. Then, at the in-between stops when you do have to wait some, it’s much shorter, so it’s not too noticeable.
     
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  13. steve56

    steve56 TeslaTouring.com

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    Not exactly to the topic, but I almost always stop at every Supercharger. I've done a 3600 mile trip from the west coast to Missouri in a MS P85D and the same trip again, though a different route for the return, in a MX P90DL. Plus I've done a number of trips up and down the west coast between Vancouver, WA and Anaheim, CA in both cars and a few trips to other places like Las Vegas, San Diego, Solvang, etc. First, I just like to visit every Supercharger just to see what the layout looks like and what is around. Second, I tend to be conservative. Where possible I like to start each segment with twice the miles charge on the battery than the number of miles I'll be traveling. This allows me to drive at whatever speed I'd like without worrying about reaching the next Supercharger. It also allows me to take a detour to whatever unexpected attractions we might find along the way, and even a safety margin if we get lost.
     
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  14. GlmnAlyAirCar

    GlmnAlyAirCar Member

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    My technique is consistent with a lot of the advice given above and simple enough to not have to worry about too much pre planning. First of all, start with maximum 100% charge. This assumes you are charging at home or some place where waiting for a full charge isn't an issue. Then, on your first leg drive as far as you can. Get your SOC down to as low as your comfort level will allow. Then, charge just enough to get to the next SC. It allows you to arrive at each SC with minimal SOC to allow for maximum charge rate and short charges.

    Of course, if you stop too often, there is a penalty for just getting off of and back onto the highway, so use this technique within reason.
     
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  15. Duc916

    Duc916 Member

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    I just drove from Columbus Ohio to Pleasanton California this week. , and it is much faster to do quick short charges because when your battery is low the supercharger will charge very quickly but it also quickly begins to taper off as you gain range. it takes way too long to fill the battery up really full unless you're sitting having lunch then it makes sense and you can skip the next charger possibly. And you don't have to watch your energy usage quite so closely. Use the trip planner and watch your trip meter closely it'll let you know if you're using too much energy, I gained a lot by occasionally drafting a big rig or an Escalade ha ha I have a 60 kW car and one time I charged 285 miles but I made it 199 by drafting. And we were doing 90 miles an hour in certain areas.

     
  16. KJD

    KJD Member

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    Rocky has the right idea here. This is how you make travel with a Tesla easy and painless.

    The only thing I will add is when you start from home start with 100% charge. This way the first charge stop takes less time. Same thing if your trip is more than one day, stay at a hotel with an EV charger and start the day with a full battery.

    When you get back home set the charge limit back to 90% and life is good.
     
  17. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    It's best to stop at every Supercharger as long as they are 60 miles or more apart.
    It is best to charge only as much as you need and aim to arrive close to zero on the battery.
    It is better to charge more so you can go at a higher speed than going slower to save energy and reduce charge time. The time saved by going fast is more than what the added charge time is.

    Here is a longer explanation.
    How to save a lot of time on long trips
     
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