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First long trip... questions on charging.

11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
I'm doing my first long trip in Thunder Road (LR AWD 19") from San Jose to Tahoe this weekend (don't worry, taken into account the PG&E power outages)... Stop for about 15-20 in Sacramento to make sure we have a healthy charge to get up the mountains. My wife is still skittish.

So I've generally been L2 charging to 90% at work once a week then working my way thru the battery down to about 170 then charging back up for the weekend.

I know charging to 100% should only be done when you're ready to travel and not be kept there, so to start off with as much charge as I can I'm considering:

1. Charge to 100% (310mi) at work, drive home (prob down to about 299), then top up the 10mi on 120v first thing Saturday before heading out.
2. Charge to my regular 90% (279mi) at work, drive home (down to about 268mi), then plug in overnight so she's pretty much full the next morning.

Is one of these options healthier for the battery?

With the 268mi in my car right now it says I get to Sacramento with 41% remaining, and charge for 15-20 to arrive in Truckee with 9%. I'll prob start a bit longer for more buffer. Maybe getting there with less charge means I'll be at the "faster charging" area of the battery.

This is all fun and new to me. Any experiences would be appreciated.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,115
12,175
San Diego
Maybe getting there with less charge means I'll be at the "faster charging" area of the battery

It does, but since you have to fill up enough there to make it to Truckee anyway, the higher % you start with at home the faster the trip will be. Also you may save a little money since home charging is cheaper. I would do the first of your two charging options, but remember it will take a while to fully charge. It doesn’t really sound like you have to fill to 100% to start though....so up to you on the savings and speed front.

I would fill up to 10% above what it says in Sacramento (target Truckee arrival at 19%) since this is your first trip, you are going to mountains and it is getting a little chilly, and because your wife is skittish. I always go high on the charge estimates, because it allows me to drive as fast as I want (usually more optimal).

On the first leg, make a note of the initial prediction, and then look at what you actually arrive with, to develop confidence (or lack thereof) in the trip arrival charge estimator. It is quite good if your car is stock.

Set your tires to 43-45 PSI. Note that the TPMS will not read the correct pressure at elevation. You can bring a tire pressure gauge if you want to be able to check it (but they will read low relative to the true gauge pressure by the difference in atmospheric pressure between Tahoe (or whatever your current elevation) and sea level). Aside: Note that gauge pressure will increase as elevation increases due to reduced atmospheric pressure, but temperatures typically drop, so usually there is relatively little change in gauge pressure with altitude. The point here is that the TPMS do not give you the gauge pressure in Model 3 (unless they have updated the software with an elevation map), and the gauge pressure is what matters.
 
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11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
Thanks @AlanSubie4Life. Thankfully cost to charge won't be an issue for me for 2 years. I was one of the lucky ones to nab that end of quarter incentive. Charging at home for me will be the real rarity- so i'm not even investing in anything beyond wall plug.

I guess my major concern was having the battery held so close to the top overnight. If I can leave home with ~300 mi (not even bother toping up overnight), then it I should get to Sacramento with about 51% charge (but as you say, let's see how that bears out with the real world).

With all the power outages the only potential issue is running into full superchargers where they're still open and having to wait. Praying this does't happen as my wife is in the "gentle needling" phase about anything she perceives as a deficiency with the car. She hasn't even driven it yet! :) At least I don't have to worry on the way home. One of the superchargers is right beside our hotel and the return home downhill trip is fairly forgiving according to the planner.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,115
12,175
San Diego
I guess my major concern was having the battery held so close to the top overnight. If I can leave home with ~300 mi (not even bother toping up overnight), then it I should get to Sacramento with about 51% charge (but as you say, let's see how that bears out with the real world

Since Supercharging is free, I would definitely not charge to 100% at home in that case. There is really no need as it is not even close to being a problem to make the Supercharger...

However, it might make more sense to stretch to Rocklin or Roseville (120kW still?). Looks like you can probably make it there no problem even starting at 90%. Keep in mind if the dry winds are still blowing they will be a significant headwind.

You might want to plug in the destination in the car and check Supercharger usage the day before at the same time as you will be arriving, just to make sure the Superchargers are not going to be a disaster. Usage will change a lot on the weekend of course. But just to get a general idea... I think you will need adequate charge in the car to be able to see the current usage of the Superchargers that are in range (I think you cannot see usage of chargers that are not currently reachable with your charge level).

The return can likely be done in a straight shot no problem. 6000 feet helps a lot.

Check out A Better Route Planner too. Just be sure to configure it correctly. It can be configured with live car data if you wish but requires setup in the car before your trip.
 
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11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
Roseville is on the edge and Im pretty sure run by a different utility, but Rocklin is I believe in the PG&E blackout zone. But those are definitely the spots that Tesla Nav suggests by default.

but I’d wager we’ll stop earlier at Vacaville or Sacramento to be 100% sure we stop to charge before there’s even a chance of entering a blackout zone. Washroom + Starbucks + constitutional for the dog + a couple of Rounds of Cuphead for the kid will be plenty of time to do more than the needed charge.

definitely been checking better route planner since it has waypoints. Will be interesting to see which is more correct.
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,115
12,175
San Diego
Roseville is on the edge and Im pretty sure run by a different utility, but Rocklin is I believe in the PG&E blackout zone.

Ah. I guess that makes sense based on the location of the Paradise fire. I was thinking more coastal locations (like around Napa) were all that were affected, but of course that would not be the case.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,634
3,304
Maine
I'm doing my first long trip in Thunder Road (LR AWD 19") from San Jose to Tahoe this weekend (don't worry, taken into account the PG&E power outages)... Stop for about 15-20 in Sacramento to make sure we have a healthy charge to get up the mountains. My wife is still skittish.

So I've generally been L2 charging to 90% at work once a week then working my way thru the battery down to about 170 then charging back up for the weekend.

I know charging to 100% should only be done when you're ready to travel and not be kept there, so to start off with as much charge as I can I'm considering:

1. Charge to 100% (310mi) at work, drive home (prob down to about 299), then top up the 10mi on 120v first thing Saturday before heading out.
2. Charge to my regular 90% (279mi) at work, drive home (down to about 268mi), then plug in overnight so she's pretty much full the next morning.

Is one of these options healthier for the battery?

With the 268mi in my car right now it says I get to Sacramento with 41% remaining, and charge for 15-20 to arrive in Truckee with 9%. I'll prob start a bit longer for more buffer. Maybe getting there with less charge means I'll be at the "faster charging" area of the battery.

This is all fun and new to me. Any experiences would be appreciated.
Healthier is to not leave the battery at 100% for too long. In my opinion, just running some sims on ABRP, you probably don't need to do anything special if your car is over 80%, because there are quite a few SC stops, Fairfield, Placerville, Rocklin, etc. on the way. Just running a simulation with 80 or 90 or 100, you could stop in Placerville for all three, and the only difference is you charge for 8 mins, instead of 6mins. You save all of 2 minutes if you start with a 100% charge. Meaningless to add any complexity to save 2 mins of charging.
 
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11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
Healthier is to not leave the battery at 100% for too long. In my opinion, just running some sims on ABRP, you probably don't need to do anything special if your car is over 80%, because there are quite a few SC stops, Fairfield, Placerville, Rocklin, etc. on the way. Just running a simulation with 80 or 90 or 100, you could stop in Placerville for all three, and the only difference is you charge for 8 mins, instead of 6mins. You save all of 2 minutes if you start with a 100% charge. Meaningless to add any complexity to save 2 mins of charging.

Thanks. There are Superchargers down due to PG&E outages, but still lots either side of Sacramento. I take i80 to Truckee, so Placerville is out of the way for me.

I think I'll charge to 100% just in time to drive home from work. By the time I get there I'll be at about 95% (295mi) vs the 268mi I'm usually at after I charge to 90% at work. Then we'll stop at Vacaville so she can grab a coffee. I'm hoping by the time I walk the dog, get a coffee, and hit the facilities (20 min) we'll have a healthy amount more than we need to get to Truckee. I'd love to hear my wife say "Oh, we're ready? That was quick!"
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,115
12,175
San Diego
I'm hoping by the time I walk the dog, get a coffee, and hit the facilities (20 min) we'll have a healthy amount more than we need to get to Truckee. I'd love to hear my wife say "Oh, we're ready? That was quick!"

I think that's likely to happen (assuming the Supercharger's aren't more than half full and you can get 150kW - though you'll be arriving at a high enough state of charge it might not matter). On my recent trip I found Supercharging to be nearly too fast for me (averaged 390 rated miles/hr). A little less so when going uphill, but on the way back the car was ready when I was.
 

11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
I think that's likely to happen (assuming the Supercharger's aren't more than half full and you can get 150kW - though you'll be arriving at a high enough state of charge it might not matter). On my recent trip I found Supercharging to be nearly too fast for me (averaged 390 rated miles/hr). A little less so when going uphill, but on the way back the car was ready when I was.

A better Route planner says I shouldn’t need to stop at all on the way back, and will in fact end up with about 20% left on the battery after the drive back to SJ.
 
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wws

Member
Aug 11, 2014
997
1,062
Northern California
Last month I drove my Model 3 cross country to Chicago and back. Starting from Saratoga (just west of San Jose) with a 100% charge, I made it to Truckee non-stop - with about 30 miles of range left. Probably could have made it the rest of the way downhill to Reno if I had driven a little more conservatively. But that is with a LR RWD car - which is a little more efficient than the AWD. So I'd recommend stopping in Rocklin or Roseville for a few minutes before heading up the hill. Rocklin has more charging stalls than Roseville and is co-located with a Tesla service center. So it has a nice lounge and rest rooms. Roseville is a bit of a walk over to the mall. One of the Sacramento sites could also be useful.
 
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11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
Last month I drove my Model 3 cross country to Chicago and back. Starting from Saratoga (just west of San Jose) with a 100% charge, I made it to Truckee non-stop - with about 30 miles of range left. Probably could have made it the rest of the way downhill to Reno if I had driven a little more conservatively. But that is with a LR RWD car - which is a little more efficient than the AWD. So I'd recommend stopping in Rocklin or Roseville for a few minutes before heading up the hill. Rocklin has more charging stalls than Roseville and is co-located with a Tesla service center. So it has a nice lounge and rest rooms. Roseville is a bit of a walk over to the mall. One of the Sacramento sites could also be useful.

Wow. I'll have to try that one time.. reduce my speed a bit to compensate for the AWD efficiency. I'll definitely look at stopping in to Rocklin. I just don't know if it's up or down tomorrow with the PG&E outages. Actually wish Tesla would send out a list of affected superchargers.
 

11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
Yikes. Sort of frustrating... Figures on the Friday I can't get a charging spot until 3:30pm. So I arrive home with 272 miles. I figure... hey! I've got free supercharging. I'll go to the nearest charger and top up to 300mi tonight. Unfortunately the one I go to is high volume, so max charge is 80%. So at this point I'm not going to drive around looking for a charger that will let me charge above 80. So I drive home getting down to about 250mi. I decide... to heck with it! I'll plug in 120 (which is what I should have done in the first place for the $5 it would have cost me) and charge to 95% by the morning.

I'm making this out to be worst than it is. But I wish those 80% max charge were marked on the charger before I drove 15mi round trip to get there. But I can't wait for the drive tomorrow.
 

MichaelP90DL

Active Member
Apr 19, 2019
1,581
1,583
Lancaster, CA
Since Supercharging is free, I would definitely not charge to 100% at home in that case. There is really no need as it is not even close to being a problem to make the Supercharger...

However, it might make more sense to stretch to Rocklin or Roseville (120kW still?). Looks like you can probably make it there no problem even starting at 90%. Keep in mind if the dry winds are still blowing they will be a significant headwind.

You might want to plug in the destination in the car and check Supercharger usage the day before at the same time as you will be arriving, just to make sure the Superchargers are not going to be a disaster. Usage will change a lot on the weekend of course. But just to get a general idea... I think you will need adequate charge in the car to be able to see the current usage of the Superchargers that are in range (I think you cannot see usage of chargers that are not currently reachable with your charge level).

The return can likely be done in a straight shot no problem. 6000 feet helps a lot.

Check out A Better Route Planner too. Just be sure to configure it correctly. It can be configured with live car data if you wish but requires setup in the car before your trip.
A few weeks ago I was at Tahoe (Azure Hotel has two Tesla Destination Chargers). And that downhill run to Sacramento was pretty cool. The range indicator increased by some two miles on the way. :)
 
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11thIndian

Member
Jan 3, 2017
359
278
San Jose, CA
I thought I'd just followup here after my trip. Thanks to everyone who posted.

I charged to about 300mi before we left on the trip up. Stopped in Vacaville with about 180. By the time we walked to the Starbucks and had our order I was getting notifications that charging was nearly complete. Left with 280mi and arrived with loads left.

Knowing a stop wasn't likely needed on the way home, I topped up pretty close to 310 that morning but burned down to 280 doing some running around shopping. Decided to top up to 300 again before hitting the road, but in the end I needn't have bothered. Drove all the way home at average 75-80mi/hr and got back to San Jose with just over 100mi left.

Definitely think sometime early next Summer I'd like to take a stab at matching @wws 's no-stops drive up.
 

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