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First road trip (finally)!

Amyshubby

Member
Aug 5, 2019
32
46
Long Island
I'm planning my first long road trip at the end of the month (Long Island, NY to Orlando) with my long range Tesla model 3.

As a background, I've had the car for 18 months. Put on about 11,000 miles in the first 6 months then transitioned to working from home. Put on 2000 miles in 12 months since. The car has free supercharging until October. Plan was 2 or 3 trips to Florida during the two year free charging period but Covid changed that.

I do have some questions and thoughts and would like some input if possible.

Most importantly- I know the best way to maximize charging is to charge just enough to get to the next charger with 5-10% of charge remaining. However, I am thinking about modifying that based on how we attacked long distance trips in our ICE. I know we stop every 2.5 to3 hours (makes the end of the day driving a lot easier). We usually alternate short (5-10 minute) and long (30-40 minute) stops. I figure I’ll stretch the shorter stops to about 20-25 minutes and that should work for us. In other words, we leave at 7 am, stop (probably in Delaware) at about 10 for 20-25 minutes,. Car should be at 80%, then drive another 3 hours and stop at 1:30 to walk around, eat lunch and have a bathroom break. At that point the car will definitely be above 80% (unless we are sharing a charger) and might even close to 100% depending on the length of the stay (not our goal, just might happen because we haven’t left yet). We then stop for a short charge 2.5 hours later, then longer dinner break (similar to lunch) 3 hours after that, then drive to our overnight hotel in South Carolina (it has a destination charger and if it isn’t working or available there is a supercharger nearby). I’m thinking this would only add about 45 minutes to our normal driving routine (so much for electric cars being inconvenient on road trips). Does this sound like a good alternative to the dash and drive strategy? FYI- for the second day we will just hit the superchargers along the way. More spaced out further south and less pressure to get a lot of miles in.


As far as planning goes- we are going to have a list of all superchargers and amenities nearby (if someone has a list of those that would be really helpful and save a lot of research hours). We plan to plot it out with ABRP and see how we are doing vs anticipated using that and the in-car system.

I’m also considering rejoining AAA. I let my membership lapse when I got the Tesla because of the included roadside assistance. I’m not sure how it stacks up to AAA as far as potential flat tire fixes or other roadside problems. Really don’t want to be stuck on I-95 waiting for a truck to show up for hours.

I might actually buy a tire fix kit or even a spare tire and jack just in case. I have the 18 inch tires and still have a lot of tread left so it’s really just me being extra cautious against Murphy's Law. This will literally be the first time the car has been overnight outside of a garage!

The hotel we are staying at in Orlando doesn’t have chargers but I figure I can Supercharge in the middle of the week and that should be enough to get back and forth to the parks and allow for the anticipated 24 hour a day Sentry Mode drain. In a pinch, I could pay to charge at the park but I doubt it will be needed.

I also need to subscribe to get internet access. Does anyone know if it starts at the first of the month or can it be reactivated anytime? I know it's just $5 a month but since I'm barely driving I just never signed up when it lapsed (I just use my phone as a hotspot during any short drives I take).

Other than that, I think I’m good but would welcome any suggestions. I’ll have my 17-year old son with me (my wife is flying down the next day because of work) and I’m looking forward to the quality time together on the trip.
 
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Vaillant

Member
Jul 19, 2019
257
271
Sunnyvale, CA
We did a trip from California to Oklahoma in December and it was our first road trip in a Tesla. The onboard estimate of remaining battery life at your destination is pretty accurate, except if the weather changes. It takes into account the current temperature, but not upcoming changes, nor wind. So, if you know a leg of the drive is going to get a lot colder mid drive, the estimate will be off. And check wind. We had 30 mph head winds for a couple of hundred miles. Instead of the typical 380 W/mile, we were at 550! Brutal. This is in a Model X. We had to drive much of that stretch under the speed limit because of the wind. The car will let you know if you need to slow, but if you know about the conditions ahead of time, you can charge a little bit longer. The downside is that charging slows down quite a bit after you have hit 50 or 60%.

So, I’d aim for at least 10% remaining at each stop. Maybe 15%, depending on your tolerance for risk.

Amenities at stops vary pretty widely, and, thanks to COVID-19, sometimes bathrooms aren’t available. Tesla has amenity info for each supercharger on their website, such as this one in Lard:

Manteca Supercharger | Tesla
 

Shelburne

Member
Mar 9, 2021
81
58
Shelburne Falls, MA
I'd definitely spring for the AAA coverage. AAA has affiliated tow/service trucks everywhere, whereas you could be much further from a tesla
mobile service rep if and when you need a tow, flat fixed or other issues. BUT, be sure they know your car is a Tesla, especially if it has to be towed or jacked.
 

Mark57

Member
Sep 27, 2020
229
228
OKC
We've used AAA for a long time. We have the plus version to get the 100 miles of towing. You can use this even if it's not your vehicle. I've used it for parents and sibling's car before as long as I was present. It's good insurance, but we've always done a lot of road trips to out of the way places.

+1 on the wind in a Tesla. You can use Windy.com to see wind conditions ahead. A Better Routeplanner is very good for planning before the trip. Be sure to set the defaults to match your vehicle. It can also be set for wind and temperature conditions. Don't forget to put them back later. 🙂

The more road tripping you do, the more comfortable you''ll be with your arrival % being lower. It's always judgement call especially if the weather is colder or windy as mentioned above. Whether you follow the route it suggests or not, always use the in car nav to navigate to the next super charger so it will warm the battery prior to arrival and accept the charge faster when you arrive.

If you purchase a jack, be sure it will fit under the vehicle when a tire is flat. That pretty much means a scissor jack.

I've used flat kits (plug) and 12v portable compressors for a long time with great success. When we got our second Tesla, I invested in a Modern Spare. It comes with a jack and everything you need. Not cheap, but good insurance when out in the boonies where we like to travel. Yes, it does eat trunk space. I can easily move it to which ever vehicle we road trip in.
 
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Rottenapplr

Member
Apr 6, 2019
992
478
LOS ANGELES
I've probably gone on 30 plus road trips from socal all the way to montana, and socal to grand canyon, and you have thought more about road trips than me. lol

Unlike ice cars where you need to make sure belts are in order, or oil is good, there's not much to check. Maybe tire pressure? Other than that, bring clothes, snacks. Enter your destination and let the car do the work. Charge if you want to charge, charge longer if you need to stretch and eat. etc...

Only tip I can give is assess your charge situation at your destination. Charge more at your last supercharger before your destination if you don't have a place to charge to ensure you make it to the next charger the following day.
 
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Amyshubby

Member
Aug 5, 2019
32
46
Long Island
Thank you all for the helpful comments. We are going to rejoin AAA. Really looking forward to the trip.

Just found out one wrinkle- second vaccination is the afternoon before we leave! Slightly concerned about side effects the next day but my 17 year old is not upset about the possibility of him having to do more of the drive!
 
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Rottenapplr

Member
Apr 6, 2019
992
478
LOS ANGELES
Thank you all for the helpful comments. We are going to rejoin AAA. Really looking forward to the trip.

Just found out one wrinkle- second vaccination is the afternoon before we leave! Slightly concerned about side effects the next day but my 17 year old is not upset about the possibility of him having to do more of the drive!
Good luck I was out for about a day afterwards. Not fun.
 

Mark57

Member
Sep 27, 2020
229
228
OKC
Just found out one wrinkle- second vaccination is the afternoon before we leave! Slightly concerned about side effects the next day
Definitely get it while you can. I just got my second Pfizer, and while my arm was never sore, I had mild sinus like oddities but nothing bad. My head was a little full for a day. Nothing that would have kept me from driving. Also, nothing would have kept me from getting the shot.
A little late to the party. Did someone recommend Modernspare.com?
Just one. The more the merrier.🙂
 
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AZHobos

Member
Jul 7, 2019
20
46
SE New Mexico
39 states, 70,000 miles. Our car is only used for road trips. Down the east coast should be easy as there are tons of places to charge. We use Plugshare to find a hotel with a destination charger at the end of the day. The Windy app can be helpful if you are stretching your range, but you probably won't be. Start out easy and adjust your speed based on your SOC, if you are going to be over 20% at your next stop, speed up. If you are going to be less than 8%, slow down.

Carry a plug kit and a small compressor. AAA and tow trucks (and I operate one!) are a PITA. Best to fix it yourself and get back on the road.

Look for some scenic drives paralleling your route. Get off I-95, slow down and enjoy the scenery.

Sounds like a great trip! Enjoy!
 

Shelburne

Member
Mar 9, 2021
81
58
Shelburne Falls, MA
AZHobos said "Get off I-95." That is probably the best travel advice anyone driving the east coast can give or get. Head inland and take I-81 south thru the Cumberland Valley and Blue Ridge Mtns. Gorgeous scenery, way less traffic, and no tolls. Don't head east to I-95 until you're south of Roanoke, VA, which by the way is a nice town to spend the night in. I-95 is a nightmare. A few years ago I had to drive from D.C. to N.J so I took I-95. Between traffic jams, construction delays and two accidents that I passed by, it took over 6 hours! Worst drive of my life!
 

Mark57

Member
Sep 27, 2020
229
228
OKC
I don't know how many amps the Model 3 cigarette lighter socket can provide. EDIT, I "think" it's rated 12 amps, 15 amp fuse. Not 100% certain of that. Some portable compressors pull more amps than some vehicle cigarette lighter sockets are rated for and they kill the fuse. This is true on several hybrids like the Prius Prime. etc. Since I use a compressor on multiple vehicle types, I went with a Viair 87P portable to run directly from the 12V battery. It is only 4.30 lbs and 9.1″L x 3.1″W x 5.6″H with its own carry bag. I pair it with the Boulder Tools Tire repair kit. These has served me well on large SUV tires and small car tires for many years.
 
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Feathermerchan

Active Member
Sep 21, 2018
1,132
879
Euless, Tx
The Viair seem to be great compressors. They publish ratings including Amp draw. The Model 3 has no fuses. It senses current and shuts power off to any overloaded circuit. It will restore power eventually when power is removed. I think the power port is 12A max. I have also used those cheap jump starters to run a compressor without plugging it into the car. I have a lot of Milwaukee tools so I carry their M12 inflator. Dewalt makes a better one if you use Dewalt tools.
 
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Mark57

Member
Sep 27, 2020
229
228
OKC
Thanks for sharing that Mark. I'll order both.
You're welcome. If this is the only flat solution that you plan to carry in the car, make sure you have a jack that will fit under one of the 4 lift points when a tire is flat. That probably means a scissor jack. Even small bottle jacks are too tall when the tire is flat.
 

Rottenapplr

Member
Apr 6, 2019
992
478
LOS ANGELES
You're welcome. If this is the only flat solution that you plan to carry in the car, make sure you have a jack that will fit under one of the 4 lift points when a tire is flat. That probably means a scissor jack. Even small bottle jacks are too tall when the tire is flat.
True I need to use wood to increase the height when jacking up my car for tire rotation. My jack is low profile, but I need an ultra low profile jack.
 
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