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First Road Trip - Houston to Austin and back

Discussion in 'Texas' started by stephenpace, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. stephenpace

    stephenpace VIN S00219

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    #1 stephenpace, Nov 23, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
    I took my first Model S road trip this Thanksgiving, and I thought I would provide a few comments and suggestions.

    1) Houston to Austin is about the perfect distance with the 85 kWh pack. You can drive fairly normally, arrive with some miles to spare, charge overnight, and easily make it home. However, I would go for a range charge to be safe. Being the day before Thanksgiving, there was lots of traffic on the way out, so that helped with the range given the stop and go traffic and overall lower speeds. I arrived at the hotel with 84 miles to go. However, on the return I had driven around Austin a bit before leaving (using up 30 miles or so), and the roads were open sailing. With a 75 mph speed limit on a chunk of the way home, I pretty much set the cruise on 80 mph and forgot about it. Once I knew I had enough juice to get home, I may have done a bit more on I-10 accelerating around a few trucks. Bottom line, when I got home, I had only 27 miles left. Enough that I wasn't worried (I would have slowed down if I was), but it was the first time I saw the bar turn yellow.

    2) I refuse to carry any charging station cards that have a monthly fee given that 95% of the time I will be charging at home. However, I don't mind spending a few bucks to get a card from a network and pay higher 'pay as you go' rates if it gives me the option to charge on the road. I already had a Blink Network card (they have lots of stations in Houston and Dallas), but had not yet gotten a ChargePoint card. Before I left I noticed they had a large presence in Austin, and that they had a special running where you pay $25 and get two cards free (and then get to spend the balance on charging), so I did that. Unfortunately the card did not arrive before I left, but I'll be prepared for next time. It is worth noting that at most ChargePoints you can call +1-888-758-4389 and pay by credit card. However, even if you have an account, without the card you don't get the app benefits of notifying you when charging stops, etc. Note that ChargePoint charges $2/hr for a 30A charge, which came to $26.23 for me. I think that is a bit high--I think Blink charges $1.50.

    3) EVs are still very new, and few places seamlessly accommodate them. What I mean by that is, expect that most employees will not know anything about the chargers, if or how they work, where they are, or how much they might cost. Despite verifying with the hotel I was staying at that they had working chargers, when I arrived they did not. Details at link below if you are interested.

    Hotels in Texas with Charging Stations - Page 2

    Until the world evolves a bit more, I would currently plan A) where you will charge if everything works as it should and B) one or two alternates if things do not work well. For me I plan to ask A) what network the charging station is on and B) what the station identifier is. Asking that question will require employees to do a bit of research. For example, for ChargePoint, the identifier is a 4 digit alphanumeric code. The charger at the Hilton Austin says it is "FA7B", but does not show up in the ChargePoint directory. That would have given me a clue that there might have been an issue ahead of time.

    4) It is annoying that Tesla doesn't yet have the adapters like they do for Roadsters for standard dryer plugs. I could have charged overnight at my brother's house if they did. Hopefully those will come out soon. I'm also eagerly awaiting the Tesla app so we can be notified about charging interruptions which is a real concern with these third-party J1772 chargers.

    5) Overall, the car handled wonderfully. Slacker held up great with only a few brief interruptions. Navigation seemed to take traffic into account--at least it directed me I-10 to 77 instead of I-10 to 71 which I thought was unusual. Especially since it it chose 71 to I-10 for the return trip. One navigation glitch--it said my next planned turn to 77 was an 'unknown road' for the entire time I was on I-10. It was also my first real use of the cruise control. If you barely push the lever you can increment 1 mile, but if you push it a lot it seems to move 5 miles. Fine-grain control is nice, but I think if you just boost 1 mile, I don't think it should jump as much as it does. It seems to want to quickly accelerate to the new speed, and you can really see the energy usage spike even with the small increment. Otherwise, great roadtrip car, especially putting the bags in the frunk while I wait on the parcel shelf to arrive. I also got a lot of "what kind of car is that, looks great!" as we were stuck in traffic on I-10 on the way out, and a "that car is the future" once I got to Austin.

    Overall, great first trip, and I look forward to many more, especially once the SuperChargers come online!

    DSC06802 - Start Houston.jpg DSC06804 - Arrive Hotel Austin.jpg DSC06818 - Overnight Charge.jpg DSC06820 - Charging Bill.jpg DSC06821 - Return Home.jpg
     
  2. Babylonfive

    Babylonfive Power12

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    Maybe on another trip you can come join our little Austin contingent for lunch or something.

    Glad your trip was good.

    david
     
  3. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Great write up. One note, though - the rates for Chargepoint and Blink are set by the location owner. I've used both providers and have yet to pay for a charge.

    It's a great feeling to take a roadtrip away from your home base and find out that electric really does work. :) Congrats!
     
  4. kvietor

    kvietor Model S S280 VIN 168

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    #4 kvietor, Nov 23, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
    Wow that was an expensive charge. Most of the ChargePoint stations around the Tampa area are free and the highest I've seen was $1 per hour for a max of 24 hrs.

    I thought the NEMA 14-50 plug on the end of the charge cord was for a standard dryer outlet. At least it's the same as what my dryer is plugged into.
     
  5. elecblue

    elecblue Member

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    I'll take a roadtrip down to Austin at some point when I get Pac Blue. It's always nice to see my EV friends down there.

    I took a trip across TX using my converted EV (Elec Bug) and there were plenty of charging stations in Austin. I ended up using one overnight that was at a location for the local utility. I think it cost me $10 or something like that.
     
  6. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I'm thinking about getting BBQ in Lockhart tomorrow for lunch. Anyone interested?
     
  7. strider

    strider Active Member

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    A lot of homes have a 10-30 plug and apparently that adapter is not yet available.
     
  8. stephenpace

    stephenpace VIN S00219

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    @B5: For sure!

    @kvietor: Yes, most dryers are NEMA 10-30 where I am. In fact, I've never seen a NEMA 14-50 outside of a campground (other than my garage), though you could probably swap the dryer cord to fit if you wanted.
     
  9. STxTesla

    STxTesla Sig #1278

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    Thanks for the write up Stephen...very good info.

    It would be nice to eventually have a list of the best chargers in Texas...(the ones with the most charge).
    I guess that the apps have that kind of info...I just haven't thoroughly checked any of the apps yet.
     
  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    A 14-50 is an RV plug with four pins. A dryer typically only has three pins--unless that's changed since I last purchased a dryer.
     
  11. strider

    strider Active Member

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    FlasherZ is the expert here but I believe all new outlet installs need to be 14-30 or 14-50 - I don't think they want you to do 10-30's anymore. In my experience when purchasing a dryer the dryer doesn't come with a cord. You tell the salesman what cord you want (10-30, 14-30, or 14-50) and off you go. Some places include the cord in the price, others make you buy it. Then it's up to you to install the cord or if you're having the dryer installed that person will do it for you.
     
  12. sublimaze1

    sublimaze1 8Dec2012 / Leeroy Jenkins

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    @stephenpace - Nicely done and well written. Thank you.

    - - - Updated - - -

    It has.
     
  13. darthy001

    darthy001 Love my car, hope Tesla can get as great!

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    Looking at the last screenshot showing actual distance and projected miles the total range was only 220miles as compared to the first day showing aprox 244miles.

    How would you characterize your driving-style these two days? And was a/c on, lights etc?

    Asking because I feel like many roadtrip stories here show range well below the epa and tesla numbers...
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    No doubt you're correct. I thought dryers were 30 amp. My current setup is a washer/dryer combo that only uses 110V and doesn't use hot air to dry, so it's been a long time since I have had any experience with dryer wiring--and it's not like my house was new when I purchased it. The current 220V dryer circuit is turned off at the breaker as it's not used.
     
  15. stephenpace

    stephenpace VIN S00219

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    There were certainly differences, but it hard to compare these things without a control. First, I drove over during the day, so no headlights other than DTRL. The day was beautiful, so I actually turned off the AC towards the end. There is a minor elevation difference between Houston and Austin--approximately 450 feet uphill to Austin and lots of hills in Austin once you get there. Navigation directed me to a different route (I-10 to 77 instead of I-10 to 71) and 77 has a lower speed limit. But the two big things were an overall lower speed due to holiday traffic and my driving more tentatively due to never having driven to range before. I returned at night, and since I knew I had range to spare, with no traffic I was pretty much going 80 the entire time with acceleration beyond that for passing. I was not even close to hypermiling. Much higher average speed is where the miles went. EPA 265 does not take into account 80mph and 90mph passing. :)
     
  16. darthy001

    darthy001 Love my car, hope Tesla can get as great!

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    Ok thanks for the detailed reply!
     
  17. Babylonfive

    Babylonfive Power12

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    Makes you wonder: could multiple S's draft one another, trading off over time, and save more drag for the group than it costs for the lead car? Clearly a wreck at that point would be heartbreakingly disastrous!
     
  18. sublimaze1

    sublimaze1 8Dec2012 / Leeroy Jenkins

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    If it works for geese ....
     
  19. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    That's why the lead car drops back every 15 minutes. Actually, the last time I drove to San Antonio, the traffic was such that I had a wind corridor most of the way. And you don't need to be that close to the car in front to get a decent amount of aerodynamic relief.
     
  20. Babylonfive

    Babylonfive Power12

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    So, does that that mean you think multiple S's could draft each other and 'win' (meaning an aggregate lower overall Wh/mile for the group), Jerry?
     

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