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First Road Trip - Lynchburg, VA to Emerald Isle, NC

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Plug Me In, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Central Virginia
    This is a long post but I've always enjoyed other people's trip reports, thought I'd contribute my own.

    I've had my Model S for a little less than a month and have yet to have the opportunity to venture more than 30-40 miles away from home until this week. Last Tuesday, I loaded up the wife and kids to spend some time with family at the beach for spring break. First task was load up the car with wife, two boys, dog, and a crap load of stuff. It is unreal how much stuff we packed into that car! Kid would ask, "Da can I bring along x crap toy?" Answer: "Sure toss it in!" The trip is just over 280 miles, so I planned on stopping for a charge-break at my Mom's house about 100 miles from the beach, in Wilson, NC. My preparation included route research and calling ahead to a local RV park to charge when I arrived. I packed the UMC with standard adapters, a 14-50 to 10-30 frankencable adapter that I made. I also brought a 15 ft 15A extension cord along with the charger cable for our Plug In Prius just to ward off evil spirits.

    I'm glad I researched routes, as the MS Nav will always select the quickest route, and AFIK there isn't an option to change the route. The MS tried to route me on a 210 mile trip on divided highways through the Raleigh-Durham area. The route I wanted was 166 miles (these are distances to Wilson, NC) through South Boston, VA and Oxford, NC. Even after I ventured off the nav route, I didn't pay close enough attention and ended up taking a 182 mile route to the first stop in Wilson. The route is mostly 2 lane country roads and except for the occasional violent acceleration to pass other cars, typical speeds were 55-65 mph. The entire trip I got around rated range, sometimes a little better. I didn't put much effort into driving conservatively on the first leg as knew I had plenty of juice to get to the first charge.

    Arrived at my Mom's house with 76 miles rated range. The last 20 miles to her house was a 70 mph divided freeway that I legged out at 78-80 mph, which burned a lot of electrons. I hooked up to her dryer outlet, right next to the driveway and it worked perfectly, giving 16 miles/hr of range at 24A. It was getting late in the day and I was anxious to get to the beach, so we left after about 2 1/2 hrs and 120 miles rated range. It's 106 miles to our destination and I knew it was risky but felt pretty confident after the first leg. I drove more cautiously and although a strong sea breeze headwind cut into efficiency toward the end, arrived at the beach with 12 miles rated range.

    Outbound numbers:
    Start with range charge 267 miles rated
    Leg 1 182.6 miles - 55 kWh - 301 Wh/mile temp mid 40's to mid 50's sunny, avg speed about 55 mph
    Leg 2 108 miles - 30.8 kWh - 285 Wh/mile

    The RV park I used (Holiday Trav-L-Park) was great. I called a couple of weeks ago, and they had never had anyone do this before but agreed to let me charge overnight for $25. The full rate for a 50 amp camper spot is $50. I called when I got to the beach and the lady had no idea about this, but she told me to bring the car on over. The friendly guy at the gate showed me to a spot, pointed out the outlet. I plugged in and walked away. I've never been in an RV park before, but this one looked pretty nice as it had a lot of trees and grassy areas, and it's right on the beach. The next morning, my Dad dropped me off at the car and I chatted with a couple of the maintenance guys about the car before leaving. They told me to charge up any time! The park office was closed and nobody ever asked me for payment, but I went back a couple of days later and settled up as I didn't want them to sour on EV users. After that I used the 110 outlet at the beach house to top off every day. The outdoor outlet in the carport didn't work for some reason, I suspect age and corrosion as the breaker was closed, but luckily there was an outlet right inside a door and the extension cord came in pretty handy! The last day before leaving, I did the heaviest day of driving - about 40 miles to Fort Macon at the other end of the island and then an unexpected 20 mile round trip to dinner (my Dad said, "Oh it's a couple of miles on the other side of the bridge" - not quite). The 110 outlet couldn't match this so I was only able to charge up to I think 248 rated miles.

    We left the next AM to sunny skies, temps in the low 60's. I drove fairly cautiously again and spent 3 hours at my Mom's on the 10-30- I cheated the amperage up to 26 this time and got 18 miles/hr. We left with 192 miles rated. This leg was the only real stress of the trip as I followed the 166 mile route that I had planned but the nav kept recalculating some crazy route that kept totaling 181 miles. I began to get nervous that even though I double checked Google maps and Mapquest, maybe I screwed something up! I started thinking of looking for RV parks when we finally saw signs for Lynchburg showing I had a nice 25 mile cushion! Arrived back home with a very dirty car and 20 miles. Pics are of the loaded car and the display on arrival at home. Trip A is the total miles for the trip.

    Lessons learned:

    #1 by far is do your own route research, especially if you're traveling through country roads. Tesla needs to come up with Nav preferences that will give you quickest route or most efficient route.
    #2 I probably should have given myself a little more cushion on the second leg to the beach. There's frequently road construction in those areas and if I had been detoured, that would have been a major problem.
    #3 The car was very comfortable and I enjoyed every minute of the drive. Some of the fun gets taken out, though, when you have to guard your electrons. The occasional warp speed launches to pass don't cost that much in the big picture though.
    #4 I drove through some pretty remote areas (South Central Virginia into eastern NC and only spent a total of about 10 miles without 3G coverage.
     

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  2. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Messages:
    665
    Location:
    Leesburg Virginia
    Enjoyed your post, nice to see you made it to the NC beaches. I drove from Northern VA to Pittsburgh this weekend 230 miles each way. I would also like to see a more interactive map. One temporary solution is to set the nav to more frequent way points (enter South Boston, then Oxford etc) to force it to take your route.
     
  3. BlkCld

    BlkCld Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    South FL
    Enjoyed the story. Thanks. I have an RV myself and was curious what folks were paying to charge at the RV parks. I was hoping it wasn't the full rate a 40 bus would be.
    If done often enough there are RV memberships sort of like AAA called Good Sam and FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association I think) that the RV parks usually discount something like 10% or more. Might be worth the $25 or so yearly membership if the other RV parks charge full rate and you need to charge at RV parks often.
    Who says Model S can't be an RV? Recreational Vehicle seems to fit the bill to me lol.
     
  4. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
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    Location:
    Central Virginia
    I did essentially a full standard charge, and depending on electricity rates, probably used about $10-15 worth of electricity, so I thought it was a fair price. I didn't shop around any either. This was the only place I called. Another factor to consider is how full the campground is. There were plenty of spaces open last week but I could imagine mid summer when all the spots are full, I might have had to actually reserve a space and pay full price or work out some kind of share arrangement. When superchargers go in on I-95 south this will be much less problematic and I anticipate only needing 2-3 hours of Level 2 charging to top off.
     
  5. Zextraterrestrial

    Joined:
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    Humboldt/Los Altos
    I completely agree with the nav! I just did a 620mi round trip to Sacramento and tried to follow the route that I looked at on Google but Tesla kept routing me to i-5 .
     
  6. GlennAlanBerry

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
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    438
    Location:
    Parker, CO
    I really enjoy these trip reports. My Red P85 is supposed to show up between May 4-14th, and I can't wait to start ranging further away from home as I become more comfortable with real-world range and more familiar with the charging infrastructure. I am planning on driving from Parker, CO to Topeka, KS in September (which is 540 miles), so I am already starting to research for that. It looks like there are quite a few KOA campgrounds that have 50 amp service along I-70, so it will be a matter of how long it takes to charge with that level of service.
     
  7. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    Leesburg Virginia
    28 miles of range per hour charge on a 50 amp service.
     
  8. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
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    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I've found the voltage can vary a bit from place to place (and even vary over time at the same outlet). 28 miles of range per hour is the best I've ever gotten at home (26 miles of range per hour is more typical). The one NEMA 14-50 I used at a hotel yielded 22 mi/hr of range (40 A at 203 V). So you should probably plan for 22 mi/hr and hope for 28 mi/hr :)
     
  9. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    Belgium
    nice writeup!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. Holden

    Holden Member

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    Mar 27, 2013
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    Location:
    DC
    Your last pic of the dash display answers a question that I wouldn't have thought to ask (The car shown is color-matched - interior too? - to your actual car?). Pretty nice touch.
     
  11. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    Joined:
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    Timonium, Maryland
    I was very happy to read this trip account. We go to Emerald Isle every summer for two weeks, and I'll make the trip this year in my Model S. For me, it's just over 400 miles (from the Baltimore area). With my now-gone ICE's I would do the trip in one day and be wiped out when I got there. So a more leisurely pace is very appealing. I've already mapped out plans for the trip, including an overnight stop. I found an RV park in Roanoke Rapids, more than half way (247 miles), where I'll stop for the night and a charge. They have very nice cabins, each with a 14-50 outlet outside.

    For me, the bulk of the trip is on I-95 until I reach Rocky Mount. To be on the safe side, I'll stop in Richmond (the 164 mile mark) the first day for lunch and a charge at the VCU lot on W. Broad Street. That will give me a cushion for the remaining distance to Roanoke Rapids (another 83 miles).

    As RV parks go the Holiday Trav-L-Park appears to be quite good. I drive by it on the way to the house down Coast Guard Road and I've ridden my bike through it a number of times. I was pleased to learn from your post that they permit charging. I'll definitely take advantage of that.
     

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