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First Road Trip (NJ to Atlanta) - suggestions?

DaveG_NJ

Member
Oct 7, 2020
440
1,277
NJ
Going on a short (2-day, one way) road trip next week. I've done a few 200+ mile round-trips where I didn't supercharge, but this will be the first one I need to plan my stops and charges. Haven't picked out a route yet - it's about a 12 - 13 hr drive, so I figure one overnight stop on the way down and then again on the way up.

Looking for any guidance on the following?

- Trip planner. Wasn't impressed with Teslas. Found "A Better Routeplanner", which seems better. Is that what most people use?
- I figure I'll do all supercharging along the way, but will bring my adapter and leave my home charger at home.
- Should I get jack pucks just in case? A spare tire is out of the question at this point, but perhaps not all local tire places have pucks.
- Any other tips about supercharging before leaving or on the way? I only supercharged once just to see how it worked.

I'm resisting my normal urge to just get in the car and go, figuring it can't be that easy and certainly want to avoid any "gotchas". Honestly the thing that concerns me most is a flat tire.
 

EVRider-FL

Active Member
Aug 18, 2015
1,239
739
South Florida
I'm resisting my normal urge to just get in the car and go, figuring it can't be that easy and certainly want to avoid any "gotchas". Honestly the thing that concerns me most is a flat tire.
You really could just get in the car and go, and the car will tell you when/where you need to charge. But since it's your first time, you'll feel better if you use one of the trip planners just to set expectations. You might also want to check out the different supercharger options that you'll have along the way to see what kind of services they have, especially if you plan to grab a meal while charging.

I did a lot of planning for my first road trip (FL to New England), but I've made the same trip several times and now I just go. I've only needed to use my J1772 adapter once, when all the superchargers at one of my stops were offline. Don't overthink it. :)
 

chrstna4

Member
Sep 3, 2020
258
324
Seattle
I've put 33k miles on my car since July 2020 with short and long road trips. Jumping in and going (with the J1772 and the PlugShare app) is perfectly fine if you have ample superchargers on the route. I use ABRP to find the route then look at each supercharger on the route with tesla.com/findus to see what the amenities are - I then add into the ABRP plan the superchargers I want to use based on charging speed, distance off my route, when/where I want to stop for food/rest room breaks (e.g. I'd rather use the rest room at Target or a hotel hosting a charger than go into a restaurant I'm not eating at). I usually have points of interest I'm stopping at that I add to ABRP. I plan multi-day trips on ABRP and add in the overnight stops. With overnights, it's better to charge before you stop - battery is warm and takes the charge faster; waiting until the next morning to add charge close-by means slower charging speeds, even if you're preconditioning on the way. You have to drive over an hour to warm the battery enough to get top charging speeds for your state of charge.

I set the next supercharger as the destination when I'm done charging so the battery will precondition on my way there.

I always carry several things in my sub-trunk: air compressor, tire plugs, window washing items (spray, microfiber sponge), J1772, and jack pucks (most towing and tire places know what to do with a Tesla but if you're in a remote area, they might not have the equipment). I almost got stranded without the ability to charge when I got re-routed a few times around a forest fire and there were no chargers to access (supercharger or J1772) so I bring the mobile connector that charges at 1kw along with the NEMA adapter bundle (handy for camping with hook up) so I can find anyplace with an outlet (you can filter for that in the PlugShare app).

I feel most comfortable when I set ABRP for arriving at a charger with 15% SoC because I usually use more charge with speed and weather (especially if it's windy) or I might miss an exit and have to double back/go to the next charger. I have a 2019 M3 LR AWD so a 250kw charger will give full speed until 25%, a 2021 M3 LR AWD will give full speed until about 15% - after that, both go down to about 150kw until about 40-45%. (Got this information from:
- there's a chart toward the end of the video.) I watch Out of Spec Motoring road trip videos so I like to charge more often and at faster speed rather than doing deeper charges (which ABRP tends to suggest). If a supercharger spot has been added to (i.e. a 150kw lot added some 250kw), the car navigation will list it as 250kw. You can tell the difference between them by the charging cord: 150kw is thicker with a silver ring, 250kw is thinner with a fully black handle. They are also numbered differently (150kw is 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 250kw is 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D). At 150kw chargers, you share power with the same number (1A and 1B share) so stagger your spot if there is anyone else there - both people sharing a number will get slower speeds. You can charge next to someone at 250kw because you're sharing a bigger pool of power and shouldn't slow the other car down...but it might still be better etiquette to stagger your spot.
 
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WhiteWi

Banned
Supporting Member
Feb 21, 2021
987
802
Somewhere in Universe
Done two round trips in our M3 Atlanta to NJ. We prefer mountains route vs coast less traffic and not so busy superchargers. No need to carry extra adopters. Aim for 20% low end and go when you reach 75-80. After this trip you will feel more confident and can go as low as 10% on the low end. It’s pretty much get in the car and go not that different from ice. Just put in your final destination or first charger you want to reach if nav shows you unwanted route. You can use ABRP as back up.
 
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The most important thing you can do is to avoid I-95. It truly sucks! Instead, go west, probably on I-78 or I-80 depending on where you live. Then get on I-81 south. It's less travelled and the scenery is great. I used to drive from MA to Atlanta years ago and always went that way. Not sure how many superchargers are along that route, so look into that first
 

puckpurnell

Member
Dec 15, 2018
391
277
Connecticut
Going on a short (2-day, one way) road trip next week. I've done a few 200+ mile round-trips where I didn't supercharge, but this will be the first one I need to plan my stops and charges. Haven't picked out a route yet - it's about a 12 - 13 hr drive, so I figure one overnight stop on the way down and then again on the way up.

Looking for any guidance on the following?

- Trip planner. Wasn't impressed with Teslas. Found "A Better Routeplanner", which seems better. Is that what most people use?
- I figure I'll do all supercharging along the way, but will bring my adapter and leave my home charger at home.
- Should I get jack pucks just in case? A spare tire is out of the question at this point, but perhaps not all local tire places have pucks.
- Any other tips about supercharging before leaving or on the way? I only supercharged once just to see how it worked.

I'm resisting my normal urge to just get in the car and go, figuring it can't be that easy and certainly want to avoid any "gotchas". Honestly the thing that concerns me most is a flat tire.
YES — ABRP; coordinate it with the Tesla trip planner
YES — Charge at Superchargers...or other chargers (J-1772) if more convenient
YES — Bring jack pucks because you never can tell; also bring a TESLA tire repair kit and a compressor; check eBay for a Porsche slim jack just in case
YES — Enjoy the trip FIRST and worry little
1635633570234.png
 
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dmurphy

Active Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
4,025
5,710
New Jersey - Morris County
Going on a short (2-day, one way) road trip next week. I've done a few 200+ mile round-trips where I didn't supercharge, but this will be the first one I need to plan my stops and charges. Haven't picked out a route yet - it's about a 12 - 13 hr drive, so I figure one overnight stop on the way down and then again on the way up.

Looking for any guidance on the following?

- Trip planner. Wasn't impressed with Teslas. Found "A Better Routeplanner", which seems better. Is that what most people use?
- I figure I'll do all supercharging along the way, but will bring my adapter and leave my home charger at home.
- Should I get jack pucks just in case? A spare tire is out of the question at this point, but perhaps not all local tire places have pucks.
- Any other tips about supercharging before leaving or on the way? I only supercharged once just to see how it worked.

I'm resisting my normal urge to just get in the car and go, figuring it can't be that easy and certainly want to avoid any "gotchas". Honestly the thing that concerns me most is a flat tire.

It's a very very easy trip! You'll have a great time.

I've done NJ to FL, and a 7000 mile roadtrip out west. Never had an issue with Supercharging.

Do you belong to the Delaware Valley Tesla Owners Club? If not - I suggest joining at dvto.club ... We do lots of in-person events as well as online seminars for members, and in fact I'm leading one on Nov 18th called "Planning Your Best Road Trip Ever!" I know it's a little late for your upcoming trip but I still think it would be super useful to attend and participate - share your experience with the rest of us too! (PS - the session is open to non-members too, for a $5 fee. Other Owners' Club members welcome as well - see the webpage for details ...) Delaware Valley Tesla Owners Club - Planning your best road trip EVer! - ABC Focus Series

Now, as for practical suggestions ...

- Sure, bring a puck or two. Literally, a hockey puck would do the trick - no need for anything fancy. Easy to pack away.
- No real Supercharger tips. Only thing I'd suggest, if you can, is to avoid the Savannah GA Supercharger. It's inside the airport parking garage and a pain in the neck to get to. Other than that, there's PLENTY of Superchargers along the route. You won't have any issues at all.
- ABRP is a fantastic tool - I'll cover lots of ABRP tips and tricks during the November event; we've also run a separate session on using ABRP all on its own. I do recommend the ABRP Premium subscription since it'll then take into account realtime weather, traffic and data from the car itself. The interface can be a little confusing at first, but ABRP is a ridiculously accurate tool once you get it dialed in a bit.

You'll do great -- can't wait for you to get back and tell us all about your trip! And please, come join us at DVTO.

--Dennis
 

afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
882
1,081
NYC
I'm resisting my normal urge to just get in the car and go, figuring it can't be that easy and certainly want to avoid any "gotchas". Honestly the thing that concerns me most is a flat tire.

You are WAYYYYYY over-thinking this.
Have you ever done an 850+ mile road trip before, in any other car?

If yes, how much did you pre-plan for it?
That is exactly how much you should pre-plan for doing it in a Tesla!

Superchargers are a-plenty along I-95, and if you book a hotel with an L2 charger, you may (or may not) want to charge-up overnight as well (depends on how much they might try to charge you for electricity).

Otherwise, get in the car and just drive!
 
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dmurphy

Active Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
4,025
5,710
New Jersey - Morris County
Hotels I slept overnight never charged me anything for charging Tesla at theirs Tesla destination chargers. And I would stay away from 95 and take 81

It's a good thing they built a new Buc-Eees in Calhoun GA ... otherwise that I-81 route should be avoided.

(PS - both Jacksonville FL and Daytona Beach FL are on the I-95 route ...)

No matter which way you go, gotta stop at Buc-Ees!
 
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DaveG_NJ

Member
Oct 7, 2020
440
1,277
NJ
Thanks everyone - great tips! I'm going to lay out my trip/stops tomorrow. We're not in any rush, so it will likely be the western/scenic route. I did pick some pucks on Amazon and will toss those in the trunk, check my tire pressures and head out on Wednesday. My wife, who has never driven the Tesla, wants to share the driving. I planned to use FSD Beta as much as I can (though she finds it terrifying as a passenger). Not sure which is going to make me more nervous - her driving or FSD. 😂
 
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dmurphy

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Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
4,025
5,710
New Jersey - Morris County
Thanks everyone - great tips! I'm going to lay out my trip/stops tomorrow. We're not in any rush, so it will likely be the western/scenic route. I did pick some pucks on Amazon and will toss those in the trunk, check my tire pressures and head out on Wednesday. My wife, who has never driven the Tesla, wants to share the driving. I planned to use FSD Beta as much as I can (though she finds it terrifying as a passenger). Not sure which is going to make me more nervous - her driving or FSD. 😂

Once you're on the highway, it's just "regular 'ol" Autopilot and not FSD Beta.... so use that to help ease her fears! :)

Great to have her share the driving. My wife did the same on our x-country road trip. Was her first real experience with Autopilot (even though she had been driving the Model X for months) .... and finally got her used to it.
 
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outdoors

.
Supporting Member
Aug 10, 2014
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North Pole
I love these threads. Much easier now. The apps help more in the early days. Less now. I go with the car now, but you will learn that over time. I revert to the apps when I am in the middle of Wyoming for example on a back road and want to stay for a few days. I am glad people can now take trips like this almost with no thought.

I travel with a family of 4 doing trips like you do 25 times a year. Yes you read that right. Sometimes a dog. Have fun! Don't overthink it. Well that's what my kids say now. They are expert Tesla roadtrippers since 2016.
 
Once you're on the highway, it's just "regular 'ol" Autopilot and not FSD Beta.... so use that to help ease her fears! :)

Great to have her share the driving. My wife did the same on our x-country road trip. Was her first real experience with Autopilot (even though she had been driving the Model X for months) .... and finally got her used to it.
I just used adaptive cruise control instead of Autopilot. I went from Chicago to DC and back and it's mainly 2 lane highways. I felt it wasn't worth it since I kept having to change lanes which disengages Autopilot. So I would have to reenable it. Adaptive cruise allowed me to focus less on my pedals and more on what's in front of me.
 

dmurphy

Active Member
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Dec 7, 2018
4,025
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New Jersey - Morris County
I just used adaptive cruise control instead of Autopilot. I went from Chicago to DC and back and it's mainly 2 lane highways. I felt it wasn't worth it since I kept having to change lanes which disengages Autopilot. So I would have to reenable it. Adaptive cruise allowed me to focus less on my pedals and more on what's in front of me.

Well, I think you just tripped on the biggest benefit of the FSD package.... having auto-lane-changing makes Autopilot absolutely sublime. Not having to engage/disengage for hours on end is really just glorious. I don't know how else to say it -- it's just spectacular.
 
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psychoace

Member
Jun 16, 2021
45
20
Aurora,IL
Well, I think you just tripped on the biggest benefit of the FSD package.... having auto-lane-changing makes Autopilot absolutely sublime. Not having to engage/disengage for hours on end is really just glorious. I don't know how else to say it -- it's just spectacular.
I do regret not subscribing to it for the month just for that drive but it's too late for that. I wouldn't think it's worth it for $10,000 though or constantly paying $200 a month. That's mainly because I have a short daily drive and even on the road trip I felt adaptive was good enough.
 
I like my M3's adaptive cruise control, but I don't like auto steer and definitely don't want FSD. I find it incredibly annoying to have to keep my hand on the wheel, applying a bit of torque. I know that's a safety feature, and a good one, but it also defeats the purpose of auto steer. As for FSD, I enjoy driving the car too much to invest $10,000 in it. Actually, the only reason I like the cruise control is because without it I'm likely to be doing close to 90mph.
 

DaveG_NJ

Member
Oct 7, 2020
440
1,277
NJ
Well, just to report back, the road trip from NJ to Atlanta and back went off without a hitch. I used several tools to try to plan the trip, but in the end, chose my routes using Google maps (since you can drag the path) and the in-car Supercharger planner. It was a breeze.

The trip was about 850 miles each way, give or take. We chose the western route to hit some of the Skyline Drive and 81 on the way down, then through Asheville and 85 to Atlanta. Stopped in the little town on Wythesville, VA overnight and resumed in the morning. On the way back, we stayed on 85 most of the way, stopping north of Richmond and then finishing up the next day.

My random impressions/observations/comments, in no particular order:
  • We Supercharged 9 times (over 2 days) on the way south and 7 times (over 2 days) on the way home.
  • Total cost of Supercharging (for 1,700) miles was about $168. If we took my wife's Outback, it would have been about $100 more (but likely faster).
  • Supercharges are sometimes busy, but never overcrowded and I came across only two broken stations in the 16 sites we visited.
  • Some of the Superchargers are tricky to find (at the back of a Holiday Express). At busy times (daylight), you're likely to see Teslas leaving, but at night, you may be on a scavenger hunt trying to find the chargers in the corner of some complex. Tesla should give you a beacon on the map to precisely locate them.
  • Tesla people are friendly. Great to share conversations with other Tesla owners.
  • Don't park overnight with low battery in the cold. Sentry will shut off and the battery won't be preconditioned for fast charging. Charge before you park for the night.
  • Sometimes Superchargers are right next to the highway, sometimes they're four miles down some suburban road. That slows you down.
  • There's nearly always something to do at a charger location. In the NE, they're at Wawas. In the south, they're likely at Sheetz or some random restaurant or strip mall complex.
  • The in-car planner is pretty good at optimizing your charging. Sometimes I'd go to 80%, sometimes to 66% since the charging slows down as the battery gets full. The planner lets you know when you have enough to make your next station (and it was pretty close).
  • I never let the battery get down below 15% en route. If the planner said I could make it to the next waypoint with 12%, I'd charge a little longer.
  • Most charges were around 20 min. Some less, like 15 minutes and some more, like 30 (max).
  • I tried, really tried, to like ABRP, but the interface was cumbersome. It was a lot easier to use the in-car planner for Supercharger locations (knowing the route I wanted to follow). Waypoints would be nice, though, to do it all in one shot.
  • Some roads in the south make the Telsa tires very noisy. Obnoxiously so. When the surface changed, it got better.
  • With navigation on, Tesla doesn't do a good job of alerting you to traffic bottlenecks.
  • I put a lot of effort into the planning for the southern run, because we wanted to hit the Skyline Drive and no planner (other than Google) would let us choose a longer/slower route and I wanted a halfway point near a Supercharger with a hotel nearby. On the way back, we just got in the car and winged it, changing routes along the way.
  • We used the short charging sessions to make plan revisions, snack, bathroom breaks and stretch.
  • The Blue Ridge mountains are gorgeous in the fall.
  • Southern people (and drivers) are nicer than us northern drivers.
  • At least half of the vehicles on 81 are tractor trailers.
  • For flat-earth drivers from NJ/DE, mountain highways have a lot of high-speed, blind curves.
  • EZ-Pass (or it's equivalents) in the south isn't so much for tolls as for express-lane access (pay for play).
  • In over 1,700 miles, I had no range anxiety. Everything just fell into place. I did worry about a flat tire, though.
Sorry for the long post. TL;DR: Don't overthink it - just go!

Screen Shot 2021-11-08 at 5.59.53 PM.png
 

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