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First Road Trip Thoughts: #1: Range Anxiety Isn't a Real Issue. Charger Anxiety Is.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by jasonlk, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. jasonlk

    jasonlk New Member

    Mar 8, 2013
    Palo Alto
    After picking up our P85 Model S on Friday (First Day Thoughts: #1 -- You Don't Need the P85. The 85 is more than Plenty. with the big learning being the Regular 85 is more than enough), we immediately did a roadtrip to San Luis Obispo for the weekend.

    First road-trip / weekend learnings FWIW:

    • Range Anxiety With an 85 in California is Basically a Media Myth / Creation. The real-world range on a P85 with heat and a 70+ mph average is about 200 miles, I've learned. Dude, you shouldn't have range anxiety. Just figure out if your trip is < 180 miles total. If so, a non-issue. Add in superchargers (see next point), and it's not a real issue in California IMHO.
    • Superchargers Totally, Utterly Rock and are a Game Changer. Remember the guys that put $400m into a Better Place? Well, Superchargers are 10x better. Why change out the batteries when you can fill the whole "tank" up while at In-N-Out? Even better, on the trip back, we only needed a 5 minute top up at Gilroy to comfortable get home. Once this network is really rocking, it will be amazing. Complete, utter, total game changer.
    • But, Non-Supercharging On-The-Road Charging Anxiety is Real. Charging in San Luis Obispo wasn't fun. Why? First, there simply aren't enough public chargers. All of them were full. We did eventually get the 70A charger in the March garage -- but after charging, another Tesla unplugged us. Not sure if that's cool or not. Anyhow, it creates the real anxiety. I can charge from home. I can supercharge. But will the other charging networks really work? Are there enough spots (all the "standard" charging spots are always filled in the Palo Alto parking garages, too)? What if I can't get a full 40A charge in time? This is not the end of the world. But it wasn't fun to worry a tiny bit about this all weekend. Range anxiety wasn't a worry. This was a small one.
    • The P85 is More Alpina B6.5, Not M5. The P85 is insanely fast and destroys basically anything on the road in real terms in acceleration. And at 6/10th or 7/10ths, the handling is flat and sure and true. But really push it -- at say 100+ or tight sweepers ... and it gets mushy and less confidence inspiring. This isn't bad, because the car is comfortable and true. But saying the P85 is a sports sedan like an M5 or E63 is a stretch. It's more like an Alpina or other super-fast luxury sedan with pretty good handling.
    • The 3rd Row Seats a Killer Feature and Totally Unique. The kids are in love. And when they are back there, there's no one to kick the back of your seat. More seriously, it's their own zone. Each of us had our own. This is actually even better than our Honda Odyssey, let alone any other sedan on the planet.

    Ok and some of the downsides and suggestions. I'm not going to nitpick. Just the few that matter:

    • My Back Hurts On the Long Trip. The Seats Aren't Good, at Least for Me. Don't flame me. But of all the vehicles in the past 10+ years, only our S2000 seats were less comfortable on a road trip. I couldn't tell around town. But on a roadtrip, worse than, in order: Saab 9-5, MBZ E320 Bluetec, Honda Odyssey, Saab 9-3 Lexus GH340h, and then last ... Model S.
    • It Really Needs Parking Sensors B/c This is a Wiiiiide and Long Car. It's really, really wide. And you really can't see much out the back and certainly cannot ascertain and of the corners for parking, etc. If ever a car needed them that wasn't a convertible, it's this one. The rear-view camera solves some problems, but not this one, not really.
    • Wireless Charing Would Be Killer. Tesla needs to add this and allow a retrofit like you can now with the dual chargers. Plugging in at night isn't that fun. It would be 10x slicker if I could wireless charge. This would be the next killer feature.
    • The HVAC / Range Issue Is Suboptimal. Yes, I said there wasn't range anxiety. But cranking the heater or A/C really cuts the range ... and adds some range anxiety ;) This is a bummer in a luxury car. Not the end of the world, and I have no answer. Just get the Wireless Charging done, that's enough ;)

    Just my learnings FWIW.
  2. contaygious

    contaygious Active Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    Marina, San Francisco
    True, I drove to la and I had to park at a Radom courthouse charger i found with plug share all day and pick it up the next day. Not the most convenient.
  3. Fedderman

    Fedderman Model S 85kWh (VIN 1732)

    Sep 9, 2012
    Palo Alto, California
    I have a similar view on charging anxiety ("Non-Supercharging On-The-Road Charging Anxiety is Real") and seat comfort.

    I don't let the on-the-road charging anxiety become an issue for me (personal choice)... for example, in two days we are driving to Santa Barbara from Palo Alto, but we will be taking my wife's car (hybrid) since the natural supercharging location would be somewhere around SLO plus or minus 30 miles but this doesn't exist (yet)... I look forward to more superchargers along Hwy 101 but until then I have a low-stress alternative, and like most people the vast majority of my round-trip driving does not require charging on the road.

    This is by far the best car (from driver satisfaction perspective) that I have owned - but I also find the seat comfort/support to be somewhat lacking, and the side bolsters mostly ineffective, especially when compared to my prior car (M3). After 3 months I still find myself readjusting, looking for that optimum setting.
  4. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Oct 7, 2011
    Portland, Maine, USA
    "Charger anxiety" is a good term. One can carefully plan a trip, only to find that the charger you thought was going to serve your needs isn't operating or available. Having a backup plan is essential, but in most places around the country currently, Plan B is going to be a lot worse than Plan A.

    Even slow L2 charging works fine at destinations. For example, I drove ~100 miles out to a music event this weekend that happened to be very close to some free EV charging, albeit 208v / 30A. Before I was done at the event 8 hours later, I was back to a full (standard) charge.* But that wouldn't have been a satisfactory solution for a road-trip -- drive 2 hours, charge 6 hours isn't a good balance. Adding 15-18 miles of range/hour usefully extends the overnight distance of the car, but doesn't help much with day-trips.

    *Yes, this charge was mostly gratuitous, but it meant I could drive both ways without regard to energy consumption.
  5. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

    Oct 26, 2012
    Santa Cruz, CA
    My prediction is that within 2-3 years in California there will be enough DC chargers (both superchargers and third party level 3 that we have adaptors for) that we'll be able to drive just about anywhere. EV's are just taking off.
  6. bellwilliam

    bellwilliam Member

    Jan 9, 2013
    good review...
    what you said about handling is why I wanted STD suspension.
    unplugging you AFTER you were charged is norm...I would also..if you are not charging, you shouldn't be at the spot.
  7. shady

    shady Member

    Nov 26, 2012
    Morgan Hill, California
    I agree with you about the seats!
  8. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    Aptos, Ca
    I like 'em (so does my wife), better than our previous cars by a long way. But definitely a highly
    personal thing.
  9. scriptacus

    scriptacus Member

    Jan 20, 2013
    Los Angeles, CA
    Disagree about the seats, though I suppose it depends on the person. I picked up my car at the factory, adjusted the seats exactly once, and proceeded to drive 350 perfectly comfortable miles home. I haven't touched them since. I did read a few other threads on seat comfort beforehand and took advice from them like adjusting the very front of the seat as high as possible (I'm 6'1") and not leaning them back too far. I also pushed out the lumbar support further than I'm used to, but it still feels perfectly fine.

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