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First single-charge road trip

Discussion in 'Texas' started by Rockster, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    McKinney, TX
    #1 Rockster, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    I’ve had my P85 for a month. My longest prior trip was Dallas to Austin, where I took advantage of the Waco Supercharger so that I could drive however I wanted, with no regard for energy usage.

    Over the past couple of weeks, however, I’ve been facing a trip to Tyler for an afternoon appointment. I’ve been studying google maps, plugshare, recargo,, weather, the onion, and every possible source of information for insight into the best way to make the trip. I waffled between driving conservatively to make it on one charge and driving like a bat out of hell and detouring to Corsicana for a Supercharge on the way back to Dallas. There are chargers in the Tyler area, but they seem able to provide no more than 17 miles per hour or so and it quickly became clear that if I was going to charge en route, it made more sense to detour to Corsicana for a Supercharge than it would be to sit at a Nissan dealer in Tyler (maybe, if they were cooperative) to get 17 mi/hr.

    As a result, the decision was basically: do I drive conservatively and hope that I can make a 250 mile round trip on a single charge or resign myself to a Supercharger detour, which would add nearly 90 minutes to the trip, considering additional travel time?

    I took a leap of faith and decided that I could make a 250 mile round trip on a single charge. As it turned out, the journey was amazingly trouble-free. Best of all, I had about 60 miles remaining upon my return home.

    Below are further details.

    • I left midday yesterday. The night before leaving, I charged to 90%. I ran a few quick errands in the morning and returned home to begin a range charge. At 240 volts/40 amps from my NEMA 14-50 and mobile charger, I went from slightly less than 90% to a full range charge in 1 hour and 15 minutes, resulting in 266 miles of rated range.

    • Within a few minutes of reaching the full range charge, I jumped in the car and headed for Tyler.

    One odd thing: I was watching the charge countdown on the phone and it stalled at 1 minute remaining. After three minutes watching the "1 minute remaining" on my phone, I went to the garage and the car display read "Determining remaining charge time" or something like that. It, too, seemed stuck. With it showing 266 miles rated range, I figured it was as charged as it was gonna get, so I unplugged and left.

    For those of you familiar with the Dallas area, I took Route 75 to 635 to 80 to 20 to 69 into Tyler. Except for a couple of construction spots on I-20, I was able to go my chosen speed the entire way there. On the return trip, I hit the 635/75 “high five” interchange at 5:02 pm. If you’ve seen the opening scenes of the movie Office Space where the guy stuck in rush hour traffic is being outpaced by an old man in a walker, you have an accurate image of northbound 75 at 5 pm on a weekday.

    An observation on stop and go traffic: Depending on the type of stop and go traffic, it can be very energy efficient. Slow, yes, but not a big demand at all on the battery. If one is able to keep a large enough following distance and find a speed that's equivalent to the average of the ICE vehicles’ “dash and stop” behavior, the Model S can travel 10 to 20 mph in rush hour traffic consuming as little as 125 Wh/mi. The killer is when traffic stops completely, zooms to 30 or 40 mph, only to stop fully again moments later. An hour of this is a huge hit on the battery. Fortunately, I didn't face any of that yesterday.

    For most of the journey, I kept the cruise control between 58 and 65 mph and the HVAC on range mode. Ambient temp was high 60's to low 70's and I kept the setting on 68 all day. Driving this way is quite unlike my normal "bat out of hell" way of driving an ICE, dodging police, and refilling whenever I needed. I found it quite relaxing, actually.

    My average Wh/mi was around 250 for most of the trip, which meant that my projected range was always higher than my rated. As expected, the gap between the two narrowed as the numbers shrank. When I returned home, rated was 55 and projected was 62. (I may be off by a couple of miles. Didn't take a picture of that screen.)

    I did stop at a drive-thru to grab dinner for the family on my way back, so the last six miles or so were rather spirited driving, by comparison to the rest of the day, as I rushed the food home before it got cold.

    Trip metrics:

    Total Distance: 248.5 miles
    Total Energy: 65.4 kWh
    Avg Energy: 263 Wh/mi

    Taking a trip like this is a huge comfort, knowing what a positive effect on range traveling a consistent 60 mph or so is. I'm also pleased to see 266 miles rated range on a range charge. This is the first time I've done a range charge and the car has 6,000 miles on it. (No, I didn't put 6,000 miles on it in a month. It was a service loaner, purchased with about 4,500 miles on it.)
  2. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

    Sep 23, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    Thanks, Rockster, for posting this. I made my first trip on a single charge yesterday from Chattanooga to Nashville and back to Chattanooga. It was a bit harrowing as I have only owned the P85 for less than a week...actually, it isn't even mine. It's a loaner while mine is being prepped for final delivery, but I digress...I wish I had read about your experience prior to my trip and I would not have been quite so nervous. I KNEW I had enough power, but I did not know what kind of hit I would take going over Monteagle Pass. As it turns out I got back home with only 4 miles of Rated Range remaining. The last 25 miles were at 55 MPH hugging a big truck and no climate control. Next time I will better know how to modify the entire trip to have a bit extra left over.
  3. jerry33

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

    Mar 8, 2012
    What it was doing was balancing the pack. This can take a long time (like an hour).
  4. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Beaverton, OR
    My first range charge yielded 266 miles. Next one was something like 264, then 262 (v4.5). Last one yielded 255 miles (v5.8).
  5. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    #5 purplewalt, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
    @ Rockster:
    Congrats on both your new car, and your successful first foray driving distance outside the Metroplex!
    Third Congratulations, as you adequately planned and understand that extended range is possible with the correct attitude about managing your driving speed, and acknowledging driving conditions (weather).

    I just did a similar trip from Dallas to Whitehouse, Southeast side of Tyler last week.
    The weather was a bit cool and I knew it would be nearly impossible to do the full loop on one charge (my estimated drive would have been 266 miles).
    So I did the alternate route: Corsicana detour, via Athens on to Tyler Loop 69, then over to Whitehouse, return trip same route.
    Yes the Corsicana route added some time both driving and charging, but I needed my mileage range buffer (30 miles for me).

    I agree driving 60 mph (or 58 or 62) is very relaxing KNOWING that the range is actually there, if you just drive calmly and efficiently.
    Consistency (cruise control when applicable) is the major key element to successful trips like yours.
  6. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Feb 27, 2009
    Welcome to the joys of hypermiling and getting max range out of your MS when you need it. Of course, it's fun to drive 85 with nicely spaced Superchargers, but is also nice to venture out into the wilderness and know that you can do that, too!

    As for planning, I have found the calculator at EVTripPlanner to be very good at predicting expected usage.

    Enjoy your MS! :biggrin:
  7. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    McKinney, TX
    #7 Rockster, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
    I repeated the Dallas to Tyler round trip again yesterday, with very similar results. The big differences were the early morning temperature was colder and I had to run some errands and let the car sit for a couple of hours before my departure for Tyler, so I actually had a cold-soaked car (44 degrees F) that had been driven about 15 miles when I departed at 11:30. Accordingly, I had to run the heat for the first 30 minutes and then again for the last 30 minutes of the evening during my drive home last night. During the day, the temperatures were pleasant enough that I didn't need the HVAC at all. The afternoon reached 56 or so and the car got a bit warm inside while being parked in Tyler but it quickly cooled off when I opened the pano (loaner car; mine doesn't have a pano).

    For those of you familiar with the area, I drove 60 mph on route 635 (which is the speed limit for that part of 635, though nobody drives the speed limit), 60 mph on most of Hwy 80, and 65 on most of I-20 (with some portions at 60 mph when I was in more remote areas with less traffic to annoy with my slower speed). When in Tyler I just paced with traffic.

    I arrived home with 35 miles Projected range and 20-something Rated range.


    And many thanks to Todd in Tyler for offering his HPWC in case I needed a safety net!
  8. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    May 17, 2009
    Wow. Pushing the limits. Glad you made it.
  9. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

    Mar 24, 2014
    I've made a few trips from Austin to Dallas at 204 miles in my Roadster. It sure is strange driving that thing at 55 mph along I-35. Since the Roadster can't use the superchargers, it's a lot better to drive slower than to stop and charge for two hours. On my last (and best) trip, I averaged 215 Whr/mile.

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