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Going through Richmond to Raleigh

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by kendallpb, May 16, 2013.

  1. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    I'm going 277-279 miles from just north of DC to Raleigh, NC. I have several promising options in Raleigh--Tesla Service Center 10-15 minutes away (I know, call ahead), North Hills mall 5 minutes away (2 free chargers), a Chargepoint charger downtown, and it looks like some other Raleigh city public chargers downtown. (I hope not to have to go downtown, though!) If nothing else, I'll borrow my parents' car and leave the car at the mall or some other public charger overnight. ;-) This won't impress my parents, but I'm fine with that.

    But even with a range charge, we should charge on the way down, and Richmond's almost halfway there. 277 seems too borderline, and I don't want to arrive empty and spend all weekend at the mall, charging, anyway. ;-) Here's what I've found, but I'm interested in hearing from anyone who's used any of these or has other suggestions, especially in or South of Richmond. I'll be charging on the way down on Friday (I know, why didn't I post earlier this week?), hopefully mid-day or early PM, and coming back Sunday (who knows when).

    1. The Omni Hotel's Tesla-installed quasi-high-powered charger (70 amps, but not a HPWC) is only for people staying overnight (I asked). ;-(

    2. The Science Museum (aimed at kids, but that's okay) has a couple of Chargepoint chargers, but in case they're in use or broken, I need backups. Plus I read elsewhere I'd only charge 15 miles per hour!

    3. Then there are Ford, Chevy, and Nissan dealers and Enterprise rent-a-car, which I know I should call ahead to make sure any of them would let me use them. Also it sounds like people have had pretty inconsistent experience with places like this so I don't want to rely on them, and I don't know how powerful their chargers are (any better than the Science Museum?)

    4. There's a KOA that someone at the TM forums used and it sounds like they may have 50 amp service; it's north of Richmond, but I guess that's okay...just not sure, what do you do while charging at KOA during the day? I mean it's a campground so I guess I have to hunt a deer to eat or something? (Kidding, but sorry, I'm a city boy.) ;-)

    5. Oh and get this, Chargepoint lists a (non-Chargepoint) Museum of Transportation in downtown Richmond, but that's actually in Roanoke--nowhere near Richmond. I wonder where Chargepoint gets their non-Chargepoint data from!

    Thoughts? I'd originally thought the Science Museum was most promising, but as slow as it is, the I'm glad I finally looked at the KOA--it seems like a better bet. Though I doubt my other half will be impressed...I wish there were superchargers somewhere between here and Raleigh.

    Any other recommendations in or around Richmond? For example, anyone charged at Heritage Chevrolet or Priority Nissan in Chester and if so, were they cool with it and how powerful was the charger? Any first-hand public charging experience at all (especially on a trip) in or south of Richmond???

    The other thing I'm not sure of is...how much should I top off on the way down/back? In theory if it's 50/240, I'd get back 30 miles per hour. Given the 277-mile trip, would 30 extra be enough? 60?

    I'm a bit nervous--first time trip and all. ;-) I think I'll cross-post on Tesla's forums as well.
     
  2. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

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    I've used the Science Museum charger about 1 month ago, got about 17 miles/hr. VCU has 2 groups of chargers, one on Broad St at Harrison (I think) across the street from the Siegel Center. I tried to use that one but the garage is closed on weekends. The other is on the MCV campus, North garage. I would guess that one is open on weekends since it's the hospital/medical school, but you should call to make sure if you're interested.

    You could easily kill 2-3 hours at the Science Museum and walking to a place nearby to eat. The MCV garage is right next to the medical school bookstore, which I haven't been to in 10 years, but I see now it's run by Barnes and Noble. You would also be about a 20 minute walk from Shockoe Bottom (where the Omni is also located) which has tons of restaurants, etc. MCV garage is right off I95 so might be a little more convenient for you. Library of Virginia is also right up Broad St from the medical school and a nice, clean, quiet place to read and has a few historical type exhibits. On your trip, I would pick MCV garage/Omni unless you're traveling with kids, then Science Museum/Children's museum is the clear winner.

    My longest range trip to date was a 290 mile trip to the beach. I stopped at my Mom's house and charged for 2 hours on her dryer outlet to get the cushion. My driving was mostly country road 60 mph, so as they say YMMV on I95. Maybe we'll get lucky with this upcoming Supercharger announcement! I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I have a trip up to Baltimore at the end of June.
     
  3. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    Thanks for the info! I only see the Broad St. garage and yeah, not open on weekends, but I'll keep it in mind. I don't have kids, but I got a response at TM's forums saying the Omni is not just for overnight stays, plus someone else offered a personal work charger for free, if he/she is around. So I'm going to try Omni, then this generous soul, then...I was thinking KOA, but that's north of Richmond, so I may just try the MCV garage or the Science Museum.

    Anyway, it sounds like adding 50 miles may suffice, but yeah, it's tough to predict I-95. I fear the stop and go will kill my range, but the worst part is really in the first hour or so south of DC. I guess I'll see what it looks like when I hit the charger, and charge longer if it looks like I'll need it. Pickings are slim between Richmond and Raleigh. Great place for a supercharger, Tesla...I'm just saying. ;-)
     
  4. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    I'd agree on a SC in the Richmond area.

    I live just outside DC, and travel to Richmond 3-4 times a year, and it's about 135 miles for me door-to-door.... just long enough that I'll have to plan on a charge somewhere. I've stayed at the Omni, and I'll be checking out other hotels.

    Coincidentally, I also just drove through Richmond to Wake Forrest NC, just outside of Raleigh. Exactly 265 miles to my destination... so a SC at the halfway point (Richmond) would be most appreciated....
     
  5. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    Pickings appear slim in other hotels in Richmond, for EV charging.

    Did you charge along the way, or did you make it with just enough juice to reach a charger in Wake Forest? If you charged along the way, where (if a public charger, I mean)?
     
  6. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

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    I stayed at the Jefferson on my last trip and there are several 110 outlets in the cobblestone circle in front of the hotel. They let me park there and charge overnight. Word is they are considering installing an EV charger, so it would be worth a phone call if you're planning on staying there. BTW very nice hotel with a kick ass Sunday brunch.
     
  7. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    Thanks for the info! (checking) That looks like a great hotel and the brunch list makes me hungry. ;-) I just checked and they don't have chargers, but I'll keep them in mind for the future.
     
  8. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Ah sorry, I don't have my Model S yet (not until this Friday!). I was driving that route to some friends house with my ICE, and taking note of distances/locations for future consideration...
     
  9. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    #9 kendallpb, May 19, 2013
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
    No problem, and congrats on your upcoming Model S! :-D Blue was a top contender for me, but I went with brown.

    In other news, my trip went well, I learned some things, my parents liked the car, and I met a great, very helpful fellow owner (salt of the earth).

    My car did better at highway speeds (realistic ones, not posted ones) than I expected. I know there are a lot of factors, so I'll take it with a grain of salt, but I was impressed.

    The Omni hotel's charger was very useful, but warning, the S defaulted to 60 amps on this 70 amp charger. I realized on the return trip and bumped it up to 70; the car warned me that if the charger looked like "this" (picture of HPWC) that I shouldn't go above 60--but it let me. Which is good, since it was not a HPWC. I'm surprised it didn't "know," since it was a J1772 connector (I thought the car "knew" that kinda thing). Anyway, at 70 amps and 200ish volts, it was as fast as my HPWC at 60 amps--41 rated miles per hour. Sweet! (On the way down, I charged at the Omni at 60 amps because I forgot it should've been 70 and didn't realize the car was defaulting to 60.)

    The hotel I stayed at was nice and let me use a 120v outlet outside, even putting cones around a space on the street so it would be accessible when I was ready at night. (The UMC would only reach if I was in a pretty specific area, as it was far back from the road.) Unfortunately, I got a red ring and the car told me to cycle the power on the outlet or something like that. I tried the test/reset buttons a few times but that didn't help, and after messing around for a while, I gave up. But that night, I used a public charger at a nearby mall for a couple of hours and that worked well.

    Anyway, overall, a successful trip! Thanks to those here and privately who helped out. :)
     
  10. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Good news, and congrats on the non-brodered trip :)

    I stay in Richmond a couple of times a year for conventions, and I have stayed at the Omni a couple of times.. perhaps I'll have to aim for it again, even though I'm not terribly fond of the downtown location...

    Thanks for the report.
     
  11. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Broderless? Unbrodered? Broder-free?
     
  12. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Now With 100% Less Broder!
     
  13. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    (Repost from Tesla forum)

    For those in the Richmond area, there is an event at the Science museum June 28 to demonstrate the benefits of fast charging. While based on new the Supercharger map there should be a SC in the Richmond area "this summer", getting more infrastructure around the state would be a positive (as long as it works with the model S).


    Events |
     
  14. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    Maybe they'll up the amps/voltage on the chargers in front of the museum. ;-)
     

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