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How did I ever do a road trip before the Model 3?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by JWSM3Owner, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. JWSM3Owner

    JWSM3Owner Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Virginia
    My fiancé and I just got back a couple days ago from our Christmas road trip: 1,400 miles to, from, and all around the state of Ohio. I picked up my M3 SR+ exactly 7 days before we were due to depart, and I was thrilled to take my dream car on this trip. I put together a few thoughts for folks on the fence about buying a 3 (or just curious how it fares on long trips). The TL;DR is: if I can help it, I’ll never do a road trip in any other car (or at least, any non-Tesla). It takes longer to get where you’re going, but is just so comfortable and fun to drive no other car compares—especially with autopilot doing most of the work for you!

    The Ride: The M3 rides like a dream. It was far more comfortable, spacious, smooth, and quiet than I was expecting (I’m coming from a Mazda3 Sport, so folks coming from larger/luxury cars may feel differently). The seats in particular were terrific, and even after 9+ hours we never felt physically uncomfortable.

    Driving: The M3 drives like a dream, too. That instant torque really came in handy in a couple tough spots on the highway. But the real star of the show for me was autopilot. 1,400 miles of driving—to Dayton, a few round trips to Cincinnati, then up to Cleveland, and then home—and the car drove, I’d guess, 95% of that itself, which is absolutely wild. AP+TACC takes so much of the stress/strain out of driving long distances that I wound up doing almost all of the “driving” myself and never felt fatigued. AP is a game-changer, hands down.

    Charging: I used ABRP to plan our routes and PlugShare to find local charging options. Tesla Nav does a good job, but I like ABRP’s preference for more/shorter stops and ability to set the level of charge I want to have at my destination. I was surprised by how quick a supercharger stop can be, and most of the time the car was ready to go before we were! Charging definitely added time to the trip over an ICE car, but not as much as you might think when you account for time to get food, use bathrooms, walk the dog, etc. I was nervous about Dayton’s relative lack of charging options, but surprisingly, plugging in to a 120V wall outlet overnight more than sufficed. All things considered, I had range anxiety exactly 0 times on this trip. The key was just a little advance planning.

    Range: I bought the 3 knowing full-well that cold weather affects range, sometimes significantly. I was surprised, though, by how much—and how little I could do to mitigate it. If the car is cold, it will burn through power as much as twice the expected rate (and this was only in the 30s—not even especially cold!). You can lower the cabin temp if you like but most of this consumption is going to heat the battery, meaning there’s almost nothing you can do to to substantially improve efficiency. I thought that leaving the car plugged in would reduce the effects, but charging at 120V just doesn’t generate enough heat, and I’m not sure whether 240V would do significantly better. There’s just now way around it, if it’s cold you have to plan on 25-30% of a range hit. The good news is that, on a long trip, the car eventually heats up and the range hit basically disappears.

    Storage: This really impressed me. Between the trunk, the lower trunk, and the frunk (which I still think is just fun to use) the 3 has an incredible amount of storage space for a car its size. The frunk, for example, doesn’t look big but it handled my fiancé’s carry-on suitcase, no problem.

    Vehicular Insomina: The one major problem we had: for about three days the car refused to sleep and I was losing about 12-15% of the battery per day. This was when we were street parked at my fiancé’s home without the ability to charge, too, so not ideal! The problem seemed to be a nav update that had begun downloading but then couldn’t complete without WiFi. I did a bunch of troubleshooting—disabled TeslaFi, deleted the Stats app on my phone, signed out of Spotify, nothing worked until I finally noticed the update and used my phone as a hotspot to finish the download (Why no OTA updates over LTE w/ premium connectivity?). The car went to sleep 5 minutes later. The 3 has “efficiency” written into it’s DNA, so why doesn’t it have failsafe software that detects abnormal idling patterns and forces the car to sleep or alerts you to a problem? Why don’t I have the ability to put the car to sleep manually through the app? This was an inconvenience but suppose I parked it for 4 or 5 days at the airport—that would be a recipe for the ultimate dead battery.


    Overall, the biggest tell that the 3 really is just an awesome car is that, even after spending insane amounts of time driving places in the last two weeks, I’m still looking for an excuse to drive it. I think the Model 3 is that rare thing that you dream about one day having, and then find that the genuine article is better than you imagined. The 3 is a game changer, and if Tesla keeps this up (and man, I hope they do!), I’ll never buy another kind of car!
     
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  2. yerEVan

    yerEVan Member

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    This is entirely too long and way too positive. You have ruined my Saturday night sir/madam.
     
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  3. jkoya

    jkoya NA2 NSX

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    Glad to hear you enjoyed the car during your road trip. Any pics of the superchargers you stopped at ?
     
  4. vjason

    vjason Member

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    Raleigh, NC
    #4 vjason, Jan 4, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
    Closed on a beach house in October that is a little over 3 hours (210 miles) from Raleigh along I-64, and it really helped me see how much of an advantage Tesla has over other BEV manufacturers.

    3 Superchargers between my Raleigh home and there (Rocky Mount, Plymouth (my go to), and Kill Devil Hills). Only 1 non-Tesla L3 charger along the route (Rocky Mount). Technically I could start my trip at the Raleigh Supercharger if needed too, though that requires a slight route change. Worth noting that the only reason that there is an Electrify America L3 charger in Rocky Mount is because that is where I-95 meets I-64, otherwise the only reason to keep heading east on I-64 is (pretty much) to head to the beach.

    The first 107 miles of the beach trip are all major interstate, and AP chews them up with ease. The remaining I-64 roads are more rural, so it has some lights, crossing traffic, and you pass through a few small towns but even then AP is a big help.

    Basically with Tesla my charge state doesn't matter, thanks to all the Superchargers I just go at the speed and with the amount of climate control that I want. And as a bonus AP takes me ~97% of the way. Any other BEV would require more careful planning, and to be honest during the winter the single L3 charger along the route may not be enough to even make the trip.

    Others will catch up eventually, but Tesla still has a significant lead (at least for my use case).
     
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  5. M109Rider

    M109Rider Active Member

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    Loved the road trip story.

    I used to like driving other cars, loaner cars, or renting a car, because it was a chance to try out other cars.
    My BMW (my last car) was also a great car.

    But now, I don’t want to drive any other cars. Only my model 3 now. Had it for a year and 3 months now. It’s like day one. :)
     
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  6. jkoya

    jkoya NA2 NSX

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    Just curious how busy the Superchargers are in your area ? They can be quite busy here in Northern CA....
     
  7. vjason

    vjason Member

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    I don't use local ones at all, but when peeking in the app only Rocky Mount seems to get close to full (expected due to location along I-95). Plymouth (120KW) is in the middle of nowhere, and I'm usually alone. KDH is 150KW and so far generally dead during the winter (though I usually skip it since I'm almost to the house at that point).

    That said when spring/summer hits I expect heavier use along the route, but at the same time I can usually make it without stops when it is warm. It's hard to be efficient in the winter months when you throw in a little heat and high speeds, so I usually need a quick 10 minute stop.

    Since a have a LR I'll almost never need to stop at Rocky Mount. Plymouth is ~120 miles from Raleigh so anyone who charged up in town should be able to make it there.

     
  8. jkoya

    jkoya NA2 NSX

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    Thanks for the info - much appreciated !! I stopped at a Supercharger in Corte Madera (SF bay area) and there was about a 10 car wait. This was on a Wednesday morning at about 10 AM in October. It just made me wonder how crowded the Superchargers are across the US...
     
  9. MrMassTransit

    MrMassTransit Supporting Member

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    Washington, DC
    I think waits like that are a phenomenon particular to California, or perhaps the West Coast in general. I’ve only had to wait to Supercharge on the east coast once, and that was a six stall location immediately after a rocket launch at Wallops Island, VA. I only waited about five minutes then.

    Otherwise, all the stops I’ve made have been at most half full, and at many I was the only one there for the entire duration of my charge. This was the case when I did a Utah/Idaho road trip over Labor Day weekend, although the Salt Lake Supercharger was consistently near 100% capacity. But I’ve never encountered anything like a line ten cars deep.
     
  10. M3BlueGeorgia

    M3BlueGeorgia Active Member

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    Yep, California. Tesla can't build Superchargers fast enough.

    We just drove from Atlanta to N. Colorado and back (for Christmas and New Year) and didn't have to wait.
    One time we filled the last slot.
     
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  11. SO16

    SO16 Active Member

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    The vast majority do NOT have a wait.
     
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  12. boriszima

    boriszima Member

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    Los Angeles
    Great read indeed. I like my model 3 on long drives because I can use autopilot which makes a drive very relaxing mentally and some physically. Also when my passengers say look there, I can actually look and see what they are talking about without accidentally swerving and such.
     
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  13. Marcelve

    Marcelve Member

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    Location:
    Netherlands
    Was sentry mode activated? If so, try to turn it off. I noticed recently that my M3 LR was draining faster than expected. Turning the sentry mode off stopped the battery drain.
     
  14. JasonR67

    JasonR67 Member

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    Raleigh(ish), North Carolina
    The one time last fall I needed the Raleigh supercharger (It was the only one for ~60 miles at the time) there was a 3-4 car wait. It's the least interesting SC I've been to. Mid day on a weekend.

    Since then they have added 2 more (Cary and Smithfield, both more convenient for me) in the area that will give more options for people on road trips as well as locals.

    to the OP. 240v makes a huge difference on charging. I did 120v for a month and had range anxiety every day. Now that I have 240v, I never think about it.
     
  15. Candleflame

    Candleflame Active Member

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    you seem to forget that gas cars from 2019 are also pretty nice.
     
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  16. dmurphy

    dmurphy Woof.

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    Nobody here forgot; we just don’t care.
     
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  17. dmurphy

    dmurphy Woof.

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    I agree, and for a few reasons.

    #1 Tesla per capita is probably highest
    #2 Early adopters who ended up with free supercharging.
    #3 High electric prices encourage Supercharger use.
    #4 Especially in dense cities, many folks can’t charge at home.

    Here in NJ, there’s nowhere in state that’s out of range, so day-to-day, Supercharger use is minimal. Most everyone charges at home.
     
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  18. DRM4

    DRM4 Member

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    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I agree with your review. One advantage of of using the car's trip planner/Nav over ABRP is accounting for traffic. The other issue is that you want the car to know which supercharger you are headed to so that it can precondition before you get to it, maximizing your charging speed. The car will say "preconditioning" about 5 miles away from the supercharger. It sounds like you are losing much more charge overnight than you should. You should lose 1% max over a 24 hr period. You may have Sentry mode on, Dog mode on or perhaps your heating is set to remain on. You definitely want to pre-heat the car while plugged in before you drive. Any use of heating will affect range, that's just the way it is. Also, check the tire pressure. Should be 42 psi.

    The Supercharger network is what makes driving a Tesla on long trips possible and it does take planning. It's good to have a plan B if chargers are all occupied or out of order. I have been fortunate enough to be able to go to next Supercharger along my route when the one I stopped at was full.
     
  19. GoergeJetson

    GoergeJetson Member

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Autopilot is good but not much different than other cars I’ve owned that have Lane Keep Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. Seems people think Tesla is the only vehicle manufacturer with Level 1 driving assist. Navigate on Autopilot is a bit more advanced, but Cadillac has SuperCruise, totally hands free while on the Interstate. FSD is where Tesla will be ahead, if it ever gets released to the masses. Although $7,000 is a significant amount of money for the convenience of semi-autonomous driving.
     
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  20. JWSM3Owner

    JWSM3Owner Member

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    Virginia
    I thought this might be the root cause too, so I double checked and sentry mode was off. I’m almost certain that it was the navigation update. Like I said, once that was cleared up the car started sleeping again almost immediately. Now I’m looking <1% a day and Teslafi tells me the car is sleeping like a baby!

    I should have mentioned (but thought my post was long enough as is) that I used ABRP to plan the route, and then Tesla Nav to route to the next SC. That way, the car knew we were headed to a charger and would precondition/check traffic/confirm how much charge we needed. Most of the time, ABRP’s estimate for needed charge was very accurate, but I treated it like an informed guess and relied on the car to tell me exactly how much we’d need.

    Also, I 100% agree with your point about the SC network. Tesla is so far ahead here, I’d have a hard time recommending any other EV to a friend looking for anything more than a car to drive around town.

    Sure! The SCs among our route weren’t exactly scenic, but I have a couple pics from the maiden voyage! :)
     

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