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How many potential buyers worry about roadtrips?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by David_Cary, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

    Dec 17, 2012
    Cary, NC
    I've had several people who decided against the Tesla because of concern about roadtrips and not wanting to stop at a SC.

    People love to say you can do roadtrips but they just aren't as convenient.

    A Tesla owning friend just took an SUV on a 200 mile one way trip with a SC on the way. There was no (known) destination charging at the resort. He wasn't the type to park somewhere and take a cab to the resort. He wasn't the type to have a 20 minute potty break in the middle of a 3 hr drive. 2 young kids.

    Another bought a Audi A7 or something - because he still can't realistically go to the mountains without compromise. He could make it with the Burlington SC but he would need to destination charge and he has a 100 yo cabin in the middle of nowhere. Sure he could 120V but would really have to work at it for a short trip.

    My inlaws are 160 miles away. We go sometimes to drop our son off. A RT is doable but passing by Burlington is not the preferred route. And honestly, I don't really want to turn a 3 hour drive into a 3.5 hour drive. Nor do I want to turn the roundtrip from 6 to 7 hours.

    I totally get on a long roadtrip, stopping every 3 hours is fine. But don't most people want to decide when to stop and not when they have to?

    I just can't wrap my head around spending $80k and then having to make compromises. And even if I could, I can't imagine explaining it to my wife....
  2. jerry33

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

    Mar 8, 2012
    The difference really isn't as great as it looks because you don't stop for gas when you first start to drive, so mostly it's when you stop that's different--not how long. Most people underestimate the time they stop with a gas car.

    The other thing is that you are supposed to take a 20-30 minute break after a couple of hours of driving for safety reasons. I've had mine for over a year, made several trips, and there's really no compromise--just a different paradigm.
  3. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    United Kingdom
    #3 mgboyes, Jul 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
    I would say all potential buyers worry about road trips. It's hard to imagine what else there is to worry about since really the only thing an ICE car can do that a Model S can't is drive 400 miles, stop for 10 minutes, and repeat.

    Of course I worried about them. Then I did the research, thought about my actual usage, realised I was worrying about nothing, and paid my deposit.

    I can't wrap my head around spending $80k and then having to make compromises either. That's why I didn't buy a car that compromises safety by sitting my kids on top of 100 liters of highly flammable liquid every time I want to take them to school. I didn't buy a car that compromises practicality by eating into the usable space with engines and transmissions and fluids and gearboxes and fuel tanks. I didn't buy a car that compromises performance just to keep the running costs down. I didn't buy a car that compromises responsiveness by having to have a complex gearbox to work around the fact that the propulsion system can only operate well in a narrow window of speeds. I didn't buy a car that compromises future-proofing and upgradeability just so that the manufacturer can sell me a new one in 2 years time. I didn't buy a car that compromises customer service by making me deal with a profit hungry dealership who don't have my interests at heart. I didn't buy a car that compromises my wallet by making me spend more on fuel than I spent buying the car itself.

    There are compromises everywhere. You just need to stop and realise that the ones you are already making are just as big a deal as the new ones you might face in future.
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    There's nothing that can persuade some people. Never mind that they only get to drive their toxinmobiles because of economic pragmatism.

    Maybe ask them why they are so willing to compromise every day they drive their car yet not willing to compromise a few times a year, when that compromise really just means have a break. By the way, you can also sit in he car while charging.
  5. AlMc

    AlMc 'Senior Moments' member

    Apr 23, 2013
    ^^This^^ Well said mgboyes!
  6. bhuwan

    bhuwan Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2013
    Boston, MA

    Yes, I initially worried about the long distance travel and long term longetivity of the battery.
    I think what's important is to make decision knowing the entire picture. Right now, you've looked at some of the negatives of owning the car -- how about looking at some of the positives?

    How about the environmental impact of a GAS guzzling SUV? Sure, a 6 hour road trip becomes a 7 hour road trip in the Tesla, but what about the fumes that your kids are inhaling from filling up on gas, or the byproducts of running on oil?

    Look at the entire picture. Sometimes you have to make compromises for a better future. Tesla has compromises but all of the positives outweigh the negative.
  7. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

    Apr 16, 2012
    Wentzville, MO
    Some people are early adopters and some people aren't. Obviously, your friends are not early adopters.

    With that said, I like to stress the point that I no longer spend 10 to 15 minutes a week at a gas station plus the time to drive to one, as for me they usually were out of the way to get to.

    So, stopping at a SC is not an inconvenience but a trade off. I've traded a weekly 10 to 15 min stop for a few occasional stops once or twice a year when roadtripping. Where usually that 10 to 15 min stop is an inconvenience as I'm late to work, standing in the rain, cold or excessive heat outside, getting gas on my hands, clothes, shoes, etc, versus an SC stop that is now planned into my road trip, extra time accounted for. And I actually end up having a more relaxed trip; where I no longer arrive at my destination exhausted because I've just done a marathon drive with only a couple of gas stops.

    Also I know in the back of my mind that overtime the SC's will get more convenient, as more are rolled out, making their use less of an inconvenience.

    Laying it out that way to people usually allows them to see it in a different light.

    And yes destination charging can be a challenge, but that too is becoming easier to find. And will only get easier with time.
  8. Ugliest1

    Ugliest1 S85: "Sparky"

    Aug 19, 2013
    Victoria BC Canada
    I'm in the final third of a 3-month road trip ( I've learned a few things along the way, or, maybe that's "formed a few opinions along the way".

    The OP's concern is it's a compromise if refuelling takes longer than 10 minutes. I understand the mantra of "gotta get there quick, go go go". What I've found is driving a Model S on a road trip is like the phrase "stop to smell the roses" - it takes a little more time but the quality of life is far higher.

    The number one advantage of a supercharger stop for me is the safety and relaxation aspect -- I can mentally unplug (pardon the pun) from driving for 20, 30, 45 minutes every 3 to 4 hours, and I'm much more relaxed and - how to say this - untired at the end of the day. Then there are a few side benefits: if other owners are charging you can often meet and chat with friendly people, and learn something new from someone new. The forced break is great to stretch the legs, get the body woken up a bit with a short walk. It reduces cramps, stiffness and sore muscles.

    You can still experience the joys of visiting a gas station if you want - we've done that 6 times the past 2 months: thrice to put air in the tires, twice to clean the windshield, and once to buy bottles of drinking water.

    The Model S has so many other advantages, so ably described as "not compromised" by a previous poster, it really is a huge compromise to use a gas car. But I get the OP's concern persuading the wife, some paradigms take a while to sink in, and males just seem to be ... unskilled ... at persuading females. Or let's say we're just lucky if we ever succeed at it, about anything.

    So, the paradigm shift, from go go go to relax a little and live longer, is well supported by superchargers. When only limited numbers of Level 2 chargers and RV parks are available, that changes a mere paradigm shift into, I agree with the OP, a compromise. I am now on Canada's Sun Country Highway, superchargerless, using 90A and 100A EV chargers or RV park 50A outlets. While it still works, it turns into, essentially, drive-an-hour-charge-an-hour. You can still drive that 3 or 4 hours, but then there's no getting around the waiting for 3-4 hours while the 100A EVSE does its thing. After experiencing the beauty of supercharging, let's just say that my wife is not yet persuaded to take a second non-supercharger road trip. That will certainly change as Canada gets filled out with more (than ONE, so far) superchargers; even lots more fast (90-100A) L2 EVSE's would provide more options.

    But my overall point is the superchargers change everything. The OP's post asked about potential buyers -- I would have to guess most of them worry. Because until you actually experience the Supercharged EV trip, you don't know what you're missing.
  9. trigga71

    trigga71 Member

    Aug 26, 2013
    I agree that road trips are harder, once the Supercharger network is rolled out it won't be an issue. I drive 288 miles every weekday in my 60, yes 60. My only issue is the public charger I use when away from home is slow at charging at 18mph, and the nearest Supercharger is about 60 miles from that charger so I would be "stuck" for about 2hrs (since I'm not at 0 miles range when I arrive). Once more chargers, hopefully 80amps start to pop up its a non issue. And once a "true" 300-400 mile battery is offered kiss ICE good bye.

    will update later as I have a meeting.
  10. caddieo

    caddieo Member

    Mar 21, 2013
    Palm Coast, FL
    +100. Well said.
  11. Zarwin

    Zarwin Member

    May 12, 2014
    Hillsborough, NC
    I found the simple act of making each supercharger a "destination" really changed my whole mindset when taking a long trip. Recently drove 1700 miles in one weekend ( ) and it was a pleasant trip, really. The excitement of driving that distance on electric only made it enjoyable, but apart from that, what I learned along the way was that having a forced rest stop every 100-200 miles and having each of those stops be a destination in the GPS (instead of just the final destination) really helped make the trip more pleasant and didn't really cut into overall trip time that much with a little pre-planning for meal stops.

    For destination charging, this does have a way to go, but I've taken two trips to locations beyond round trip range. I called/emailed ahead before booking to confirm there was a standard outlet that I would be able to use and both times that worked out perfectly. Neither hotel advertised facilities for EVs, but both had reachable outlets they were happy to let me use for free overnight (2 nights both times) to charge up. Yes it takes a bit more work calling ahead, but now both those hotel's management is slightly more educated on EVs and both those hotels are in to allow others to have the same ability. Will take time, but I think destination charging will surge as an advertised service at some point when a large hotel chain starts pushing it as a value-add to get customers. Not sure how long until that happens, but at some point I think it will be like WiFi. If your hotel doesn't offer it, you will start losing customers.

    If you think about it, its a really easy value-add for many hotels, hell some already are set up for it and don't even know it. The Holiday Inn I went to in Wrightsville Beach had probably a dozen NEMA 15-20 outlets in the parking garage, but I only found out when I called them and asked. A Tesla will charge at 5mph from a NEMA 15-20.
  12. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    As an real owner, rather than a potential buyer, I don't worry about roadtrips. Sometimes a couple of minutes googling in advance, or maybe a phone call, is all that's required to ready a charging plan; that's a small price to pay for the comfort of driving electric. Other than that there are a few obvious flaws in the argumentation put forward by the OP:

    Ummmm, I've got kids and it's hard to believe that anyone can drive for 3 hours without young kids needing a potty break (unless they're still wearing diapers).

    So you don't stop at your inlaw's house? Just turn around and leave again? Driving an 85kWh wouldn't need that much of a charge to give you enough to get back home again and I'm sure your inlaws have electricity at their house. Your trip calculations assume needing to stop twice but to drive 320 miles you'd start with a range charge and only need to add some juice one way or the other to get yourself home again; IOW, you don't need to charge both ways with an 85kWh battery pack. BTW, for the cost of half a tank a gas you could buy an extension cable and plug into your inlaw's dryer outlet while your wife chit-chats with her parents.

    Driving a gas car also means stopping when you have to, not necessarily when you want to. Gas gauge gets low, you have to stop and fill-up.

    After driving pure electric for well over 3 years now I personally don't see the compromises are any greater than with a gas car. As for explaining to your wife, let her know that driving electric is a) fun, b) leaving a better world for your son and c) she'll get to spend some quality time at her parents house instead of turning around and driving straight home again.

    On a side note, my wife and I just spent 10 days on a road trip and had the greatest time taking things at a leisurely pace and spending a lot of road time talking to each other. Sometimes living life at a slower pace is actually really, really good. [/old age wisdom]
  13. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

    Feb 27, 2013
    Just to be devils advocate but that isn't going to help much if they have a gas dryer since those are usually (always?) 120V 15A.
    Of course I've seen "We're just going to stop for a minute" turn into a few hours so there is that.
  14. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    @mgboyes, that is the best summary of ICE "compromises" I have ever read. Well done. I would just add one more:

    I didn't buy a car that compromises my time by forcing me to take it in for an oil change every 5 to 10K miles.

  15. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    May 17, 2009
    #15 dsm363, Jul 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
    And if you truly visit your in laws often simply pay yourself to have a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed on the side of their garage. Problem solved.

    Everything in life is a compromise. Nothing is perfect and an EV isn't right for everyone but also as someone who had been driving only an EV for 4 years, you manage the drawbacks relatively easily and the perks to me far outweigh the negatives.
  16. tomas

    tomas Only partially psycho

    Oct 22, 2012
    Geez, I was just about to post this and DSM did it for me. I have similar situation - vacation home 90 miles away. Easy RT, but I usually drive around there - not just to and fro. NEMA 14-50 wired precisely with outlet near parking can be >$1000. But, if you have 2 free slots in panel, a weatherproof outdoor 14-50 wired near panel is ~$300, and a 30' 14-50 extension cord is $100. That's < 10 tanks of gas, and will amortize quickly for a frequent destination.

    PS, amen to thinking about TOTAL refueling stops. Never really considered it that way, but if I think about all of the time I save by never having to visit gas station in my "normal" driving, the occasional 60 minute SC stop during long drives to infrequent destinations is a drop in bucket. Only really a problem if I have to divert out of direct path, though at the rate Tesla is putting up SCs, that's a temporary issue.
  17. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    There aren't sufficient destination chargers and secondary highway superchargers yet for EVs to work for all trips. I'm convinced though, after 18 months with the S, that had this level of EV capability existed decades earlier no one would want a gas car because EVs are just so much nicer in every way.

    As for not wanting to stop for 20 minutes on 3 hour trip with kids. If someone's time is so precious that those 20 minutes are a deal breaker, then they should be chauffeured or own a private helicopter.

    And if someone's idea of a family trip is strapping small kids into a car for 3 hours without a break...that's not a family I'd want to be part of. I feel sorry for the children.
  18. Ditpixs

    Ditpixs Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    Tracy, CA
    This is a great solution! My parents put a 14-50 in their garage when we got our Tesla and they are always excited when we come use it. Total cost was around $250 since it was right at the meter.

    We have used it a number of times to pick up an hour of charge while dropping off the kids when heading out/back on a weekend away.

    20 months and 40k miles later and wouldn't be driving anything else! Numerous road trips all around California in that time.


  19. flashflood

    flashflood Member

    Jul 1, 2014
    Los Altos Hills, CA
    Many excellent points above, and yet I would offer a slightly different answer.

    Only buy the car if it makes sense for you. Neither you nor the EV movement will benefit from a mismatch.

    There are several reasons a Tesla Model S may not suit you. If you routinely drive more than 200 miles in a day, it may be unreasonably time-consuming or impractical. If you are the kind of person whose cell phone is constantly running out of battery because you just can't make yourself remember to plug in at night, an EV will not be a good personality match. Or you might just not like it stylistically -- as much as we all drool over the iPad-like dashboard, maybe that just feels weird to you. (If you don't like the Model S exterior, however, please seek medical attention.)

    The Model S is another step along the EV road. The first EVs with 50 mile range were only attractive to committed enthusiasts with modest and predictable driving needs. The Model S, with 200+ mile (actual, realistic) range, is suitable for a much broader spectrum of drivers, but still not all. If you are one of those folks for whom the Model S is not a good lifestyle match, that's fine! There are plenty of us for whom it works really well. Our purchases will fund development of the next generation of EV technology, which will appeal even more broadly. You will know when the time is right.
  20. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    Sonoma, California
    Yes, was just talking to my neighbor who wants and all electric vehicle, he currently owns 2 Prius's. His comment to me was he drives to Southern California to visit his daughter, the trip is around 450 miles and says they like to drive without stopping. He is retired and I said to him, what is the rush. You would need to stop twice and recharge for around 30 minutes, go to the bathroom and have lunch or a snack. This is the trade off for not having to buy gas!

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