Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

How to save a lot of time on long trips

ShockOnT

⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
Jun 26, 2016
3,311
3,012
Sydney
Yet another driver with such limited knowledge of the facts, mostly because of DECADES of exposure to the "Speed Kills" myths promulgated by the insurance industry and Police/Court cabals that generate so much revenue from same . . . .

Here's a tip: Speed limits are OFTEN set far lower than they need be because low speed limits are used for revenue generation.

Please read up on the subject and get smarter on the facts.

Here's a great resource:

Speed Limits - National Motorists Association
We used to have an ad campaign in Australia with the slogan "Safe speeding .. there's no such thing".
Used to drive me crazy, because the truth is that there's no such thing as "safe driving".
There is a slight risk in operating a motor vehicle at any speed.

The majority of road fatalities (at least here in Aus) are not speeding related. They are predominantly fatigue and intoxication, or just being a sh*t driver.
 

NickFie

Member
Sep 28, 2017
518
546
Near Philadelphia, PA
Super interesting replies folks; greatly appreciate that. As an aging engineer, I'm excited to keep my mind busy about finding the optimal way to deal with range, long trips, charging times, etc. Will definitely check that range site, and play with it. You guys are the best. Greatly appreciate taking the time to explain everything in such detail to new potential EV owners. It's a bit change, especially at almost 100 grand, so want to make sure not to make another 100K mistake, like I've made in the past with a 2015 GTR, and 2016 Cayman GTS. Not fun. Thanks again.
Tastes may vary, but this engineer/grandparent is still thrilled with the Model S after 2+ years and 36,000 miles. It is our first-choice road trip vehicle. Silent, smooth, powerful, capacious, inexpensive to run and ever-improving.

A lot of good, innovative thinking went into these vehicles.
 

Babaron

Member
Jan 24, 2017
233
148
SW Ohio and west central FL
Planning on driving the 100D to Florida from Illinois. Day 2 will be from Birmington to Siesta Key. The Tifton Ga to Siesta Key leg is 343 miles. The tesla planner says to chg in Ocala for 40mins. Would it make sense to do shorter stops in Lake City 107miles, Gainesvile 150miles, or Ocala 185miles then a 2nd stop at Brandon or Sarasota?

Looking forward to driving the Tesla this trip and thanks for the help.

I have done a very similar road trip several times now with my 100D. I go between dayton Ohio and sarasota. It's a 1030 mile trip for me. I have found that driving for about 3 hrs and around 200 miles, I can do it with a total of 4 charging stops. I just get on the supercharger map and map out the stops along I 75. Let us know your experience.
 

petechatelain

Member
Dec 31, 2019
12
0
Ottawa
The Model S and X are the only EVs that can do long distance traveling in a reasonable amount of time. Compared to an ICE car it takes about 20-25% longer for charging on the way. The shorter the trip, the less charging makes a difference. For example on a 300-400 mile trip, you start with a full charge, stop once at a Supercharger and then you can run the battery down to your destination where you (hopefully) have a charger. For 5-6 hours driving you would only have to spend maybe 40 min at a Supercharger.

The longer the trip, thought, the more charging stops you will need and the ratio between drive time and charge time is about 1:4 to 1:5. That's a significant amount of time on long trips. One mistake a lot of new owners make is to charge to a pretty high level mostly out of uncertainty how much they will need to make it to the next Supercharger. While this is safe it slows you down overall significantly.

Superchargers are fast, but the charge speed depends very much on the state of charge. IOW, how much is left in your battery when you arrive has a big impact on how fast it'll charge.

Here are some number that show how big the difference is. Let's say you arrive with 0%.
In the first 10 minutes you will gain 70 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 46 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 36 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 29 miles

In 40 minutes you got 180 miles. The average is 4.5 miles per minute

Now lets see how the numbers look when you arrive at 30% battery left.
In the first 10 minutes you will gain 29 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 27 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 20 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 18 miles

In 40 minutes you got 94 miles. The average is 2.35 miles per minute

The difference is huge! Almost twice the speed when you arrive at 0% vs 30%!

Now of course it's not very good for the battery to run it down to zero. It is also very stressful on you and if anything goes wrong, you have absolutely no buffer. You should always allow yourself a buffer. But just from a time point of view, you should aim to arrive at the next Supercharger at a low state of charge to significantly cut down charge time.

I remember a trip where I met another Model S owner going the same route. I arrived 15 min later than she did at the first Supercharger with almost zero on my battery. I charged just enough to make it to the next Supercharger. It was 100 miles away, but I charged to 150 knowing I was going fast and had head wind. I left the Supercharger before the other driver. I arrived at the next Supercharger with 10 miles left. Again I charged just enough to make it to the next one. As I was done charging and pulled out, I saw the other driver pull in. Not only did she charge much more than she needed at the previous Supercharger, she also arrived at a high state of charge slowing her down again. Over a 200 mile distance I gained aprox one hour over the other driver. Same cars, same driving speed, same conditions. Just by optimizing the charge speed.

Again, I don't advocate to run your battery down too low. My message is: don't add in a big buffer just to be safe and then drive slow on top of it. It'll slow you down a lot. As I said in the beginning, it won't matter much on trips where you only have one or maybe two Supercharger stops. But the longer the trip, the more it makes a difference.

Use the trip energy app. It will predicts (based on your driving and the conditions) how much you will have in your battery when you arrive. Keep an eye on it and use it to aim for a low state of charge without risking anything. It's very useful to optimize your trip.
 

petechatelain

Member
Dec 31, 2019
12
0
Ottawa
The Model S and X are the only EVs that can do long distance traveling in a reasonable amount of time. Compared to an ICE car it takes about 20-25% longer for charging on the way. The shorter the trip, the less charging makes a difference. For example on a 300-400 mile trip, you start with a full charge, stop once at a Supercharger and then you can run the battery down to your destination where you (hopefully) have a charger. For 5-6 hours driving you would only have to spend maybe 40 min at a Supercharger.

The longer the trip, thought, the more charging stops you will need and the ratio between drive time and charge time is about 1:4 to 1:5. That's a significant amount of time on long trips. One mistake a lot of new owners make is to charge to a pretty high level mostly out of uncertainty how much they will need to make it to the next Supercharger. While this is safe it slows you down overall significantly.

Superchargers are fast, but the charge speed depends very much on the state of charge. IOW, how much is left in your battery when you arrive has a big impact on how fast it'll charge.

Here are some number that show how big the difference is. Let's say you arrive with 0%.
In the first 10 minutes you will gain 70 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 46 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 36 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 29 miles

In 40 minutes you got 180 miles. The average is 4.5 miles per minute

Now lets see how the numbers look when you arrive at 30% battery left.
In the first 10 minutes you will gain 29 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 27 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 20 miles
in the next 10 minutes you will gain 18 miles

In 40 minutes you got 94 miles. The average is 2.35 miles per minute

The difference is huge! Almost twice the speed when you arrive at 0% vs 30%!

Now of course it's not very good for the battery to run it down to zero. It is also very stressful on you and if anything goes wrong, you have absolutely no buffer. You should always allow yourself a buffer. But just from a time point of view, you should aim to arrive at the next Supercharger at a low state of charge to significantly cut down charge time.

I remember a trip where I met another Model S owner going the same route. I arrived 15 min later than she did at the first Supercharger with almost zero on my battery. I charged just enough to make it to the next Supercharger. It was 100 miles away, but I charged to 150 knowing I was going fast and had head wind. I left the Supercharger before the other driver. I arrived at the next Supercharger with 10 miles left. Again I charged just enough to make it to the next one. As I was done charging and pulled out, I saw the other driver pull in. Not only did she charge much more than she needed at the previous Supercharger, she also arrived at a high state of charge slowing her down again. Over a 200 mile distance I gained aprox one hour over the other driver. Same cars, same driving speed, same conditions. Just by optimizing the charge speed.

Again, I don't advocate to run your battery down too low. My message is: don't add in a big buffer just to be safe and then drive slow on top of it. It'll slow you down a lot. As I said in the beginning, it won't matter much on trips where you only have one or maybe two Supercharger stops. But the longer the trip, the more it makes a difference.

Use the trip energy app. It will predicts (based on your driving and the conditions) how much you will have in your battery when you arrive. Keep an eye on it and use it to aim for a low state of charge without risking anything. It's very useful to optimize your trip.

Hello, I am a new model s owner and appreciate this information. Thank you. I assume that sometimes, you arrive at a supercharger, only to find it crowded, ie A / B connectors, or many people waiting in line for a charger. Does this happen often? Cheers,
Pete
 

Fredneck

Member
Nov 8, 2019
478
-32
Pennsylvania
Hello, I am a new model s owner and appreciate this information. Thank you. I assume that sometimes, you arrive at a supercharger, only to find it crowded, ie A / B connectors, or many people waiting in line for a charger. Does this happen often? Cheers,
Pete

It happens. How often depends entirely on where you stop to charge. In California it is not an infrequent thing, but again, depending on which station you use. I ran into crowding problems in Maryland at one particular charger (the only one with problems for miles and miles) until they installed a new one about 25 miles away, now that one sometimes has crowding issues as well. Others in the area just don't see the same problem. Go figure.

I would not find charging to be an issue other than the fact that I can't go quite long enough to make it a meal break. I would drive for four or five hours in my ICE before stopping for gas and a quick meal. In my X I have to stop after 3 hours because the car can't make it to the next charger which would be another 80 or 100 miles. Then I'm not really ready for a meal and the time is essentially wasted.

I guess I could do a quick 15 minute charge and get enough range to make it to the next charger, but that just seems "wrong". lol So you need to not think like you are driving an ICE where you fill the tank every time you stop. If you let the car guide you it will have you stop more often for shorter times which keeps your charging rate in the highest range for shorter charging times... even if that's not the same as shortest stopping times. Oh well.
 

Fredneck

Member
Nov 8, 2019
478
-32
Pennsylvania
Planning on driving the 100D to Florida from Illinois. Day 2 will be from Birmington to Siesta Key. The Tifton Ga to Siesta Key leg is 343 miles. The tesla planner says to chg in Ocala for 40mins. Would it make sense to do shorter stops in Lake City 107miles, Gainesvile 150miles, or Ocala 185miles then a 2nd stop at Brandon or Sarasota?

Looking forward to driving the Tesla this trip and thanks for the help.

Not sure why it would tell you to charge for 40 minutes to cover the last 140 miles. BTW, your destination in Siesta Key is practically the same as Sarasota. Siesta Key has no Supercharger, so I assume it is your destination and not a charging spot. Will your hotel have a charger of any sort? A 1772 will do the job fine charging overnight. In fact the problem gets to be finding one available, so plug in early. lol It seems like hotels have figured out that level 2 chargers are very inexpensive and are going to be essential to attracting the somewhat more affluent portion of the population having EVs.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
5,964
6,887
Boise, ID
Hello, I am a new model s owner and appreciate this information. Thank you. I assume that sometimes, you arrive at a supercharger, only to find it crowded, ie A / B connectors, or many people waiting in line for a charger. Does this happen often? Cheers,
Pete
Pete - depends where you live. I'm in Ohio and after 35k miles I have never had to wait for a SC slot.
Very location dependent. I've used 60 different locations across the country and never had to wait for a spot, and I've only seen a full site once, ever, in Silverthorne Colorado, where I got into the last place. But also, I have never been to any Superchargers in California, where most of the capacity problems are.
 
Jul 28, 2019
483
460
Brandon, Manitoba
Waco SuC.jpg
I had to wait at the Waco, TX charger where there were 9 (of 10) chargers working and 12 cars. The nice thing was, once we got plugged in, it was right beside a wonderful bakery (Collin Street Bakery) that had really good food, excellent service and free coffee if you showed your Tesla key. I would plan to stop there again just to have a meal break at the bakery. That is the only full SuC that I found in my 7500 mile trip in December.
 
Last edited:

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,021
Brea, Orange County
Hello, I am a new model s owner and appreciate this information. Thank you. I assume that sometimes, you arrive at a supercharger, only to find it crowded, ie A / B connectors, or many people waiting in line for a charger. Does this happen often? Cheers,
Pete

I have driven a lot all across the country. Visited Over 300 different supercharger stations. Waiting is very rare on road trips. Even in California it is not common. Only in major cities like LA or San Francisco. But that's all stations that support local traffic. Thousands upon thousands are charging at Superchargers every day. No problems and waiting. No one writes about it, no forum posts. A few days out of the year some routes get busy and that when people post here. That gives the impression it happens a lot. It's called 'availability bias'.

Even the busiest stations in Orange county are fine. Worst case you wait for a few minutes. Not a problem.

The reduein charge speed that all old Teslas are suffering from is much worse. That affects everyone every time you charge at a Supercharger.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CalBlue 85D

Peter Lucas

Member
Apr 6, 2016
241
84
San Diego
Hello, I am a new model s owner and appreciate this information. Thank you. I assume that sometimes, you arrive at a supercharger, only to find it crowded, ie A / B connectors, or many people waiting in line for a charger. Does this happen often? Cheers,
Pete
Here in southern California, despite the numerous supercharging stations, all bays full is common. It only rarely matters to me because 99.9% of my driving is done with electricity from my own garage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KJD

antdun

Member
Mar 8, 2018
63
96
Utah
I just completed a nearly 6,000 mile road trip from Utah to Florida over the Christmas break and charged at 39 different superchargers without having to wait with one exception. In Albuquerque, NM only 2 of the 6 stalls were working, but I ended up only having to wait 5 minutes.
 

maximizese

Member
Jan 16, 2018
463
435
California
I just completed a nearly 6,000 mile road trip from Utah to Florida over the Christmas break and charged at 39 different superchargers without having to wait with one exception. In Albuquerque, NM only 2 of the 6 stalls were working, but I ended up only having to wait 5 minutes.

Do you think you're ease was due to driving at off-peak hours and off-peak days, going a less popular route, or just dumb luck? My wife and I pretty much stay put on 3-day weekend holidays and avoid peak travel days with a few exceptions. Generally we leave and return on a weekday during our road-trips to best avoid highway traffic, SuC traffic, destination traffic, and lodging rates are more favorable when the demand is down.

We know to stay away from Napa, Ca during a spring to fall weekend. The highways are crowded, lodging is expensive, vineyards and restaurants are booked up, and generally there are more drunk drivers on the road.
 

antdun

Member
Mar 8, 2018
63
96
Utah
Do you think you're ease was due to driving at off-peak hours and off-peak days, going a less popular route, or just dumb luck?
Me not having to wait for a supercharger is likely just that I'm not driving through areas that have a LOT of Teslas like California. I drove from Utah to Florida on this trip, and back in June 2019 I drove from Utah to Illinois and both trips combined was 62 different supercharger stations and 85 different supercharging sessions and I didn't have to wait at any of them due to too many Teslas. In Bethany, MO I had to wait a couple minutes because there was a large dump truck pile of dirt blocking 2 chargers, plus a pickup truck pulling a large trailer was parallel parked across those 2 and 2 more supercharger spots. Then a Model X was charging and a motorcycle was parked in the remaining spot. Luckily the motorcycle left after a couple minutes so I could charge and in the meantime I tracked down the truck and trailer owner and sent him packing (firmly but nicely.) At the Altamonte Springs supercharger in Florida we didn't have to wait, but after 15 minutes someone else was waiting so we left as soon as we could, so that was a busy supercharger.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
5,964
6,887
Boise, ID

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,024
3,747
Central Valley
:D Saw that comin'. It's funny how many Cali coast people think all Superchargers in the entire country are jam packed like the California ones are.

Well, I am not a California coast person. We live among the vines and orchards of the San Joaquin Valley. On my road trip to Cincinnati last May, Weatherford, Oklahoma was full. Cheyenne, Wyoming was full with two waiting (yes, only four stalls). Salt Lake City downtown was full at 8:30 AM. Louisville, Kentucky was half full the entire 35 minutes I was plugged in. Most locations had at least one other Tesla plugged in, and quite a few experienced one going and one coming during my stay. So, California's congestion is starting to creep east.

With another year's worth of Model 3 on the road, and three or four months of Model Y hitting the road soon, I suspect that many of the heretofore mostly vacant Superchargers will start experiencing minor congestion more frequently as summer travel season kicks into high gear in another 15 weeks. Tesla can't build them fast enough!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Peter Lucas

UNC2K3

Member
Feb 1, 2020
21
9
Port Charlotte, FL
I have done a very similar road trip several times now with my 100D. I go between dayton Ohio and sarasota. It's a 1030 mile trip for me. I have found that driving for about 3 hrs and around 200 miles, I can do it with a total of 4 charging stops. I just get on the supercharger map and map out the stops along I 75. Let us know your experience.

I'd be interested in learning more about your experience with charging and hotel destinations for this trip. I'm about to fly into Cincinnati next Thursday to pick up my car and drive it back home (Port Charlotte, FL). I bought a 2019 Model S Standard Range 285 estimated miles which I believe to be a Raven as the manufacture date is late Sept 2019. It was an inventory vehicle with 835 miles on it. This is a trip that I will probably make once or twice a year to go visit family. This will also be my first EV and first Tesla so I've been scouring the forums trying to learn as much as I can, but I'm definitely getting a little anxious over my first EV road trip. Any thoughts or suggestions on how to plan for maximum efficiency on this trip? I've been playing with A Better Route Planner, PlugShare, & Tesla's trip planner online, though the results are kind of all over the place.

As far as the variables are concerned: I'm planning on leaving with a 90% SoC, top max speed of 85mph (but likely average 75-80), planning on getting a hotel in Georgia along the way, and would prefer to split up the trip in about (2) 10 hour days give or take. I have also been putting in SoC times around 10% for arrivals and 80% max charge.

Any advice or suggestions you can send my way would be greatly appreciated!
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top