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How to save a lot of time on long trips

Peter Lucas

Member
Apr 6, 2016
241
84
San Diego
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!
Great car for that trip. Actual range is about 70% of the displayed Rated Range. That is the data from TezLab. This an app with thousands of users. Their aggregate data shows that the average "efficiency" among its Model S users is 71%. Newer cars may do a little better. Their app defines efficiency as actual miles divided by Rated miles. TezLab
Some of the things which can surprise you: headwinds, mountain climbing, and very cold weather. All can dramatically reduce range. Driving at 80-85 consumes lots more energy than, say, 65-70. More than you might expect. Keep tires at the maximum recommended pressure. That is 45 psi on my 19" tires.
I haven't done many long trips, but the In-car navigator does a good job. Better Route Planner may be a little better in some ways. But you have to set up a device for it. May not be worth the trouble. Do both. See how they compare and tell us. I would be interested.
 

antdun

Member
Mar 8, 2018
63
96
Utah
Great car for that trip. Actual range is about 70% of the displayed Rated Range. That is the data from TezLab. This an app with thousands of users. Their aggregate data shows that the average "efficiency" among its Model S users is 71%. Newer cars may do a little better. Their app defines efficiency as actual miles divided by Rated miles. TezLab
Some of the things which can surprise you: headwinds, mountain climbing, and very cold weather. All can dramatically reduce range. Driving at 80-85 consumes lots more energy than, say, 65-70. More than you might expect. Keep tires at the maximum recommended pressure. That is 45 psi on my 19" tires.
I haven't done many long trips, but the In-car navigator does a good job. Better Route Planner may be a little better in some ways. But you have to set up a device for it. May not be worth the trouble. Do both. See how they compare and tell us. I would be interested.

On my recent road trip I found the efficiency to typically be between 75-80% in my 2015 S85D. We drove at a max speed of 80 mph. There was one segment heading west in western Texas where significant head windows cropped up in the order of 25 mph and that required drafting a motorhome to get to the next charger where I then ensured I charged extra for the next couple of stops while the wind persisted. I agree the in car navigation estimates are quite accurate other than wind. If you're curious to see more details from that trip I've created a series of YouTube videos about it here YouTube
 

UNC2K3

Member
Feb 1, 2020
21
9
Port Charlotte, FL
Great car for that trip. Actual range is about 70% of the displayed Rated Range. That is the data from TezLab. This an app with thousands of users. Their aggregate data shows that the average "efficiency" among its Model S users is 71%. Newer cars may do a little better. Their app defines efficiency as actual miles divided by Rated miles. TezLab
Some of the things which can surprise you: headwinds, mountain climbing, and very cold weather. All can dramatically reduce range. Driving at 80-85 consumes lots more energy than, say, 65-70. More than you might expect. Keep tires at the maximum recommended pressure. That is 45 psi on my 19" tires.
I haven't done many long trips, but the In-car navigator does a good job. Better Route Planner may be a little better in some ways. But you have to set up a device for it. May not be worth the trouble. Do both. See how they compare and tell us. I would be interested.

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the reply. I definitely wasn't aware the the rated range was that far off from the actual range. They obviously changes things quite considerably. I'll post an update on my trip when it's over....though that may come sooner than later thanks to an issue I'm having. Feel free to check that thread here: Potential Delivery Nightmare...
 

UNC2K3

Member
Feb 1, 2020
21
9
Port Charlotte, FL
On my recent road trip I found the efficiency to typically be between 75-80% in my 2015 S85D. We drove at a max speed of 80 mph. There was one segment heading west in western Texas where significant head windows cropped up in the order of 25 mph and that required drafting a motorhome to get to the next charger where I then ensured I charged extra for the next couple of stops while the wind persisted. I agree the in car navigation estimates are quite accurate other than wind. If you're curious to see more details from that trip I've created a series of YouTube videos about it here YouTube

Thanks for this info!
 

Peter Lucas

Member
Apr 6, 2016
241
84
San Diego
Hi Peter,

Thanks for the reply. I definitely wasn't aware the the rated range was that far off from the actual range. They obviously changes things quite considerably. I'll post an update on my trip when it's over....though that may come sooner than later thanks to an issue I'm having. Feel free to check that thread here: Potential Delivery Nightmare...
Sorry that your delivery experience is being threatened.
Because your car is newer, you may get better than 70% of Rated miles. After the first few recharge cycles you will discover what to expect from your car. The navigator in the car will do a fairly good job of getting you safely from Supercharger to Supercharger.
 
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cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,024
3,747
Central Valley
You are also better off if you do not use the Tesla Navigation planner to determine the timing and extent of Supercharging to your ultimate destination. This is at least from my experience and familiarity with the Supercharger locations.

(1) Plan your route to your destination. Go ahead and use the in-car directions as a start. It will show all the Superchargers along your way. The drawback to the car navigation (in my opinion) is that it assumes that you are departing immediately and driving straight through. You very well will depart at a different time of day. You will spend the night somewhere along your route. The navigation will tell you to stop at A, charge for 25 minutes; stop at B, charge for 30 minutes; stop at C, charge for 20 minutes, etc. until you complete your journey.

(2) Many Supercharger locations have a variety of amenities nearby. Others, not so much. That navigation does not consider those factors. For example, at location C in my above example, the navigation has you stop and charge for 20 minutes before continuing onto stop D. It very well might be that at location B with its 30 minute stop has a great restaurant that you wish to have a nice lunch. So, maybe you charge at B for close to an hour to 85%, and now you can bypass location C and arrive at location D (183 miles away) with comfort. Two birds; one stone.

(3) Use the energy trip planner graph to plot your expected arrival percentage. When I am on the road, I dial in the next Supercharger on my itinerary. Say I arrive at location D with 18%. Location E is 106 miles away. I know from experience that I will need about 65% charge to arrive comfortably. As I approach 60%, I look at the energy graph to see what my anticipated arrival percentage will be. I usually shoot for about 20% unless I am super familiar with the drive. I increase it if the weather is cold, windy, rainy, or otherwise unpleasant. Then watch your actual performance versus the standardized performance and adjust your driving habits accordingly. If you see range slipping away too quickly for your comfort, slow down. If you find that you are outperforming the graph, speed up if it is safe and you feel like it.
 
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Peter Lucas

Member
Apr 6, 2016
241
84
San Diego
You are also better off if you do not use the Tesla Navigation planner to determine the timing and extent of Supercharging to your ultimate destination. This is at least from my experience and familiarity with the Supercharger locations.

(1) Plan your route to your destination. Go ahead and use the in-car directions as a start. It will show all the Superchargers along your way. The drawback to the car navigation (in my opinion) is that it assumes that you are departing immediately and driving straight through. You very well will depart at a different time of day. You will spend the night somewhere along your route. The navigation will tell you to stop at A, charge for 25 minutes; stop at B, charge for 30 minutes; stop at C, charge for 20 minutes, etc. until you complete your journey.

(2) Many Supercharger locations have a variety of amenities nearby. Others, not so much. That navigation does not consider those factors. For example, at location C in my above example, the navigation has you stop and charge for 20 minutes before continuing onto stop D. It very well might be that at location B with its 30 minute stop has a great restaurant that you wish to have a nice lunch. So, maybe you charge at B for close to an hour to 85%, and now you can bypass location C and arrive at location D (183 miles away) with comfort. Two birds; one stone.

(3) Use the energy trip planner graph to plot your expected arrival percentage. When I am on the road, I dial in the next Supercharger on my itinerary. Say I arrive at location D with 18%. Location E is 106 miles away. I know from experience that I will need about 65% charge to arrive comfortably. As I approach 60%, I look at the energy graph to see what my anticipated arrival percentage will be. I usually shoot for about 20% unless I am super familiar with the drive. I increase it if the weather is cold, windy, rainy, or otherwise unpleasant. Then watch your actual performance versus the standardized performance and adjust your driving habits accordingly. If you see range slipping away too quickly for your comfort, slow down. If you find that you are outperforming the graph, speed up if it is safe and you feel like it.
For long trips (multiple recharges needed) do you use a different route planning system? Or do you simply make common-sense adjustments to the on-board system? Has the on-board system ever brought you up short? (i.e. encouraged you to drive beyond your actual range or encouraged you to charge to an inadequate level to make it to the next charger?)
Also: In your scenario 2, when you charge enough at stop B to enable skipping stop C; does the on-board route planner adjust the recommended route, telling you to skip stop B?
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,024
3,747
Central Valley
For long trips (multiple recharges needed) do you use a different route planning system? Or do you simply make common-sense adjustments to the on-board system? Has the on-board system ever brought you up short? (i.e. encouraged you to drive beyond your actual range or encouraged you to charge to an inadequate level to make it to the next charger?)
Also: In your scenario 2, when you charge enough at stop B to enable skipping stop C; does the on-board route planner adjust the recommended route, telling you to skip stop B?

I make adjustments on the fly. I hope they are common sense; I have not come a cropper yet, so I guess they've been OK.

I do not keep the ultimate destination present on my touchscreen. I only have my next destination/Supercharger dialed in. I just go station-to-station. That way, I do not concern myself if I remain longer at location B and can skip C. I just dial location D into the navigation.
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,674
1,484
Huntington Beach, CA
You are also better off if you do not use the Tesla Navigation planner to determine the timing and extent of Supercharging to your ultimate destination. This is at least from my experience and familiarity with the Supercharger locations.

(1) Plan your route to your destination. Go ahead and use the in-car directions as a start. It will show all the Superchargers along your way. The drawback to the car navigation (in my opinion) is that it assumes that you are departing immediately and driving straight through. You very well will depart at a different time of day. You will spend the night somewhere along your route. The navigation will tell you to stop at A, charge for 25 minutes; stop at B, charge for 30 minutes; stop at C, charge for 20 minutes, etc. until you complete your journey.

(2) Many Supercharger locations have a variety of amenities nearby. Others, not so much. That navigation does not consider those factors. For example, at location C in my above example, the navigation has you stop and charge for 20 minutes before continuing onto stop D. It very well might be that at location B with its 30 minute stop has a great restaurant that you wish to have a nice lunch. So, maybe you charge at B for close to an hour to 85%, and now you can bypass location C and arrive at location D (183 miles away) with comfort. Two birds; one stone.

(3) Use the energy trip planner graph to plot your expected arrival percentage. When I am on the road, I dial in the next Supercharger on my itinerary. Say I arrive at location D with 18%. Location E is 106 miles away. I know from experience that I will need about 65% charge to arrive comfortably. As I approach 60%, I look at the energy graph to see what my anticipated arrival percentage will be. I usually shoot for about 20% unless I am super familiar with the drive. I increase it if the weather is cold, windy, rainy, or otherwise unpleasant. Then watch your actual performance versus the standardized performance and adjust your driving habits accordingly. If you see range slipping away too quickly for your comfort, slow down. If you find that you are outperforming the graph, speed up if it is safe and you feel like it.

One problem with this strategy is that Nav for some reason cannot find some of the SuperChargers. In three years traveling US 395 north and south, NAV has never offered Gardnerville SC (really Topaz Lake), nor can it find it in a search. I have called Tesla SuperCharger help line about it, but they never have fixed the problem. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to insert a known SC into a NAV route, only to drop one. If it does not show you a stop at some SC, you have to deliberately change your route with that SC as destination (unless, of course the SC you want is Gardnerville, which it seems not to know exists.)
 

Babaron

Member
Jan 24, 2017
233
148
SW Ohio and west central FL
[QUOTE=Has the on-board system ever brought you up short? (i.e. encouraged you to drive beyond your actual range or encouraged you to charge to an inadequate level to make it to the next charger?)

I have an interesting story. Years ago, when I was a Tesla noobie, I took a road trip to Detroit from Dayton, Ohio. I charged on the way up in Lima but when it was time to return to Dayton, I used the Navigation to see if I needed to charge before leaving. It told me I was good to go and I started off not really paying attention to the details.

Well, on my way out of Detroit, it told me to take the Bridge to Canada to recharge in Windsor. Not having my passport, this was not a possibility. At that time, there were no super chargers in the Detroit area.

As I continued on my way to Ohio, it told me I f I didn’t turn around and go to Canada, I would run out of power before making it to the next supercharger in Ohio.

Well, as it turned out, I was able to slow down and truck draft my way to the Toledo supercharger, arriving 6 miles after the meter read “0%” in the car.

Lessons learned. Pay attention to the details.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,024
3,747
Central Valley
One problem with this strategy is that Nav for some reason cannot find some of the SuperChargers. In three years traveling US 395 north and south, NAV has never offered Gardnerville SC (really Topaz Lake), nor can it find it in a search. I have called Tesla SuperCharger help line about it, but they never have fixed the problem. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to insert a known SC into a NAV route, only to drop one. If it does not show you a stop at some SC, you have to deliberately change your route with that SC as destination (unless, of course the SC you want is Gardnerville, which it seems not to know exists.)

One assumes that Tesla has its act together when it provides to its owners a tool to use to plan more lengthy road trips. Of course, if there is bad data in the file, the result will also be bad. Tesla is well-known for half-baked software that is not revisited periodically to enhance, correct, and improve the information.

While I was not aware of this particular issue at Topaz, I have in the past, and will continue to do in the future map out my journey at home using Plug Share and other tools to determine my routes and potential charging stops with appropriate back up plans in case there are unexpected issues at a location or two. And I create a spreadsheet with my itinerary.
 
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CaryRx

Member
Jul 27, 2019
56
34
Antioch, CA
I recently took a trip from the San Francisco East Bay area to Eureka and Crescent City, CA in my 2013 MS85. I usually am the only person in the car, but this trip there were 4 adults and some luggage in the car, so, significantly more weight than usual. I planned out the route using ABRP (a Better Route Planner) as well as plugging in the trip on the NAV. The California coastal area is pretty hilly, and I was carrying passengers/extra weight, so I wanted to make sure I kept a safety buffer of charge in the battery. Starting out with a 95% SoC in the battery, the NAV had me stopping only once, in Laytonville, at about 16% SoC, then charging to about 60% and continuing on to Eureka and arriving at the SuC with 16% Soc, charging to 55% and continuing on to Crescent City, arriving at the SuC with 15% left in the battery.

I wasn't very trusting of these figures, considering the extra weight in the car, lots of hills, and just being a generally cautious person. So I made two additional 15 minute stops at SuC's in Santa Rosa and Ukia. I watched the NAV figures at each stop, and by the end of the trip, NAV and ABRP were pretty much right on target. At two stops, I was about 3% more efficient than NAV/ABRP figures, and on one, was about 2% less efficient. So, it really came in almost exactly on target.

Being the extra cautios person that I am, I doubt I'll trust NAV/ABRP to get me in at some low SoC like 10% when I can make a quick SuC stop for 10-15 minutes and get in with a more comfortable margin. But, I have become much more trusting of the NAV/ABRP figures over time, and if I'm in the car by myself, sometimes I'll take more risk and trust coming in as low as 10%... but I'm not gonna trust coming in at less than 10% on an unfamiliar route... too many things that could go wrong on a long interval between available chargers.
 
Oct 10, 2019
245
115
So-Cal
One problem with this strategy is that Nav for some reason cannot find some of the SuperChargers. In three years traveling US 395 north and south, NAV has never offered Gardnerville SC (really Topaz Lake), nor can it find it in a search. I have called Tesla SuperCharger help line about it, but they never have fixed the problem. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to insert a known SC into a NAV route, only to drop one. If it does not show you a stop at some SC, you have to deliberately change your route with that SC as destination (unless, of course the SC you want is Gardnerville, which it seems not to know exists.)

I drive up 395 all the time, but my final stop is Gardnerville so my last SC is the mammoth one where I've gotta charge for like 45 min. Curious though I've never thought of it but maybe the next time i'll tell it to take me to the topaz charger and see how that effects my time. It is really annoying how its called the Gville charger and not freaking Topaz, I mean its like 30-40 min away from Gville. I have charged at the Topaz spot a few times but thats because i was tent camping there at the lake, so it was how i kept up the juice on arrival and departure. I do wish they would make a charger in Kramer junction and Bishop though.

The Mcdonalds charge stop in Lone Pine is getting old, I'd love to stop in bishop for something different, or not if its a weekend and there is mad tourist traffic that doesn't know the side road around Bishop. And leaving the house I have to be at 95% to make it to the first charger at Inyokern.
There is no way to skip chargers on 395, or to be able to charge for short periods to speed up the stops. But when i drove across the country 3 days after i bought the car i skipped quite a few chargers along the way. But that was before Batterygate/chargegate happened.
 
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May 31, 2016
281
438
Orange County, CA
I drive up 395 all the time, but my final stop is Gardnerville so my last SC is the mammoth one where I've gotta charge for like 45 min. Curious though I've never thought of it but maybe the next time i'll tell it to take me to the topaz charger and see how that effects my time. It is really annoying how its called the Gville charger and not freaking Topaz, I mean its like 30-40 min away from Gville. I have charged at the Topaz spot a few times but thats because i was tent camping there at the lake, so it was how i kept up the juice on arrival and departure. I do wish they would make a charger in Kramer junction and Bishop though.

The Mcdonalds charge stop in Lone Pine is getting old, I'd love to stop in bishop for something different, or not if its a weekend and there is mad tourist traffic that doesn't know the side road around Bishop. And leaving the house I have to be at 95% to make it to the first charger at Inyokern.
There is no way to skip chargers on 395, or to be able to charge for short periods to speed up the stops. But when i drove across the country 3 days after i bought the car i skipped quite a few chargers along the way. But that was before Batterygate/chargegate happened.
Bishop is in permitting now, it is going in across the street from Mountain Rambler.

Kramer Junction is listed as "planned" and I can't wait for that one to go in. I'm in a Model 3 and a 5 min stop at Kramer Junction will allow me to make it to Lone Pine at full speed or a 30 minute stop at Kramer Junction will allow me to make it to Bishop. Can't wait when that route is built out. Also will alleviate lines on busy weekends, I've had to get creative once or twice due to long charging lines at Inyokern since there are only 4 plugs there.
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,674
1,484
Huntington Beach, CA
and if I'm in the car by myself, sometimes I'll take more risk and trust coming in as low as 10%... but I'm not gonna trust coming in at less than 10% on an unfamiliar route... too many things that could go wrong on a long interval between available chargers.


I, too have found NAV estimates to be very accurate on flat routes like I-5. Enough so that I will confidently go ahead with a predicted 8% SOC upon arrival, especially if the destination SC is a nice one like Kettleman City. I like watching the energy graph adjust itself upward after it realizes that I have slowed from 75 to 70 for that stretch and it has used the consumption rate of the previously higher speed leg as its datum.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,060
2,814
Sparks Nevada / GF 1
One problem with this strategy is that Nav for some reason cannot find some of the SuperChargers. In three years traveling US 395 north and south, NAV has never offered Gardnerville SC (really Topaz Lake), nor can it find it in a search. I have called Tesla SuperCharger help line about it, but they never have fixed the problem. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to insert a known SC into a NAV route, only to drop one.
That is odd. I have traveled that route down to San Diego many times and the Gardnerville (as well as all other SCs) is always shown and suggested. I wonder what is different in my settings.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,060
2,814
Sparks Nevada / GF 1
There is no way to skip chargers on 395, or to be able to charge for short periods to speed up the stops. But when i drove across the country 3 days after i bought the car i skipped quite a few chargers along the way. But that was before Batterygate/chargegate happened.
Maybe it is the range of your car ? I routinely skip superchargers as needed on that route.
 

gavine

Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2014
2,569
2,102
Philadelphia, PA
I, too have found NAV estimates to be very accurate on flat routes like I-5. Enough so that I will confidently go ahead with a predicted 8% SOC upon arrival, especially if the destination SC is a nice one like Kettleman City. I like watching the energy graph adjust itself upward after it realizes that I have slowed from 75 to 70 for that stretch and it has used the consumption rate of the previously higher speed leg as its datum.

The trip tab in the energy meter app is an under-used and under-appreciated feature on long trips. I would bet there are a large percentage of people who aren't even aware of the feature.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,060
2,814
Sparks Nevada / GF 1
I have a P85D and the only one I could skip is Lone Pine but then I'd have to charge to about 90% at inyokern, which would take about 1.5 hours thus defeating the point of skipping Lone Pine. So yeah no skipping SC for me.
Ok, I see. So the difference is that I travel that route in an X100. I do wish there were more chargers along that route, just in case. Sometimes as you probably know, with the wind and elevation changes, and rain, it can affect the range quite a bit.
 

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