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Inaugural overnight trip with my Tesla into coastal Maine

Discussion in 'New England' started by David29, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. David29

    David29 Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2015
    #1 David29, Dec 6, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
    [Note: This may be a bit long compared to most posts, and I apologize for that. But I wanted to share the story with other Tesla owners in the New England area. If a moderator thinks this is too long, just please let me know. Thanks!]
    My best friend from childhood lives in Camden, ME, so one of my goals after getting my Model S was to travel there to show him the car. There are no Tesla stores in Maine and very likely few Teslas, so he had never seen one close-up, let alone been in one. (And by the way, I saw no other Teslas on this trip once I was out of Massachusetts.)

    I have had my car since the end of September 2015. Various circumstances caused me to postpone my trip once or twice from when I originally planned to go, and the weather is getting colder. I finally got to go this weekend. I drove up on Friday (12/4) and back yesterday (12/5). (Until now, my longest trip had been about 50 miles each way.)

    Now for all of you who have taken long trips with your Tesla, this would be an ordinary small trip. But since this was my first overnight trip with the Tesla and the first with destination charging, it was a milestone for me.
    In case you do not know, until last week there were no Superchargers in Maine, and there is now one SC site. One opened the same day I drove up, in Augusta, ME, but I was actually unaware that it was open. So I did not take advantage of it, which was unfortunate as it would have been fun to be one of the first to use it!

    Weather conditions were excellent for the trip. Temperatures were in the high 40s on Friday, with low temps in the high 30s. Temps were a bit higher on Saturday, reaching the low 50s in the warmest part of the day. Skies were clear or partly cloudy, no precipitation. Very nice weather for early December!

    My strategy was to charge at the Supercharger in Dedham, MA to have enough range to reach the supercharger at Seabrook, NH. The Seabrook site is very convenient, just 2 miles or so off I-95, and in a large mall adjacent to Panera Bread. So I left Dedham about 11 AM and got to Seabrook just after noon, so it was a perfect time to have lunch while I charged. I charged to 95% to ensure that the car would have enough range to reach the motel in Rockport, with some margin. (It was 154 miles from Seabrook to the motel.)

    I set off from Seabrook about 1 PM. The navigation system routed me up I-295 to Gardner, and then east on state Rte. 17. Normally I would have left I-295 at Portland and followed US 1 along the coast. Traffic can be slow through the numerous towns along the coastal route, so the navigation system may have determined that Rte. 17 route would be faster on Friday afternoon, even though it is 9 miles longer. As it was, there were very few slow spots on Rte. 17, so I was able to travel at 50-55 mph for a good portion of the eastward route. (Today as I write this, Google Maps says the two routes differ in time by only 3 minutes out of 3 hr. 34 minutes, and shows the coastal route as shorter.) The only drawback is that Rte. 17 is not as pretty as the nicer sections of Rte. 1.

    I arrived at the Country Inn, Rockport, at about 3:45 PM with about 40 or 50 miles of range left. The motel has a Siemens 30-amp level 2 charger, and they had set out cones to help ensure that the space would not be ICEd when I arrived. I plugged in right away to gain a bit more margin while checking in and unpacking, before heading off to dinner. The charger worked immediately with no fuss, providing the usual 30 amps and about 20 miles of range per hour of charge.
    The desk clerk said that, so far as she knew, no one else had ever used the charger since it was installed in September! I had selected this motel because I knew they had the charger from a previous trip before I had the Tesla.
    I had put the motel owner in contact with Tesla about installing a destination charger. Tesla has approved the site for a charger, but it has not been installed. The owner was out of town so I did not get a chance to ask him if he was going ahead with a Tesla charger. There are 3 other motels and B&Bs in the Camden/Rockport area with Tesla chargers, so there are also some other options.

    After dinner in Camden, I plugged in for the night, and set the charge to 95% again to ensure there would be plenty pf range for both local travel in the morning, plus traveling back to Seabrook.
    On Saturday, my friend and I went to breakfast in Camden, and then I handed him the keys (so to speak!) and he took it for a spin. There are no highways within easy reach of town where we could hit highway speeds for long, or use the Autopilot, but he managed to try an abbreviated launch or two and drive the car around town for perhaps 20 miles or so. Needless to say, he loved the car!

    On the way back to Seabrook, I took the coastal route from Rockport, mainly because it would be prettier. I visited a friend in Kennebunkport on the way south, so that added a few miles. When I arrived at Seabrook late in the afternoon, the car had about 25 miles of range left. I grabbed a snack and a cup of tea at Panera while the car charged enough there to get back home, with some margin.

    The total mileage for the trip was 467.1 miles. The car performed perfectly throughout the trip, except possibly for one moment I will mention shortly. I used Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) and Autopilot steering for probably 90% of the time when on I-95 and I-295. I also relied on the navigation throughout the trip, and have no complaints about that. All the car’s systems worked great, with the exception that the audio system suffered in some areas where AT&T coverage was a bit thin along the coastal route. (I had no cell service whatever for my T-Mobile phone, from Brunswick to Camden, so it’s not a great area for cellular service!) It is curious because I do not recall having any interruptions to the internet radio service along Rte. 17, which seems like a less-populated area than the coast. So why it was so bad along US route 1 is a bit of a mystery.

    The one possible exception was when someone cut in front of me on I-95 in MA, and I did not think the TACC reacted fast enough. The traffic was quite heavy Saturday afternoon, and there was more than one unpleasant moment in the last 40 miles as I approached home. But no harm was done and I am giving the car the benefit of the doubt for now. But it does demonstrate that you must remain alert and cannot rely entirely on automated systems to react the way you want.
    As for energy use, the total energy used on the trip was 140.9 KWH for an average of 302 wh/mile. I think this was very good, considering that I had traveled at 65-70 most of the time when on I-95 and I-295, and that temperatures were in the 40s and 50s. On my car, the EPA rated mileage of 240 corresponds to 290 wh/mile, so it was using energy at a 4% higher rate, and the range would have been 232 miles on a full charge. Unfortunately, I did not note the energy use of various legs. But from watching the energy application as I traveled, it was apparent that the car used significantly more at 70 mph than at 50-55, just as you would expect.

    I probably would not have attempted this trip before the Seabrook Supercharger opened, and as it was, I relied heavily upon it on both days. Interestingly enough, mine was the only car there both times. As mentioned above, I was not aware that the Augusta Supercharger had opened either the day of my trip, or the day before. If I had been aware, I might have stopped there for the fun of it, but I really did not need it. It would be essential, however, if I had not been certain of destination charging or if I were traveling to other places in Maine, so I am very glad it is now open. The Augusta site would also be more important if the weather had been much colder.

    So – there is my story of my inaugural overnight trip in my Model S. Not exactly a record-breaker, but it did a lot to reassure me of the car’s comfort, practicality and range.
  2. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

    Mar 24, 2011
    Great write-up. I had my car 8 months before my first supercharged road trip! I kept thinking I'd just blip down to CT to try it out but life kept getting in the way.
    My first road trip was to ME, in March and I had to rely on a Nissan dealer and L1 charging.

    >when someone cut in front of me on I-95 in MA

    That was your welcome back home!
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    Glad it went well.

    You timed it nicely, since it was such a nice weekend, with sun and high temperatures in the high 40s/low 50s.
    (You Southerners at the back can stop giggling).

    And for future trips, Augusta is a good compromise location, since there are pretty easy runs using route 17 for Rockland/Rockport/Camden, and route 3 to Belfast. And you get to take Cony Circle, which is a spiral roundabout. (If uncertain, stay left and go round once to figure it out :p. I'm actually slightly serious for those unfamiliar with it. It's great when you know the correct approach lane, but not so good when you don't).
  4. Babasnoopy

    Babasnoopy Member

    Dec 30, 2015
    Norwell, MA
    I'm heading up to Montreal for work in February, and I'm already experiencing Range Denial, not Range Anxiety so much as feeling like my 70D can do anything. My wife actually asked if I needed her car for the week?!?? I of course scoffed at the idea, but it reminds me that outsiders, even my wife who appreciates my Tesla obsession, don't believe that these cars can be ICE replacements. I do love proving people wrong, and I'm very excited for my first international trip with my Tesla. My only major concern is how cold it might be, and just how bad my wh/mi truly will work out to. The good news is that there are loads of SC's on 89 all the way up to, and into Canada. I'll try to chronicle the trip and report back.

  5. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

    Mar 24, 2011
    It will be interesting to hear how the trip goes!
  6. lowcarbondiet

    lowcarbondiet Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    New Jersey
    Thanks for these details. We hope to have our X before our summer trip from NJ to Bar Harbor, likely stopping at the Seabrook and Augusta Superchargers on the way there and back. Still working on the plan of how best to charge once we reach Bar Harbor and are driving around there for a week . . .
  7. tes-s

    tes-s Active Member

    Oct 6, 2013
    Nice trip! First trip to mid-coast ME from CT was November, 2013. Done it many times since. When they opened the Auburn supercharger it made the trip much faster, and now with Seabrook it is a breeze.

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