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Lack of home charging on trip is stressful

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by jmsurpri, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    On my first long road trip with my 85D. Drove from Portland OR to Santa Rosa CA. Staying in an airbnb with no charging. The closest supercharger is 30 miles away. Closest public chargepoint is about 15 miles away. At first I didn't think it would be a big deal. Just drive down to the SC every couple of days and charge up to 100%. However it's turning into a stressful experience.

    First, my car is rated for 270 miles. Always thought that was good enough at home, but I charged every night and didn't have to think about it. It appears 270 miles in reality is more like 200 usable. There are a lot of hills around here that use up a lot, plus the vampire drain steals a bunch of miles every night. I have energy savings on and always connected off. Also turned off auto present doors, but I still lose 5-10 rated miles a night. There is no cell connectivity at all at the airbnb so perhaps the car is using power hunting for cell connection.

    My idea of charging up every couple of days didn't work. We end up having to incorporate charging nearly every day. Driving to San Francisco? Well we started the day with 150miles so need to stop at Petaluma on the way. Then on the way back, stop again to charge up for the next day.

    Drive around the coast and surrounding areas? Need to cut the trip early because we were running low on charge.

    Second, charging takes a long time. Most of the time I'm at the charger over an hour because I'm trying to fill up to avoid unnecessary trips. I also severely underestimated the amount of time I'd spend charging while on the trip down from Oregon by a couple hours. Most of the time I charged enough to have a 20% buffer but it still took forever.

    Also tried to utilize chargepoint when going out to dinner one night. It was very nearly useless. It maxed out at 30A and only charged about 40 rated miles, which we used up just getting back home.

    The lesson for me is to only consider places that have destination chargers from now on. Having 200+ miles available every morning would've made the trip much more enjoyable.
     
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  2. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    Did you try to charge at 120V? I yielded +1-2 miles per hour when I visited my cousin in NJ in 2015. Instead of vampire drain and that helped a lot.
     
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  3. Akikiki

    Akikiki A'-Lo-HA ! y'all

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    It will get better. We are pioneers. It will get better.
     
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  4. rypalmer

    rypalmer Member

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    That doesn't sound entirely useless, though in a perfect world every paid L2 station would give a full 48A. The fact that there are no good commercially available L2 stations above 30A that accept credit cards or memberships is very confusing. If you're going to make me pay (and please do, I expect to), please give me the big amps!
     
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  5. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    Car is parked at the bottom of a hill and the house is up the hill a ways on the other side of the road, so it's not feasible to find a plug.
     
  6. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    Yes any miles are better than nothing. The chargepoint was free, too. It was useless in that I still needed to supercharge the next morning for our days activities.
     
  7. Ashkenaz

    Ashkenaz Member

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    This is an interesting post. I picked up my 70D last summer and have done several road trips over 1000 miles. I charge exclusively at SCs. My first trip I forgot my charging cable at home. I've actually never charged anywhere but SC or at my house.

    SO, here are a few things I'll mention that I hope helps you.

    1. Pioneers: Yes, we are a bit on the new side of this stuff, but more importantly, the more you drive, the more experience you get in your car, I think the more you learn the limitations, and be able to use the bottom end of the battery, which it sounds like you aren't using if you are charging up to 100% each time. Forgive me if I'm wrong, maybe you're rolling up to the SC with 5%, but it sounds like you may be arriving with higher levels. During my first road trip, I quickly learned that charing to 100% took longer (chargers slow down near the top level of your battery), and took more time. I then would arrive at next SC with ample charge remaining, which meant I then charged again on the top side of the battery, again, taking longer for no real reason.

    2. Driving: Are you driving fast? Heavy footed? The car certainly is more efficient at lower speeds. I'm sure the others here will provide lots of information. On my first trip I was driving pretty fast, about 70+ on the first leg, and certainly burned more energy. I drove more conservatively now, and watch my energy consumption. One thing I've been doing after reading something here is drafting. Once I hit road, and the energy consumption stabilizes, I look at the graph and see what I"m going to arrive with. If it says, for example, 15%, I might start drafting behind a large Semi. I don't get too close, you don't need to. Within about 15 minutes or so you should start seeing the number change. It will grow steadily, up to about 18% or so, then I'll pass him and be on my way. I have been very impressed by the amount of energy you can actually gain. BTW, this is coming from a guy that is very picky about having dings or scratches on his car, and I don't follow too close, I certainly don't want to be hit by a rock flying up. I've seen the same thing happen with aircraft. If you fly high enough, once you get up there, you can actually see your arrival fuel "grow," meaning that if you were going to land with 2000 pounds of fuel, once at altitude, where the aircraft uses less fuel, you will see this number go up slowly, 2100, 2200, etc. It's a nice trick.

    3. Settings: Make sure you are in Range Mode for long trips. You lose AC/Heat efficiency, and your rear wheel drive if have dual motors. Some people say there is a whine, but I haven't heard it. Make sure you turn the Range Mode back off at night, as it spends energy when it's parked heating the battery or something, or it's hard on the battery, I can't remember what, but I read it here so I know it's true!

    4. Cold Weather/rain/snow/slush: I was amazed at the higher level of energy consumption driving in my first heavy rain. The tires have to push their way through the water on the road, and same for slush should you be driving in it. You will notice difference. Also, and most detrimentally, is cold weather. I see much higher numbers in cold weather for energy consumption. I drove up to Erie, PA a month or so ago and was drafting each leg for about 15-20 minutes to gain some energy back I lost. Leaving the SC it would say I would arrive with 20% (for example) but then this would drop to 16% pretty quick. I would then draft behind a semi until it went back up to 18% or so, and then carry on. Also, when it's cold like that, and in Range mode, using the heating system also uses battery. I have the cold weather package and I use the heat seaters and steering wheel heat in stages. It's usually too hot or cold and I have to cycle it to my liking. I might drive the first half of a leg to the next SC with the heat off for a while then when I feel more comfortable, and the energy consumptions have stabilized, I will turn on the heater. Ahh, the bliss! Also, in cold weather, you will notice that when you first drive the car for the day, the battery consumption for the first few miles will be VERY high, almost scary, which sends the projected range all wonky as well. I read here that "pre-heating the batter" with a little charge helps. The only time this is really a problem is if you are starting the day at a location with no charger. At home, in the winter, I open my phone and turn on my charger in my garage, and charge the car a little before I go out. This seems to help a bit in terms of consumption. The real reason I do it though, is that in the winter, I found that the regenerative breaking doesn't really kick in until 20mph or so for the first few miles, or until the batter gets warm, then the breaking starts kicking in better more at 30mph or 35. That was a bit alarming the first time I found that: I released the "gas" pedal (we need a better name for this pedal) and expected the instant "slow down" as the regerative breaks usually apply, and instead felt the unnerving sensation of not stopping, and I actually had to use my breaks! Imagine the humanity of that! :) So, I started preheating the battery, I think it helps get the breaking to work more where I like it to. I love the regen breaking.

    5. PlugShare: I think someone may have said this. I'm sorry this post is so long. I have this app on my phone. Although I have never used it, I like to pop it out once I'm on the freeway and in "cruise" mode towards the next SC. I look and see what is on my route in case I end up having to get a charge. It's a great app, and should provide some peace of mind when you are looking at arriving with 15% at next SC. BTW, I have yet to arrive with less than that, so I would classify myself as a conservative Noobie Tesla driver. I see other arriving with less, but I'm not there yet.

    I hope this helps. I think there are some great tips on this site, and I also recommend EVtripplanner, which is nice to use on your couch when planning a trip. It even allows for weather and payload inputs. It's a nice cross check with the car's computer.
     
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  8. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    Thanks for the tips ashkenaz. I actually found the road trip part not so bad. I was able to pretty consistently make it to the next SC with about 20% remaining. I found I didn't really have to worry about driving fast, doing about 70-75 the whole time and still maintain 20% at arrival. This is with 4 humans and lots of luggage. I may push it on the way back to a 15% arrival buffer to try to speed up the charging.

    Once here at my destination, I try to charge as much as possible each time to avoid extra SC stops. We're driving around 100miles average a day here. I don't think I could go 2 days without charging. The thought of pushing it and then being in the middle of nowhere with say 10-20% remaining makes me very uncomfortable.
     
  9. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    I was thinking that sneaking away to SpC on a trip may feel a little like sneaking away to have a smoke. Now, I don't smoke, so I can't be sure. But you kinda skip away without asking questions or making a scene because you don't want to admit you have to do it.
     
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  10. TexasEV

    TexasEV Well-Known Member

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    I'd just find a different house next time.
     
  11. JasJ

    JasJ Member

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    We do Airbnb/VRBO and look for 'whole' hose preferably with a garage. Usually only has a 110 outlet, but most nights we get back 40+ miles of range. Bonus if you get a place with an electric dryer with a NEMA 14-30 outlet next to the garage. Tesla — NEMA 14-30 or one of these Heavy-duty NEMA 14-50R extension cord for Tesla, 20 ft. (has universal NEMA 14-30/50/60 plug)
     
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  12. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    I drive long distance almost every week for work, with overnight stays, no charging overnight. It's 125 miles one way, about 250 miles round trip. Plus a few miles driving around town while there. I have a P85, and the range is not enough for the round trip, so I have to charge while there using the local supercharger there.

    As mentioned in a few other threads, if you are driving in to your destination in cold weather, if you can, charge that night, not the next day. Car charges quite slow after being left out overnight without being plugged in.

    Definitely don't believe the range estimates if you drive like the average driver. After starting with 100% charge, estimated range is about 250 miles. By the time I finish the 125 miles one way, I usually have about 80 estimated miles left. I used to try to minimize my energy use to maximize range back when I had a Volt, but honestly, after a year or two of doing that every week it gets real old, and now I just drive like I want to, which usually means about 75 MPH. They say a few MPH more doesn't save much time, but after many hundreds of interstate trips over the last 5+ years, I would drive 100 MPH if I could.

    Many times, I visit the supercharger and take a nap, setting an alarm for when I think the charge will be sufficient. Helps to have a pillow.

    I don't really have any other big tips.

    I wish it had enough range to do round trip. Maybe capacities will be higher in another 10 years.
     
  13. animorph

    animorph Member

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    We'll be visiting our two sons in April, staying at their places. There is a Supercharger about 5 miles away from one son's apartment, so that should work better for us than OP's situation. We'll be on 120V 15A at the other son's house, and maybe 30-40 miles from a Supercharger. But other than one or two longer rides that should go somewhere near a Supercharger, we'll probably be travelling less than 50 miles a day. So I think the 120V will work out fine for us.

    I think driving 100 miles every day and depending on a Supercharger 30 miles away would be too much time wasted on charging for me.
     
  14. davewill

    davewill Member

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    There's one other possibility. If you can find L2 not too far away from the house, park there overnight and use a rideshare to go home and to get the car in the morning. Check on PlugShare. You might find an individual who is sharing their plug closer than 15 miles.

    When I travel, I find a hotel that has destination charging...especially since my car doesn't have DC charging!
     
  15. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    that is one take away from your story the other thing that you missed was not utilizing the 110 outlet. you could have picke up 3-4 miles per hour of range while you were asleep. assuming that you are at "home" ten hours per evening you could have added 40+ miles of range, while you may say that isn't much it may have eliminated one of your daily charge stops. and also it would have limited your vampire loses.
     
  16. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I often drive from my home near Toronto to my daughter and son-in-law's place near Chicago. Same deal, only 120 volt charging at their house and nothing in the way of decent L2 or L3 nearby. (I'd consider paying them to put in a 14-50 in their garage, but they are looking to move closer to where they both work). Usually we take their car out when we go somewhere while mine sips away at the 120 volt connection.
     
  17. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    Did you only look at Chargepoint stations or at Plugshare? Santa Rosa looks pretty well covered unless your rental is out in the sticks somewhere.

    Screenshot_20170331-125755.png
     
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  18. Zeromus-X

    Zeromus-X Member

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    I'm currently making a cross-country trip and let me tell you, I feel the same way now that I've had some experience away from home. The nights I've spent at a hotel with destination charging have made me so much happier in the morning. In general it has cost me a bit more, since I'm sure I could Priceline something decent cheaper in each city... but knowing I'm starting at 100% the next day makes me so much happier than having to hunt down a local Supercharger and spend 40 minutes there before I can begin my travel.
     
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  19. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    I carry 120 feet of extension cord in the back. How far was your car from the house?

    I always shoot for a 10% buffer which will keep my taper higher and faster for longer.

    You'd have been fine if you could have just plugged in a standard outlet at any time your were at the house and not driving.
     
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  20. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Stay in nicer places. I'm at the four seasons right now, they always have tesla chargers.
     

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