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Least stressful and fastest way to do road trips

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by sumitkgarg, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. sumitkgarg

    sumitkgarg Member

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    I am receiving my new Model S 75 soon and have been reading a lot about road trip strategies to reduce overall charge times and it seems a bit stressful to calculate it all. Maybe things will change once I do a few long distance road trips on it...

    My question is - what is the least stressful strategy to do a road trip without having to top off the car at every SC stop? Trying to strike a balance between trying to figure out the most optimally timed trip vs. the least stress of planning it while making sure that I am never stranded.

    Sorry if this is a bad question and the right answer is to just on a few trips to figure it out.
     
  2. Cheerose

    Cheerose Member

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    The Superchargers make it less stressful, but I (and probably others) can definitely understand keeping the stress level low. :)

    Best thing is to use sites like EV Trip Planner and A Better Routeplanner. I haven't used ABRP yet, but I understand that it can be used within the car browser so that it can give you better needed charge times based on your actual driving. EVTP does something similar, but doesn't have 'real-time' updating. (To the best of my knowledge)
     
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  3. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    you don't top off at every spc. you drive the "bottom" of the battery, only charging enough to make the hop to the next SpC. batteries with a low SOC charge faster.
     
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  4. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #4 ChadS, Aug 15, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
    I agree that there is a real trade-off here. If you want to spend the least possible amount of time at a Supercharger AND not run out of charge (the former makes the latter a real danger, because charging is fastest when the battery is low), you are going to have to do some calculating to determine the optimal charge, and monitor energy use while driving.

    You can of course have a stress-free trip if you prefer; you just spend longer charging until you have a nice big buffer.

    Some people like the challenge of going as fast as they can and make sure they are following the "best" strategy. Others just want to enjoy the trip. You'll have to decide on your own where your personal balance lies.

    Fortunately the car does a fair amount of the calculating for you. When you plug in to charge, enter your next destination in to the navigation system, and it will tell you when you have enough charge to leave (wind, rain, and speeding aren't included in their calculations - that is why they leave a buffer). Of course, if you are in a hurry and do some calculations and conditions are good (and/or you are willing to monitor energy use as you drive and slow down or draft or make another charging stop or something if necessary), you can often leave before that. Me, I prefer to stay few minutes longer to build up some more buffer so I don't have to worry about anything while I'm driving.

    I find road trips very simple and enjoyable. For me there is no stress at all; in fact it's far better than in a gas car. But then, I'm not getting there as fast as I could if I was willing to ride on the ragged edge.
     
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  5. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    I do run my routes through EV trip planner before I go and I aim to have a buffer of 15-20% when I hit each supercharger.

    It's probably not the most optimum, but it seems to work and still give me room if I get into a headwind or rain or something. I haven't done road trips in below freezing weather, so that probably requires additional buffer considerations.
     
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  6. CalBlue 85D

    CalBlue 85D Member

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    And if you are driving through California it's helpful to consider which superchargers on your route may be less congested. There are a few to avoid at all costs, even if it means charging for longer either before of after you pass the area. This really only applies to Bay Area and Southern California locations.
     
  7. Cheerose

    Cheerose Member

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    Since I live in Vegas and will probably be making several road trips in the near future <g>, can you let us know which ones to avoid and at what times (unless they are crowded 24/7)?
     
  8. alcibiades

    alcibiades Member

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    My family and I drove from Chicago to Fort Collins, CO in March (and we plan to do it again for Thanksgiving). We have a Model X90D that we ordered in 10/16 after the HW2 announcement (don't get me started on that!).

    Granting that traveling with kids makes things different, since with 3 kids we seem always to need a potty break every hour or so for someone, my wife and I quickly found that the best way to reduce stress was to stop really caring about an extra 5 or 10 minutes here or there. We stopped at pretty much every SC along the way, and we just juiced up until we were good to the next SC leaving a decent buffer for our nerves (weather was BAD when we went -- wind, rain, in the 40s). If you obsess over optimization, I worry that you're going to find it more aggravating than if you just charge often a little at a time. Accept that it is a paradigm shift.

    Best of luck to you!
     
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  9. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    I think stopping at most superchargers and aiming to arrive at each with around 15% remaining is the most comfortable and efficient way of doing it. But if you can time one longer stop (30-40 minutes) with arriving at a low charge and eating, that saves the most time.

    Note that the Trip Planner in the car will frequently suggest you to stop for longer than 30 minutes at a single charger to reduce the number of stops. This isn't necessarily the best idea for efficiency if you aren't doing something there anyway (for example, eating at Harris Ranch or that Chili's at Barstow inevitably takes 30+ minutes. If you can time your long stop for eating there, that's a win win). So don't be afraid to attempt to massage the trip planner to do what you want. For example, hit Cancel and simply navigate to the next supercharger on your route and look at the estimated energy remaining.

    As a newcomer, the basic rules of thumb I would say are:

    (1) If the trip planner estimates a stop for longer than 30 minutes, double check that it's truly the right thing to do versus stopping at another charger.
    (2) Plan to unplug and continue when the trip estimate says you have around 15% remaining. That's a pretty comfortable buffer. Getting more of a buffer with a 75D likely means you're wasting time charging at a slow rate. The trip planner estimates are fairly accurate.
    (3) Speaking of that: Basically once you are tapered below 75kW (around 180 miles maybe), you really want to consider moving on if you can make it to the next supercharger.
    (4) Stick around your car for around 30 seconds after you plug it in. Make sure the charge rate ramps up high (to approximately 90kW if you have a nearly empty battery, certainly something more than 50kW if you are less than half-full). Sometimes you'll find a slow stall but another stall will be faster.


    That's basically all I can think of. It's not worth overthinking — between the trip planner and your smartphone, Tesla road trips are far more intuitive than you expect. Looking back I feel really silly for all the overplanning I did before my first trip.
     
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  10. MyJoule

    MyJoule Member

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    I have successfully used a combination of this table http://dauger.com/tesla/SuperchargerTableP85.pdf and evtripplanner.com to make our road trips much less stressful. I use the table to calculate how long I will need to be on a supercharger and evtripplanner to pre-estimate how much range it's going to take to get to the next charger. I always try to charge to between and extra 20-25% ( i.e. arrive with 20-25% range remaining) in case there is a problem such as high head winds. I've traveled several times from Tucson to CA and gone to Texas and Indiana when there were far less superchargers than there are now. However, not knowing how the newer batteries are doing with supercharging rates etc, YMMV! Just try to do a couple of shorter trips < 200 miles until you get used to it.
     
  11. David29

    David29 Member

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    One thing I would suggest is to take your first trip or two alone, without wife, sweetheart, children, etc. That allows the owner to become more familiar and comfortable with the drill. I had the good fortune to do this and fortunately had a good experience. That went a long way towards giving me confidence for the next time when my spouse came, too. Plus my first overnight trip included use of a destination charger at a motel where I stayed. That helped me to get past the idea that I had to depend solely on Tesla Superchargers.

    One other point -- Be aware that things don't always work as expected. Hence the need for margin and flexibility.
    Last week returning from a vacation in Maine, we stopped at the Supercharger in Seabrook, NH, to obtain enough charge for the final leg of our homeward trip. We were not paired with anyone else, and still got no more than 42 or 43 kW, even though we arrived with only 9 or 10% as the SOC. I could have and maybe should have called Tesla, but did not. And as the quote indicates, it would have been smarter to monitor the charge rate for a minute or two before we went in to eat. But I only monitored the charging from the phone app while we ate. In the time in took us to eat lunch, the car had enough charge to reach home, so I did not expend too much energy worrying about why we did not get the higher charge rates that we probably should have.

    If we had had a longer leg ahead of us, I would have switched charging positions or called Tesla, or both.
     
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  12. 365gtb4

    365gtb4 Member

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    I've done three cross country trips, SoCal to NC. and NYC. It's really simple and enjoyable. Start everyday with a range charge if possible. After a couple of hours stop for breakfast and take as much charge as breakfast allows. Next stop is nature break again take as much as your break requires. Lunch again as much charge as you can get in the time allowed. Mid afternoon break, again most charge time allows. Dinner at a destination charger hotel or supercharger. Repeat the next day. Longest trip was 6500 miles. We love the Tesla way of travel. We learned to enjoy places that we would have passed up in a ICE car.
     
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  13. sumitkgarg

    sumitkgarg Member

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    All good points. Thanks for the feedback!
     

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