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Love It - Not for Long Drives

Discussion in 'Model X: Driving Dynamics' started by neisner12, May 31, 2017.

  1. neisner12

    neisner12 Member

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    I have over 26K miles on my P90D MX and can say I love the car for everyday driving. The handling, the comfort, the auto-pilot, the space...all top-notch. Being able to charge at home saves time. While I had some early problems and an alignment issue along the way, the Tesla service team eventually sorted it all out. It's not uncommon for me to put in 100-180 miles on a day driving to meetings/gym/soccer practices.

    But for the vast majority of long drives, the MX doesn't make sense for our family. We use the Jeep Cherokee V6 with about 425 miles of range. When I say long drive, I mean any drive where we are going from home to a point that is more than 100 miles away assuming there isn't a supercharger right at our destination (or a slower-charger at my destination). An example of a long drive where there's a charger at the destination might be the Gilroy outlets. But anything else, the MX doesn't come close on a time efficiency basis...and hard to make sense on a cost-basis given the car depreciation. I've done roadtrips from Bay Area to Sacramento, Tahoe, LA, etc...so this is real-world experience

    Why? My MX gets 214 on a 90% charge now...and can't get it past 241 on a 100%. So let's assume 90% although I will go to 95% if my drive will take me close to 200 miles that day. Assuming 214 miles in the AM, I get probably 190-195 if I drive rather conservatively on the highway. Of course, hills/traffic/etc will take this downwards. And if I stop, I tend to lose 1-4 miles per hour in phantom drain. So I can get 100 miles back and forth and just make it.

    When I took the Tesla to South Lake Tahoe for a 3-night trip last year, it ended up about 500 miles of driving. I had to stop near Sacramento for a near full charge. Got to Tahoe but we had to drive to various sites for basketball. So I stopped in Gardnerville charger (20-25 minutes from where one of my kids' games was). And then stopped near Sacramento on the way back to get me home. That's 3 stops. Let's assume 45 minutes to charge each. And factor in that each charger is a bit out of the way...typically 5 minutes more than a gas station. So charging plus travel time was 150 minutes (not factoring in that it took 40+ minutes to get to/from gardernville). Comparing to the Jeep this year with the same itinerary, I only had to stop once for gas, taking 10 minutes. So, I save 140 minutes on 8-9 hours of driving plus no range anxiety, etc. I had similar experience with a trip to LA where I had 3 stops (perhaps could have done only 2, but would have taken longer to charge) vs. 1 fill-up.

    What could Elon and team do to make it better? Adding more Superchargers helps with range anxiety and overcrowding at some places...but doesn't fundamentally change the equation. Adding range to 450 miles would help new cars if they could get the battery technology. But the time to charge would increase from 45 to let's say 70 minutes. The biggest improvement would be if he could get the 80% charge down to 10 minutes. At that case, going 400 miles are so would incur 2 charges plus extra drive time to charger...let's call that 25 minutes vs. 1 fill-up of 10 minutes. That would change my decision on road trips.
     
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  2. kingjamez

    kingjamez Member

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    You only stop for gas when traveling 8-9 hours? My family and I stop at least every 3-4 hours to eat / bathroom / stretch legs.

    Now we'll just do that when we are charging.

    -Jim
     
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  3. TexasEV

    TexasEV Well-Known Member

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    If range was your biggest concern, why did you get the P that gets less range? Why stop charging at 90 or 95% when you go on a trip? That's what the 100% range is for (no it's not going to have significant impact on your battery with the use pattern you describe).

    Are you plugging in overnight where you go? Even 120V charging can make a difference. Could you time supercharger stops for when you stop for lunch?

    If the battery was bigger it wouldn't take longer to charge as you assume-- the 40 minutes for 80% would be the same 40 minutes for 80% of a larger battery.
     
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  4. vkathuria

    vkathuria Member

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    +1. Our family stops anyway every few hours - so for our trip from bay area to vegas, more than half the supercharging time was the stops we would have made anyway. but yes, it still adds 10-20% to travel time. We plan to keep our X for a looooong time, so depreciation didn't factor in as much. We don't take out our gas car for long trips any more because I don't want to contribute to CO2 levels and other pollutants and happy to take the hit in travel time.
     
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  5. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    I agree that even a high mile EV like Tesla is a problem for this type of driving. But in the next 3-4 years charge time will probably be halved and many charge locations added.

    Millions of EVs will need to be made to supply multi-car families with a single EV. So I don't see the current reality as a problem.
     
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  6. IdaX

    IdaX Member

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    I need some tips from you about how to do that! My kids have to pee every 1.5-2 hours. So: do you just give them gatorade bottles? Do you ask them to pee in their pants? Or do you intentionally deydrate them for a few hours before the trip so as to allow you to press on. I'm genuinely curious as to your technique...
     
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  7. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    I am with the OP. I frequently go on longer trips and there is no way on earth that I'd stop every 1.5-2 hours for bathroom breaks. Maybe if you have really little kids, or bladder problems, but it's more like once every 3-4 (and frequently longer) on long trips.

    Even if we did have to stop for bathroom breaks every 1.5-2 hours, it would take 5 minutes, which is nowhere near the time it takes to charge the car.

    Some people don't mind a leisurely pace. I prefer to minimize travel time.
     
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  8. golfnut

    golfnut Member

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    I would expect you knew these things before you bought your MX, or is this something you just figured out? I would expect 99% of Tesla owners, and potential owners, know there is a "price" to pay when traveling long distance, My recent trip to SoCal took an additional 1.5 hours than if I drove my ICE. The "price" I paid was $0.00 for "fuel" and arriving at my destination more well rested. I actually enjoyed the trip for a change. Oh well, each of us must decide what our time and health is worth I guess. I am already planning a cross country trip in my MS, whose range is almost exactly the same as your MX. Enjoy your city drives.
     
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  9. trmmcd

    trmmcd Member

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    I have gone on many long drives. The SC stops along the way don't bother me unless I get a very slow SC. The big challenge is the Destination Charging. I have to make that extra SC stop near the destination so that I have enough miles to get around wherever I am visiting. When I have travelled to a location with a destination charger it has been a great overall experience.
     
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  10. Gwgan

    Gwgan Almost a wagon

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    I agree with neiser12, and also have over 26K miles on my P90D MX, but would only need about 10-15% more real-world range to make the car fit into my driving preferences. The battery in this car is really an 86kWh but just swapping to the current 100 would be just shy of the mark because of the extra weight. A bit bigger but lighter pack with the new cells might be just the ticket.
     
  11. sdorn

    sdorn Director of Awesome

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    I haven't been able to convince my wife to take the Tesla on any long road trips. The longest so far was about 350 miles round trip with the only supercharger on our route about 100 miles from our start point and 75 miles from our destination. It went ok but I certainly wouldn't call it "relaxing". We ended up needing to stop for a bathroom break about 45 minutes before we got to the supercharger, but didn't stop because we knew we had to stop to charge either way. By the time we got there everyone in the car was extremely uncomfortable and had to run to the bathroom once we stopped. The closest bathroom was the Macon visitor's center, and so we had to talk our way past the greeter before we could get to the bathrooms. None of that was relaxing.

    On the way back we had to stop and charge again and needed to have dinner, but the only options near the supercharger on a Saturday evening were sit-down type restaurants. It took us about 90 minutes to walk to the restaurant, wait for a table, eat and walk back to the car. We could have stopped for only 10-15 minutes to charge and then driven to another restaurant, but we also needed to use the restroom again and all the restrooms near the Macon supercharger are closed by 5pm on weekends except for the aforementioned restaurants.

    All in all it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't "relaxing". I would still like to take the Tesla on longer road trips as I love driving the car as compared to our minivan and enjoy the planning, etc. that goes into figuring out charging solutions and optimal routes. Convincing the family is the hard part.
     
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  12. MXFan

    MXFan Member

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    Range was the most important factor in getting my X. That's why I went with the 100 kwh battery and 20" wheels and the non-P version. 100% charge gives me 304 miles. In my long distance driving recently I traveled 600 miles each way, only having to stop twice. Each leg was about 250 miles and I averaged about 75 mph (I did use range mode). And between AP2 and getting the charging break, the driving was comfortable with no range anxiety, and I arrived quite refreshed. The supercharger network is superb. It takes a little extra time for recharging but not overly burdensome. Also, being able to skip every other supercharger was nice because of the range. If you plan to do a lot of long trips, nothing less than the 100D will do, IMHO.
     
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  13. NikeWings

    NikeWings Active Member

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    I am a long hauler in my X and S without hesitation but I had a fleeting thought when the announced expansion of the supercharger network and capacity hit the airwaves last month.......that it was as equally about range degradation for ageing vehicles as it was about new sales. OK maybe not equal but its a factor.
     
  14. Beryl

    Beryl Member

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    I agree with this if you plan to take long trips in areas where SCs are sparse. That factored into my thinking 18 months ago when I got maximum battery size at that time.

    Although my last 1600 mile trip was quite pleasant, it could have been shortened if I had more confidence in Tesla SC messages. It advised me to stop charging at 15-20 minutes but I always charged more than necessary.

    I do believe this situation will improve with more destination chargers in addition to SCs coming online. There were locations where I would have enjoyed stopping for an hour with destination charging. Unfortunately, none of those places had SCs nearby.
     
  15. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I also drive long distances in both my S and X and find the Supercharger experience both rewarding and infuriating, depending on my situation. In a lot of cases it can add a level of relaxation to the trip, but in others it can be a complete annoyance. I was once driving from Portland back home through heavy rain and wind. Passing over Shasta included snow. I had to charge much more than usual, and because of the weather, I couldn't enjoy the stops very much. It got dark and I was ready to be home.

    It's worth it to me, but I can see where it doesn't work for some others.
     
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  16. McManX

    McManX Member

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    I enjoy the breaks while charging to split up long trips. Road trip from SF Bay up to Whistler, BC two days each way was not stressful at all despite constant downpour/ whiteout conditions on the passes. As long as you don't run into problems while charging that substantially increase the time then I enjoy the breaks but also wouldn't complain about a 400+mile range battery.
     
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  17. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    I agree it's a concern. Esp a long weekend trip to an away city to do kids activities (sports, academics, etc). If you stay at a place with a destination charger, it's no problem at all. If your venue your visiting has charging, no problem at all. Otherwise, you have to sneak away at least once to get a charge. This is in a S100D for me...

    I don't like it, but I enjoy that I haven't had to go to a gas station since I purchased the car. So time saved at home, time lost on trips. I'm good.

    I also agree on the depreciation for trips. Prior to the Tesla, I always rented a car for anything more than 150-200 miles per day.

    Sure, someday it will be better. More range and faster charging. I can deal with it OK now.
     
  18. neisner12

    neisner12 Member

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    Appreciate the replies...glad people don't think I'm just some hater. I do love the car and have actually put on close to 28K miles. A few things:
    - I ordered it on 12/11/15 before the first signature was delivered. So I don't think we knew what it could do in real-world driving. I may have still ordered the P90D as the range is only supposed to be 7 miles more. Right now, I'd either order P100D or 75D OR go with an S
    - My kids are teens so the bathroom stops are more like 3-4 hours fortunately.
    - If I go to 100% charge and get like 220 miles in actuality, that's ~3.2 hours of driving. And then to have to stop is ok, but not for ~75-90 minutes to charge back to 100%. Or I stop for 45 mins and get to 80%, but then I only get in ~170 miles or 2.5 hours of driving.
    - A number of the chargers aren't right by food/bathrooms which can be frustrating. When the boys want In n' Out and I need to charge, there's a conflict :)
    - Agree that the autopilot makes driving long trips much less stressful which is a huge plus.
     
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  19. OilSucks

    OilSucks Member

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    I want to do the same trip, what was your route and Supercharger stops?
     
  20. Yinn

    Yinn Member

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    I do a "8-9 hour" trip from the east coast to OH. Every gas stop adds 20-30 minutes to the trip, food stops are about 60-90min. If I'm strict, we stop only once - about 4 hours in. I drop them off at a McDonalds. One person orders food while the others use the restroom. I'm across the street to get gas and use the restroom while it fills. By the time I'm done, I swing around and pick them all back up. Total travel time is about 6.5 hours. I'll refuse to stop if it isn't right off the exit, and there isn't a gas station right next to the food place.

    I fully acknowledge my family hates me for my method. Needless to say, they're very happy we have an electric car now...

    If we stop for food, that one food stop ends up adding 2 bathroom stops. Next thing we know, it's a 9-10 hour drive.
     

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