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Model S First Drive Review

Discussion in 'Blog Archive' started by ggr, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

    Mar 24, 2011

    Well, it's not a FIRST drive, but it's a first DRIVE, if you get my drift. I started this morning in San Diego/Clairemont in the BGC, south on the 5 then east on the 94, which is a nice, windy road up into the hills, usually with not too much traffic. (There is often a photographer on one of the nice curves, and he caught a nice pic of me above.) Left at Campo, then Sunrise Highway (Scenic route S2) through Mount Laguna to Julian. Had a nice chicken pot pie at the Julian Grill for brunch. I've never seen Julian so crowded! I don't know if there was something special on, or if it is just that it's apple harvesting season.

    I started with a not-quite-full standard charge. Range showed as 200/170 (that is, 200 ideal, 170 estimated based on driving; I use this convention below). By the time I got to Mount Laguna, I'd done about 90 miles (a little over half way) and it showed 65/35. Now I'd have been really worried at this point if I hadn't done the drive in the Roadster before... so I knew I'd get a lot of that back going downhill. Mount Laguna is at about 6,500 feet, from effectively sea level at home. When I stopped for lunch about 15 miles later at Julian (5000'), it showed 60/58.

    From Julian I headed north briefly to intercept Winola Road. It's extremely tight, fun curves, and avoids the ridiculous traffic on the main road out of Julian. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a rolling roadblock, and discovered that you can't use cruise control below 25. Rejoined the main highway (78/79/67) for about 10 miles. At Witch Creek the range showed about 55/130.

    Then turned left onto Old Julian Hwy, which is perhaps my favorite piece of road, since it's beautiful, nice surface and a nice combination of straights, sweeping curves, and tight curves. It's also a favorite of motorcycles, which is always a giveaway of a nice road. I got in with a bunch of about 8 high performance bikes, two were new Ducatis, and others I didn't recognize. Once there was no traffic in front of the bikes or me, we pretty much matched performance for the length of the road, until it comes into the back of Ramona. I think the guy on the Ducati bringing up the rear was surprised when I stayed a constant distance behind him. I think we might have gone over 55 once or twice. I wasn't thinking about range during this part of the drive.

    I tried to take a short cut through the suburbs of Ramona, and blew it. The Google Maps interface definitely isn't as good as dedicated drive mapping software. When you zoom out (to see the big picture), the street names become too small to read. Anyway, after the blast on the Old Julian Hwy, and getting lost, I started to worry about range (finally, you say :) ). I dialed in the home address, and the map said 35 miles. Range said 39/50. This is now getting a bit close for comfort. Back onto the 67, Scripps Poway Parkway, 163, Balboa, I stayed behind every big slow SUV/pickup I could find. Even a couple of carlengths back I've discovered that the drafting gains are worth it, and no-one gets angry at you for driving too slowly, since there's a bigger target in front.

    I made it home with 10 miles to spare, never having needlessly driven much below the speed limit. I know from Roadster experience that if I'd really gotten into trouble, all I had to do was take (well chosen) surface streets at 40mph or below and I could have stretched a lot further. There are also chargers at Santa Ysabel (just down the mountain from Julian) that I laughed at as I passed, and a charger at work about 10 miles closer than home that I could have used if I got desperate. There is also a Nissan dealer in Poway I think. So at no point was I actually anxious about range. For new electric drivers, I highly encourage you to get out and experiment.

    Final trip meter reading: 161.7 miles, 52.9 kWh, 327 wH/mile. Note that this almost exactly agrees with the 170 mile estimated that I started with and 10 miles left at the end. What a car! The drive took about 3.5 hours, not counting brunch, and I had a blast.

    Photo: motofoto .​

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