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Montreal-Hamilton road trip in a S75D. Yes it works!


Aug 8, 2017
I just completed my first relatively long road trip, from Montreal QC to Hamilton ON and back last week, and wanted to write about it for people considering whether to go full EV or not.

I left on a Tuesday afternoon, with nice weather (sunny, 22-23C). Car was charged at around 92%, showing some 373km of rated range. I decided to stick around 90% to preserve battery, considering there are so many supercharger stations between here and Hamilton (Cornwall, Kingston, Port Hope, and then a whole lot near Toronto). My first stretch was from here to Hamilton, roughly 290km. So I was to arrive there with 80km of range left (roughly 20% SOC).

I kept my speed constant at around 110km/h, my usual highway travel speed. And sure enough I reached Kingston with...78km of range left. So right on spot!

One nice touch here about navigating with a Tesla, I could see how many stalls were available in Kingston as we were driving there. As it is once I reached I was the only vehicle to plug, out of 6 stalls. We then went to a resto nearby.

Recharging the car was impressively fast, so much that before we even finished our meal I was back at my 373km rated range. The top speed I saw was 96kw. Gaining like 50km of range in 5 mins.

Now the next strech was over 320km to reach Hamilton. I didn't want to go too low on SOC so I decided we would make a quick stop in Port Hope, 152km away, for just a few minutes.

In Port Hope, after a surprisingly quick drive (boy, these people drive fast in Ontario!), I stopped for about 15 minutes. Just enough to walk to the Dunkin Donut, grab some sweet and stretch my legs. The car consumed more than on the previous leg, at 188wh/km, but as I mentioned speed was much faster as well. My rated range was 198km when I plugged in. I had gone back to 314km (almost 80% SOC) when we left Port Hope. BTW I noticed my charging speed was 49kw when I unplugged. Still a very decent speed considering the SOC I was at.

Quick note, I was the second model S to connect at Port Hope, which has 8 stalls.

So finally, after another 170km, we reached Hamilton. Rated range left was 127km. Consumption of 183wh/km, very decent considering again that the traffic was moving faster than my usual driving speed (and I was moving along with the traffic ;-) ), especially around Toronto.

While in Hamilton I had a good charge on the next day while having dinner, in fact topping up again to 90%.

The drive back, a few days later, was fairly similar and uneventful except for two things:

- lots of traffic at the superchargers! At some point in Port Hope there were 7 cars connected, including mine, out of the 8 available stalls. 5 model S and 2 model 3. When reaching the place I got scared that we would not have a connector. I posted a separate post on the topic. The arrival of model 3 is likely to cause more congestion than expected, I believe, at superchargers.

- I had to make an unscheduled stop in Cornwall, seeing that I would reach Montreal with only 35% rated range left. This felt too tight! And this was despite having charged at 90% in Kingston. Heavy rain and strong headwind caused a higher than expected energy usage. The nice thing is, I had to stop for only 5 minutes to get 50km of rated range, enough to get into comfort zone.

So, yes traveling relatively long distances in a model S 75D works. And all of this happens because there is, currently, a good charging infrastructure.

Obviously some planning is needed, like matching a long recharge with a meal midway. But once you stick to that it's fairly smooth. And things will only get better as the charging network expand. But make this fast Tesla, model 3 is arriving quickly!
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May 31, 2016
San Francisco, CA
Nice write-up! And glad it all worked out for you. I'm now almost tow years into my Model S ownership, and have completely wiped worrying about road-trips from my mind. The available infra structure here on the West Coast is such that trip planning has become sort of an "..oh yeah, we shouldn't forget that.." last minute thing. Quick run through on ABRP, dial in approximate starting charge percentage the night before, and off we go.....

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