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My first road Model S road trip Munich - Paris

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by nikwest, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. nikwest

    nikwest Member

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    Last weekend I did my first longer road trip with my S. I was really curious how the S compares to my roadster when doing a longer trip. So far I have made quite some trips with my roadster and I guess I can say that I have some experience in planning. However the trip had quite some surprises for me.
    The trip itself is almost 900km one way almost only highways. With the roadster I usually tried to avoid highways, but with the S I really wanted to find out how feasible it is to drive on European highways. Without having to make too much compromises on speed. For me at this time this means not having to go below 100kmh. In the future (with Super chargers available) it really is driving at around 130kmh or more.

    Day 1:

    We left on Friday 3pm. I planned to do the 380km to Strasbourg on a single charge and stay the night in Strasbourg. Trip started out good. I was tempted to drive fast. It is so easy and quick to go about 180kmh and beyond with the S on German highways. But if you want to get some range this is not a good idea. So I tried to stay between 100 - 130 kmh. Lots of construction work limited my driving to 80kmh for quite a while anyways. The first big surprise came when I realized that it is really hard to match the the typical range. My experience with the roadster is that I can easily match its rated range. I can even get to ideal range when driving with some care on normal roads and behind some truck on high ways. But doing this with the S wasn't really an option for me. To match the typical range you need to go below 110kmh. That means slower than almost any other car. So I decided to have dinner and charge during that time with 22kW. There are a couple of RWE charging stations on the way, which I have access to. First tried the station at ADAC (German automobile club) in Pforzheim. The sign at the charger said that you can charge for free during office times. Of course I was there after office hours, but I should have access with my account anyways. Well, I thought I had, but it turned out that they seem to switch of the charger completely after office hours. Same for the charger at ADAC in Karlsruhe. Looks like the ADAC thinks that you should drive an EV only during office hours...
    Finally found another RWE charger in Achern just about 50km away from Strasbourg. But I only had less than 10km remaining. Charging with 22kW is a totally new experience for me. Adding more than 100km per hour is so much better than what I know from the roadster.

    Strasbourg has quite some type 2 chargers available. They are part of a joint research project between France and Germany. You need an RFID card for access available from any of the participating companies. I had an ENBW prepaid card, which is a participating company. However I wasn't sure if the prepaid card will work and I had the backup plan to charge in Kehl, which is in Germany and just over the bridge from Strasbourg.
    And for sure the prepaid card did not work in Strasbourg. I then tried a garage which had some standard sockets available, which also would have been ok to charge overnight considering that I had added so much already during dinner. But to my surprise the Tesla provided UMC cable did not work. The LEDs indicated that the plug should be plugged the other way. But with French sockets (Type E or CEE7/5) you can't. Either the installation in the garage was wrong or the Tesla UMC is wrong. So finally I decided to use the chargers in back in Kehl. Not a big problem. Somehow was expecting it anyways. With the currently existing charging infrastructure it is always good to expect the worst. Unfortunately ... but it should get worse ... a lot worse actually.


    Day 2:

    Before leaving in the morning I checked the charge with the iPhone app. All good. However the iOS app is really slow compared to what I am used to with OVMS in the roadster. It is ok, but this just is a proof for me on what a good solution Mark and all the other OVMS devs have created. Next planned stop was Reims, 350km away from Strasbourg. This time I drove around 110kmh to make sure that I get there. I planned to charge at Ikea which offers 43kW AC charging and also 50kW Chademo. I did not have a good fallback this time. France still mostly has type 3 chargers available and I did not have a type 3 to type 2 adaptor cable for the S. Not sure if this exists at all anyways. But on the chargemap.com website there have been a few very recent comments that the charger is working. And it did. Added 108km/hour ... new record for me. I also bought a decent looking extension cord at IKEA. Just in case I needed a CEE7/5 plug for charging in Paris. The remaining 150km where unspectacular.
    I had prebooked a garage in Paris close to the highway as I didn't want to go to the city centre where my hotel was because I know that traffic and driving in Paris can get crazy sometimes. The garage's website claimed that they have chargers and also standard sockets available in the garage. Turned out there wasn't any charger in the garage, but the guy from the garage found a socket to plug in for me. Unfortunately I had the same problem with the UMC cable again. Tried another socket but the problem persisted. I finally created a small adaptor cable from the Ikea extension cord. And it worked. Looks to me that Tesla really screwed up their cable. Anybody know to whom at Tesla this should be reported? As I didn't trust my self made adaptor and I planned to spend 3 days in Paris anyways I set the current to 6A instead of 13A. My rough calculation was that after 60h I should have the car fully charged. From the garage I directly went to the Autolib kiosk to get a subscription for the awesome electric car sharing Paris offers. If you are not afraid of Paris traffic this is a great way to explore Paris.

    Day 3 and 4: (stayed in Paris)

    Next day when checking the charge it turned out that I have set the current far too low. Charging efficiency seemed to drop significantly with lower currents. So I went back to the garage. Unfortunately one can't change the current with the iOS app, but this way I could also check the adaptor cable. It was good, completely cold. So I set the current to 10A. The following morning I checked again and too my surprise the battery was almost full. As I didn't want the car to sit with range charge for a day in the garage I switched charging off using the iOS app. I planned to switch it on at night for topping off. Turned out that this wasn't a good idea. At night I could not reach the car with the app anymore. The car didn't answer. I was too lazy to get back to the garage and check. Probably the signal reception in the garage was bad.
    Otherwise we had a great time in Paris.

    Day 5:

    This day we wanted to drive back to Munich. 900km in one day. So we got up earlier as usual, packed and went to the garage. The car doors opened, but to my surprise the screens where completely black. Stepped on the brake, nothing happened. Tried to do a reset nothing. Still black. Called the Munich service guys if they would know some other things to try. They supported my suspicion that I might be affected by the 12V battery problem. They also recommended to call the road side service to get the car checked remotely. I called and the woman from the road service told me that my S needs to be fixed and that they will organise a rental car for me instead. This did not make me happy. I didn't want to give up so quickly so I tried to charge again. Plugged the cable back in and after some time the screens turned on. What a relief. However I got the 12V battery warning on the screen. Checked back with Munich service. They told me that the battery could either be empty or completely dead. I just should charge for a while and the call road side service again. Called the road side service again and they checked and told me that the battery is getting better. So no rental car. I was really relieved as I didn't want to leave my S in Paris. But I had to wait another 2 hours to make sure that the 12V battery is charged enough. Finally we left Paris at noon. It was clear that this is going to be a long day. Stopped again at Ikea in Reims for topping off. Then drove through Luxembourg where we planned a stop. Unfortunately I couldn't find the charger there which was confirmed by the utility company before. Sometimes things like this makes my wonder about electricity companies ... but my fallback worked and I successfully used the charger in Trier instead. Still 550km to go with about 300 km typical charge left when we left Trier at 10pm. Next planned stop was Karlsruhe where I wanted to make use of my prepaid card again. Got lost a bit when taking a wrong exit. Finally arrived at 2 am with 3 km charge left at the charger in suburb Karlsruhe. Unfortunately my prepaid charging card said that I had no amount left for charging. I spend 50EUR for that card and only charged my car once in Kehl with it. How can it be empty??? Try calling a service hotline in Germany at 2am at night. Not much help. We finally decided to sleep in the car and try to get help in the morning.

    Day 6: (unplanned)

    Next morning I called the utility company again. To make the story short. They don't measure time the car actually charges, but the time you plug in and then unplug again. As I had my car plugged in over night the card was empty although I really only charged for about 3 hours. Tried to ask the person on the phone if they really expect somebody to set their alarm to 3am at night to unplug the car or how they think overnight charging should work. Makes me wonder what those people creating this kind of solutions really think or if they ever have driven an EV and used their own chargers...
    At least they send me some person who handed me out a 10EUR prepaid card for free. Didn't know if I should laugh or cry about it. How should I go back 300km to Munich with a 10EUR prepaid card which is good for 2h charging? And of course the guy only had a single card with him...
    So I had to plan another charging stop. Not something I was looking forward to after not getting much sleep the last night at all. Luckily it turned out that the charger wouldn't shut off the power after 2h. Looks like the utility companies believes that there isn't any car available that can charge more than 44kWh in a single go ;-) Finally arrived back in Munich at 4pm ... just in time for my scheduled meeting at work ...

    Learnings:

    The S is not a roadster. With the greater range and potentially faster charging it needs even more planning to make long distance driving work flawlessly. At least when going beyond what one can do with the roadster. With the roadster I would only charge over night and top off once during the day usually at some HPC. With the S it is easy to top off more than once during a day. But you spend a lot of time finding chargers and getting them to work. IMHO for the general audience the Model S only gets interesting when there are a decent amount of Super Chargers available. Otherwise driving at highway speeds for a longer distance doesn't really work. Not for the general audience.
     
  2. TonyWilliams

    TonyWilliams Active Member

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    #2 TonyWilliams, Sep 6, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
    Thanks for the very detailed post. I suspect that most companies that don't interact with Tesla really have no idea, but they will learn!
     
  3. texex91

    texex91 Banned

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    Do you have any pics?
     
  4. Mike_Schlechter

    Mike_Schlechter Model S - P457

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    Very interesting and well written account. I have had my Model S since well before we have SCs on the East Cost in the US, and found it similarly vexing to plan trips at first. I got ICEd in, chargers were not available, etc. With SCs it is like a new world has opened up to me. That isn't to say the J1772's around weren't effective, but once you supercharge you never want to go back!

    Thanks for sharing this. I think it will be helpful to European and US owners in areas where the infrastructure is still being built out.
     
  5. Eberhard

    Eberhard #421 Model S #S32

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    Thats is a really nice expirience as i always faced while traveling in europe. i did more than 150.000km with my roadster in 2.5 years. Carefully planning with fallback options is the key for long distance travel.
    I did more than 2000km with my roadster within 3 days when i picked up my Model S first in Tilburg and second in Munic. Only charging with HPC.

    best Eberhard
     
  6. nikwest

    nikwest Member

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    For me it feels a bit like I always have to wait for something. When driving the roadster my girl friend always complained why we can't go longer distances per day. I just said to wait for the S then we'll be able to go longer distances and charge faster.
    Now on the trip she asked a couple of times why I spent so much money on such an impractical car and that the roadster is at least nicer to drive as we don't do much highway driving with it. And much more exotic. And again I just had to say to just wait when the SC are here then it all will be a breeze and no hassle at all. It's just waiting again. :)
     
  7. twinklejet

    twinklejet Member

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    Drive to Norway? :tongue:
     
  8. fredag

    fredag Member

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    Thanks for the writeup. Very interesting.

    We've had some reports from Norway about charging with the UMC schuko adapter sometimes only work when the socket is rotated a certain way. It's extremely rare that electrical appliances require a schuko plug to be inserted into the socket a certain direction.

    I'm considering a trip to Germany in a few weeks to test my Model S. How do I get hold of the cards to use the RWE chargers? Can't seem to find the info on their website, and they don't answer when I call.

    Does anyone have any experience driving between Kiel/Hamburg and Berlin? The only charger I seem to find midway between Kiel and Berlin seems to be in Rostock, which is kind of a detour. Might be nice place to visit, though, I don't know.

    Sweden is also hopeless wrt charging stations. IKEA in Gothenburg seems to have some 22kwh stations, so I just hope I'll make it from Copenhagen to Gothenburg. I really hope Tesla build some super chargers in Sweden so that we can drive between Norway and Copenhagen without having to consume large amounts of meatballs at IKEA. :)
     
  9. FVO

    FVO Active Member

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    It's obvious that many of the charging providers (except IKEA) are not EV-drivers.

    For the rest thanks for sharing this story!! It' ll be very usefull to prepare other futur roadtrippers!!
     
  10. nikwest

    nikwest Member

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    @fredag

    You need a contract with RWE to use their chargers (4.99€ per month, 12 month min). You get an ID and a password to unlock the stations by phone or with their iOS or Android app.

    There is also an option to use the chargers without contract. Look here for more information
    eMobility Produkte | RWE ePower SMS
    BIG CAVEAT: with SMS you can only charge with up to 16A. Not with 32A.

    When going to Germany a good card to get is one which is compatible with ladenetz.de. They also usually have good and working chargers and you should be able to get the card for free or just by paying a one time fee (20€ or so).

    The company offering per paid cards is EnBW, but they are only in southern Germany.

    For Hamburg and Berlin I think it is mostly Vattenfall providing chargers. I have no experience with them.
    E-Mobility - Vattenfall
     
  11. HWS

    HWS Speedjunkie

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    Thnx for sharing your experience, i'll keep it quiet for a while for my family. They still don't understand why I want to replace our 2 year old X5 for the model S.... I hope the charging situation will improve shortly.
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    ... or get a new girlfriend.

    In all seriousness, if someone is constantly in nag mode affecting your general enjoyment of life that may be a sign.
     
  13. Right_Said_Fred

    Right_Said_Fred Model S - Sig. 283 EU

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    #13 Right_Said_Fred, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
    The lessons are pretty obvious:

    - Without the stomach for it - you obviously do have the stomach for it - don't plan on making very long trips as long as the European Supercharger-network hasn't been rolled out yet (wasn't planning on doing that anyway).
    - Tesla still doesn't seem to have the 12V-problem under control.
    - Like in the US the Signature-owners again are the beta-testers (this time for the European modifications, especially charger and cables).
     
  14. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    Seriously. You just bought a game changing car, perhaps the most significant car in the past few decades, one that has tons of space, incredible acceleration, and yes, by almost all standards, excellent range. And all she say is it's "impractical." Talk about not seeing her the forest from the trees.

    BTW, I did enjoy reading your trip report, and sorry you had snags. Having SCs really will make trips like this much easier in the future, although I didn't buy this car for long distance driving and suspect most people didn't.

    P.S. I have driven on the highway and been the slowest car with my MS -- once -- when I needed to conserve range in order to get back home after a long trip where I didn't take a full charge. I went about 5 mph below the speed limit for an hour. I was more amused than concerned about being passed. You will learn that to get to your destination faster on a long road trip, slow down a little bit. (Although in my 60, doing 110 km/hr would get me the rated mile range for sure.)
     
  15. William13

    William13 Member

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    It is very interesting to see that although Europe has more higher power level 2 chargers that there are more international barriers to travel. We in the USA have lots of level 2 chargers that give only about 5 kW. The companies and cards are fewer.
     
  16. Talkredius

    Talkredius Member

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    on my long distance trips with my Roadster and soon with my Model S I only rely on private build charging station networks like Park & Charge or DSN., build by EV drivers for EV drivers
    With RWE or other companies you always should be prepared for surprises. Btw you can bypass the 16 A limit at RWE charging stations with a Typ2 => CEE Adapter and a mobile wallbox ( e.g. crOhm Box) CEE => Typ2.
     
  17. Eberhard

    Eberhard #421 Model S #S32

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    ok, we have to plan a trip to norway and a round trip there, visiting all SC.
    We will start close to the danish border, go straight to the nearest SC in Norway. On the way there, we have to charge at least at one of the Typ2 Charger providing 32A or 22kW = up to 130km/h range added.

    i need 2-3 copilots for 24h driving. Does someone has contacts to norwegian model s owner? maybe we can have an invasion drive around norwegians SC together

    Eberhard
     
  18. fredag

    fredag Member

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    Sounds like fun.

    You may contact Norwegian owners at http://elbilforum.no/ (registration required). I estimate that slightly more than 100 Norwegians has already received their Model Ss, and 900+ additional Model Ss are to be delivered in 2013. (I get mine next Thursday.) Lots of us new owners in Norway will probably ache for an excuse to take a trip with our new cars.

    Route suggestion if you want to start in Denmark:

    Recharge in Kolding, Denmark at the Clever 22kw type2 charger there. (Clever prepaid card must be obtained in advance.)
    275km from Kolding to Hirtshals
    Ferry from Hirtshals, Denmark to Kristiansand, Norway (ColorLine). Meet Norwegians there, and maybe slow charge a little. (No 22kw charging station in Kristiansand.)
    73km from Kristiansand to Lyngdal SC. Then Brokelandsheia SC (which Tesla for some reason calls Cinderella, which is really just the name of a shop there).
    340km to Gol SC. Then Aurland SC.
    Then 250-300km til Dombås SC. Then Lillehammer SC.
    Beer, dinner and sleep in Oslo.
    And then ferry from Oslo to Kiel, Germany (ColorLine) for the continental Europeans.


    Note that European UMCs are not guaranteed to function in Norway. Norwegians gets a slighly different UMC than the rest of Europe.
     
  19. Volker.Berlin

    Volker.Berlin Member

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    nikwest, thank you for the writeup! Enjoyed it very much, and thanks for all the beta-testing! ;-)
     
  20. nikwest

    nikwest Member

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    Just to make this very clear. My girl friend did not nag a single moment. If I was here I'd be gone crazy about how our tip went. We just had some discussions about electric cars and my take away is that she is representing the broader opinion about how a car should work much more than I do. The problems we have been facing haven't been about the S so much, but the lack of a good and easy to use charging infrastructure.
    Obviously the car will be attributed to this, but in fact it is not the car.
    I have great hopes that this will all be history once the first SCs are available in Germany (and especially also in Italy, which would be important for me and doesn't have a good charging infrastructure at all).
     

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