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My first Texas road trip using superchargers

Discussion in 'Texas' started by Justicepool, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Justicepool

    Justicepool Member

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    #1 Justicepool, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
    Last week I had to be in Austin on Thursday and Friday so I was able to use Superchargers for the first time. I had essentially zero experience with Superchargers prior to this trip. I have a 2014 Model S P85 with 32K miles on it. I started with a full charge rated at 265 miles from my home base in Andrews. I had business in Odessa so I had to go there before heading to Sweetwater which added about 40 miles to my trip. When I hooked up in Sweetwater the charger indicated it was charging at 105 to 115 mph and kept going back and forth. The kW rating would drop to zero and bounce around. I recalled some people having luck by simply unplugging and trying a different stall. Well, that didn't work out because then it stopped charging completely. I tried 6 out of the 8 stalls and after the first one none of them would charge at all (and no, the original one would not charge after I tried it again last). I called Tesla and the customer service rep could only see one stall online and I tried it and of course it wouldn't charge at all. I spent over an hour here when it could have only been 5 minutes had the charger worked correctly.

    I finally gave up and drove to Cisco and made it to that location with about 12 miles left of range. The Cisco Supercharger worked great. I went ahead and fully charged because I had no idea how much range was needed to go from Cisco to the South part of Austin where my hotel was located. So my stay at Cisco was longer than it would have been if Sweetwater would have been working. I drove very conservative at first but then picked it up and just drove the normal speed limit to Austin and arrived with 50 miles of range left.

    Now, my return trip would be from South Austin to my weekend home base in Lubbock. I had my car serviced while I was in Austin and they charged it to 261 miles for me. When I left my hotel (I didn't stay at a hotel that had a destination charger) I left with around 240 miles of range left. By the time I made it to the North side of Austin I was down to 209 miles. I stopped at Rudy's country store on I35 to top off before I left, but it was only charging at 35 mph there (I have dual chargers) so I left there after 10 minutes or so to go a couple of miles up the road to a Chademo charger near a mall in Round Rock. I charged there for 30 minutes and was around 250 when I unplugged there. I arrived at Cisco with 61 miles of range left. I ate while I was at Cisco so I just let the charger keep going after it said I could proceed on my trip. Plus, I was a little concerned about not being able to charge in Sweetwater so I wanted as much cushion as possible.

    I plugged in at Sweetwater with 143 miles of range left. It gave me the message that I could continue on my trip to Lubbock 10 minutes later, but I kept charging. It was charging (105 to 115 mph), but it took over an hour to charge from 143 to 240 and I was the only one there. I arrived at Lubbock with plenty of range left (93 miles), so I obviously didn't need to stay that long. I had previously driven from Abilene to Lubbock and it took far more range than expected, so I wanted to be safe and have plenty of cushion.

    Ok, so my thoughts after writing a small book. This trip took way longer than I'm used to. Way way longer. 9 1/2 hours as opposed to the 5 1/2 I'm used to. However, I can see how nice it will be with multiple superchargers that are functioning properly. I was unfamiliar with this trip in my Tesla so I wanted plenty of cushion on my trip and a good portion of the extra time could be avoided with more experience along this route.

    I wish Tesla had a supercharger on the North West side of Austin. Sorry for the book, but I know there are several of us in Texas that make similar trips and I wanted to include enough details so they could make their trips more enjoyable. I typically start a road trip driving 60-65 mph for a few miles and then just drive whatever the posted speed limit is. I will make this trip again and used what I learned to hopefully take 1 1/2 to 2 hours off the total trip time. When I state that I had no idea how much range would be needed to complete a portion of the trip please understand that of course I used the trip function in navigation, but I had no idea what the elevation change would be and how it would effect the range needed. I previously took a trip in cold weather with an elevation gain and it took way more range than I expected so I guess that has me a little gun shy in unfamiliar terrain.


    John
     
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  2. Speedbird

    Speedbird Member

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    Thanks for your report. That's a little concerning about Sweetwater. It would be nice to know what Tesla think the issue is or was, and if it is resolved.

    Every time we do a road trip, my wife is a little concerned about the enforced stops every 200 miles, and if a charger was down that would really hit the argument that the Tesla is better than the ICE. (which we all agree here it is, obviously!)

    So far, we've had great success with supercharging, with no outright failures, and only one low amp charging session when the SC wouldn't get past around 100A. Changing to another stall put it back in the usual range, so likely just a dirty connection.

    Have done one round trip from Houston to Atlanta, and another just this summer from Houston to Seaside, Florida. Both with the wife and 2 or 3 kids!
     
  3. Justicepool

    Justicepool Member

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    I followed up with an email about the Sweetwater location today, so hopefully it will get addressed. I'll be back through there soon and will post a follow up. After thinking about my trip and reading my own post, I think I just got too caught up in my business trip and being able to use Superchargers for the first time. I need to just focus on my trip meter and make sure I have about 20-25% projected range and then just head out. But yeah, after being soooo excited about being able to supercharge and then they were not working properly it was a major bummer!
     
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  4. gotz2ride

    gotz2ride Member

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    I just did a trip from Tucson to Houston. I had the same issue at the Sweetwater charger. The email I got back was almost humorous. It explained to me how superchargers work. said there was no issue and told me how they charge fast empty and slow down as it fills up.

    The annoying part is not only do I know that, but it should charge over 74 amps when only half full. Basically they just ignored the issue. I even called the Supercharger people while charging and he said I see it fluctuating but there is nothing wrong with the SC. Hopefully they figure it out.
     
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  5. gotz2ride

    gotz2ride Member

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    My trip was about 3 weeks ago
     
  6. Sethsla

    Sethsla Member

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    Hi John - I had recently been looking at your plugshare site as I have a cousin that recently moved to Carrizozo, NM. Thank you for offering up your charger on plugshare. If I take a planned trip to Austin from NM, I just might make it over your way.

    As a Californian with a SC 15 minutes from our home, I know that I am spoiled. I charge there regularly and, for the most part, have experienced few issues with charging. I do call Tesla whenever I see anomalies at any of the SC that I have visited. I would suggest that you ping Tesla to insure that they have serviced the Sweetwater site as it would appear that you are not alone in seeing non-standard charging rates there. Best of luck over there and maybe I'll see you out there on the plain.

    Cheers,
    Seth
     
  7. WARP 10

    WARP 10 Member

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    I'm curious. We just returned after a trip from San Diego to Santa Fe with no issue with superchargers. Our daughter lives in Atlanta and we are considering a trip there in a few weeks. Just wondering how you got from Tucson to Houston with the lack of superchargers on the I10/I20 route? We're looking at having to go up to I40 to OKC and then down to Shreveport. Would be nice to take a more direct route.
     
  8. xlpro

    xlpro Member

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    Same problem with Sweetwater last weekend. I took a trip from Lubbock to Austin to see my daughter. On Friday the 21st of this month we arrived at Sweetwater with around 75 miles in the pack and the supercharger only hit about 100-115 amps. So I tried another stall and same result. It also kept bouncing around on kw.

    On the way back to Lubbock on Sunday it worked perfectly hitting 117kw steady power. Don't know what's up with Sweetwater but I hope Tesla fixes it.
     
  9. jdo

    jdo Member

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    I'm also interested in hearing how you did this.
     
  10. Fluxed

    Fluxed Member

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    Interesting, this post. Because I have had an awful time at the Sulphur Springs supercharger with the same issues, extremely slow charging!

    It casts a pall over a roadtrip that would otherwise have been fun. Seems like Tesla needs to maintain some better quality control over their superchargers in TX? We were stuck in Sulphur Springs with 2 very tired young children, and nothing was open except for a sports bar where the local patrons were screaming at the TV screens.
     
  11. Justicepool

    Justicepool Member

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    We just need to report the issues and follow up to make sure they are addressed. I agree, it put my first road trip off to a bad start when the first supercharger would not function correctly.
     
  12. ttu94

    ttu94 New Member

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    Same issues with the Sweetwater charger November 4th and 6th. Wish I had seen this thread before my trip from DFW to Lubbock. Took over 3 hours both times in Sweetwater. I called Tesla and they said they were aware of the issue. Not much to do in Sweetwater TX with a dead car............................
     
  13. redi

    redi 2013 P85+ with HumanPilot Technology

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    You know, you'd think Tesla would stick a NEMA 14-50 somewhere on a supercharger so if you got there and found no good DC you could at least get enough juice to squeak-it to the next SC down the road.

    I have the same apprehension (probably unwarranted) of getting on a road trip and finding a dead SC. I call the mothership each time to check on SC availability status before I go. And still I have been surprised once. The years of pilot training have always got me looking for a simple/easy plan B (...and C).

    A 14-50 at the SC would be a reasonable plan B for everyone carrying their cable, costing Tesla an entire $10. If security were some issue of people stealing electrons, open it with the charger handle button like all our cars do.
     

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