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My NYC trip (200 miles each way)


Active Member
Sep 17, 2010
This was by far the furthest distance I've taken the Roadster -- new territory for me.
Additionally, I've never been to NYC.
And even better, I'm not a big city person and hate driving around in them. Keep all that in mind as the story progresses :smile:

I worked on Thursday so when I got home around 6pm, I plugged in and began a range mode charge. I got up to 234 Ideal Miles before beginning my journey around 8pm.

Not knowing for certain the NEMA 6-50 (for charging) in New Haven, CT. was actually functional, I wanted to drive as if it weren't -- meaning driving very conservatively and not using the heat, etc...

It was in the lower 40's (Fahrenheit) so it definitely got cold in the Roadster. I had the seat heater on, but needed my gloves, hat, and could have used something for my legs and feet. I wasn't particularly comfortable as I approached New Haven. I was driving 60 MPH or less, and trying to tail other vehicles to reduce drag. Given the hilly area, it was difficult to gauge how I was doing, but as I got closer to New Haven, my Estimated Miles was within a few miles of my Ideal Miles -- sweet! I had about 100 Ideal Miles left (and 80 miles to NYC) so I felt good. I pulled in and found the 6-50, and charged up for a little over an hour. THANK GOODNESS I did so (you'll see why in a moment) ...

I left at around 11:30, still taking it easy. I was following the GPS instructions from the Alpine unit to the Tesla store where I could pull in and hook up to the high-power charger and get on my way to the hotel. Or so I thought.

As I'm driving around 25th Street, the GPS is getting confused. I get pulled over by two NYPD officers with their guns drawn. :scared: I use a trick I recently learned (thank goodness #2!) where in response to "license and registration" I ask if it's OK to reach for my back pocket and into the glove compartment. That disarmed them significantly and we began to have a conversation about what I did wrong, what the heck was I doing in the area, etc. I come to find out I'm in the projects somewhere very far south of Manhattan :eek: Yeah, driving an orange sports car in the projects at 1:30 AM -- great idea. I'm sure they thought it was stolen when they pulled me over. Thank goodness #3 they told me I was in the wrong place -- I had no idea my GPS was on crack. Great, I have about 30 miles Estimated Miles left and 15 miles back to the correct location (I pulled out my iPhone and the TomTom app). They courteously sent me on my way (thank you!).

My iPhone at this point has about 10% battery left. Fantastic. I GPS it up to where I need to go, but make a few wrong turns here and there, and am starting to panic about the mistake-miles I'm racking up. The car goes into "unknown range" mode and my iPhone is telling me I have 5% battery left. :cursing: :scared: :eek:

I manage to get myself to 10th ave and something like 35th (Tesla's on 10th and 25th). TomTom tells me to take a left onto 10th -- but no left turn there, and for some reason (it's now 2am) traffic is completely backed up and not moving. My iPhone runs out of battery. Sweet -- if my car dies (I have NO idea if I'm going to make it), I'll be in the middle of NYC with a dead car and dead phone, no map, etc. I'm trying very hard not to panic.

Fortunately I remember Tesla's on 10th and 25th, and fortunately NYC is an easy grid layout, so I make it to 8th, follow it down to 25th, and cut back to 10th-11th. I see the Tesla sign and park in the street. I get out and walk the street, searching for the garage. After I pass it and come back, a man inside a gated garage (doesn't look associated with Tesla) asks if I need help. "Yes please!" -- I found the garage. I parked, hooked up to the HPC, and headed to 10th to get a cab to the hotel on the other side of Manhattan.

I arrive at the hotel at 2:30. Mind you, half the reason I'm there is to participate in the CO2 e-race Earth Day event which began at 7am. I just want to get some sleep. The hotel staff begins checking me in and asks for a valid ID. I couldn't find it. I assume I'd left it in the car after I'd been pulled over. Seriously, I don't want to drop another $20 on a cab back-n-forth to Tesla and another 30 minutes. I get the hotel to check me in (he finds my mug on the Internet!) and to sleep I go.

At 5:30am, I wake up (I debated just staying up but ... didn't want to drive in NYC traffic with no sleep). I have a pounding headache and am way too tired and stressed from the trip. I missed the event.

[Fill in a couple days of in-town adventure after I finally get over my headache and get the courage to try out NYC]

I left Saturday afternoon with 240 Ideal Miles and took the CORRECT path back to New Haven. The rest of the trip was uneventful, but given what I'd learned, I didn't drive particularly conservatively. I used the heat, and drove 70-80 MPH. I stopped and charged from 120 Estimated Miles to 165 standard mode (I had 120 miles to go), and continued on home. I arrived with about 25 miles (standard mode).

Here's my trip meter from the ride back:


Whew! Well, I've learned a lot from my trip:

  1. The path between home and NYC
  2. Where to charge on the way
  3. How to drive an EV for various wh/mile targets
  4. Leave extra charge for mistakes, traffic, detours, whatever
  5. If I decided I could make it on a single charge, I would have run out of juice in the PROJECTS at 1:30am. See previous bullet point.
  6. Don't use the Alpine GPS
  7. Throw out the Alpine altogether
  8. Keeping the cabin comfortable when it's 40F+ outside doesn't consume much power
  9. The rain and wet roads I encountered on the way home didn't have much effect on my power consumption
  10. The hilly terrain makes it hard to really understand your Estimated Miles and see "how you're doing"
  11. I'm far more comfortable driving long distances and understanding the impacts of my choices in the car
  12. Keep the phone charged

I definitely recommend a long-distance trip (safer than mine please!) to get a handle on the car. I personally won't attempt 200 miles w/out a charge unless I had a safety net if I were to run out of juice somewhere. However, I'm much more comfortable seeing 25 Estimated Miles left in standard mode than I was before. I also have a much better sense of distance (which helps me understand where I can go with the Roadster).
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Doesn't an iPhone charger come standard with the Roadster? I did an aftermarket system but there's a special spot in my 2.5 between the seats where the iPhone or iPod can connect, and I've used it to charge my iPhone before. Although the Kenwood does automatically go to iTunes and I have to manually put it back in whatever mode I had it in before.

Great story, thanks for sharing!


Active Member
Sep 17, 2010
I was actually too stressed to realize I had a way to plug it in. Even worse, using the GPS on the iPhone while its plugged in down there is nearly impossible (can't see the screen). I'm also wondering if it would still provide power if the car shut itself down... I really didn't want to stop moving as my instinct to get to my destination really took over.
There's a Scosche power adapter that can help with charging with newer iPods / iPhones and older head units / cables. With that unit in-line, the JVC (and presumably other head units) that don't normally charge my latest-model iPod can charge it.

Yes, I'd rather be using the navigation on my Android phone than any head-unit GPS any day. Sure wish the JVC and the phone both had the video distribution profile so the phone could throw it's navigation up on the head unit screen.


There's a Scosche power adapter that can help with charging with newer iPods / iPhones and older head units / cables. With that unit in-line, the JVC (and presumably other head units) that don't normally charge my latest-model iPod can charge it.

Yes, I'd rather be using the navigation on my Android phone than any head-unit GPS any day. Sure wish the JVC and the phone both had the video distribution profile so the phone could throw it's navigation up on the head unit screen.

I wonder if something like this:


would work with the video in on the JVC units...I know there is a Video in on the rear harness of the JVC unit. Not sure if a video out cable is available for android units
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Active Member
Sep 17, 2010
@Iz: I charged it inside Tesla's garage on 25th. The New Haven 6-50 is inside the Omni parking garage.
@NigelM: Good question -- I wonder if that USB port is rated for the wattage the iPhone would draw. Still, I probably should have plugged it into the connector that comes with the electronics package. I can't believe I didn't think of that (I tend never to use it, either.. I find it too much of a PITA) ... funny how my decision-making process was affected ... I was debating calling roadside before the phone died vs. stopping and using battery to make the call (what were they going to be able to do anyway?) ...
You can bet I kept my iPhone plugged in on the way back home though :smile:
A quick note about phone charging: when plugged to a USB port, a phone will pull somewhere between 0.5W and 2.5W. That is the limit of the USB specification. When plugged to a dedicated charger, it will pull up to 5W, resulting in a much quicker charge. Just like the Roadster, a phone charge time does not necessarily vary linearly with the amount of power drawn.
If you are actively using the phone while plugged into a USB port, it might consume enough power that the battery is never charged, just maintained or in some extreme cases, slowly depleted!
To get back closer to topic, I use a 12V adapter to charge my phone (EVO4 from HTC) in the Roadster. This delivers the full 5W of power. Even if I'm using the phone to navigate, it provides enough power to (slowly) charge the battery.


Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2006
I cannot vouch for this as it came to me in a family email

THIRD (Hidden Battery Power)

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% in crease in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

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