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n00b Road Trip Advice

Discussion in 'Model S' started by perkiset, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. perkiset

    perkiset ... this one goes to 11

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    Hello all - I'm looking forward to picking up my black 85D tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday evening) and by Friday morning I'll be on a several hundred mile road trip. I was hoping I could get a couple bumps in the right direction. Thanks in advance for any time/thoughts.


    • In the Car and Driver thread (about how they don't like the trip planner software) several posters comment that, if he'd (the reporter) charged differently he'd have had a much better time. My take away, although not clear, is that perhaps I should stop more often and take little charges rather than waiting to be down and go big ...?
    • I think I intend to use EVTripPlanner instead of that software. Is there anything out there that is better?
    • I've now seen several posts that I shouldn't charge all the way up. I was thinking that, at least for the first leg, coming out of my garage, I should let it charge all night to 100%. Is this not a good idea?
    • Looking over the bootstrap video this morning I notice you can set the charge limit to, as low as, 50%. What is the benefit of this? Why would I want to do that?
    • I will be grabbing a CHAdeMO adapter because I think I'll have more destination anxiety than range anxiety. I'm traveling from Phoenix AZ to Irvine CA, then up to Santa Monica then San Diego, then Phoenix. There are lots of different types of public chargers at my destination points. Anyone have advice about what type of payment account I should get, and which types of public stations are best?
    • I've read that the "sweet spot" is 70 mph. Is there a predictable curve at how much I damage my range by going, say 80 or 85?

    I know that, over the next couple weeks probably all my questions would be answered, but I'm taking my wife and our friends on this trip and I want to do it as close to "the right way" that I can. Any thoughts at all, very appreciated.
     
  2. skboston

    skboston Member

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    I think the best trip planner software is something many people seems to lack and rely too much of these new gadgets that are making things "easier" and that's called common sense.

    I recently returned from a 8500 miles road trip and the only thing I used was the tab with the Superchargers, which seems to be located 100-150 miles apart depending on the parts of the country you're are in. The trip planner software in the Navigation is terrible, despite my numerous attempts to use it.

    The most important things to know as a new owner are:

    - Average energy usage based on your driving habits (takes a few days to get used to)
    - Always know where your nearest SC on the way is located
    - Understand when the fastest charging occurs when you arrive at a Supercharger - I tend to lean towards being below 50 miles left when I arrive and charge somewhere up to 170-180 miles of charge, since that's where the charging is the fastest and if the next SC is more than 120 miles away, simply stay extra 10 minutes and charge to 200-210 miles. If you have a large gap between SC's, stay an hour and charge full (last 20-30 miles are the slowest).
    - If you think you're on the edge of not making it to the next SC or have range anxiety issue, simply slow down and start following an RV or a large truck, your energy usage will drop to somewhere between 200 and 250wh/m on a flat surface. It saved me a couple of times when I was passing through New Mexico and SC's were 240 miles apart.
    - Take elevation into consideration - You can utilize EVTrip Planner as well to see what the elevation is between 2 Superchargers.

    I have a heavy foot so my energy usage ended up ~380wh/m for the entire trip and there was no range anxiety (except in NM, since SC's are 240 miles apart near Albuquerque SC was under construction at the time).

    Good luck on your trip :)
     
  3. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    #3 stevezzzz, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
    First, read ChadS's excellent primer: Planning A Road Trip (and how long will it take)

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/13678-How-to-plan-a-road-trip-how-long-will-it-take


    By all means, use EVTripPlanner.com. It's excellent and fairly accurate, and comparing your achieved results against its predictions will bring you up the curve from newbie to old hand in just a few trips.

    If you need the range, charge to 100% without worries. Just don't leave the car sitting around in the heat at 100% charge for any longer than necessary.

    The 'sweet spot' is whatever speed gets you to the next charging opportunity with the highest degree of confidence and least anxiety. As a newbie, charge to a generous range buffer and start out a little slower than you might otherwise; if things are going well, you can always speed up later. If I'm sweating the range or if I have a slow charger at a mid-day stop in front of me, I will slow WAY down. To repeat the rule of thumb: when in doubt, slow down. Your range at 60mph will be way better than at 70mph: speed is your primary tool for managing range. And beware the other range killers: headwinds, crosswinds, water/snow on the road, excessively cold temps. Don't be afraid to drive 45mph (if you can do it safely) when it makes the difference between reaching a charger or calling for a flatbed.

    Plan it out, have a backup plan, and monitor how things are going during the drive. Pretty soon you'll be heading out on road trips without any anxiety at all.
     
  4. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    My advice would be to plan ahead heavily.

    Check evtripplanner to find out how close you are going to be on range. I've found it to be quite accurate. However it can't anticipate things like a big headwind. Also pay attention to the weather, looks like you probably won't have to worry about rain in that area, but keep in mind that it can significantly effect range.

    Also check the individual forum posts for all of the superchargers you are going to use. Some of them tend to get very crowded or are a pain to get to and if you are aware you can plan ahead and skip them if need be.

    For me the waiting to charge wasn't nearly as big a deal as I was expecting, its usually quite pleasant and relaxing. However the stress of being worried that there might be a long wait at a charger, and the fact that you are very restricted as to when you can stop adds significant stress to roadtripping in a Tesla.
     
  5. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

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    Congrats and best wishes for many happy miles ahead of you!
    This thread ought to elicit a ton of responses from many veterans and you'll probably be lucky to get through them all before getting underway.
    For me, my intros to road tripping were a lot like learning to ride a bike; you make some mistakes at first but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. And no matter how much someone tells you what to do you're going to learn at your own pace.
    EVTP is like the gold standard and you almost want to use it like an atlas to plan the major routing for your trip, through superchargers if possible. (P.S. Don't forget to contribute to the college fund if you really like the software.) Once you know the "waypoints" then you can use the car's nav to route you there turn-by-turn.
    There's no silver bullet with charging station accounts; some of them have options to register for an account without having to prepay so there's no harm to doing that. Look for destination charging stations on the Tesla site to support the program. Plugshare.com is your friend and a useful resource.
    There's nothing wrong with charging to 100% IF you're going to turn right around and use it for travel; just realize that it's going to take a bit longer (spigot filling up pitcher to the brim analogy). Otherwise leave it at 90% for an extended trip and you can settle between 60-90% for your daily commuting.
    Level 2 charging is going to take MUCH longer than superchargers so you either use them advantageously for a few electron when you stop to eat or shop or plan to be plugged in all night when you stop for the evening.
    The car's going to take care of you so just remember to have fun with it. The great equalizer is speed so if the nav is telling you it might be tight getting to your next destination, you always have the option of slowing down. I've extended many trips from the red into the green just by dialing back an extra 5 or 10 mph. Sure, it takes longer, but it's a great car to spend time in.
    Good Luck!
     
  6. perkiset

    perkiset ... this one goes to 11

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    Right on, love it skboston.

    Excellent points, thanks much. A very strong list.

    ... I have a feeling I'll be the same for a while. So I expect I'll get a thorough schooling by the end of this trip.

    Again, thanks much.
     
  7. Ugliest1

    Ugliest1 S85: "Sparky"

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    Congrats on your purchase! Today will be the longest 24hr in your life, methinks.

    For the in-car Nav, don't put in your final destination, that will have you backtracking and taking wide detours to various superchargers. Instead plan the SpCs you intend to hit with EVTripPlanner, and Nav directly to the next one on your list.

    I use the following spreadsheet, to plan our destinations and timing. Although I use half-hour increments, I've found down and up I5 we're only stopping about 15-20min. All the info in the sheet is from EVTripPlanner (I use km if travelling in Canada). The red bold column is the number of rated miles (from EVTripPlanner) to the NEXT destination -- so, when at the supercharger, you need that number plus whatever your comfort level is (mine is 20-30 miles extra, depending on my mood). You'll find the supercharger stops are VERY short, and the car will generally be ready before you and your guests are.

    Have fun!
    TripEst-RenoEG.jpg
     
  8. perkiset

    perkiset ... this one goes to 11

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    Oh that's hot, thanks stevezzz. Got it open now and will go over it thoroughly. Brilliant.

    Thanks, it sure looks strong. I like that I can see CHAdeMO chargers on it as well

    AH, interesting. That's a good something to keep aware of.

    "Flatbed." ::shudder::

    Sounds like I must treat it like a flight plan. That works for me, just need to put myself in the right frame of mind.
     
  9. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    @perkiset,

    Congratulations.

    I would range charge to 100% on the first charge to see what my max is at purchase. Make sure to drive it soon after it hits 100% however. Looks like your in "very hot" Arizona.

    I planned out the first few days of our last long trip...

    But threw those all out the window after the first day. We were NOT in a rush and had no real deadlines on the trip, so it was rather pleasant.

    I did use both EVTripPlanner for initial planning and the in-car Navigation to get a general idea/validation. At the end, we charged anywhere from +40 to +100 miles from what it takes to get to the next SC to give us wiggle room to go "off-piste".

    Difference from others' advice is I was not in a "rush".

    My list for my trip is here.

    Preparing for a cross-country EV trip | My ActiveE made me Accidentally Environmental

    As for travelers to SoCal, get Chargepoint, Blink, and NRG eVgo. That covers a lot of the "paid" L2 and CHAdeMO chargers that require a card. There are several that are accessed by Plugshare. (Oh yeah, download that app too.). Assuming you're using a smartphone. If it's iOS, I also suggest Teslarati App too.

    Have fun.
     
  10. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    #10 stevezzzz, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
    Precisely! All the pilots on these forums have had the same epiphany: road tripping in an EV is just like planning a cross-country flight in a small plane. For an unfamiliar route, you wouldn't leave the ground without knowing where your fuel stops are and having an alternate if things go all pear-shaped. The second time you fly the same route you expend almost no planning effort beyond a pre-flight weather check. Road-tripping in an EV is the same.

    Let me make one other observation: if you have a route without Superchargers, the speed equation is slightly different. As a practical matter a day's drive with only L2 charging en route is limited to two legs with a mid-day charging stop of some hours. Here's another rule of thumb worth remembering: try to only expend energy as fast as you will get it back when charging. If your charging stop has a 20kW HPWC, drive 55mph or so. If you have only a 10kW NEMA 14-50 to charge with at that mid-day stop, drive even slower, because the slower you drive the less time you'll spend charging and your overall cross-country speed-made-good is optimal when the discharge rate is equal to the charge rate at the next stop.
     
  11. perkiset

    perkiset ... this one goes to 11

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    Interestingly, the pass just west of Palm Springs is a massive wind generation area and we'll be going headlong into it ... and it's usually very strong. Thanks for that.

    Interesting. Do you know of a way to see how busy a SC is before I get there, like what PlugShare shows?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks HDB, most appreciated.

    Heh. I'm the father of 3, post-college kids and MAN do I get it ;)

    Gotcha, and way ahead of you. Loved the effort, as a developer for more than 37 years now I am happy to pay for that kind of value.

    Fair enough. Since they're LiOn batts, I assume they have no memory and there's no problem with doing that. I have baggage from NiCads in other applications.

    So, are you saying that I should plan the trip but then let the Nav system tell me just how tight it's going to be to get to (x) SC? That's actually pretty great if so...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Fortunately, Tuesdays are my worst days for meetings and conference calls, so it'll get eaten up as quickly as possible. That said, I haven't felt like this since I was a kid waiting to go to Disneyland close to 50 years ago.

    Makes total sense and, given the posts above, feeling better about how to plan this.

    I use the following spreadsheet, to plan our destinations and timing. Although I use half-hour increments, I've found down and up I5 we're only stopping about 15-20min. All the info in the sheet is from EVTripPlanner (I use km if travelling in Canada). The red bold column is the number of rated miles (from EVTripPlanner) to the NEXT destination -- so, when at the supercharger, you need that number plus whatever your comfort level is (mine is 20-30 miles extra, depending on my mood). You'll find the supercharger stops are VERY short, and the car will generally be ready before you and your guests are.[/QUOTE]
    That's great. Love it, will do that straight away. That'll soothe some of my passengers range anxiety as well. Cheers mate, perfect.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you, sir.

    Ridiculously so. My intention is to have it on the charger all night, take off in the 0900 zone. So a few hours sitting about at full not a problem?

    Excellent.

    Perfect list, I'll do it all.
     
  12. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    I don't think there is any easy way to get a real number or anything analytical. However if you check Superchargers it has a link to the discussion page for each charger. If you skip to the end of each thread the crowded chargers usually have a few people complaining about it.
     
  13. AzEd

    AzEd Member

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    I just completed a 2,300 mile, 14 day round trip in my 2014 Model S P85 from Phoenix to Santa Rosa, California with stops in Las Vegas, 2 nights in San Simeon (Hearst Castle) and 2 nights in San Francisco. I used Superchargers for the whole trip except in San Simeon. There, I shared a 115V outlet with a Coke machine and adjusted charging down to 7 amps because I was worried about tripping the breaker. I did this to avoid backtracking 37 miles to the Atascadero Supercharger. I got 50 miles overnight but it turned out that I didn’t need it. I arrived at Fremont with 90 miles remaining (wonderful factory tour!). I was in the Santa Rosa area for 6 days and did a lot of driving there. I charged at the Petuluma Supercharger 3 times, 1-arriving, 2-mid-week and 3-leaving (saw a Model X during the last charge).

    Be aware of the Superchargers on your route and navigate to the next one you intend to use. When you take side trips, the navigation will keep track of how far it is to your next Supercharger. This is more important than the final destination, the navigation sometimes routes you in strange ways.

    Aim for 300 Wh/mile or less on the trip meter. Use the “energy-trip” function to track your progress and watch the projected % charge at the destination. If the green line is above the projected grey line, you’re doing well.

    It’s okay to charge to 100% if you intend to use it within a few hours. Set the charge limit to 100% so it doesn’t stop charging too soon. Stop charging when you are comfortable with the “cushion” to get to the next Supercharger. A lot of times, the car is ready to leave before I am.

    If there are other Teslas at the Supercharger, try to plug into a different number pedestal. Ignore the A or B. Charging power is split between A and B pedestals with the first to plug in getting full power and then tapering down. The second to plug in gets whatever is left over.

    If you want to see how your driving (and energy use) improves over time, NEVER reset trip B. This will give you a lifetime energy use (kWh and Wh/mile).

    My only “range anxiety” ever was the 209 mile stretch between Kingman and Barstow with head winds on my first long road trip (before Needles was installed). I drove 60 MPH with no A/C and I made it with 90 miles to spare. I never worried about range again.
     
  14. RyanT

    RyanT Member

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    I've found the best tool is the "energy-trip" tool mentioned above. We use it all the time. Thank you Tesla for this valuable screen. Sometimes when we go sight seeing on side trips we just put in the next supercharger or destination charger. We can watch the trip energy screen to know when we have to turn back. Somewhere around a 7% remaining estimation is ok in our experience. I don't know how you would figure it out without that screen.
     
  15. perkiset

    perkiset ... this one goes to 11

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    Great stuff

    - - - Updated - - -

    That's awesome - sounds like a great trip, but in context really gives me a bit of peace. LOVED the "shared with a coke machine" bit.

    Ah, hard numbers. Thanks mate.

    Oh THAT's a hot tip.

    Another great one.

    Did the range adjust downward as you worked your way into the wind? Did it help your anxiety along the way?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Ryan.
     
  16. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Not much point to this, as cars are coming and going all the time. If you check it 30 minutes before you arrive, most of the cars there will have already left by the time you get there. It's not like level 2 chargers where a site may be occupied for hours. In the rare instance when all stalls are full (and it is rare except for holiday weekends, despite what you may think from the comments here), one is likely to open up in a few minutes.
     
  17. AzEd

    AzEd Member

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    quote_icon.png Originally Posted by AzEd viewpost-right.png
    My only “range anxiety” ever was the 209 mile stretch between Kingman and Barstow with head winds on my first long road trip (before Needles was installed). I drove 60 MPH with no A/C and I made it with 90 miles to spare. I never worried about range again.

    quote_icon.png Originally Posted by perkiset viewpost-right.png
    Did the range adjust downward as you worked your way into the wind? Did it help your anxiety along the way?

    REPLY:
    Range remaining always adjusts downward as you drive. You have to compare the difference between remaining range and miles to destination. I had read about how much the wind affected range and I overcompensated. I could have driven 75 MPH with the A/C on and still made it. In fact, my range anxiety disappeared along that leg of the trip and I did speed up and turn on the A/C before I reached Barstow.

    I checked my detailed log for 07/20/2014. I charged to 99% in Kingman and left with 267 RATED/309 IDEAL range. After driving 212.7 miles, using 54.4 kWh at 256 Wh/mile, I arrived in Barstow with 28% charge and 86 RATED/93 IDEAL range. That was part of my first long road trip, 3,400 miles round trip Phoenix - Portland. Most drivers talk in RATED range but I find IDEAL to be closer to my driving habits. After that trip, I no longer keep a detailed log. I got a good feel for how the Tesla performs and now I just drive and enjoy.

    - - - Updated - - -
     
  18. mikeg561

    mikeg561 Member

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    Adding to the N00b questions....where is this energy-trip screen? Is that on the energy app or the nav app?
     
  19. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    It's the second tab on the Energy app. Very useful.
     
  20. perkiset

    perkiset ... this one goes to 11

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    Ah, completely get it and that makes huge sense. Cheers TexEX
     

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