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Nervous about Thanksgiving Road Trip

nfs480

Member
May 30, 2019
5
0
Minnesota
I own a Standard Range Plus and am planning on making a drive from Minneapolis, MN (where I live) to South Bend, IN to visit my brother-in-law and his family for Thanksgiving (my wife, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law will be riding with me). I got my car this past May so the recent temperature decline has been my first experience with range loss due to using cabin heat and seeing the snowflake next to the battery bar. As a result, I'm a little nervous about making that trip and potentially not being able to make it from Supercharger to Supercharger (especially if they're busy).

The main questions I'm hoping to answer are, for those of you experienced driving this route and in the cold, do you foresee Superchargers being very full (and requiring a wait) throughout Wisconsin and in Chicago (on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year) and how much range loss do you typically see when temperature is in the teens?
 

toolman335

Member
Oct 3, 2019
857
696
Rochester
The Tesla Navigation system will take great care of you. Enter South Bend and don't take unnecessary range risks. It will tell you where to go, though I'm sure the women in the car will try to override Tesla's suggestions:). I can't imagine driving a Tesla with 3 generations of women in it lol.
What is SR plus now, 240 miles of range? In cold weather you probably have to stop twice. On my cold days I tend to use an extra 10%.
Even though Thanksgiving is crazy busy, if people are traveling but not commuting to work I bet the Supercharger use will all even out(that's just my novice opinion).
 

JohnSnowNW

Active Member
Feb 13, 2015
2,654
2,945
Minnesota
I drive from Minneapolis to Missouri to visit my folks for the holidays. I've made around 3 separate trips in the fall/winter. I generally see about 190 miles of range at those temperatures at Hwy speeds.

Now, this if for an MX, but I think you'll see a similar percent drop in range. So, I would expect you to see a ~30% range reduction (from rated range), and that's how I would plan.

A cursory look at the SC stations along your route doesn't send up any red flags, as it looks like most of the distances between SC stations are only around 100 miles.

Hopefully more people can chime in.
 

iaflyer

Member
Sep 21, 2017
110
119
Ann Arbor, MI
I use A Better Route Planner - A Better Routeplanner
Make sure you click on "Show Settings" and "Show More Settings" to enter temperature and some headwind (5-10 mph) in order to be careful. Make sure you adjust your "Reference Consumption" to something around 250-270 for winter use. Your car will tell you what your average is, swipe left or right on the screen where the Windshield Wiper control is and you'll see it.

In the midwest, Superchargers generally aren't very full. I live in Michigan and click on chargers nearby on the screen to see how full they are - I rarely see one more than 50% full.
 

Thunder7ga

Member
May 20, 2018
326
286
Johns Creek, GA
Been thinking about how busy the Superchargers will be this year....we plan on traveling on Wednesday and Sunday which are the 2 biggest travel days. We have about 550 miles to go and 2 SC stops.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,785
8,395
Boise, ID
(especially if they're busy).
In the midwest, Superchargers generally aren't very full.
Yeah, that's definitely not a thing in flyover country. You may be getting that idea because you hear about it a lot here on this forum. But that's because the vast majority of the Tesla owners here on this forum live in the Los Angeles or San Francisco area where there are some crowding problems.

Your route has all kinds of Superchargers to choose from, so it shouldn't really be any worry. The tip I would have for you since this is winter is to not necessarily just unplug and go if the car says "you have enough" if the remaining % estimate is something kind of low, like around 10%. Energy use is going to be higher with heating, so I would not want to start off with the margin that slim. So if it's really cold, I would want 20%+ in that estimate before leaving each Supercharger.

And if the trip planner's charge times are looking really long because it's trying to skip over a Supercharger, maybe cancel and navigate to the closer one that's only 100 miles ahead instead of 200. You can do a quicker stop, but with less worry and boredom from waiting.

Basically, I'm just saying be a little cautious and leave a bit more buffer for your first couple of segments, but then you will find out how it's looking as you go to see if you can slim those margins down a little for the later part of the trip.

Oh, and don't do this thing we hear about sometimes where people drive 80+ mph for the first couple of hours before paying any attention to the remaining estimate and then discovering that you've got a problem. Keep a bit more reasonable speed to start with and watch that estimate, and in the first 20 minutes or so, you will get some idea if the levels of speed and heat are going to work out well or if you need to adjust. You can always speed up later if you find out you have excess, but it's stressful and difficult to claw back miles out of nothing if you are finding out you're going to be short.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,245
4,408
Central Valley
Depending on the temperatures, you might consider using the bun warmers in the seats instead of using the cabin heater. Of course, our winters in California are not nearly as shocking as yours, but I have found that even in (LOL) 35 degree temperatures outside the bun warmers do a pretty good job of keep us warm inside (at least in the Model S.)
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,785
8,395
Boise, ID
Depending on the temperatures, you might consider using the bun warmers in the seats instead of using the cabin heater. Of course, our winters in California are not nearly as shocking as yours, but I have found that even in (LOL) 35 degree temperatures outside the bun warmers do a pretty good job of keep us warm inside (at least in the Model S.)
:eek: When driving three ladies in the car with you, I would never advocate for using seat warmers instead of cabin heat in the winter! This person presumably wants to stay married and have the family willing to talk to him. Sure, seat warmers are a better use of energy than the cabin heating, but this is 2019, not 2013, and it's a route with plenty of Superchargers. There is definitely no reason to forego heating. Keep it comfortable, and it will just mean a barely noticeable couple of minutes of charging at each stop to make up for it.
 

St☰v☰

Member
Aug 27, 2019
837
587
Texas
:eek: When driving three ladies in the car with you, I would never advocate for using seat warmers instead of cabin heat in the winter! This person presumably wants to stay married and have the family willing to talk to him. Sure, seat warmers are a better use of energy than the cabin heating, but this is 2019, not 2013, and it's a route with plenty of Superchargers. There is definitely no reason to forego heating. Keep it comfortable, and it will just mean a barely noticeable couple of minutes of charging at each stop to make up for it.

And then there's all that hot air :D flying around :p that'll help keep everyone warm.
 

VikH

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 23, 2015
1,082
1,025
Midwest, USA
I own a Standard Range Plus and am planning on making a drive from Minneapolis, MN (where I live) to South Bend, IN to visit my brother-in-law and his family for Thanksgiving (my wife, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law will be riding with me). I got my car this past May so the recent temperature decline has been my first experience with range loss due to using cabin heat and seeing the snowflake next to the battery bar. As a result, I'm a little nervous about making that trip and potentially not being able to make it from Supercharger to Supercharger (especially if they're busy).

The main questions I'm hoping to answer are, for those of you experienced driving this route and in the cold, do you foresee Superchargers being very full (and requiring a wait) throughout Wisconsin and in Chicago (on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year) and how much range loss do you typically see when temperature is in the teens?

You will definitely be able to make it from SC to SC. I will be making a similar trip (Minneapolis to Chicago) for thanksgiving. There is a chance that there may be a wait at Eau Claire and Mauston since they can get busy. I have done the trip in my MX when it was -10 F out and the car did just fine. Yes, I have a battery heater and 100 pack, but I probably get the same actual range as you.

Some tips:
-Use a Better Route Planner to map out your trip. Put in worst case scenarios (low temps, head winds) and it will give you your charging schedule.
-Eau Claire and Mauston can have limited power output issues. Check plugshare before you leave to see how they are doing and for stall tips.
-There are 2 superchargers in Madison WI. One is a small 3 stall and a regular 8 stall at Hyvee down the street.
-The Madison Hyvee location is where I have seen the fastest supercharging out of any of the SCs along the trip. However, if it is full or close to full, I would recommend checking the smaller 3 stall SC since they are unpaired (no sharing a charge).
-Regarding Supercharging in Chicago, try to avoid supercharging in the city-proper because they are the slower urban chargers. Supercharge in Arlington Heights or Rosemont since those are 120kw chargers.
 
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Nocturnal

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2018
6,736
36,960
Deepening Crisis!
If you are going to cutting it close, keep speed at a reasonable level. I've also been able to squeeze a good bit more range by bringing a blanket and keeping the cabin at a cooler temp than I would have otherwise. A blanket is much more comfortable than wearing a coat. If you really want to step it up, bring a thermos of hot chocolate. ;)

Definitely use the seat warmers, but still use some cabin heat.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,665
3,737
Sparks, / GF1
I own a Standard Range Plus and am planning on making a drive from Minneapolis, MN (where I live) to South Bend, IN to visit my brother-in-law and his family for Thanksgiving (my wife, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law will be riding with me). I got my car this past May so the recent temperature decline has been my first experience with range loss due to using cabin heat and seeing the snowflake next to the battery bar. As a result, I'm a little nervous about making that trip and potentially not being able to make it from Supercharger to Supercharger (especially if they're busy).

The main questions I'm hoping to answer are, for those of you experienced driving this route and in the cold, do you foresee Superchargers being very full (and requiring a wait) throughout Wisconsin and in Chicago (on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year) and how much range loss do you typically see when temperature is in the teens?
I think your greatest road anxiety will be the in-laws in the car,. not the car charging :D I travel a LOT at all times of the year and never had trouble getting access to a supercharger on the interstate. Rarely full in the current market, but might change as more cars get in the road if Tesla doesn't keep up with installing new chargers. So far all is good in my opinion.

I also see comments about using the "Better Trip planner" app. While I use the app for other reasons, I don't depend on it for the reason you are asking. It is too unreliable for that reason because it can't take into consideration wind, temperature, your actual speed as compared to what you planned, use of heating, etc. Just follow the recommendations of the car as to when to stop for charging or to slow down as needed.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,753
3,487
Maine
Definitely use ABRP for testing your route. It shows a 10% hit for driving 15F, vs 65F. Looks like you'll need to stop at a SC every 70miles or so, and charge for 15m, going from 15% to 55%. It's pretty ideal.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,785
8,395
Boise, ID
I also see comments about using the "Better Trip planner" app. While I use the app for other reasons, I don't depend on it for the reason you are asking. It is too unreliable for that reason because it can't take into consideration wind, temperature, your actual speed as compared to what you planned, use of heating, etc. Just follow the recommendations of the car as to when to stop for charging or to slow down as needed.
I think A Better Route Planner does include almost all of those factors, and I know EV Trip Planner does, although wind can vary more while you are doing the drive. It more of gives an example of what + or - some wind factors would do. But really, if there is extra head wind, you can just model that by seeing what some increased speed factor would do, since that's the same effect the wind would have.

EVTripplanner inclues places where you can enter the inside and the outside temperatures, so it can calculate all of the heating or cooling energy use. As far as speed, you can do projections with it using 1.2 or 1.25 or whatever extra ratio you want above standard speed, so it can calculate that extra wind resistance energy drain from speeding, etc.
 
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