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New Model S 70D 4 days in, odometer at 2121 km - ROAD TRIP !!! My initial impressions

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Lex, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. Lex

    Lex Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    #1 Lex, Jun 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
    I've finally got my Model S 70D on the road and I took it out on my own for a ROAD TRIP from Toronto to Chicago, stopping at... hmm 4 or 5 Superchargers each way, through some heavy rain on the way there.
    2015-06 woodstock de-iceing.jpg
    The Woodstock, Ontario Superchargers have been de-ICEd by actual No Parking signs.

    2015-06 woodstock de-iceing success.jpg
    Canadians follow rules.

    Ok so let's get the bad out of the way first. The Nav's "range anxiety fix" is officially the first cause(s) of... of all things... range anxiety !

    First, it told me to "go go go" when it knows very well how I intend to drive, which caused a minor amount of terror (not to mention the terror of the required reduction in speed to get to the next SC). A "Realism mode" would be appreciated, and weather may have played a factor, but I learned this one once and moved on, always going past the "OK to drive" by at least 18-20%. Not every trip can or should be a truck-drafting hypermile job (but I felt need for one of those along the way, too. Quite effective).

    Later, it said "go go go" but I wasn't buying it anymore so I charged WAY extra but it ABORTED MY RUN to the next SC mid-way... more terror ! But I recalculated in me noggin' and trudged on, knowing the next SC was not on the top of a mountain.

    In both cases I would have been fine without the "fix" if I simply had the SC addresses, a distance, and my brain. Terror turned to frustration as over and over (and over) the cure to range anxiety was the most uppity guest I've ever had to entertain while navigating, on occasion, some very driving rain conditions and possible flooding. Though I understand there are other variables to the system (eg. SC stalls already occupied), all SC stalls were almost always vacant.

    Buggy, yes, but the fixes are easy. Just never send someone back unless some crazy bulls7!^ happens ahead eg. power failure. And give some user input. Right now it's an "on the rails" app that does not allow you any change to its warped decisions. I expected to be able to swipe away a recommended SC for instance. Last gripe on the GPS, all the toll road stuff needs to end -- where is the "avoid toll roads" button that is on $49 GPS units ? Toll roads are typically high speed and that means higher drain per mile... and pocketbook for tolls. Most local highways are more picturesque and would be better on the energy consumption per mile (and here in Ontario many of us protest the 407 toll road by avoiding it like the plague).

    On my list I was next readying to complain about not finding the ACTUAL estimated range based on real driving but I found it today on the Energy screen. I honestly have NO range anxiety when left to my own devices. So far I find the 70D battery an amazing asset and I'm completely able to do some basic fractions in my head to ensure I don't run low of electrons. I'm charging right now through my mail slot with a 120V 12A getting 6 km per hour, that is 1 km every 10 minutes and after Supercharging to Chicago and back at almost 100 times that rate I'm perfectly impressed by this, too. I'm going to get an HPWC but as long as Elon doesn't feel I'm abusing the local SC I'm perfectly fine with the range in my ride -- even without the house plug, so far I'm almost always ready to go in and around town without a concern (but the local SC is handy).

    Alas, there is one last gripe, the communications were disjointed for long periods of time. Whether it was a drop in audio services, or worse (anything past audio is worse) it makes for anxious times when the bars show signal but nothing is working.

    The Supercharger times -- a major concern for me when I learned the 70D lacked dual chargers (AFTER I ordered) -- work totally fine for me. A quick stop for lunch, a drop into a department store, a nap, whatever. It's faster than I expected it would be with no dual chargers.

    Get some last electrons in my belly !

    2015-06 supercharging at 526kph.jpg
    Miles per hour, km/h... meh, Model S no care. Wow look at that KPH still, at half ???

    So onto other, ahem, areas, from the MS stories I'd heard a butt in the driver's seat seems important. I sometimes prefer napping / crashing in my passenger seat so I'll need find that trick to keep systems on for a passenger but I'm sure it's right there in the menus. But, when I've pulled up my butt off the seat eg. to adjust my pantaloons, I've not had the car (YET) come to an abrupt stop and I've tried for at least a second, possibly two.

    The Autopilot, even in its "limited" adaptive cruise control model is sublime. I am already convinced it will add years to my life in dealing with Toronto's SILLY traffic. Everyone here has a car and everyone drives every morning to work clear across the city, which means a good portion of the trip is waiting for traffic to move. The gaps people leave here on the highway jams are exactly what the Tesla wants to do, so its responses are so far very predictable. it might lurch every once in a while but it seems to know what it's doing, most times. At all times I want to be sure of what it's doing but for me it appears to relieve the anxiousness of traffic, causing life extension.*

    For folks like me who (usually) can't use public transit to deliver the goods and services I help my company provide, Autopilot is a genuine godblessing, as Kramer would say :tongue: Once it also holds the lane (which Elon suggested could right now be available for the secret customer beta cars) I may be further freed of traffic anxiety -- just watch out for them irrational human drivers (it can happen to the best of us). Thankfully Toronto's crowd is usually tame as it's a daily chore, a miserable fact of life. Lucky me, I run into each type of traffic on every road and highway along my journeys. Yay, lol. I will really take advantage of my Model S as I've got other things to worry about, and I imagine I will appreciate every moment.

    And I can't run out of gas in traffic. It's probably my favourite explanation as it's the perfect answer to a terrible problem.

    We are trapped, there is nowhere to go, and most of the cars are chugging their engines sitting there. On Autopilot I'm certainly not going to stop paying attention but so far I trust it. If the Model 3's autodrive is (invariably) even more advanced, I can just see the ad copy: It's no fun to sit in traffic... until now !

    My car is of course beautiful. The fit on my car panels etc. is great. They have got those robots TRAINED ! Thank you for all the Model S owners before. We are all improving the quality of the next ones.

    Finish was a bit lacking with some small scuff stains in the headliner (I got one of the last non-Alcantara ones), some paint swirls, and a missing tire valve stem cap, but those are so minor in the scheme of things. I find the paint job is amazing and lustrous but the "paint correction" folks are in business for a reason. The car was tidied but for a true car buff there seems much to do upon delivery of the raw vehicle. I applied my own cQuartz treatment and it scared the crap out of me -- the stuff is TOUGH to buff out ("wax off") and the YouTube videos contradict each other regarding the actual amount to apply. I'm still not completely sure but if I ever use it again I'll err on the side of less, not more. I have a feeling you just have to work hard to apply (or more accurately, to remove the excess of) this stuff. I was almost at my wit's end but it seems to have turned out fine. No complaints. Seems to be cameras are out and a lot of texting is going on amongst my passengers. I am already accustomed to my surroundings so I'm taken aback.

    2015-06 shiny sleigh.jpg
    High res photo intentional (though compressed). Celebrity Green license plate impersonated.

    Another learning from the Tesla Motors Club forum, Aquapel, is from the gods (Neptune ?). As it poured rain, I found the wipers were actually in the way. I noticed another high-end car also foregoing the wipers but everyone else was wiping furiously. I found it best to use wipers when the rain was misty or when following a convoy as the treatment worked best when out in the open with big raindrops. I couldn't find a manual adjustment for intermittent wipers (the rain sensor was overly aggressive even on the low setting). Most of the time I just tapped on the chrome windshield washer button for 1 wipe which worked fine without a try at a spritz.

    Haven't tried the spritz yet, in fact. There were almost no bugs stuck to my ride on this trip (it wasn't always raining). Does the Model S make bugs fly over it ? Perhaps the coatings helped too but I didn't see many things flying at me, maybe just not a good season for the critters. I'd like to imagine the car repels bugs, but note to self: get a window washer kit into the car for locust storms.

    As for the ride, the 70D remains stuck to the pavement, with highly competent performance all around, especially in rain. I have a feeling snow will be a similar story. It's a machine that is born to run. I'll be fine with autodrive but I'll always enjoy delivering the emotional override :D

    I am rather observant so I've become one with my panoramic roof. The steering wheel scroll wheel control seems backwards -- scrolling DOWN should OPEN it, but instead if closes it. Not a big deal but counter-intuitive. Perhaps for safety reasons but again, counter intuitive to me.

    The 70D frunk is small but I'm much more happy with what they've done with the space in there :) It will still be useful for specific things, but since I have to to press down (so darn carefully) on the paint to use it, I won't use it often, especially after the cQuartz ordeal. On the other hand the trunk has lots of space with two areas, and handles that work great for both up and down (and if needed I can just slap my hand on the man by using the license plate to finish the job closing the hatch).

    On my first solo road trip, when I looked in the rear view mirror, a scary stranger stared back from my back seat for an instant. It was of course not Uncle Nikola but the middle head restraint... Doesn't happen every time but I sure hope it goes completely away soon :scared: Also, the (at least my 70D's) rear view mirror seems to be stretched horizontally. I noticed as I am observant of car designs and I enjoy identifying cars so I keep thinking I see wide new prototypes everywhere. I'm sure I'll adapt. Also, all mirrors have a 3D "treatment" around the edges which I imagine is supposed to make them look fancier.

    Oh and sadly no LTE, even though I'm fairly sure my car was the good side of the changeover date, but no Canadians have had LTE enabled yet, last I heard. I hold out hope that maybe it's just a software switch for my car, but I have a feeling that only the US-destined cars build near mine got the LTE board, perhaps as a test. So I might be echoing hundreds or more owners here, but hey, that must mean they're doing something great (and a few things worth fixing).

    The bottom line is that I'm delighted with my 70D both as a car and as a platform for change.

    Thank you Tesla Motors, and thanks to all of you in the community as well.

    Whew I think that covers it haha oh wait disclaimers

    * Life extension not proven.

    copyright me

    Attached Files:

  2. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Redmond, WA
    Superchargers don't use any of the chargers in the car, whether it be dual or single. They have their own bank of chargers and just bypass whatever is installed in the car.

    Technically if you only ever Supercharge (and Chademo), you can have a car with zero built-in chargers.

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

    May 3, 2015
    Snohomish, WA
    Yeah, the SC recommendations drove me nuts so I started entering in the city followed by supercharger, and most of the time it brought up the address for the supercharger. Then I deleted all supercharger stops. I know the range of the thing so I don't need it helping me.

    I might just turn it off, but it's so amusing.

    As to the rear view mirror it does squish things. I've never driven a car before where the mirror has done that. I'm still getting used to it.
  4. travwill

    travwill Active Member

    May 1, 2015
    Chicago, IL
    Yep, superchargers are straight DC to DC which the battery wants. The charger(s) built into the car is just used when your plugged into an AC outlet of any capacity 12/20/30/40 amps (single charger can handle) or 80 amps (dual charger can handle up to).
  5. andrewket

    andrewket Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Why not just select the destination from the charging tab on the nav?
  6. Ingineer

    Ingineer Electrical Engineer

    Aug 8, 2012
    This is not true. While the power conversion electronics are not in use, the master charger (or only charger in a single) makes all decisions about charging and communicates to the SC via a single-ended CAN connection. If you remove this charger, the car will not charge AT ALL.
  7. Lex

    Lex Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    #7 Lex, Jul 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
    Glad to see everyone enjoyed my write-up :rolleyes: hehe well I'm a tech-head too so I certainly enjoy learning everything I can about my car so the info on the charging systems is appreciated. I've since plugged into more Superchargers and 120V and 220V plugs but no other chargers though I have registered Chargepoint fobs (if not for the sweet parking spots at the coffee shop ; )

    My second road trip is under my belt now, and with over 5000 km on the odometer I'm still very elated with my Model S.

    I'm still hoping to one day gather all my awesome Club learnings (Aquapel, cQuartz, etc.) into a list of links here in this thread as my experiences have most certainly benefited from the many here before me.

    As for "range anxiety" I might be a rare exception -- on this last road trip I actually tried to get home with zero percent energy remaining :cool:
  8. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    Glad you enjoyed your first big trip.

    We took a 2500 km trip to NY City and back from Toronto in our first week with the car, and are eager to do another, we love our Tesla.

    3000 km in the first two weeks, and now I see you've gone further, wow, the Tesla is truly a road trip car!
  9. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

    Mar 21, 2015
    San Mateo, CA
    Congrats. I also just got back from a road trip. Nav 6.2 is not to be trusted. works great though. :)

    - K
  10. Lex

    Lex Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    NYC is on my shortlist :D

    Great long distance car, I totally agree with one exception, turns out I tore a plastic panel under the a rear wheel that they called a wind deflector, probably running through some fairly deep water at a moderate speed. Ah well car is not invincible, "brought down" by a thin plastic panel haha. Oh, and passenger door handle not responding to push, ugh. What is with these door handles lol

    Oh and that twangy plastic sound from the dash over bumps, ya that is really annoying :cursing:

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