TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

NYT article: Stalled on the EV Highway

Discussion in 'News' started by Jeeps17, Feb 8, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    This journalist had a somewhat unpleasant experience (to say the least) trying out the two east-coast superchargers in the current cold weather.

    New York Times - Stalled on the EV highway

    I hope Tesla react proactively to this, given the concerns about range in colder-than-California weather.
     
  2. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,592
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    I thought it was a very fair article and his experience matches many who've seen their range drop ridiculously fast while parked overnight in freezing weather. Tesla needs to be more forthcoming in their cold climate information as well as installing more superchargers in the northern climes.
     
  3. retinadoc

    retinadoc Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Westchester NY
  4. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,592
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Sorry, but I thought it was a very fair article. The reporter was in practically constant contact with Tesla professionals and they let him down. NOBODY mentioned how fast the cars lose range if parked overnight in freezing weather and this information will not be found in any Tesla literature. IMO, Tesla deserves the review.
     
  5. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,341
    Location:
    Miami, Florida
    Isn't the obvious mistake by Tesla not telling the reporter to charge in Range mode to get more range when he stopped at the first supercharging station? I don't know if it would have enabled him to get where he was going, but the fact that he charged in standard mode put him behind the 8 ball unnecessarily in my opinion.
     
  6. zeron

    zeron Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Milky Way
    Theres nothing wrong with the superchargers, if you thought that reading the first few lines of the article. Instead, the doofus left it outside in the bitter cold over night, too lazy to plug in even a freaking 120V that would have effortlessly prevented any loss.

    They really need to make that clear to people. If you are stopping overnight, plug something in. Anything, really.
     
  7. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Unfortunate experience, and about as gently told as could reasonably be expected. Yes, the author should have Range charged in Dover; I would never have started a 199 mile trip in the winter, on I-95, with 241 rated miles. But that isn't the whole issue: Tesla really needs to add a Supercharger near Woodbridge Township/Metuchen NJ to bridge the 199 miles between the Dover and Milford Superchargers. It is a bit depressing the Tesla has added no Supercharging stations since December; not good progress towards its ambitious goals for coast-to-coast, north-to-south charging.
     
  8. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    6,058
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9 stevezzzz, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
    TM will have a hard time spinning this one. That's just about the worst-case scenario I can think of: an S, driven by a journalist, dead on the side of the road because Tesla failed to prepare the author for the realities of cold-weather driving. Sounds like he never used Range mode to lower climate control loads and he never mentions using the seat heaters. Had he completed a Range mode charge at the Newark supercharger, rather than a Standard mode charge (did he even know Range mode charging is a possibility?) the cascade of circumstances that left him stranded in CT might have played out differently. Along the way he got some bad advice from Tesla (turning off cruise control, for instance) instead of a potential lesson in EV-think. Twice he left superchargers without a full pack and he didn't plug the car in overnight when the temperature was forecast to fall into the low teens. Even after experiencing the way range drops in cold temperatures, he left the low-power charging station without waiting long enough to compensate with enough of a margin.

    Which is not to say that this kind of report has no value: it serves as a reality check as to the sorts of issues people who aren't attuned to the realities of EV driving will face. The author clearly knew to slow down to reduce kWh/mi, and to turn down the climate control as well, so he wasn't totally unprepared when he saw the car's range fall below distance remaining. But he was still struggling with interpreting the changing, real-time situation and making prompt, effective decisions to eke out a save, something a more experienced EV driver would likely have managed to do.

    All in all, this account bolsters the argument for why the 85kWh pack is the better choice for folks who are on the fence when deciding which pack to purchase, 60 or 85. It also argues, strongly, for Tesla to stick with their announced intention of locating Superchargers about 150 miles apart.


    _________

    Update, February 24: The NY Times published an article on their website on February 22 that quoted a portion of this post. I found their use of my words objectionable and wrote a letter to the NY Times Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, the text of which I posted here. The Times has since changed the online article to link to this original post as well as a follow up I posted late on the 22nd, after reading the article. As of this update I have still not been contacted directly by anyone at the Times.
     
  9. patp

    patp Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Location:
    Canada
    While I agree the reported was a little bit naive, many *normal* people will experience this - and this is not good publicity for electric cars and Tesla.

    The cold weather drop in range is really big and there's nothing that prepares you to this. My first trip in the cold was around 150 miles and I barely made it (10 miles left) when I arrived home. And this was with a range charge. The same thing happened to a friend of mine.

    - The range display should be adjusting to weather / real driving conditions. So, you would never THINK you have 265 miles, while the reality is 150 miles in very cold weather / snow.
    - Supercharger stations should be closer apart in cold regions (I would suggest a max. of 150 miles - at least here in Canada).
     
  10. dave

    dave Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    Messages:
    451
    Location:
    Greater Cincinnati
    I have to admit that I was also surprised by the vampire loss, and the cold penalties when I received my car. My previous Tesla research had not prepared me for them, and I only become educated by religiously keeping up with this forum.
     
  11. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4,577
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    Tesla developers are going to have to work hard to reduce power loss. The current losses are...well...not good.
     
  12. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I'm with you. Plus (apparently) conflicting information from TM. And someone should have told him to turn climate control OFF, not down... and plug in overnight, even to a 110.
     
  13. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,451
    Location:
    Weston, Florida, United States
    Sort of an oxymoron, no?
     
  14. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,379
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    He had twice the miles he needed (90), but lost 65 of them overnight. That's a 72% drain. Even as a Roadster owner of 19 months, I would not have expected that. I guess I'm a doofus, too.

    Or, Tesla has a cold weather problem. I don't know where he stayed, but it's certainly possible that a 110volt outlet was not within reach of where he could park.
     
  15. dtich

    dtich #P708

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Messages:
    428
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Well. Yeah. Chargers are far apart. Slightly more conservative planning is called for. And absolutely cold weather drivers need to plug in every night. It's a battery after all, your laptop and cellphone will do the same thing in the same temps....

    That said. I feel like he pushed it to the dramatic limit on purpose. It's new tech with new infrastructure and he purposefully (I feel) skirted the edges to see if he might fall. Which he did. Oh well. Be more careful next time. Not much sympathy from me.
     
  16. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    8,460
    Location:
    Winchester, UK
    If true, then a 72% drain overnight is utterly unacceptable. To everyone rushing to say he should have plugged in - sorry, that's not always possible.
     
  17. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,847
    Location:
    Seattle
    It might not have avoided the issue(s), but why can't rated range take into account a normal amount of cabin heating and range loss due to lower ambient temperatures. That way the rated range showing before he left would have been less than the actual mileage travelled. Also, when leaving the car unplugged in colder ambient there should be a warning of range loss prior the screen going off.
     
  18. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Messages:
    2,135
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I also agree this is a fair article. Superchargers point the way towards being able to do road trips in an electric car, but at the moment it still takes a bit of planning. My whole point in getting the 85kWh battery was that for pretty much all of my driving I wouldn't have to worry about range at all. If I was doing longer trips on a regular basis I'd get a diesel (not a hybrid, which also doesn't help for road trips). The bad part is that Tesla didn't know enough to properly warn the journalist.
     
  19. patp

    patp Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Location:
    Canada
    I think this article and other winter issues - ex. Winter Driving Experiences - Page 84 are showing one major thing. Tesla is a California company... They really need to have winter/cold performance as part of their DNA. There's no way they can do this without having a dedicated team that lives day to day with the car in these conditions.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page