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Observations from long trip in my P85D

Discussion in 'Model S' started by thimel, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. thimel

    thimel Member

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    Feb 27, 2015
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    We took a long trip in my two month old P85D and thought I would share what we learned. Much of this has been mentioned by others.
    We started with a test trip from SF to LA, then a week later did a round trip from SF to Seattle.

    1. Overall, a great trip and a great car.
    2. Found the energy display that gives a plot of percent full vs distance towards destination eliminated any possible range anxiety. At the beginning we made sure it predicted at least 20 percent full at the end of the trip. We reduced that to 15% after some experience. The prediction is reasonably accurate and one can always slow down if after traveling a bit the prediction gets too low. (Never had to do that.) The biggest errors in the prediction had us arriving with 6% less and 7% more than originally predicted.
    3. Note that even when the prediction dropped to 9% partway through a leg of the trip, we did not worry because by that time we were close enough to the supercharger we were heading to that energy consumption would have had to be 30% higher than predicted to strand us. (That is, we were at 40% full.)
    4. We found ourselves going back and forth between the energy and navigation screens and I was thinking of sending a suggestion to Tesla that they should put a battery level prediction on the main navigation screen. Later we discovered that by touching the line in the navigation display that gives the remaining miles, remaining trip time and ETA, that exactly that gets displayed. A good example of the well thought out Tesla user interface.
    5. The navigation and charging system seemed to think that a prediction of 9% full at the destination was sufficient. That is the prediction we found the couple of times we checked immediately after getting notified there was enough charge. We learned to wait an extra 5 minutes so it could charge to our preferred 15% buffer.
    6. The supercharging system worked flawlessly. We learned that the best way to find the superchargers which are sometimes in a parking lot behind a building was to zoom in on the navigation map as we approached. This helped find the exact driveway and route through the parking lot after the directions given by the navigations system got us to the front of the building or shopping center.
    7. The most crowded supercharger had 3 of 6 stalls occupied when we arrived. In one place we charged we were the sole user of an 8 stall location.
    8. Thanks to information on this forum we knew to choose a stall with a different number than any other car was using. Once when we goofed, our car charged slowly, so we moved it. Lesson from this is to wait the few seconds after you plug in the car to make sure it is charging quickly. We had an opportunity to pass on this information to another newbie who shortly after we arrived pulled into the stall paired with ours.
    9. Required charging times varied but I’d say 20 minutes was typical. At only about a quarter of the charging stops did we find ourselves having to hang-out waiting for the charge to finish. The other times, the car was ready by the time we were. So it didn’t really feel like we wasted a lot of time waiting for the car to charge. We did adjust our schedule (when to eat meals etc.) to that of the car. It was nice that all the charging spots had facilities near them. We easily found the facilities, mostly with our eyes, but in a few cases we used Yelp to find something. The list of facilities on the TM site which we got to via www.supercharge.info was useful for advance planning. In fact it would be nice if this facilities list was integrated into the navigation system and given along with the address of the location.
    10. The only times we had any trouble with charging was when we stayed for several days at each of two relatives. In both cases, we had checked ahead to see what kind of outlet they had available. In the first case, it was an electric dryer outlet and we came equipped with the Camco 50 Amp extension cord and both dryer adapters from www.EVSEadapters.com. We made the mistake of turning down the amps in the car BEFORE we plugged in. Turns out that you have to do it just AFTER you plug in. Hence it drew 50 amps and blew the breaker after a while. No long term harm done. At the second relatives, he had sent me a photo of the outlet (which had had a heater plugged into it). It was labelled as 240V/30A, so I figured one of our two dryer adapters would work. Not! I should have looked at the picture more closely. It was yet a third type of 30A outlet. We had to go to the hardware store where we could not get an adapter, but did get a standard dryer outlet which I used to temporarily replace the one that was there. Lesson learned: when planning to charge at a house, double check the outlet that is available and make sure you have the right adapter. Check that the car is still charging an hour after you start it.
    11. Enough about charging. I figured a long drive on the I-5 was a good time to practice passing a car for when I wanted to do it on a 2 lane highway. I’ve always been a timid passer and only pass when I essentially can’t see a car on the horizon. I figured this might change with a more powerful car. I waited to come up on a slow truck in the slow lane. These are pretty rare on the I-5 unless there is a lot of traffic, so I settled for one doing about 60. I came up behind it, floored it and passed it on the left. I glanced at the speedometer just as I was pulling back in front of it. 105. Oops! I guess those who complain about their Tesla not accelerating sufficiently at these speeds didn’t move up from a Toyota Corolla :wink:. Later when we drove on two lane roads, I still didn’t pull out to pass anyone. I guess I need more practice or am just naturally a timid passer.
    12. One problem with not stopping at gas stations was the lack of facilities to clean the bugs off the windshield. There as a bucket and squeegee at the Centralia supercharger which was nice. Next trip, will add Windex to the list of things to bring.
    13. Heading up the long hill of the Grapevine into the LA area, I looked at the dash to make sure the car wasn’t overheating. (An old habit from my ICE days.) No temperature gauge. No problem.
    14. Going back down the Grapevine (and other long hills), I watched for the regen to increase the range. I found that the rated miles increased only in steps of 3 miles, not one at a time. Curious. Wonder why.
    15. I’d love to have less tire noise. Some road sections with very smooth pavement were a joy, but most of the road textures caused more noise than I would like. I’m watching another thread on this forum where a couple of people are getting foam glued to the inside of their tires to quiet them down, similar to the Conti-silents used on the 21” rims. (We have 19 inch rims.)
    16. We listened to a lot of classical music on Slacker. We found ourselves adjusting the volume at the beginning of each track as they don’t seem to be normalized well. The Slacker Android app has an option to do this automatically. I wish Tesla did too. I have sent that to them as a suggestion.
    17. I love the TACC. It worked very well and made the long drive much easier. We still paid close attention to the traffic but it seemed to take less concentration and was certainly easier on the ankle. There was usually enough traffic that a conventional cruise control would have to be over-ridden too often or we would have been changing lanes too often. I look forward to turning steering over to the auto-pilot. Incidentally, I’d had some concerns I’d quit paying attention to traffic, but the couple of times that someone pulled very close in front of me, my foot hit the brake before I even had a chance to think about waiting to see if TACC would handle it correctly. (On not quite such close calls, I just put my foot over the brake and TACC handled it quite nicely.)
    18. There just aren’t enough short freeway on ramps where I can put the incredible acceleration to good use :mad:. I still found excuses to floor it once in a while.
     
  2. cpa

    cpa Member

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    Bravo for you! So glad you are enjoying this fantastic automobile. You seem to have done your homework!

    Don't worry about being a timid driver when it comes to passing on two-lane highways. Safety and relaxed driving = no accidents and much less stress. Most highways now have passing lanes anyway every so many miles--so what if you are "forced" to drive 55--it only lasts a little while.

    Regarding the increase in rated miles in groups of three, maybe a more experienced owner knows, but here is my best guess: Since deceleration under normal circumstances adds a small amount of charge back into the battery, perhaps the engineers did not wish to add to the complexity of "range" by having the rated miles increase due to a short stretch of regeneration. Since the estimated range is rounded to a whole number, it might get confusing if we see our rated range vacillate between two numbers over short distances.

    Three miles of range is approximately equal to a little more than 1% battery capacity.
     
  3. TES-E

    TES-E Member

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    I just returned from a 1600 mile round trip to the factory (factory tour ) and I agree with everything you said about travelling in the Model S. I encountered only one full charging station (Tejon Ranch). By the time I pulled into the lot and turned around, someone was leaving, so not a big deal, other than the slower rate due to charger sharing. The Fremont station was not full when I needed it. However, when I left (car charged when I got there), it was full (12 stalls), with 4 waiting. The car is amazing.
     
  4. mikeg561

    mikeg561 Member

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    Great report. Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. Tdriver

    Tdriver Member

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    thimel.......There is a couple things you can do to reduce tire noise. I put a Lloyd's carpet in the rear. It is rubbber backed and a good sound reducer. You can also pull the carpet over the rear wheel wells and add a layer of dense material. I go to Walmart and buy an exercise mat for about $20. They are about 3/8" thick closed cell foam that make good sound reducers. You can cut them to fit with scissors.
     
  6. smilepak

    smilepak Member

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    Interesting thread and experience. One of which I don't see much is people experience while staying at a relative place and how to get by on charging. We go up to San Jose once or twice a year and stay at a relative place, which is 20 miles or so from the Fremont Charging Station or 20 miles from Gilroy charging station. It would be silly just to go there to charge and go home as you end up wasting 40 miles of your 200+ miles round trip.

    So is the assumption while staying at a relative house is to use the "Dryer" 240V plus to charge your tesla?

    What is the recommended extension cord to use in situation like that?
     
  7. Ugliest1

    Ugliest1 S85: "Sparky"

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    Great comments on your experience! I'm adding Windex to my list. And I'm slightly jealous about the TACC... ah well.

    <Quote>Going back down the Grapevine (and other long hills), I watched for the regen to increase the range. I found that the rated miles increased only in steps of 3 miles, not one at a time. Curious. Wonder why.</quote>
    In addition, after a long downhill, it will sometimes not increase the RM number but you'll travel multiple miles without the RM correspondingly reducing.

    I agree re road noise. Thx to the other posters who suggested various fixes.
     
  8. thimel

    thimel Member

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    Smilepak,
    My advice is to check with the people you will be staying with and find out what kind of outlet they have available within a reasonable distance of where your car will be parked. A dryer outlet is probably the most common, but many others exist. Then make sure you have the RIGHT adapter and an extension cord if needed. I followed the lead of others on TMC And bought a Camco 50 Amp extension cord.
    At one of the places I stayed, the nearest supercharger was 150 miles away, so using it was not an option.
     
  9. Gra55h0pper

    Gra55h0pper Member

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    Thanks for the summary! Nice to see a fellow P85D owner in Sunnyvale. Took delivery of mine in March also.
    I was wondering: do you see yourself using the dual-chargers?

    I agree: we need more short on-ramps! :biggrin:
     
  10. dkonigs

    dkonigs Member

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    Thanks but no thanks. Already have too many of those around Silicon Valley, and they always make for a nerve-wracking merge experience. Its less about how fast you can get up to speed, and more about how the right lane is already full of cars who don't want to let you merge in the 20ft you have to do it.
     
  11. ABrimberry

    ABrimberry Member

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    Great information. Thank you.
     
  12. thimel

    thimel Member

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    i haven't used the dual chargers yet. I got them sort of as insurance in case I need to charge quickly. My home charger was installed for the Nissan LEAF that we still have. Hence it is on a 40 amp breaker. We charge each car every other night. Haven't had any problems with that yet, but if we do, can then install a HPWC. (Which will require an upgrade to our panel.) We would only need faster charging if we take the Tesla on a long trip two days in a row. That doesn't happen often. So at present it looks like I could have done without the dual chargers.
     
  13. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Dual chargers are rarely needed at home, but are useful on a trip if you find a HPWC that is wired for 80A output or a high amp J1772.
     
  14. cpa

    cpa Member

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    I firmly believe this. For example, Reno has a number of hotels that have HPWC for their guests. A person could stay a couple of days for whatever reason(s) and not worry about max charging to reach Reno. The dual chargers would let you charge your car for a much shorter period of time (if you are taking some day trips out and about) to allow others to do the same thing. Then, on departure, your car is as full as you need it to be to skip Truckee, perhaps and drive directly to another Supercharger, or to return to the Bay Area via US50 and Folsom or Manteca.

    I just think having dual chargers opens up more opportunities for us not only to reach destinations off the SC highway but also to spend more time seeing the sights.
     

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