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Observations From My First Long Distance Trip

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Brunton, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    This past weekend I drove from Goose Creek, SC (hey, I didn't name the place) to Cherry Hill, NY and back, my first real long mileage trip in the Tesla. Following are my observations.

    Fantastic.






    What? You wanted more?? It was really fantastic.

    Better?
     
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  2. jzzsxm

    jzzsxm Member

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    Yep, sounds about right. I drove my Tesla from Oregon to Indiana the day I took delivery and had precisely zero problems. Had to watch my speed a bit going through Montana due to the time of day (early morning, cold) and hills (lots of them) but other than that there were always supercharger stalls open, never dipped below 15% battery, and had a great trip!
     
  3. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    Oops, I meant Cherry Hill NJ not NY.

    Ok, a little more.
    • I used autopilot probably 99% of the way each direction. That's not hyperbole or exaggeration. As soon as I got onto the interstate, into autopilot. Every time. It makes driving SO much less stressful.
    • I was surprised that autopilot didn't lull me to sleep (I was really worried that it might).
    • The peculiarities of the USB music playback system can be annoying, especially on longer trips. Want to know what those peculiarities are? There are plenty of threads that discuss them.
    • TACC / Autopilot sharply decelerated several times when I was passing large vehicles on their left. Not a panic stop, but for a second or so the car seemed to think something was slowing in front of it. Dashboard showed that the computer thought the vehicle to be in its lane to the right of me (which it was), but for some reason TACC applied the brakes. This happened several times, and was more likely to happen when in a left-hand curve. Filed a bug report on that one.
    • On two occasions Autopilot decided it wanted to go four-wheeling off the road to the right. Not at an exit ramp, but just right in the middle of straight stretches with no cars in close proximity - a sudden sharp attempt to move to the right. I grabbed the wheel (oops, excuse me, I always have my hands on the wheel ;)) and prevented the car from moving out of the lane, but the sudden sharp move to the right was disconcerting, to say the least.
    • Autopiloted cars will make maintaining lane markings much more important. North Carolina and Virginia don't pay enough attention to theirs, and sometimes the markings were so bad Autopilot couldn't see them. On I-95.
    • GPS did a curious thing - as I was southbound approaching the SC state line, I switched from "trip" display mode to "North up" display mode. The route changed! Instead of taking I-95 to I-26, which it had indicated was the preferred route, now the car wanted me to take US highways and secondary roads to get home. Maybe a one or two mile distance savings, but a 50+ minute increase in travel time. I did not take the newly selected exit and stayed on 95. The route changed back to I-95 to I-26. Weird. I've seen it do this before on a shorter trip.
    • I saw only two - count them, TWO - Teslas at superchargers during the whole trip, both on the way north. One was in Lumberton, NC, and the other was in Rocky Mount, NC. Otherwise, zip.
    • I had no idea the word "TESLA" on the top of the supercharging pedestals lit up at night. Saw that at the newly expanded Newark, DE site. VERY cool looking!
    • Having to sit and charge cost me all of maybe an hour more end-to-end time than driving my pickup used to. Not at all onerous.
    All the quirks were minor. The trip was so much more enjoyable and stress-free that it has ever been in an icemobile that the only word I can use to describe it I already have - fantastic.
     
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  4. shonline

    shonline Member

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    Great observations - many shared by me as I just arrived about 1400 miles to the north of my home in Mount Pleasant SC. (Maine, Canada border area) The only SC I had to wait at was Milford CT that was full up. Most others, I was alone.

    The award for nicest SC site has to go the Seabrook. Looked like someone had waxed the stalls!

    I've done this trip for 5 years straight and always arrive exhausted with a sore back. Not this time. Thanks to AP and the great seats, this was actually enjoyable.
     
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  5. mrjedistud

    mrjedistud Member

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    I find that in general every 2 hours of driving adds about 20-30 minute of charging to my long distance trips.
     
  6. ElectricTundra

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    +1 I've actually found that the charger stops make trips more enjoyable. Previously I'd been focused on miles and keeping stops as short as possible. Having to stop for a bit of time every few hours helps me stay awake.

    BTW, if you have time add your thoughts on the superchargers and eateries to Chargerville
     
  7. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I have the same thought about autopilot and sleepiness. As far as I can tell, what makes me sleepy is the constant concentration needed to manually drive the car. Autopilot is much less tiring. My autopilot conked out last week (not sure what's wrong yet, getting it looked at on Thursday, but it came back spontaneously) and I had to drive about 80 miles home by hand (the horror). I was really wiped out by the time I got back!

    I drove from Virginia to Florida this winter and lane markings really stood out at me as well. I recall SC and GA being particularly bad. Some places I had to engage autopilot at just the right moment, otherwise it would refuse to engage because it couldn't see the lanes well enough. Terrible!
     
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  8. Mattzilla

    Mattzilla Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I'm leaving on a trip from Western Washington to Indiana and back next week (around 5k miles round trip).

    Question: Did you carry a spare tire? Fix-a-flat? Or just rely on luck and call roadside assistance if you find yourself in a bind?
     
  9. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I carry a 12V compressor and a tire plug kit. The total cost is about $30, pretty good for emergencies, and I use the compressor to top up my tires too. For a flat tire that's beyond what those can do, I'll call roadside assistance. I've only seen one flat tire in 20 years of driving, so I'm comfortable with that. Your mileage may, of course, vary.
     
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  10. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Did the "off road" attempts correspond to poor lane markings, curves, etc.?
     
  11. st50maint

    st50maint Member

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    For anybody not familiar with the Milford Superchargers there are only 2 stalls each at the north and south bound rest areas.
    So they are full up with only 2 cars charging.
     
  12. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    Urk! To be honest, I never thought about it. I better get one of the repair kits!
     
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  13. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    That was the odd thing. It didn't seem to correspond to any irregularity at all. Lanes seemed clearly marked and road surface was dry. I was also on straight sections of the road both times. Perhaps something was reflecting just right into the camera so that it thought that was the lane marking (oil crack repair, maybe?) - something I either couldn't see or unconsciously dismissed as not worth noticing.
     
  14. shonline

    shonline Member

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    I carry the Tesla branded repair kit. Similar ones from Amazon etc.. would be fine too. I grabbed it on delivery at the service center because I had a decent drive home and wanted to be safe.
     
  15. shonline

    shonline Member

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    I misspoke here. It was Greenwich North that all 4 stalls were taken for about a 10 - 15 minute wait. Milford's two stalls were empty. I've tried to correct my post, but Edit has disappeared on it...
     
  16. kevinf311

    kevinf311 Member

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    I'm curious to see how much I actually use autopilot on an upcoming trip to Alabama.

    The last time I made this trip was pre-autopilot and since its introduction I have only really used it in areas of traffic (or on occasion when I have to sneeze into a handkerchief!).

    I typically enjoy being in control of the car, but long highway stretches aren't the most enthralling. Perhaps I'll do the same as @Brunton and see if I can let the car drive this trip for me!
     
  17. shonline

    shonline Member

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    For interstate driving, you should give it a go. I just finished 1400 miles and like Brenton, 99% was on autopilot. What a joy!
     
  18. gotz2ride

    gotz2ride Member

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    I don't have autopilot, but have put 6k miles on mine in about 2 months! It's been awesome and can't wait to get one with autopilot.
     
  19. ElectricTundra

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    Definitely at least try AP for a while. I've got about 10,000 autopilot miles and like @mikeash I'd sorely miss it if it were gone. I think Mike's right that the concentration necessary for driving causes sleepiness and AP relieves this a bit.
     

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