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P85 on order (not yet finalized), have some questions about DC-Pittsburgh travel

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by paulkva, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. paulkva

    paulkva Member

    Jul 22, 2013
    Falls Church, VA
    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading posts here and on for a few weeks now, had some questions that I couldn't answer via search, and thought I'd use the opportunity to introduce myself as well. I'm in Northern VA (Arlington/Falls Church area) and drive occasionally to Pittsburgh, specifically to Carnegie Mellon. I'm wondering about getting there or back without having to stop and charge for a couple hours along the way. Others have noted here and on Tesla's own forums that central and western PA don't have a ton of charging options yet. Here's what I know (please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this):

    * The trip is ~250 miles each way, which is less than the rated range of the 85KWh battery, but I don't know to what extent the hills will affect the range.
    * There's an "Electric Garage" near CMU's campus that offers free EV charging, so I'll probably be fine with recharging once I get there, even if I can't find any EV-friendly hotels nearby.
    * The PA turnpike is starting to put chargers at rest stops, but no details yet on speed, price, or compatibility. The first batch is supposed to open by the end of the summer, but the only one along my route will be New Stanton, which at Mile 77 is most of the way to Pittsburgh. And that only helps going westbound.
    * There's a Nissan dealer in Hagerstown MD. I haven't yet confirmed whether they'll let other EV owners charge there, but various other posts indicate that some dealers do and others don't.
    * The Supercharger map on is of course low-res, but it looks like there might be stations coming eventually to Breezewood PA and/or Hagerstown MD, eventually. (That would be awesome but wouldn't help for this fall.)
    * I found one post about someone making the trip a few months ago in their S60 with a 2-hour stop (

    So, the questions:

    * Has anyone made the trip with the S85/P85? If so, did you stop to charge, and do you know how much total energy you used? I'm looking for as many data points as possible. :smile:
    * Does anyone have charging station recommendations along the route, beyond the campground mentioned in the post linked above?
    * Does anyone have any other info (confirmed or rumored) about the possible superchargers in Breezewood and Hagerstown?
    * Does anyone have any other info (confirmed or rumored) about the PA turnpike chargers?

    I suppose these questions qualify as a mild form of range anxiety for one specific case. I'm hoping the supercharger network builds up as expected so the concern can be very short-lived. But to be clear, the answers to my DC-Pittsburgh questions will NOT affect my decision to buy a Model S, nor will it affect when I take delivery. At worst, it might cause me to use my wife's CR-V or rent a car for the new few trips.

    And finally, the introduction:

    Like many of you, I'm a software engineer. I work for a small analytical firm in Arlington VA, and unlike many DC-area engineers I don't do government work. I've been searching for a new car for several months and was all over the map, ranging from Kia Optima to Lexus IS. I wanted something fun to drive and fuel efficient but was having trouble finding both together. I had heard of the Model S and initially assumed I'd never get one, but I started reading more about it (and becoming more interested / intrigued) around the time the Consumer Reports score came out. On somewhat of a whim (I had never before considered any higher-end cars anywhere near the price range of the Model S) I test-drove the Model S in the DC store about 6-7 weeks ago and was absolutely floored. Suddenly, all other cars at any price were far less interesting to me. I test-drove it again about a week ago and was equally floored, so I put down a deposit on a P85 before I left the store. Current options include silver paint, grey interior, tech package, panoramic roof, and parcel shelf, and although I haven't changed anything from the original order yet, I'm waiting until next week to finalize it.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. nrcooled

    nrcooled P#8946 VIN 03225

    May 22, 2012
    Welcome to the board!

    As for the range of your trip it would not be very fun in execution. The 85kWh battery at highway speeds and with hills will not go 250 miles. Someone may just on me for that blanket statement but it's the truth. You would need a range change that would get you 265 miles of rated range displayed but you will be PUSHING it to get 250 miles out of it. You will have to do 55 mph the entire trip with limited use of climate control. Cold weather will make that trip all but impossible.

    If you don't do the trip that often, I would recommend just renting a car for $30-40 bucks a day and making the drive up. Passing on the Model S because you can't make a single trip very infrequently would be missing out on one HELL of a car.

    As a counterpoint to my point above about range, I drove up to Manalapan, NJ from Woodbridge, VA (235 miles one way) in my S85. I skipped the DE supercharger due to time constraints and made it to my in-laws with a whopping 8 miles of range. Of course this is doing highway speeds but with the good weather I was able to keep my Watts/mile down to 275 which gave me good range. If I would have slowed down a bit it would have been better.

    Anyway, good luck and enjoy your new car!

    Edit: If you can swing it, I would also add the sound studio package. It is well worth it!
  3. paulkva

    paulkva Member

    Jul 22, 2013
    Falls Church, VA
    Thanks nrcooled. I actually started a 2nd thread on this accidentally -- I think this one got stuck in moderation for a couple days. Here it is:

    The verdict is I still plan to take the Model S to Pittsburgh, I'll just have to budget a couple extra hours for slow-charging until the superchargers start coming online, and I'll have to be extra-careful planning where I stop to charge.

    Anyway, I largely agree with you on most of your points. I never for a moment considered canceling my order because it couldn't get me to Pittsburgh without recharging, and in fact my order is now finalized. My only "disagreement" is I didn't order the premium sound, as I'm not a major audiophile and don't feel a strong need for XM.

    I will also be driving with my family to NJ and Philly at least a couple times per year, and we already use the DE rest stop as a logical half-way point, so I'll certainly take advantage of the supercharger.
  4. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

    Apr 27, 2012
    Wexford, PA
    Hey PaulKVA, I think you already caught most of this in the other thread, but just a few points:

    1) I agree that 250 miles is going to be cutting it a little too close for comfort...much more fun with a buffer of miles. You might make it going 55 MPH the whole way, but who wants to do that.
    2) There are campgrounds with 50A RV spots available on I-70/76 east of Pittsburgh, such as Donegal exit.
    3) There are J1772 chargers in Monroeville and a Nissan dealer in Greensburg.
    4) The person behind the chargers at CMU owns a Grey Model S.
    5) There will be a DC Fast Charge in Oakmont for westbound travel in the first four PA Turnpike sites, but that doesn't help much because you will likely have a full charge or close to it at that point, not to mention you will lack a CHAdeMO adapter.
    6) There is a fully functional 50kW CHAdeMO DC Fast Charge station in Warrendale, PA, right near the intersection of I-76 and I-79, but again it is unusable without a CHAdeMO adapter.
    7) Superchargers at Bedford/Breezewood will make all of this a non-issue, so let's get one put in already, Tesla!!! (Yes, I know: "Patience, young Jedi!")
    8) Feel free to come charge on my 60A HPWC if you ever get in a bind, or if you just want to show me your gorgeous Silver/Grey P85...that was one of my top two configuration options, and I would love to see it!
  5. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

    Dec 15, 2012
    I have done over 300 miles at 55 mph on flat ground with no wind at 70 degrees. 250 miles with heat or speed (70 mph) would be tough.

    I can get 4 miles per kW. And I have a 85 kW battery.

    Most folks get 3 miles per kW driving without any speed limits.
  6. paulkva

    paulkva Member

    Jul 22, 2013
    Falls Church, VA
    montgom626, I'm supposed to get my car on September 6, so I'll have 3-4 weeks to get a real feel for range and Wh/mile before my trips in October. (I'm hoping for mild weather!) I've read a ton about people's experience with range, but it seems like there will be no substitute for my own experience.

    JakeP, yeah I think we covered most of that in the other thread. I kinda feel bad that there are two in parallel now.

    * I hadn't heard that person behind the Electric Garage owns a Model S. I'll definitely let them know what kind of car I plan on charging there when I contact them!
    * I've read a few of the CHAdeMO threads on here and I'm optimistic there will be one available in the US... eventually. Based on current CHAdeMO locations vs. superchargers, it's not a huge issue for my expected travel patterns in the short term.
    * I agree that the expected superchargers make the whole issue moot. As you say, "Patience, young Jedi!" -- but the hardest part for me right now is waiting for the car itself!
    * I appreciate the offer of charging, but Wexford is unfortunately 25-30 miles in the wrong direction for me, and these are whirlwind trips. I'll definitely keep it in mind if my travels ever take me further, thanks.

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