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Paso Robles road trip- our first multi-day EV experience

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by wraithnot, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    Last weekend my wife, our dog and I headed out on a road trip from the San Francisco bay area to Paso Robles. This was our first electric-powered road trip beyond supercharger range so I thought others might find some of the details helpful.

    We've done this trip before in my wife's Acura TL over a 3-day weekend so I took Friday off to make things as comparable as possible. I'd heard reports that the Gilroy superchargers had some issues last Sunday so we left the house with a range charge (270 mi on the gauge) to make sure we could get to Paso Robles even if the superchargers were down again. I drove with the flow of traffic (approximately 75 mph) and had the AC on the most comfortable setting. We hit the Gilroy supercharger after 63.8 miles with 199 miles left on the gauge and plugged in to the left most supercharger (labeled 1A) and started charging at a healthy 152 mi/hr (126 A at 386 V). The supercharger was empty except for a white Model S on the rightmost supercharger (labeled 2B) who reported charging at 222 mi/hr. Shortly afterwards, a beautiful signature red pulled into the charger next to the white MS (the sig red had an impressively low VIN- 79 if I remember correctly). The sig driver mentioned that the floor mats in the original cars were pretty low quality and after looking at the floor mats in my car, he said it definitely looks like they have improved things. Then another MS glided in and we had a full house- at noon on a weekday! The white car left and was quickly replaced by yet another MS as I took our dog Monkey for a walk.
    Gilroy1.JPG

    After 36 min of charging, I was nearly full with 267 on the gauge and the current was down to 29 A at 403 V. After 47 minutes of charging, I called it with 270 on the gauge and a current of only 10 A. I unplugged the car and moved to the parking spot next to the superchargers to wait for my wife to finish shopping. Just as I engaged the parking brake, a silver P85 with a 7,0XX VIN driving down to LA after his factory pickup arrived and plugged into supercharger 1A. In less than an hour on a weekday, six different Model S's made use of the superchargers!
    Gilroy2.JPG

    Once my wife returned, we headed to Paso Robles with the hopes of making it to several wineries before heading to the Paso Oaks hotel and its waiting NEMA 14-50. After a brief stop in Salinas for lunch, we made it to our first winery, Ecluse, well before closing time. The view was stunning.
    Ecluse.JPG
    I got the impression that very few Model S's have made it to Paso Robles. While we were buying a couple of bottles of wine, someone asked who owned the unusual car parked outside. I went outside and ran through my usual routine of showing off the frunk, charge port, touchscreen, etc. and everyone seemed far more in awe than normal. The woman who was most interested in the car definitely wasn't from a big city and commented on the "green britches" (aka green corduroys) that my wife was wearing. The car got even more attention at the next winery, Jack Creek. I had a crowd of about six people around me this time as I showed off my favorite features. One woman even asked if I was "Mr. SpaceEx". After admitting that no, I was not Elon Musk, she didn't seem any less impressed.

    We made it Peachy Canyon and Epoch before it was time to head to our hotel. The Oaks Hotel (aka the Paso Oaks) in a bit ahead of the curve and offers both an outdoor NEMA 14-50 outlet and pet friendly accommodations. I asked about the NEMA 14-50 when I checked in and they said to pull around back and park close to the wall. Unfortunately the outlet is only accessible from one parking space- and that parking space was occupied by a green Camaro so I had my first experience of being ICEd. But the hotel manager assured me that the Camaro driver was in the process of checking out so we could start charging shortly. Luckily that turned out to be the case and about 20 minutes later the Camaro headed out. I was pretty relieved because there was only 68 miles left on the gauge at that point- the 161.3 miles we had driven since Gilroy used up 202 miles of rated range. Their NEMA 14-50 was good for 40 A at 203 V and 22 mi/hr. The hotel is about 1.4 miles from the downtown area so we took the car when it was time for dinner rather than walking, but luckily the parking spot next to the charger was open when we returned and we were able to complete a standard charge that night. As an aside, Bistro Laurent has pretty fantastic food for a place as off the beaten path as Paso Robles.
    PasoOaks.JPG

    The next morning, we headed out with 237 miles of range on the gauge and 228.0 miles on the trip meter. We made it to another six wineries during the day and had a great time (we couldn't resist joining the Le Cuvier wine club even after swearing that we wouldn't join any more wine clubs). At around 5 pm we headed back to the hotel with about 103 miles of range left on the gauge. But as we approached the hotel, we saw an old truck parked in the spot next to the charger. This induced the only actual anxiety of the whole trip because we didn't have nearly enough range to make it back to Gilroy. The chargepoint card I ordered hadn't arrived before we left on the trip and I wasn't looking forward to spending several hours stuck at our only other alternative- the Paso Robles RV Ranch. At that point, I ran into the hotel groundskeeper we had met the previous evening while walking our dog and asked for help. He looked at the truck and said it was the manager's truck and that he was saving the spot for us! The manager quickly moved the truck and we added about 40 miles of range before it was time to head out to dinner. Before we left, I found the manager and asked if he could so save the spot for us so we could comfortably make it home. He joked that he would lay down in the spot if he had to and we went off to dinner at Artisan (another great Paso Robles restaurant) feeling much better about things.

    There was a car with the hotel logo on the side saving the spot for us when we returned and we did a full range charge that night and headed out the next morning with a comfortable 270 miles on the gauge. After 127.3 miles of driving, we made it back to Gilroy with 111 miles of range on the gauge. Thus on the trip from Gilroy to Paso Robles, we only got 79.9% of the rated range and on the trip from Paso Robles to Gilroy we got a shockingly consistent 80.0% of the rated range. We again pulled into charger 1A, but this time all the other chargers were occupied and we only charged at 64 mi/hr. But in contrast to our experience the week before, the charging rate slowly ramped up to 122 mi/hr over the next 45 minutes and then ramped back down slightly as we completed a 243 mile standard charge (the total charge time was 1 hour 5 minutes). The full standard charge was overkill, but there was no one waiting for the supercharger and my wife was happily shopping right up to the end. This time, out car was the only one with permanent license plates so the factory must really be churning them out in time for the end of the quarter. They also appear to have replaced the "zero emissions" placeholder plate with a white one with the teslamotors website URL.
    Gilroy3.JPG

    The rest of the trip back home was uneventful, although we did manage to squeeze in two Santa Cruz wineries on the way home. In case you're curious, the wine carrying capacity of the frunk is about 3.5 cases :) We arrived back at our house with a comfortable 110 of range on the gauge. Total trip stats were 568.8 miles, 195.3 kWh, 343 Wh/mi.

    Take home lessons (aka TL;DR) are:
    1) With some superchargers along the way and some method to charge at the destination, the Model S is a truly fantastic road trip car.
    2) Driving at 75 mph with the climate control on gives a real world range that is only about 80% of the rated range
    3) ALWAYS range charge if your next charging opportunity is uncertain
    4) The farther you get from major cities, the less redundancy you have for charging
    5) They should really supply squeegees and buckets of waters at superchargers. The bugs were out in force and some way to clean the windshield was the only part of the gas station experience that I missed.
    6) At least at the Gilroy superchargers, if someone is charging at 1A or 1B, choose 2A or 2B (and vice-versa).
    7) The Oaks hotel in Paso Robles is a great place to stay for a road trip along the 101. Philip, the manager, said we were the fifth Model S to take advantage of the NEMA 14-50 and he plans to add Electric Vehicle Only signs and install two J1772 chargers in the near future to make things even better.
     
  2. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Awesome write-up, thanks. Paso is one of my favorite destinations as well (check out Kukkula winery and Starr ranch, my favorites). And thanks for the tip about the hotel, Paso otherwise seem like a charging wasteland. (Did you add it to recargo?) The only other reliable place I found was a ChargePoint station in King city, but aside from a movie theater it really doesn't have anything for entertainment value.

    The other option I had been looking at was to do a detour via the Harris Ranch supercharger, and cut over from I-5 to Paso that way. Weird way, but leaves you with more juice in the pack once you get there. Thoughts?
     
  3. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    Great writeup and pics!
    It's a good thing you charged up in Gilroy otherwise you would have missed some wineries the first day. Also points out the flexibility benefits of the 85 over the 60. While the 60 could drive down from Gilroy to Paso Robles, it would have been stretching it to do the side trips to the wineries before getting to the hotel. And we'd have to wait for a range charge instead of standard.

    PS - nice pic at Ecluse, really shows off the blue
     
  4. Quibbs

    Quibbs Member

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    I agree with the others, great write up. Thank you for taking the time and effort to post this.
     
  5. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Very nice write-up and some useful info.
    I hope to have my Model S in June and will be driving up to Paso Robles from SoCal in Aug. for a wedding. Sounds like I should make a reservation at The Oaks.
    They seem to have an EV-friendly attitude.
     
  6. drees

    drees Active Member

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    It is on PlugShare.
     
  7. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    I'm really glad people found my write-up useful! The occasional write-up is far less commitment than an actual blog.

    @Trnsl8r- just submitted the Oaks to recargo. I considered the I-5 to Harris Ranch route, but the 101 is way more scenic than I-5. And I've done the SF to LA drive along I-5 a few too many times due to a long distance relationship a few years back . . .

    @Kipernicus- my wife also said it was a great photo- except for that car in the way . . . But I think that was a joke since she suggested the color and we sometimes have disagreements over who gets to drive the Tesla on any given day.

    @Sparky- Philip, who I assume is the manager of the Oaks, said he is thinking of buying a Tesla at some point. And he said they already have the two J-1772 chargers and will install them soon. So yes- they are definitely EV friendly!
     
  8. Elshout

    Elshout Member

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    We also love Paso Robles wine country and to do our annual Wine Extravaganza. By accident I also found out about the Paso Oaks which we intend to use. Great Write up.
     
  9. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    I hear you. If you have time and like a scenic drive, there is also the possibility of taking 25 via Pinnacles to Harris Ranch, then to Paso: San Jose, CA to Paso Robles, CA - Google Maps
     
  10. breading

    breading Member

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    I enjoyed reading about your road trip. Thank you for writing it up. But, you turned this Midwesterner green with envy when you wrote...

    I am so looking forward to a few Midwest superchargers.
     
  11. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    Great write up. We love Paso, although I think it'll be a bit far for us from Boston when we get our X unfortunately. Try the Il Cortile restaurant, very near the square. One of the best N. Italian restaurants I've been at in the US.
     
  12. shady

    shady Member

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    Just out of interest, how are you seeing other people's VINs? I didn't even realize they were visible
     
  13. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    In this particular case I asked the owner as he was connecting to the supercharger. Tesla superchargers are surprisingly social places. The VIN is also visible from the outside of the car at the bottom of the windshield on the driver's side.

    @RDoc- you are not alone in your opinion of Il Cortile. We tried to get reservations there the first night we were in Paso, but they were all booked up until 9 pm or so and we were a bit too hungry to wait that long.
     
  14. shady

    shady Member

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    ha, that's my "I learn something new every day" moment. I've never noticed this before. Out of all my cars (and RV), the Tesla has the clearest visible VIN.
     

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