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Prius or Model 3 for Road Trip. Help a new owner decide

Ladyjade3

Member
Oct 1, 2019
9
10
Raleigh, NC
Hi all! Super new here. Just got our Model 3 on Sunday (3 days ago) and love it!

I'm surprised the range is not at all what I expected, but from browsing around here I see that its a problem with my expectations, not the car.

Thinking about our upcoming December road trip from Raleigh to Orlando. The Tesla route has us making 5 stops, 13 hours total. Google maps says its a 9 hour 21 minute trip. Realistically we'd stop at least twice anyway...

Our other car is a Prius and it gets like 500 miles per $20 fill up.

We'd have our two boys 7 and 9 in the back.

Should we take the Tesla and accept the road trip challenge? Or the boring old Prius... Advice, suggestions, dares pls. :)
 

Ladyjade3

Member
Oct 1, 2019
9
10
Raleigh, NC
Standard range, bottom of the barrel Tesla lol But thanks for that website! Will try! And I have plenty of time between now and then to get myself in trouble more locally. Good suggestion.
 
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May 31, 2016
289
484
Orange County, CA
Hi all! Super new here. Just got our Model 3 on Sunday (3 days ago) and love it!

I'm surprised the range is not at all what I expected, but from browsing around here I see that its a problem with my expectations, not the car.

Thinking about our upcoming December road trip from Raleigh to Orlando. The Tesla route has us making 5 stops, 13 hours total. Google maps says its a 9 hour 21 minute trip. Realistically we'd stop at least twice anyway...

Our other car is a Prius and it gets like 500 miles per $20 fill up.

We'd have our two boys 7 and 9 in the back.

Should we take the Tesla and accept the road trip challenge? Or the boring old Prius... Advice, suggestions, dares pls. :)
Just do it, only suggestion is add a little more charge than it says you need at the superchargers until you get a better feel for how the car operates. A little on the conservative side for your first trip.
 
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Dr. J

Active Member
Aug 23, 2017
1,473
2,688
Fort Worth, Texas
3c7nh0.jpg
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,933
7,722
Visalia, CA
...I'm surprised the range is not at all what I expected, but from browsing around here I see that its a problem with my expectations, not the car...

Is that good or bad?

If you take breaks, I would take Tesla and use charging times as breaks.

If you don't take breaks and can hold your bladder, then your Prius will arrive there slightly earlier.

If you take your Tesla, you need to monitor your battery gauge and compare that with your navigation in real time to make sure you won't run out of battery.
 
Last edited:

BrokerDon

Active Member
Aug 23, 2014
1,399
1,289
Newport Coast, CA
Our Prius road trips stopped the day we got our 2015 Model S P85D (257 rated miles / 200 max. actual road miles). We've done every road trip in our Tesla ever since. The Supercharger stops have gotten us to stop more frequently which has made road tripping much less wearing... and healthier too. We arrive at our destination fully refreshed vs. worn out and grumpy from ICE road trips.

These SC stops have also introduced us to places we otherwise would have missed: Museums, coffee shops, breweries, restaurants... even a chain of motels that we got FREE breakfast while we Supercharged !!!

Our 2012 Prius also has a floaty ride that IMHO induces nausea and makes you drowsy. Also, the NOISES the Prius makes are SO annoying: whirring, groaning, clicking... and of course the LEAF BLOWER sound it makes going up hills. NO THANKS.

Lastly our AWD P85D is amazing in snow vs. the Prius which is like wearing rollar blades on ice.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,432
7,647
Boise, ID
The Tesla route has us making 5 stops, 13 hours total.
Using abetterrouteplanner.com I get 9 hours 25 minutes from Raleigh, NC to Orlando, FL with a LR RWD model 3.
I just plotted it with the standard range Model 3 on www.evtripplanner.com and it does show about 11 and a half hours. That long range is a beast! (and I mean that in a good way) for traveling!
That thing of 13 hours for a 9-ish hour drive didn't sound right, but I remembered that a lot of Tesla's own trip planning tools, like on their website, and in the car navigation have this really stupid preference: It prioritizes the least number of stops, no matter how excruciatingly long those stops are, so that it can try to drive really long segments and skip over Superchargers. So it sometimes is recommending 50+ minute and 1 hour stops. That's usually charging unnecessarily high and wasting time. That is a slow and cumbersome way to do trips and might make it pretty unpleasant. I can usually keep my stops to about a half hour or less, and then I don't feel bored.

Only 5 stops doesn't seem like a good idea. I see EVTripplanner saying 6, and maybe 7, but they are going to be more time efficient overall, with slightly shorter stops.

I would NOT suggest doing this as your very first road trip. Do some day trip that requires a charging stop or two first so you know better what to expect. Also use A Better Routeplanner to help you plan the trip better.
I might recommend this too. You will probably have some learning curve on the first trip or two, as you figure out how much charging time and margin works well for you, and that might not be good if you have some hassle with also having the spouse and kids there too who aren't excited about the prospect. Nowadays, I take the Tesla any time I have a route that does have Supercharger coverage. But it happens that tomorrow, I am leaving for a trip on a route that has a pretty big gap without Supercharger coverage, and my wife is not patient for 1.5 hour of slow charging on a really long meal stop, so we'll be taking our Civic Hybrid.
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,101
Vernon, BC, Canada
Use the route planner that folks have mentioned. If you have the base Standard Range (not the plus), you can more safely charge to 100% despite the warnings about reduced battery life (the base model has the same size battery but limits your max charge).

For your peace of mind, charge more than the route planner says to and keep your speed lower (don't speed at all if the limit is already 80mph). Be prepared to need to pull off to a nearby Level 2 charger (bring your J1772 adapter) in case you might not make it to your next charge destination as expected. And of course, give yourself plenty of time in case this does happen!

Planning ahead always helps, but you sometimes can't control everything. I depended on a 50kW Level 3 station where I'm at for vacation. It broke and was replaced by a 25kW station. It actually only delivers 10kW maximum. And for our Model 3, it only charges at 4-5kW. Level 2 charging is faster!

Plan ahead. Be prepared in case something doesn't go according to plan. If you don't have flexibility, take the Prius.
 

davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,828
1,979
San Diego, CA, US
Use the route planner that folks have mentioned. If you have the base Standard Range (not the plus), you can more safely charge to 100% despite the warnings about reduced battery life (the base model has the same size battery but limits your max charge).
...
Charging to 100% will also not be the time waster that it would be in the SR+ since the battery isn't actually full at the end of the charge. A Better Route Planner takes this into account when calculating the charge times. Here's a link to a driving plan for an SR:

A Better Routeplanner
 
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gaswalla

Model S,3,X.. CT with Austin delivery
Sep 23, 2012
3,381
3,720
San Diego
You'll love your 3 much more in the long run if you take the Prius this time... next time, you won't even think twice about taking that archaic Toyota on a road trip.
There is a learning curve with EV's.. finding out what you don't know hundreds of miles from home does not make one better for it
 
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davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,828
1,979
San Diego, CA, US
Sure is, changing to SR changed the route from 2 stops and 9:25 to 6 stops and 10:47!

Tried a few options on this route (all aero wheels):
SR 6 stops, 10:47
SR+ 5 stops, 10:29
MR 5 stops, 9:56
LR AWD 4 stops, 9:36
LR RWD 2 stops, 9:25

If you change the max charge to 100% for the SR, you'll probably match the SR+ route.
 

CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,403
1,590
Talent, OR
We also have both a 3 and a Prius. We always take the 3 on road trips, except when bringing the bikes, since I've been dragging my feet on a bike solution. But that's a different thread.

Others above have covered the highlights. As I like to say, the car has more range than my bladder. So instead of separate stops at rest areas for the humans and Superchargers for the car, integrate them. There's always a nearby Starbucks or Taco Bell or something.

Yes, it'll take a bit longer, though your 13 vs 9 hours is extreme. We go back and forth between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. It takes us about 12, where Google Maps says 10.5. But we found an unexpected benefit of this Supercharger-induced pace. We arrive feeling less exhausted. I think there's real value in taking a walk around the neighborhood while the car charges.
 

jkoya

NA2 NSX
Nov 21, 2018
3,626
1,556
Northern CA
Yes, it'll take a bit longer, though your 13 vs 9 hours is extreme. We go back and forth between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. It takes us about 12, where Google Maps says 10.5. But we found an unexpected benefit of this Supercharger-induced pace. We arrive feeling less exhausted. I think there's real value in taking a walk around the neighborhood while the car charges.

Nice - Well said !!
 

eprosenx

Active Member
May 30, 2018
2,073
2,515
Beaverton, OR
We also have both a 3 and a Prius. We always take the 3 on road trips, except when bringing the bikes, since I've been dragging my feet on a bike solution. But that's a different thread.

Others above have covered the highlights. As I like to say, the car has more range than my bladder. So instead of separate stops at rest areas for the humans and Superchargers for the car, integrate them. There's always a nearby Starbucks or Taco Bell or something.

Yes, it'll take a bit longer, though your 13 vs 9 hours is extreme. We go back and forth between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. It takes us about 12, where Google Maps says 10.5. But we found an unexpected benefit of this Supercharger-induced pace. We arrive feeling less exhausted. I think there's real value in taking a walk around the neighborhood while the car charges.

Ditto. The LR RWD I have really has more range than my family. It is a road trip beast.

A SR may be a different story though...

With the auto pilot features on my Model 3 I get cranky when I have to drive other vehicles long distances. The lane hold and auto speed features are amazing... So we take the Model 3 any time possible. But if you don’t have any of those features that may be a different story.

So yeah, I would be torn which way to go...

Note that when we did a Portland to San Francisco this summer we tried to stay overnight somewhere with plugs for charging so that helped skip a charging stop. We did a single lunch stop each day to charge and that was good enough.b We were also able to charge at our destination.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,700
12,585
California
Road tripping is great fun. I’ve driven all over the western US in my Model S which now has the same effective ~220 mile range as your SR model 3.

it’s a great feeling to not use a drop of fuel across 5 states, and the range of the car is almost always greater than the range of my wife/kids.

Just do it.
 

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