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Recapping my 3500 mile road trip frustrations

Just completed my first mega roadtrip in my Model Y. Started in DFW, drove to Raleigh, then to Chicago, before returning home.

Just over 3500 total miles. $406 in total super charging. Significantly cheaper than what it would have cost in any of my other cars.

First off – I love this car as a road trip car. It does so many things right.

However, the amount of stupid minor and often avoidable frustrations is simply way too high. In many respects I felt like a beta tester, which would have been fine, except this should now be a much more fine tuned system.

Hardware Concerns -

Maintaining speed on the highway is more difficult than an ICE. I would look at speed and be 7-8 over speed limit (target) then look over again and be 15 over and then look over again and be 5 under. This could all happen in a span of just a few minutes and it happened the entire trip. I have never had anywhere near this issue with ICE cars maintaining speed. This issue was magnified due to something I will outline in the Safety Concern section which disabled both FSD and cruise.

Supercharger offramps – Every city has that one offramp that is a nightmare, especially if you are from out of town. Somehow Tesla managed to identify and place superchargers at these locations with alarming frequency. At some point, it just became a joke for us, as if they sought out the most convoluted locations possible. Gas stations chose easy on/easy off exits for a reason. Tesla gave little to no thought or care at all to where chargers were placed from a users perspective, they just were filing in a map, it was obvious the person making these decisions never saw the location in person and ease of reaching the destination was not at all a factor.

Supercharger amenities – This may end up being the dealbreaker for me. Perhaps half of the locations had no ready access to restroom facilities. Worse, the vehicle gives you no indication at all of what is nearby. There are effectively ZERO gas stations in this country without restroom facilities. How did Tesla overlook this? Outlet malls don’t have open bathrooms 24 hours a day, neither do applebees or grocery stores. Twice we were told bathrooms were not available to “Tesla people.” So at the exact moment where I have 20 minutes of downtime, I don’t have a bathroom?. To be fair, Sheetz in NC and Kum & Go in IA/MO hosted a number of superchargers and earned my business multiple times as a result, but these were more exceptions than the rule.

Supercharger Costs – A major concern for me before finally buying was, am I captive to Tesla’s need to make a profit for refueling. A salesperson showed me an Elon Musk quote saying that supercharging will never be a profit center. Prices have increased by roughly 40% in the last 6 months since I got my vehicle, almost exactly the increase in gas prices, but oddly not in wholesale electricity prices. Still cheaper than gas, but then again even the most horrible gas station includes access to a bathroom and a snickers bar.

Software Concerns:

Supercharger routing – almost by definition when supercharging away from home, I am in an unfamiliar location. Routing would tell me I had arrived and switch to the next location 2 hours down the road before I reached the charger, too often that meant we were stuck playing “find the supercharger” at a crowded shopping center. This was especially bad at some locations where we would lose the routing as soon as we got off the highway. A number of times it would tell me the charger was on one side of the road and it would be across the street. Or it would literally be around the back of the building and we would just wander around until we found it. This is such a minor thing but was a pebble in our shoe the entire trip.

Supercharger pre-conditioning – This was all over the map. About half the time it worked as I would expect, warming the car up from say 5-10 minutes before arrival. But I also saw all kinds of other results as well. At one point it was pre-conditioned for more than 30 miles from the next supercharger. Maybe 25% of the time it would not pre-condition until I was literally at the exit ramp. Another say 20% of the time, it would not precondition at all despite navigating explicitly to a supercharger.

Mapping and routing…

This is a terrible UI. Worse, I cant even get it to act uniformly.

My route plan typically consisted of 3 locations. 1) where I plan to spend the night 2) where I next plan to eat 3) where I next plan to charge.

When I would add a location from my phone with the send to Tesla from Google maps or when I added from the onboard screen, I literally got 4 different possible outcomes.

1) The one I want – locations in order by distance from where I am – using the above it would be next charger, food, hotel.

2) The dumbest possible one – go to the furthest location, then come back to the closest one. Hotel, food, charger.

3) it would delete the rest of the trip and just add the most recent entry. So no more expected arrival time for lunch or at the hotel, just the next charger.

4) it would add the next location to the computer, but all routing would now be empty. When I open recent locations, it is at the top of the list, but there is no trip plan created and whatever was there has been deleted.

I got each of the above multiple times on the trip. If it was just counterintuitive programming but did the same thing every time I could adjust, but literally it did something different pretty much every time I made any sort of update.

Time Zones – Apparently Tesla does not recognize or account for time zone changes. No car or routing software I have ever used did not account for this. I am in Central time, headed to a location in Eastern time, but am only 30 minutes away from the destination. Talking on phone with person we are meeting and say we will be there around 12:30 because that is what the car tells me. Very confusing to the person on the phone because it is already past 12:30 for them. Did this each time destination was in a different time zone. Again, stupid basic and a solved problem that simply should not be an issue.

Next charger – Because of the mapping and routing bugs we found ourselves sitting at a charger, adding the next charger we want to target, then having to rebuild the route plan, but the charger suggestions just totally changed. 45 seconds ago we were stopping at one charger, now we are being routed to a totally different charger. Frequently it would not realize we were currently charging so route me to a different charger just 10 minutes down the road. Once that happened, no matter how much I charged or how many times I would reset the route plan, that "bonus: charger somehow would override routing and always be included until I drove past it.

Safety Concerns:

Estimated Range – This is a big one. Why in the world would you estimate range and be OVER by 20 miles consistently? I don’t mind if I have 20 extra miles upon arrival, but being even 1 mile short at a destination is a major issue.

Consistently the delta between how far we were from the next stop and the estimated range would narrow as we travelled. So leaving a charger we would be 120 travel miles to next and we might have 180 miles in range (a delta of 60 miles cushion), yet by 50 miles out we might only have 90 miles in range (delta of 40 miles) and we would consistently arrive with 25-30 miles remaining range.

When you have a vehicle that already has some level of range anxiety and a charging network that does not allow for “get off at the next exit” type of driving, you better be very good at estimating how far you can go. If you are bad at it, you should be bad on the conservative side.

I have told the computer where I am going. The computer should very easily be able to take into account things like recent efficiency (accounts for weight, tire pressure etc), current power usage (phones plugged in, Air conditioning etc), driving type and estimated speed, elevation change, and wind/weather to tell me if I can make it there or not.

On one leg we hit a huge rainstorm and our 20% range cushion quickly fell to just 5% and we were 50 miles from where we were going and it ticked as low as 2% at destination. The problem was by the time this was apparent, we were now further from where we last charged than where we needed to be. We either were going to make it or not make it…

Everything got unplugged, AC got turned off, even wipers got set at lower speed… We made it, but it also was a stressful 60 minutes worrying about if we would.

Tesla had all the information necessary to tell us before we unhooked from the last charger that we would be going uphill, into a rainstorm where the wind was blowing into us and should have accounted for those things before telling us to unhook and continue the trip.

Tesla also knows consumers have range anxiety and the cost to them of a customer “running out of gas” is far higher than in a normal car. You run out of gas in a normal car, you are an idiot and tell not a soul – it is your fault!. You run out of gas in a Tesla and you tell everyone you know the car did not estimate its range correctly. Right now, it is the cars fault much more than the consumers based on the huge variance in estimated range and actual range coupled with the limited number of places to charge if an estimate is wrong.

Hardware Failure leading to safety issues:

On day 3 of our trip, 1200 miles from home and 2000+ miles from the end of the trip, we accessed the Frunk.

Immediately, even before it was closed there was an error saying we had a bad frunk sensor. This was maybe the 10th time the frunk was ever opened on the vehicle.

We spent a few minutes opening and closing trying to get the sensor to show as closed. Eventually a google search showed us this was a known and not uncommon issue.

Finally satisfied it was a bad sensor and that the frunk was securely closed, we decided it was safe to proceed.

Every single time we went into drive for the rest of the trip, we would have to click a button acknowledging that the sensor was faulty. I get warning messages, but this one just kept reminding me of a manufacturing issue literally 100 times over the next week.

Downstream Safety Issue #1:

The frunk latch sensor was a minor irritant until we arrived at our hotel for the evening and got to our room only to be told the alarm was going off on the car. Went out to check on it, all was well, 30 minutes later same message. Rinse and repeat until we had the idea that the frunk was probably showing as open and that was the alarm.

Car is full of stuff we don’t want to unload every night, yet to keep the alarm from going off we are forced to deactivate both sentry and alarm system.

Downstream Safety Issue #2:

Next morning, we are on the road and I try to put the car on FSD only to learn that because the Frunk is open (literally the car icon shows us driving down the road with the hood up) that both cruise control and FSD are disabled.

I can certainly understand if the cameras were actually obscured but that was not the case at all.

My primary reason for buying FSD was for road trips. Every trip hits that point where you are exhausted or distracted or for whatever reason your focus is not as great as it should be.

I view FSD as a great safety feature, disabling it dues to a faulty latch sensor that impacted nothing else on the car is a real headscratcher.

Downstream Safety Issue #3:

This is the one that makes no sense at all to me….

We drive into a huge rainstorm. I wait for auto windshield wipers to engage. They don’t.

So I manually activate them only to get a pop-up warning asking me to accept the risk of turning on the wipers, before I can actually turn them on.

An issue that might be obscuring the windshield (but is not) prevents something that is absolutely obscuring the windshield and for which I must manually override the system and it is stated that this is for my safety.



So a malfunction of a non-essential item (hood latch sensor) causes the override and disabling of normal function totally unrelated to the malfunction.

When I purchased the car, my primary concern was what if Tesla does what Apple does and more or less bricks the car requiring an upgrade. This experience lets me know it is 100% possible. One minor issue led to 3 much more significant reductions in basic functionality.

I love my Tesla, it does so many things right. It also does so much wrong.

The company has had plenty of time to gather the above data and make fixes to these obvious and glaring issues and has failed to do so. That tells me they don’t think they are important.

No other car I have ever had has had such an extensive list of poor user experiences.
 
Your thread is very long so it's difficult to give clear answers. Let me just address a couple.
Estimated range: The consumption estimates will get better as it was announced that weather would soon be taken into account. At the moment it's not so it's up to you to plan for that. Play around with ABetterRoutePlanner to see how various advanced settings would affect your trip, as a learning tool for next time. Speed, temperature, rain/snow etc.

Stops: Instead of letting the car choose your next stops, you could remove a lot of your pains by picking the next supercharger on your trip manually on the car's navigation. That's what I did recently, choosing how long I wanted to drive next. I charged to have the buffer I wanted and left. You do this as the car's charging so there's no time lost. You can choose a supercharger that has amenities, solving another of your issues. Maybe you can solve the offramp thing too, checking as you pick the one you'll stop at.

Look at the energy graph's trip tab from time to time as you drive. If you see the estimate at arrival going down, start slowing down earlier or change your plan to stop at a closer supercharger.

I feel like these suggestions fix most of your issues.

EDIT: Oh, forgot preconditioning. It's not a matter of time before arrival, it solely depends on the battery temperature. It will start farther away if the battery's colder, so it has enough time to reach the proper temp which is very high (think 122F). Don't think that driving for an hour is enough...
 
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Also, regarding knowing whether restrooms are at a supercharger, each supercharger icon on the map and on the route list is selectable. When selected, it will indicate further icons for food, hotel, restrooms, etc. You can then click on these icons to get more info. Actually a really nice feature, but it’s admittedly one that has to be discovered. Not readily apparent in the UI.
 
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This isn’t a perfect science…yet. We are 100% beta testing a new way of living, and it will take time before there’s convenient and fast charging on every street corner. PlugShare and ChargePoint do have somewhat better descriptions of where the chargers are hiding, so worth making notes in advance, including grabbing meal breaks. I think you have to just view the car’s nav system as one of several info sources to consult when driving, in the same way we used to use paper maps AND travel guides to figure these things out.
 
Diorex thanks for that interesting report. Wifey and I just completed a 2,800 miles (south of Tucson to Cape Cod) trip this past Wed (6/8). Went smoothly. Our MY was acquired in Nov, 2020. I am always fiddling with the nav system, just to keep busy mostly. No major issues that I can recall.

This was our third trip back and forth AZ~MA~AZ AZ~MA and they all went smoothly. Auto Pilot was great!! Had two minor phantom braking events. No biggie.

Even got to try out our CSS adapter (used it six times, had one EA site failure). Will use EA a bit more if it's convenient.

Best of luck in your future travels.

Rich

Wife earning her keep at an EA station!

dTG8y89.jpg
 
I have more to respond with but I want to say that only 2 of the 5 SC locations we visited had close amenities that were open nearby. Being next to an Applebees at 8:30 am does nothing for us so we had to walk .6 miles and under I-80 to get to a Burger King for food and restrooms.
 
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Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
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USA
Suggestion for the OP: Give it a while. You've learned to deal with all of the idiosyncrasies of the ICE and your parents and driver ed probably had already prepped you for many of them. EVs are a bit different and there's no legacy tribal knowledge upon which to draw. Also, the infrastructure is still in its infancy, making restrooms and food places sometimes imperfect. Believe me, after over 20 years of EV driving, I can assure you it has improved greatly and by this time next year, you'll agree it has probably improved a lot more. Note: You're allowed to stop at a gas station to use a restroom. It doesn't waste any more time than with an ICE where you have to babysit your car as it refuels. At this point, it's their fault/loss for not putting in EV chargers.
Clearly, you've got an infant mortality issue with your frunk sensor. That can happen with any car although Tesla certainly seems to be going through a period where they happen more than usual. Remember that Toyota sells a car for about 2 years in Japan only before selling them to the US and they started by copying mature US and European designs, and then only make minor changes. This give them time to dial in the factory to reduce a lot of these infant mortality issues. Tesla keeps bouncing between being too expensive and many manufacturing issues. But remember, they started from scratch and are still making a lot of improvements.
I'm a bit concerned about your speed problem: I've found that the Tesla cruise control is spot on. Unless you've got it set high but it is responding to other traffic, I don't know what is wrong. You might mention it to service if you're sure it wasn't responding to other vehicles in front of or beside you.
I've never seen that windshield wiper issue about which you speak. Of course, my car is a lot older than yours maybe its a new 'feature'.
Thanks for the careful writeup. I hope Tesla reads it for feedback and others do so they can gain some of the tribal knowledge without having to figure it out themselves.
 
The other unfortunate thing that Tesla has to deal with is SC location. Gas stations were there decades before Tesla. Tesla has no other option but to negotiate for land "somewhere near an exit". They don't get to pick it nor the amenities since it's so late in the game. All the prime spots are taken. They are at the mercy of landlords and electric infrastructure.
 
I'm just spitballing here, but I wonder if your cruise control changing speeds wildly has to do with your Autopilot>Offset setting.

Sounds like it might be set to "Percentage" with a healthy number. If so, then each time a new speed limit sign is read, the cruise control will adjust to that preset percentage or hard number, and in your case since it seemed to be variable, it may be set to "Percentage."

I've had to adjust mine to get to my Goldilocks number that seems just right for my driving style. And if I don't like the new speed, a simple flick of the adjustment wheel is all that's needed.
 
As to amenities at Supercharger locations, wait until you stop at a Buc-ee's which are popping up around the South.

The newest one in Florence, SC, has 16 Tesla Superchargers to go with the 120 gas pumps with food options galore and the cleanest restrooms on the planet. These new places are the future of traveling, and as Earl pointed out, this technology is evolving and so is the support infrastructure.
 
I'm just spitballing here, but I wonder if your cruise control changing speeds wildly has to do with your Autopilot>Offset setting.

Sounds like it might be set to "Percentage" with a healthy number. If so, then each time a new speed limit sign is read, the cruise control will adjust to that preset percentage or hard number, and in your case since it seemed to be variable, it may be set to "Percentage."

I've had to adjust mine to get to my Goldilocks number that seems just right for my driving style. And if I don't like the new speed, a simple flick of the adjustment wheel is all that's needed.
To clarify - the frunk issue prevented use of both the cruise control and the FSD. Normally I would have used cruise set to desired +7-8 over speed limit, but that was not an option. Pretty sure that ,y issue maintaining speed was more of a throttle issue. This could be a difference between ICE and EV, but after 10 days and 2500+ miles I never really dialed in to how to maintain a speed.
 
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SO16

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Feb 25, 2016
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MI
I’m on a 5k road trip right now from MI through the west. About 3.5k miles so far and been fantastic.

I use Tesla NAV for the entire trip but I often manually pick a Tesla supercharger if I want to avoid a busy town or some other reason. The waypoint and edit trip is great.

I have stopped at several supercharger locations and so far every one has been accurate. I have only exclusively used superchargers.
 
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Estimated Range – This is a big one. Why in the world would you estimate range and be OVER by 20 miles consistently? I don’t mind if I have 20 extra miles upon arrival, but being even 1 mile short at a destination is a major issue.
Estimated/Rated Range is like EPA gas mileage, rarely applies in the real world. On my 8,000 mile road trip in summer 2020 the overall average (driving 75-80mph on Interstates) was actual range = 80% of rated range. So for your 120 mile example, I'd guess 150 rated miles for that before any cushion for contingencies. Personally I add a more conservative 1/3 more miles for speed, then a 10% cushion. That comes out to leaving that supercharger with 195 rated miles for my 350-mile rated range Model S. I also add 10 mi;es for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain (subtract 6 for every 1,00 foot loss) and occasionally bump that 1/3 multiplier up for adverse weather (cold, headwinds: rated was 53% more than actual with both in Nebraska on that trip).

While driving I like to have the energy screen up which will display estimated range based upon the way you have driven the past 30 miles. That number should exceed miles to destination in the nav screen. If those numbers are converging you have plenty of warning to slow down a little. My Model S energy screen may not exist in as useful a form in Teslas with landscape screens.

I've been to 133 superchargers and probably less than 5 had any difficulty finding nearby restrooms. Zooming the nav map can give an idea how convenient the supercharger is to the highway. The only one I have personally found really bad in that regard is St. George, Utah.

So a malfunction of a non-essential item (hood latch sensor) causes the override and disabling of normal function totally unrelated to the malfunction.
The cascading issues downstream of the frunk sensor would indeed be very annoying on a road trip. We had an autopilot camera failure coming out of Tahoe in March 2017. We got on the phone and arranged to drop into the Rocklin Service Center an hour later, and 3 hours after that it was fixed and we were on our way.

I realize getting Tesla service centers on the phone these days is not like it was in 2017. However it is often possible to get Tesla roadside service on the phone. It is also possible to find a service center on your route and drop in. If the frunk latch issue developed relatively early in that trip, I would definitely have made an attempt to resolve it on the fly.
 
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bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
447
607
Sunnyvale, CA
Just completed my first mega roadtrip in my Model Y. Started in DFW, drove to Raleigh, then to Chicago, before returning home.

Just over 3500 total miles. $406 in total super charging. Significantly cheaper than what it would have cost in any of my other cars.

First off – I love this car as a road trip car. It does so many things right.

However, the amount of stupid minor and often avoidable frustrations is simply way too high. In many respects I felt like a beta tester, which would have been fine, except this should now be a much more fine tuned system.

Hardware Concerns -

Maintaining speed on the highway is more difficult than an ICE. I would look at speed and be 7-8 over speed limit (target) then look over again and be 15 over and then look over again and be 5 under. This could all happen in a span of just a few minutes and it happened the entire trip. I have never had anywhere near this issue with ICE cars maintaining speed. This issue was magnified due to something I will outline in the Safety Concern section which disabled both FSD and cruise.

Supercharger offramps – Every city has that one offramp that is a nightmare, especially if you are from out of town. Somehow Tesla managed to identify and place superchargers at these locations with alarming frequency. At some point, it just became a joke for us, as if they sought out the most convoluted locations possible. Gas stations chose easy on/easy off exits for a reason. Tesla gave little to no thought or care at all to where chargers were placed from a users perspective, they just were filing in a map, it was obvious the person making these decisions never saw the location in person and ease of reaching the destination was not at all a factor.

Supercharger amenities – This may end up being the dealbreaker for me. Perhaps half of the locations had no ready access to restroom facilities. Worse, the vehicle gives you no indication at all of what is nearby. There are effectively ZERO gas stations in this country without restroom facilities. How did Tesla overlook this? Outlet malls don’t have open bathrooms 24 hours a day, neither do applebees or grocery stores. Twice we were told bathrooms were not available to “Tesla people.” So at the exact moment where I have 20 minutes of downtime, I don’t have a bathroom?. To be fair, Sheetz in NC and Kum & Go in IA/MO hosted a number of superchargers and earned my business multiple times as a result, but these were more exceptions than the rule.

Supercharger Costs – A major concern for me before finally buying was, am I captive to Tesla’s need to make a profit for refueling. A salesperson showed me an Elon Musk quote saying that supercharging will never be a profit center. Prices have increased by roughly 40% in the last 6 months since I got my vehicle, almost exactly the increase in gas prices, but oddly not in wholesale electricity prices. Still cheaper than gas, but then again even the most horrible gas station includes access to a bathroom and a snickers bar.

Software Concerns:

Supercharger routing – almost by definition when supercharging away from home, I am in an unfamiliar location. Routing would tell me I had arrived and switch to the next location 2 hours down the road before I reached the charger, too often that meant we were stuck playing “find the supercharger” at a crowded shopping center. This was especially bad at some locations where we would lose the routing as soon as we got off the highway. A number of times it would tell me the charger was on one side of the road and it would be across the street. Or it would literally be around the back of the building and we would just wander around until we found it. This is such a minor thing but was a pebble in our shoe the entire trip.

Supercharger pre-conditioning – This was all over the map. About half the time it worked as I would expect, warming the car up from say 5-10 minutes before arrival. But I also saw all kinds of other results as well. At one point it was pre-conditioned for more than 30 miles from the next supercharger. Maybe 25% of the time it would not pre-condition until I was literally at the exit ramp. Another say 20% of the time, it would not precondition at all despite navigating explicitly to a supercharger.

Mapping and routing…

This is a terrible UI. Worse, I cant even get it to act uniformly.

My route plan typically consisted of 3 locations. 1) where I plan to spend the night 2) where I next plan to eat 3) where I next plan to charge.

When I would add a location from my phone with the send to Tesla from Google maps or when I added from the onboard screen, I literally got 4 different possible outcomes.

1) The one I want – locations in order by distance from where I am – using the above it would be next charger, food, hotel.

2) The dumbest possible one – go to the furthest location, then come back to the closest one. Hotel, food, charger.

3) it would delete the rest of the trip and just add the most recent entry. So no more expected arrival time for lunch or at the hotel, just the next charger.

4) it would add the next location to the computer, but all routing would now be empty. When I open recent locations, it is at the top of the list, but there is no trip plan created and whatever was there has been deleted.

I got each of the above multiple times on the trip. If it was just counterintuitive programming but did the same thing every time I could adjust, but literally it did something different pretty much every time I made any sort of update.

Time Zones – Apparently Tesla does not recognize or account for time zone changes. No car or routing software I have ever used did not account for this. I am in Central time, headed to a location in Eastern time, but am only 30 minutes away from the destination. Talking on phone with person we are meeting and say we will be there around 12:30 because that is what the car tells me. Very confusing to the person on the phone because it is already past 12:30 for them. Did this each time destination was in a different time zone. Again, stupid basic and a solved problem that simply should not be an issue.

Next charger – Because of the mapping and routing bugs we found ourselves sitting at a charger, adding the next charger we want to target, then having to rebuild the route plan, but the charger suggestions just totally changed. 45 seconds ago we were stopping at one charger, now we are being routed to a totally different charger. Frequently it would not realize we were currently charging so route me to a different charger just 10 minutes down the road. Once that happened, no matter how much I charged or how many times I would reset the route plan, that "bonus: charger somehow would override routing and always be included until I drove past it.

Safety Concerns:

Estimated Range – This is a big one. Why in the world would you estimate range and be OVER by 20 miles consistently? I don’t mind if I have 20 extra miles upon arrival, but being even 1 mile short at a destination is a major issue.

Consistently the delta between how far we were from the next stop and the estimated range would narrow as we travelled. So leaving a charger we would be 120 travel miles to next and we might have 180 miles in range (a delta of 60 miles cushion), yet by 50 miles out we might only have 90 miles in range (delta of 40 miles) and we would consistently arrive with 25-30 miles remaining range.

When you have a vehicle that already has some level of range anxiety and a charging network that does not allow for “get off at the next exit” type of driving, you better be very good at estimating how far you can go. If you are bad at it, you should be bad on the conservative side.

I have told the computer where I am going. The computer should very easily be able to take into account things like recent efficiency (accounts for weight, tire pressure etc), current power usage (phones plugged in, Air conditioning etc), driving type and estimated speed, elevation change, and wind/weather to tell me if I can make it there or not.

On one leg we hit a huge rainstorm and our 20% range cushion quickly fell to just 5% and we were 50 miles from where we were going and it ticked as low as 2% at destination. The problem was by the time this was apparent, we were now further from where we last charged than where we needed to be. We either were going to make it or not make it…

Everything got unplugged, AC got turned off, even wipers got set at lower speed… We made it, but it also was a stressful 60 minutes worrying about if we would.

Tesla had all the information necessary to tell us before we unhooked from the last charger that we would be going uphill, into a rainstorm where the wind was blowing into us and should have accounted for those things before telling us to unhook and continue the trip.

Tesla also knows consumers have range anxiety and the cost to them of a customer “running out of gas” is far higher than in a normal car. You run out of gas in a normal car, you are an idiot and tell not a soul – it is your fault!. You run out of gas in a Tesla and you tell everyone you know the car did not estimate its range correctly. Right now, it is the cars fault much more than the consumers based on the huge variance in estimated range and actual range coupled with the limited number of places to charge if an estimate is wrong.

Hardware Failure leading to safety issues:

On day 3 of our trip, 1200 miles from home and 2000+ miles from the end of the trip, we accessed the Frunk.

Immediately, even before it was closed there was an error saying we had a bad frunk sensor. This was maybe the 10th time the frunk was ever opened on the vehicle.

We spent a few minutes opening and closing trying to get the sensor to show as closed. Eventually a google search showed us this was a known and not uncommon issue.

Finally satisfied it was a bad sensor and that the frunk was securely closed, we decided it was safe to proceed.

Every single time we went into drive for the rest of the trip, we would have to click a button acknowledging that the sensor was faulty. I get warning messages, but this one just kept reminding me of a manufacturing issue literally 100 times over the next week.

Downstream Safety Issue #1:

The frunk latch sensor was a minor irritant until we arrived at our hotel for the evening and got to our room only to be told the alarm was going off on the car. Went out to check on it, all was well, 30 minutes later same message. Rinse and repeat until we had the idea that the frunk was probably showing as open and that was the alarm.

Car is full of stuff we don’t want to unload every night, yet to keep the alarm from going off we are forced to deactivate both sentry and alarm system.

Downstream Safety Issue #2:

Next morning, we are on the road and I try to put the car on FSD only to learn that because the Frunk is open (literally the car icon shows us driving down the road with the hood up) that both cruise control and FSD are disabled.

I can certainly understand if the cameras were actually obscured but that was not the case at all.

My primary reason for buying FSD was for road trips. Every trip hits that point where you are exhausted or distracted or for whatever reason your focus is not as great as it should be.

I view FSD as a great safety feature, disabling it dues to a faulty latch sensor that impacted nothing else on the car is a real headscratcher.

Downstream Safety Issue #3:

This is the one that makes no sense at all to me….

We drive into a huge rainstorm. I wait for auto windshield wipers to engage. They don’t.

So I manually activate them only to get a pop-up warning asking me to accept the risk of turning on the wipers, before I can actually turn them on.

An issue that might be obscuring the windshield (but is not) prevents something that is absolutely obscuring the windshield and for which I must manually override the system and it is stated that this is for my safety.



So a malfunction of a non-essential item (hood latch sensor) causes the override and disabling of normal function totally unrelated to the malfunction.

When I purchased the car, my primary concern was what if Tesla does what Apple does and more or less bricks the car requiring an upgrade. This experience lets me know it is 100% possible. One minor issue led to 3 much more significant reductions in basic functionality.

I love my Tesla, it does so many things right. It also does so much wrong.

The company has had plenty of time to gather the above data and make fixes to these obvious and glaring issues and has failed to do so. That tells me they don’t think they are important.

No other car I have ever had has had such an extensive list of poor user experiences.
That Frunk sensor sounds like a royal pain. As for some of your other issues.
  • Generally, don't try to push your range all the way when charging. It's not ideal for the battery and can lead to risks and frustrations. Consider charging where you have 30-50 miles left.
  • In particular don't just follow what the routing tool says. Pick your supercharger, including picking one that you will arrive at with more range, by how easy it is to get to and what food etc. is there. (Also by how busy it is.) For this, it really helps if you are not driving solo.
  • Yes, Tesla put chargers in the locations it could get free/cheap land, and that sucks.
  • Generally where you eat and where you charge should be the same. Yes, that limits food choices a fair bit but I've made it work. Also where you charge and where you sleep should be the same -- try to pick hotels with charging. See my other thread on complete road trip tricks for more info. All You Need To Know For A Great EV/Tesla Road Trip
  • As others will say, try using ABRP as it is much more flexible. It doesn't work offline though. The ability to do waypoints was a killer feature, but Tesla now has that at least, but not as well.
  • Yes, the auto wiper needs a lot of improvement, and the UI around it. A simple one I have suggested to Tesla -- let the driver push the "single wipe" button 2-3 times for manual wipes, and pick up an interval from that to start. If auto wipe is on and I push single wipe, treat that as a hint to speed up frequency.
 
  • Informative
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