Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Road trip in a 2016 90D

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
432
568
boston ma
My wife found a puppy and voluntold me to get it.

As "luck" would have it, she (the puppy) was about 370 miles away.

Since covid begain, 90% of my driving has been moving the car back and forth in the driveway to either charge it or give the kinds space to ride their bikes (Yay, a use for dumb summon!).

So, I plug the car in and time it so that (hopefully) it hits 100% at around the same time my son and I hit the road (2:00am). On the ordinary, the car state that it will charge to 275-277 miles if charged to 100%; when I was working I had access to a 208v/30a charger and often charged into the 90ish percentages prior to driving home. At home I've got a 240/20a charger that juices the car up at 11mph. Good enough for an old house with 3 generations of marginal wiring, a 100a service and a very crowded panel... I wake up to a car reporting that it'll be able to drive 278 miles...

The first leg got us 210ish miles where we landed with 18%; after that I just charged to get to the next charger that was about 120 miles away with 15%ish charge. Each session was roughly enough time to empty the bladder, eat something and stretch my legs and one time scrape & wash puppy poop off the rear all-weather mud tray/carpet covers. Most stops were in the 20-30 minute range, and had it been a trip with the whole family I'm sure my wife would have been glaring at me for the final 5-10 minutes of each charging session. Landing at each stop with 15-20% the charging sessions consistently went to 110-115 kw charge rate for better than 90kw until the battery was in the 60ish % range (I was eating/peeing/stretching not closely auditing the process).

I played a joke on myself by telling the car to get me to pennsylvania from boston without taking toll roads (protip -- don't do this); the car obliged and drove me through neighborhoods in the Bronx, a newark airport runway, and a couple of amazon distribution centers. The navigation worked perfectly in guiding me through which exit, overpass, tunnel, garage and fence to go through. I didn't want to get to the midpoint of the destination too early in the morning and was successful...

On the way back, we made the 350 mile trip in about 6.5 hours, even including leaving the midpoint with only 50% charge (so we had to charge two times instead of just once if we had left with 100% charge). AP1 on highways shouldered 70% of the driving work and let me pay attention to other aspects of the drive in a much more relaxed state of mind. The energy app did a great job of showing me the estimated battery capacity at the next destination and made it easy to decide "hypermile or cruise at 75" The car was quiet, smooth, fast when it needed to be fast, and did a great job of making a 15 hour day feel like a 7 hour day.

Takeaways --

I think my car did a fantastic job of managing a long distance journey. I had heard that the S is a great road trip car, and I can attest that it's pretty good even though you may not be able to cover ground quite as fast as if you've got a TDI and a trucker's helper. I did the trip in a part of the country where you can't throw a rock without hitting a supercharger station, so I had basically zero stress about range. Also, because pandemic there was basically no traffic anywhere.

That said, I think there's not a lot of margin in *my* S to get worse - longer charging sessions or more frequent charging sessions would have quickly changed the stops from "oh good, I'll get a chance to pee and stretch in another hour" to "God Dammit I can't believe I'm still at this god damned charger and I can't face driving for 90 minutes then spending another #*#!%&* hour at the next stop". Also, at one point the center display stated acting extra MCU1 black screeny on me, which was not ideal 4 states away from home.... Mostly I think this means if you ever plan on taking the car on road trips, avoid the smaller battery cars and the older performance cars.

In the other direction, having more battery capacity and a faster charging rate would have probably shaved 30-45 minutes off the drive. Having done this trip, I'd have no reservations about telling my bougie friend who's cross shopping a Q8 or a Cayenne that an S or X is every bit as good as one of those even if you plan on driving it to NYC from Boston once a month for business... And I suspect the Y is going to put BMW and Infiniti in a shallow grave.

(file under: S -- not a city car even after 4 years)
 

aesculus

Still Trying to Figure This All Out
May 31, 2015
4,564
2,615
Northern California
Good report. I have about the same experience in my 2016 90D MX.

While it's not a Raven LR+ it works reasonably well and most of my trips only need 1 or 2 charge stops anyway. Most are about 30 minutes if you do the 15-80% thing.
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,962
7,585
Chicago, IL
I made it 237 miles in one charge with my (then new) 60D over the weathered hills and mountains of I-86 in PA and NY. Just set cruise to 10mph above what the MCU says (or 5mph above what the IC says since they often do not agree). Find the nearest (and tallest) semi going above the speed limit. Set AP to 1 and watch as you can magically go 75mph but only use 270 or less wh/mi. AP at the 1 following setting used to get much closer and did a great job precisely following at a ~1 second following distance. Now it will not get closer than 2 seconds from the nearest vehicle even with a setting of 1. Either way the drag losses are really appreciable with EVs.

We love road tripping with our S (we've done 13 road trips over 500 miles away from home in 3 years). After unlocking extra battery, we find we can skip chargers and usually target 5% SoC for Superchargers. We definitely need the time (2 young kids) and no wife glares when we somehow make our way back to a car that still needs juice. My wife is the one who thinks stops in road trips are relaxing and usually superchargers are located near some fun something or some decent food (or both).
 

vapor trail

Member
Sep 9, 2015
280
296
Roseville, CA
Glad you're enjoying your 90D! I drove my first Model S, a 2015 90D, across the country when moving from PA to CA. The car was a blast to drive and definitely make the journey more enjoyable. No shortage of superchargers along the way, almost always at a decent spot to hit the bathroom, load up on coffee/snacks. 2015 version of autopilot worked flawlessly. We had two cars making the trip, the other a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Everyone was vying for next chance to get behind the wheel of the Tesla.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dondix and tcoombes

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
432
568
boston ma
I made it 237 miles in one charge with my (then new) 60D over the weathered hills and mountains of I-86 in PA and NY. Just set cruise to 10mph above what the MCU says (or 5mph above what the IC says since they often do not agree). Find the nearest (and tallest) semi going above the speed limit. Set AP to 1 and watch as you can magically go 75mph but only use 270 or less wh/mi. AP at the 1 following setting used to get much closer and did a great job precisely following at a ~1 second following distance. Now it will not get closer than 2 seconds from the nearest vehicle even with a setting of 1. Either way the drag losses are really appreciable with EVs.

We love road tripping with our S (we've done 13 road trips over 500 miles away from home in 3 years). After unlocking extra battery, we find we can skip chargers and usually target 5% SoC for Superchargers. We definitely need the time (2 young kids) and no wife glares when we somehow make our way back to a car that still needs juice. My wife is the one who thinks stops in road trips are relaxing and usually superchargers are located near some fun something or some decent food (or both).

My first experience with a tesla was when I went to oregon to see the solar eclipse... I'm not the "best" planner in the world and forgot to rent a car, and by the time I realized I needed a car there was nothing in traditional avenues and only one car on Turo, a tesla S. Well, sacrifices were made... My father-in-law who was in tow wanted to see Crater Lake, so we drove to crater lake after I verified that there was a destination charger there. There were a bunch of fires at the time and roads closed and rerouting was required.... Nothing quite like looking at the energy app and seeing that you'll have -15% to return to your location...

So I did as you described -- I set the cruise control to tailgate semis and otherwise drove more rudely than a pious prius with a load of nitroglycerine. We charged for about an hour there and got back with 8% in the tank...

In this case, there was no drama. I did tailgate a semi for a while in the middle of PA because I wasn't totally happy with seeing that I would have 10% at the next charging station, but quickly ended up with it at 20% so I turned the AC back on and let it cruise along at 70 again.

The total trip efficiency was in the 250kwh -- some in range mode some not, some with AC off, some set to 72.

The range estimation of "277 miles" at 100% on my car seems wildly optimistic in that I seem to end up charging at 180-210 miles of driving and have between 5-20% of battery left. Ultimately, though, the pattern of "long leg, medium leg medium leg, medium leg, charge overnight while sleeping, repeat" seems dominated by "how long does it take to put 120 miles of real range back into the car" and if it is less than 20 minutes, it is an incredibly pleasant experience.

Maybe over the summer we'll go to nova scotia (from boston). That trip will probably take 2 days though...
 
Last edited:

Lasttoy

Active Member
Mar 24, 2017
1,637
969
St Augustine, Fl
I've been up to DC so many times. Tailgating saves a lot if the truck is holding his speed. Also, if u stay longer it kinda gives u a speed cushion if u want to go over 85. If u leave the second it says u can go, it cuts a lot of time off long trip. Sure takes a lot of planning out of the trip. I bought mine in Atlanta, left for DC right out the dealership, it was cool not having to worry about plan.
 

Tabascolorado

Member
Sep 10, 2019
16
7
Denver, CO
What kind of puppy did you get? I did almost the exact same thing almost 2 weeks ago to get my new pup.

We took the 2016 90D from Denver to Grand Junction. My 100% is only 265mi but I didn't need to charge that high since we decided to stop at both Silverthorne and Glenwood Springs. We probably could have skipped a stop but we've found we just prefer more shorter breaks and according to ABRP it only took us maybe 10 min longer.

We were on AP about 95% of the time and found it to eat up the miles except for in the twisty mountain bits where it would turn way too late and way too sharply.

At the Superchargers we would usually arrive with pretty high SOC (40ish%) but we would still get to 100-110kw for several minutes before it started tapering. Again with a new pup we were taking her to the bathroom and playing so we weren't paying too much attention. Plus with free supercharging and never more than 1 other person at a supercharger we just left when we were ready it and it always had more than enough to get to the next stop.

I agree with the OP that roadtripping with an older Model S is right on the edge of being intolerable. I've definitely contemplated going to a M3 or MY for the better range and faster charging speeds but I think I'm going to hold out until the Cybertruck or until the 90D's start getting hit with batterygate.
 

eschummer

Member
May 31, 2016
109
86
San Francisco, CA
Very similar experiences here, also with a 2016 Model S 90D. Our son is (or now I should say was) at UCLA and we live in San Francisco. Made the trip down there so many times, I now try to time my charge stops not by the need to charge, but by the desirability of the SC stops. E.g. going from SF to LA we always try to hit Kettleman - (best lounge, great coffee), followed by Tejon Pass. This means I leave with something like 70%, top it up(15 minutes) at Livermore and can then get to Kettleman with about 5% (I have had some nail biting at times when its exceptionally windy - as others have said, trucks help). If I leave with close to 100%, first stop on the way down would be Harris Ranch, but we're not too fond of that stop. Same on the way back. Choice of stop amenities is now more important than need to charge.

Enjoyable write-up, thanks for sharing!
 

Messagepads

Member
Mar 25, 2020
54
19
Belgium
That's a nice approach to pick the convenient locations for a stop rather than "just" stopping for charge.

Of course this comes with the distances and variety of locations offered in the US.

Being in Europe, this is not so easy and you rather go by obligation (trip planning) than by preference, anyway thanks for sharing these interesting stories.

All the best
 

rafacq

Member
Mar 23, 2019
369
419
Dallas, TX
Great write up. We picked our 2015 S85D with 12,004 miles in San Diego and drove it back home to Dallas. The car was/is a pleasure to drive, especially on long road trips. When I picked up the car it still charged to 270 miles at full charge! A year later, it still charges to 267-268.

Charging (compared to the newer 3 and Y) is definitely slow, particularly once you’ve reached 80%. Still, we found our stops during our return trip allowed plenty of time for restrooms use, having a coffee, snack or a meal. At the end I don’t complain as I was lucky to buy my car while they still were offering free supercharging!

FEB25929-7253-4E3A-9C97-4400782DED31.jpeg
 

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
432
568
boston ma
I consider myself lucky; I've had the car since june, when it charged to 277; when I left on this trip it charged to 278 actual miles indicated... I think I've put about 8k miles on it in that time.

This vintage of car has both free supercharging (theoretically transferable) as well as lifetime connectivity. Of course it also has wonky batteries, AP1, and MCU1... Still, a nice place to spend time on the road.
 

Struja

"Fanboy"
Jun 27, 2017
1,052
1,075
Toronto, Canada
I have a 2016 90D refresh and do regular Toronto to Michigan road trips to visit family (about 360km each way). The trip takes us about 15 minutes longer than when I had my old ICE car but I arrive more relaxed and rested, due to AP1 and the longer pit stop at the Supercharger in Woodstock where we usually stop for coffee and a snack. Overall, I find my S to be a very comfortable road trip vehicle.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rafacq and croman

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,790
8,626
Seattle area, WA
That said, I think there's not a lot of margin in *my* S to get worse - longer charging sessions or more frequent charging sessions would have quickly changed the stops from "oh good, I'll get a chance to pee and stretch in another hour" to "God Dammit I can't believe I'm still at this god damned charger and I can't face driving for 90 minutes then spending another #*#!%&* hour at the next stop". Also, at one point the center display stated acting extra MCU1 black screeny on me, which was not ideal 4 states away from home.... Mostly I think this means if you ever plan on taking the car on road trips, avoid the smaller battery cars and the older performance cars.
I took my P85D across the continent (over 6000 miles round trip), and quickly learned that my heavy right foot requires up to 30% more SoC than the car says. That said, the car does a pretty good job estimating the next supercharger SOC, so if you're going negative, just slow down a little. So, for a couple of legs, I had to slow down a little towards the end (I didn't have the patience to charge much above 90% which would have gotten me there without slowing down). There was one situation where I had to slow down a lot due to a 20 mile detour, but still made it ok.

Dying MCU would concern me much more, for example until I replaced my emmc chip recently, I would not attempt any trip >200 mile away from my house, as I knew it could die on me any time leaving me stranded. I would take my car again on a cross country trip today. I would probably also take my wife's 75D too, a little bit of extra time at the superchargers would not be the end of the world.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VikH

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
432
568
boston ma
I took my P85D across the continent (over 6000 miles round trip), and quickly learned that my heavy right foot requires up to 30% more SoC than the car says. That said, the car does a pretty good job estimating the next supercharger SOC, so if you're going negative, just slow down a little. So, for a couple of legs, I had to slow down a little towards the end (I didn't have the patience to charge much above 90% which would have gotten me there without slowing down). There was one situation where I had to slow down a lot due to a 20 mile detour, but still made it ok.

Dying MCU would concern me much more, for example until I replaced my emmc chip recently, I would not attempt any trip >200 mile away from my house, as I knew it could die on me any time leaving me stranded. I would take my car again on a cross country trip today. I would probably also take my wife's 75D too, a little bit of extra time at the superchargers would not be the end of the world.

Yeah, I glance at ABRP to try to figure out which superchargers I can get to with the a reasonable buffer, but when driving I rely entirely on the energy consumption app with the projected arrival energy gauge as my guide. It has proven to be quite accurate, though on occasion it will jump or fall by 2-3%, that may be a result of my drafting a truck or stomping on it to get away from some Subaru that keeps hiding in my blind spot or putting me in theirs for 10 miles at a time. Do other cars have "adaptive hide in blindspot" cruise control?

Yeah, my car has had several "hi, I'm your MCU and I'm waiting for when it is least convenient" episodes, like the update that never installs or the "hey, why is my screen taking 45 seconds to boot up".

I got my car "not a CPO" from Tesla with 45k miles in June of 2019, so I've got 3.2 years of B2B warranty left. So presumably when it fails they'll put me on the refurbished garbage train where they put someone else's broken MCU into my car until I complain 6 months later that it's broken again. I'm hoping that in that time they'll come up with a MCU upgrade that keeps the radio as well as a new battery using their yet-to-be-released katrillion mile battery chemistry -- even if they nerf it to the original 288 mile EPA range, it'd weigh only 300 pounds so the car'd be way more efficient.

Or maybe by then elon will have put his brain in a jar and launched it to the tax/law free homestead of Mars (aka MuskTopia), and left all us "physical entities" to fend for ourselves.
 

Cape Coddess

Working 2 ROTHS - hold and swing
Aug 18, 2019
249
794
Cape Cod
This is a fun thread. I'm enjoying the stories immensely. Thanks for starting it.

I road trip from Cape Cod to South Florida twice a year in my 2016 90d refresh... With my 19-year-old cat. She sleeps in her Kitty condo and comes out into the cabin for stretch and a snack when we're charging. I sleep in the back during charging and sometimes sleep longer than I planned. Like 3 hours. Fortunately it's the middle of the night and there's usually no one else at the chargers.

The battery charges up to about 260 to 265 mi now but that's okay because as was stated above I normally only drive about 185 to 210 mi before I want to stop.

The MCU 1 was replaced last March. Fortunately I was not on the road trip. The symptom was that it was no longer doing verbal navigating or showing me the blue line/path. I made more u-turns during those couple of months before replacement than I ever had in my entire life.

I love road tripping in this car and have no qualms about hitting the road . It's especially nice during the C19 because the roads seem to be fairly empty.

IMG_20190415_123631702_HDR.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: rafacq and f205v

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top