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Road trip in a Roadster - looking for advice / suggestions

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by adiggs, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    I am starting to plan for an extended road trip in the Roadster this summer. I haven't done anything like this before, so I'm looking for advice (big or little stuff) that might help me out as I get into the planning.

    By 'extended trip', I am planning to participate in the EV Rally that Tony is organizing. That will end up being about 3000 miles as I drive up to the Washington / Canada border, then down to Southern California (the Rally segment itself), and then back home to Portland, OR (double rally!). When you're looking for an excuse to do something (drive Roadster), apparently most anything will do :tongue:


    My initial thinking is to plan a day of travel as being 3 driving segments and 2 charging segments, where each driving segment is in the 100-150 mile range, and the charging segment is however long it needs to be to be ready to go again. That turns into 200-450 miles in a day, but around 300-350 typically. For those have taken their Roadsters out on the road, is that a reasonable way to think about the travel? My general attitude is that I'm not particularly in a hurry, and if there's an opportunity to meet people along the way, then I would rather do more days with 2 driving segments (leave more time free in the afternoon / evening), than fewer days with 3 segments (though I think 3 driving and 2 charging segments is doable in 8-10 hours, so an evening meetup at the end of that is reasonable).

    And yes - those driving ranges are chosen based on the Roadster / Tesla highway - that seems to be about how far apart the 70A chargers are located, so I know about and plan to lean heavily on that.


    I'm planning to bring along the J1772 adapter, the UMC with NEMA 14-50 (50A RV Service!), and standard wall outlet chargers. From what I can tell, I can reasonably expect to travel with those, but are there any I'm missing that I'm going to regret?


    And of course anything else you think I should know as I start planning this out.

    Thanks!
    Asoka
     
  2. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    When I bought my Roadster, I made the trip from Newport Beach, CA to San Jose, CA. It was about 400 miles, and took sixteen hours I believe. I only stopped at Rabobanks, as they have the 70a chargers and would charge for two to three hours each.

    It's definitely doable, just don't try to sleep in the Roadster like I did. It was freezing in the middle of the night, and very cramped ;).
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Three segments per day is possible, but not easy. If you have HPC level power (70A) you're talking about a three hour Standard-mode charge. So let's say you Range charge overnight, drive for three hours, charge for three, drive for three, charge for three, and drive for three. That's 15 hours - a pretty full day.

    Unfortunately, in the real world, you're probably not going to have a lot of 70A chargers available. Well, perhaps on the West Coast there might be more, but I think the rules for that rally require you to use chargers that "anyone can use", so that means Roadster plugs are out (unless they were converted to J1772).

    50A is okay - that gives you 40A of charging power. But now your recharge time is about 6 hours. RV campgrounds are the best place to find that. Bring your UMC. You can probably do three legs, but they won't be the full range of the car.

    A 40A circuit is starting to get tedious - that gives 32A charging. Over 7 hours. Great for overnight but very tedious otherwise.

    30A J1772 is quite commonplace. Some of these actually do give you 30A (i.e. 40A circuit), but many only give you 24A. At 24A you're talking a 10 hour recharge time. And if it's 208V power source then you're talking a 10 hour Standard mode charge - not Range! (Been there, done that!)

    So I think you'll be visiting a lot of RV campgrounds. Call ahead and make sure that they have "50A" circuits available (they won't understand 220V or NEMA 14-50).

    My rule of thumb is "try not to drive faster than you can charge". The reason is you'll get to the charging station faster, but then because of the extra power consumption you'll end up waiting at the charging station far longer. So if you're driving to a 70A station, you can go 55 mph. If you're going somewhere with less power, try to drive slower!
     
  4. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    I agree that if I'm driving for 3 hours (call it 150-170 miles), and do 3 of those segments a day, that's a bit much (I'm not looking for a death march, or to prove how tough I am). I would just do 2 segments of that scale. If the segments are more like 100-120 miles though (which is about what I've seen along the Tesla Highway), then 3 of those a day sounds doable (couple hours each). Or another way of thinking about it, however many segments it turns into - 250-300 miles a day or so.
     
  5. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Try searching Tesla Roadster roadtrip. Both here and on the internets. It has been done many times and some have documented cross country trips in blogs.
     
  6. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    Hey Asoka,

    Definitely do the search on TMC that VFX recommends. However, here's some tips:

    1) Are you taking a passenger? If so, then trunk space may be at a premium.
    2) Forget the 120volt Spare Mobile Connector. The rally will be over the first time you have to use it, anyway.
    3) Know the location of every 70-amp J1772 (mostly Rabbobanks):
    a) this listing is out of date, http://www.evchargernews.com/regions/ch-tesla-tesla.htm but only in regards to what connector the chargers have.
    b) this listing is more up to date, https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=213359050108102131982.00048cca5f440e03b1fe4, but it includes things like Model S stations you can't use (which are in red).
    4) Get the following cards:
    a) ChargePoint
    b) Blink (choose the "Guest" option)
    c) SemaConnect
    5) I originally thought you shouldn't take the UMC, since it's a space hog, but considering how the EV Rally might play out (so many cars on the same route all looking for the same J1772 chargers, spaced apart by 15 minutes), I guess the UMC really becomes a necessity. If you can tolerate the space, get this chair: http://www.amazon.com/Alite-Designs-01-04A-BLK5-P-Mayfly-Chair/dp/B009UW35TW so you have a place to sit that's not in the car itself.
    6) I wouldn't worry about other adapters, unless you plan on staying with friends overnight. Then you might want to make some homebrew adapters from whatever dryer outlets they have to your NEMA 14-50.
    7) If you need a Range charge, but are short on time, do a Standard charge and watch the amps being drawn. When the amp draw drops, then you can switch to Range mode.
    8) How hardcore a driver are you? I agree with others that 2 daytime charging sessions is draining, but if you're young and committed, it is do-able. I wouldn't find it fun.
     
  7. drees

    drees Active Member

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    Sign up for the Plus membership, not the Guest membership. Annual fee is waived through 2013 and reduces cost to $1/hour. After 2013 change to the Basic membership which is $1.50/hr unless you'll be charging enough on their network to make the $30 annual fee worth while.
     
  8. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Many good suggestions - thank you all. Especially the different cards to get - that was going to be another questions at some point :)

    I won't be bringing a passenger. But I figure a bag of clothes, laptop bag for doing homework, plus a bag of adapters and cables - some of the luggage will be in the passenger seat :)

    My general approach to the Rally is more of a rolling social hour and chance to visit and meet folks, rather than a race to get somewhere quickly. I'm thinking I'll make some side trips along the way that let me visit as many Tesla stores up and down the coast as possible. And of course, I need to see HQ and the Factory, while getting electrons all along the way.

    I figure the 2 charging sessions in a day works better if I'm on the road at 7 or 8am, with the next day being a day of going nowhere in particular. But I'm also thinking more in terms of 100 mile segments than 150's or 300 mile days - I think the longest rally stage is around 375 miles (cutting stage 1 in half makes it more like 280 twice). A 300 mile day if I'm driving or charge at 50 miles/hour is a 12 hour day.


    I'll have another post soonish with particular charging locations and overnight plans along the way. And of course, I'll need the plan to get home also, as I'll be driving both ways! We'll see how well a Roadster holds up to 1000 mile weeks rather than 1000 mile months :) (Already planning a new set of rears prior to departure).
     
  9. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    #9 richkae, Apr 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
    If you charge at an RV park, check the breaker to see if it looks old. If it looks old, stick around for the first 10-15 minutes of charging to see if it gets hot.
    My very first road trip with the Roadster ( 850 miles over 3 days in July 2009 ) there were almost no HPCs, and almost all charging was done at RV parks.
    The very first RV park I tried to overnight in - the breaker got hot and tripped after about 10 minutes. The next morning I woke up to no charge, and lost half a day while I waited for a charge ( after changing spots and finding a new breaker )

    Do you have a Tesla Tattler or an OVMS? With that to monitor charging you don't need to worry about it. But if the breaker isn't burning hot after 10-15 minutes, it will probably be fine for hours.

    Choose an RV park next to a restaurant you can walk to, or some other good time passing activity.

    Make sure you keep your tires fully inflated for max range.
     
  10. rsquared99

    rsquared99 Member

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    When charging at RV parks during the day time, try to find a shaded area where both the car and the RV park circuit breakers are not in direct sun light. This helps with richkae's topic of old/worn breakers tripping. This also helps to keep the maximum power filling the battery as opposed to cooling the batteries. My nearly 1600 mile road trip in the mid-west during July using only RV parks was very difficult because of the 100+ degree temperatures. I could drive 3 hours at a moderate speed, but it took nearly a full six hours to charge for the next leg. So my routine ended up being drive 3hrs, charge 6hrs, drive 3hrs, overnight charge. It took 5 days for the trip. In that heat, neither the car nor I wanted to do more than that. Of course, my old fat body might have had something to do with that. The thing to remember is when most people go to RV parks, they bring their creature comforts with them. The roadster doesn't have room to bring much in that regard and most parks, at least in the mid-west, don't have much to offer. I personally found KOA's to have the best accomodations for that trip. Good luck on your adventure.
     
  11. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    The good news is that I will be traveling along the Tesla Highway. If the various Tesla stores will let me charge (and I expect they will), then it looks like I'll be able to do 70A charging all the way border to border during the days, with 30/40A charging overnight. I'm putting together an initial list of stops and distances - I'll post soon and see if anybody sees segments where I'm setting myself up for failure :)
     
  12. tomsax

    tomsax Member

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    I'll amplify Rich's comment: I consider having an OVMS or Tesla Tattler indispensable for a road trip. Either can send you a text message if a charge stops before completion. You really don't want to head out to your car in the morning to find that the charge stopped 5 minutes after you walked away from the car. It can happen at RV parks with old, shoddy equipment and it can happen at brand new J1772 charging stations. It can happen 2 minutes after you plug in and it can happen an hour later. I've been saved from this rude surprise on multiple occasions by these devices. If nothing else, you'll sleep better.

    Also, you'll want to pick up an AeroVironment fob in case you need to use one of the Electric Highway stations in Oregon or Washington. The Wolf Creek Inn is a nice place to stay and charge.

    1,823-Mile Oregon Coast Tesla Road Trip
     
  13. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    That's good stuff Tom - you have me thinking of incorporating the Oregon coast / Hwy 101 into the trip, maybe on the return leg. Others have nudged me about getting the OVMS or Tattler - I think you've pushed me over the edge about getting one.
     
  14. tomsax

    tomsax Member

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    My favorite Roadster drive ever was the segments of the old Highway 101 through the Redwood forests in Northern California which pairs nicely with the stunning scenery of the Oregon coast. The only downside is the total lack of charging over 40A. Even finding good 40A charging was challenging last year. Cathy spent a ton of time finding places where we could both charge and sleep, all of which I documented in that blog.
     
  15. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Argh - I'm already taking a 3 week vacation! You tempt me with your scandalously wonderful places to drive :)
     
  16. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    All signed up for Blink / AV / Chargepoint, and waiting for cards in the mail. Is there a way to sign up for SemaConnect without putting money in up front? I'm fine with paying as I go, but there's a better than reasonable chance that I'll never use the $20 that gets collected up front, and that'll just be annoying having $20 paid into something I likely won't be using. (I went with the free / no up-front deposit on the other where a choice was needed).

    My wife and I drove over to Cannon Beach today. Our first "road trip", which really means our first time taking the car under 100 miles of range remaining. Out and back from the west side, with a mostly full range charge, was about 200 ideal miles with 28 remaining when we got back. We made a weak attempt at charging at the West Coast Electric Highway station in Cannon Beach, but without the fob, without really knowing what we were doing, and not really needing any charge, we didn't stick with it for long before we hopped back in the car and continued our drive. Besides, this provides an excuse to go back and try out the AV card when it arrives! (and when you're looking for an excuse, most anything will do)

    It was quite amusing to get plugged in, and hear all the fans light off on the car; I'm assuming cooling the battery pack down from the drive plus the recharging. The garage was sounding like a wind tunnel when we close the door and went back inside :)
     
  17. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    I don't know what SemaConnect is like on the West coast, but out here in the East most of them don't work with the Roadster. They always stop with a ground fault error.
     
  18. tomsax

    tomsax Member

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    It's not an east coast/west coast thing. SemaConnect stations work just fine with v1.5 Roadsters but not with v2.x Roadsters because the newer Roadsters leak a tiny bit of current for fraction of a second when a charge starts. Some stations, like the SemaConnect, have super sensitive ground fault circuits and kill the charge session as a result.

    The Sema folks were supposed to get this fixed, I don't know if newer stations still have the problem.
     
  19. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Their newer line of products are all using the less-sensitive 20ma threshold but they never fixed the older stations that were branded Schneider, SemaConnect, and ChargePro. I forgot the v1.5 Roadsters worked just fine with the Schneider/SemaConnect stations.
     
  20. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Could a spoof/override circuit be installed in the 2.0 trunk that could take over for the first 20 seconds (by holding down a button)? My nearest charger (150 miles away) is a twin Schneider EVSE that was installed new just one year ago. Works fine on ModelSs. I really want to crack this particular nut. :mad:
    --
     

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