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Road Trip - Model Y

We took our first road trip in a 2023 Model Y LR during the recent winter weather. We went from Chicago-land to Northern Florida and back. Before we went, I read every thread here about traveling with the Tesla, so thought I'd share some notes to try to help someone else. Here's what we learned; good, bad, and ugly.

  • The Tesla map is awesome.
  • The recommendations for charging on the map were spot on. It was insanely cold (1 F) when we left and was under freezing our entire trip. The car got every stop right and it was amazing to see how many spaces were open in every stop.
  • Plug and charge with no credit card slide and not having to answer 14 questions about car washes and receipts was great.
  • Our stops generally had good services nearby.
  • It was nice to have to stop every 1.5 - 2.5 hours for a break and to stretch our legs. I really enjoyed the pace of travel.
  • Electrify America was a great back-up for us and their app is super-easy to use.
  • It was fun to stay overnight at the Tru hotel in the Atlanta area and wake up with a full battery!
  • Do I even have to mention how much more fun it is to drive the Tesla? One pedal driving on mountain roads was especially nice.
  • I wish I could use the PlugShare map in an automated way in my Tesla. We wanted to use 1-2 Electrify America stops and our car didn't know we were going to charge there so couldn't update what we'd have left at the next charger until we "filled up" at the 3rd party stop. Not awful, but it would've made our trip better.
  • For us, we calculated that it takes about an extra hour of travel time every 5 hours of trip time. For a day-long trip, that's not bad. For our 17 hr trip, it made a big difference. It's a bit of a contradiction to the positive above, but both can be true.
  • The wipers aren't the best. For the price of the car, the wipers with fluid left some streaks, even after extra runs. They got LOTS of action on our way down to Florida.

  • The worst part for me is that with an ICE vehicle you can watch the exits and choose one with specific services you want. We had to stop so much we didn't really want to get off on more exits and delay our already really long drive.
  • Autopilot was atrocious. On the way down, when it was icy and super-cold, it was unusable. The wipers went off incessantly, even thought there was no snow or rain falling. On the way back, it was OK, but would turn off every time a semi was in the lane next to me. I'd like to request Manual Cruise Control back.
  • I'm so afraid to wash the damn car that we spent a ton of time searching and driving around towns trying to find self-serve car washes. Turns out, they're not really advertised or even locatable online in many cases. Upon returning to Chicagoland I've decided "f-it" and am just going to my last car wash. I took my Nissan at least weekly and never had a problem. If my twice as expensive car can't be washed in the winter, it shouldn't be sold in the midwest. I'll hand wash it in the summer.

My summary is that we loved the driving experience but will likely not want to spend another really long road trip in it until electric charging becomes more prolific. We definitely don't regret it, though. Our dog got to come along, and she would've had to stay home if we flew like we usually do. And, we learned SO MUCH about the Tesla and its range in a variety of weather conditions.


"Tesla Model Y Dual Motor Deep Blue Metallic (1)" by Damian B Oh is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Admin note: Image added for Blog thumbnail.
. With no other cars near mine we charged around 112kw - 122kw. 30 minute minimum every time we pulled into a charging station.
250KW is the peak charging speed and only applies at low SOC.

112-122KW is about what the Y should average from 20-80%.

Range on EV’s need to increase and I need to learn what needs to happen in order to only spend 15 minutes at a 250kw charging station and get enough charge to get on my way.
20-80% should take about 20 minutes.

Fastest way to road trip is more frequent, shorter stops.
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Being penalized for driving the car as it should be driven in those circumstances (e.g. drive thru), confirms my concern over allowing any kind of constant driver behavior evaluation from being done. I get that it is a requirement to use the FSD capabilities, but why would you want your insurance premiums tied to something like that? It gathers more data, but it doesn't sound like it actually provides meaningful understanding of what would really be risky behavior. It would be interesting to be able to get the feedback of what it thinks is risky behavior, but only for my personal consideration-- not as information that is ready to be used to as objective reasoning for determining insurance premiums.
I agree. More and more insurance companies are doing this but their algorithms are far from perfect. The way they incentivize driver behavior can even lead to crashes. For example, liberty mutual app dings driver for hard brake and almost any slowdown in Tesla qualifies as hard brake. Full regen is definitely hard brake in its book even if I never touched the brake pedal ( and I don’t have one pedal driving or pedal assist with partial regen on). As a result, I now slow down gradually from far away when approaching a signal or stop sign and very slowly and carefully roll through stop sign to avoid getting dinged. Fortunately, they only require me to use it for 90 days and I am waiting for the day that I can delete the app and go back to normal driving. I really doubt these app designers even have drivers license.
Tesla insurance is even worse because they will monitor forever. No thanks. I don’t care how cheap they are for their “ideal drivers”.