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Roadtrip advice: do I take the Model S or the minivan?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by mnx, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    I'm in the process of planning a trip from Hamilton, ON to the Annandale, VA...

    My longest leg is going to be from Erie, PA (an overnight stop at a hotel charging on L2) to the Somerset, PA SC. Google maps says 299km. Sounded doable on the surface, but the more I look into the #'s the more I have my doubts.

    Right now it looks to be a high of -4C on the day I leave (with a low of -8C). I went with an avg temp of -6C or 21F. Chad's sticky in the battery&charging section (Putting some numbers on the factors that affect range) says to add 25% in energy usage at 15F... I punched in that leg of the trip into http://www.jurassictest.ch/GR/ it says to expect 226Wh/km @ 100km/h. Adding in 25% gives me 282.5Wh/km. Usable energy in the battery appears to be 75.9kWh (how i reduce my cold weather long distance range anxiety - Page 2) so I'd need to average 75900Wh/299km = 253Whkm to not deplete the battery.

    Working backwards to stay under 253 Wh/km I'd have to drive 83km/h using jurassictest #'s + a 25% cold weather penalty.

    I'm thinking that taking the minivan is a better idea for this trip (as much as I hate the van). I don't want to be killing any time at L2 chargers, as I've got 3 kids and the youngest is 22 months...)

    Are the jurassic test #'s pretty accurate? (I changed the weight of the S from 1950kg to 2086kg and added in 3 75kg passangers...) Is 25% cold weather penalty too high, or is that a good conservative # to use?
     
  2. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I've only taken one road trip in 14 months without my Model S and that was due to a 15" snow storm but if I were you I'd err on the side of caution and take the van. Cold weather wreaks havoc with range.
     
  3. liuping

    liuping Active Member

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    I always check EVTripPlanner before long trips. it takes into account elevation, speed and temperature differences (out side vs your cabin setting)
     
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    +1 seems a bit more accurate than Jurrasic test from my trip checks
     
  5. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    #5 mnx, Mar 3, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
    Thanks. I punched in the start and endpoints, put in 20F for outside temp and 68F for cabin temp. Put in a 550lbs payload... I left the speed at default, (average of 66mph) and am left with a 11mile surplus/buffer. (slowing down to an avg speed of 62mph or 95% of avg. speed gives me a more comfortable 20mile buffer) Now that I know it's likely possible I just have to decide whether it's a good idea or not. :)
     
  6. Cliff Hannel

    Cliff Hannel Member

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    I consider that a very small buffer - my suggestion: slow down a little or charge a little. Tesla has been messing with the way they calculate rated miles, so that's another potential source of error...

    Also, the version of the planner at EVTripPlanner accounts for air density changes with temperature and altitude (using Algorithm B) - my guess it will cut your energy estimate a little.
     
  7. abasile

    abasile Independent Software Eng.

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    I'd say charge a little. There are plenty of L2 options in the Pittsburgh area. Even 30-60 minutes of L2 at 30A would significantly help your margin. Seems more than worthwhile for the pleasure of driving the Model S!

    Too bad using a CHAdeMO adapter isn't an option yet. In western PA, that could really help.
     
  8. sefs

    sefs 2012 Ford Focus Electric

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    Depending on how soon you plan on taking the trip, the Cranberry Twp, PA Supercharger is probably less than a month from completion. If you plan on taking it before that, in that same Cranberry Twp/Wexford area are at least three high power charging options. I personally have a 70 amp J1772 on PlugShare, and there are two Model S owners in the same area with 80 amp HPWC's on PlugShare. Erie to Somerset is 192 miles. Charging in the Wexford area would give you a fill up at 115 miles. Stop for an hour an get 50-60 miles.
     
  9. GSP

    GSP Member

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    I also would plan a 1-2 hour charge. Stop and eat a meal, visit a museum or library, or go to a movie. It could be a safer and more enjoyable trip than taking the minivan and not taking a break.

    GSP
     
  10. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. This trip is going to be much easier in the future as my kids get older the the supercharger build out continues. Even if the Cranberry supercharger were online it'd be way easier.

    Given my youngest's dislike for car rides over ~1.5 hours and the nasty weather this winter I think the wiser choice this time around is the van. The flexibility to stop when it's convenient rather than being tied to charging stops is too valuable to give up this time around.

    I'll definitely take the car next time I do this trip, especially if the superchargers are built in Buffalo, NY and Clearfield, PA.
     
  11. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    I had this exact same decision over Thanksgiving driving to TN in similar temperatures. The issue was the 200 mile leg to Asheville which was uphill with a significant climb at the end. I drove 5-8 miles under the speed limit and ended up having plenty of range left (40 rated). I drive to Boston (170 miles) regularly in similar rolling terrain at 75 mph and have 40-45 rated left. If I slowed down to 65 I'd have plenty.

    Based on my experience, I'd make the drive. Identify your charging backups and your go/no go remaining range at each of those points. Modulate your speed based on energy usage. Wind will be your biggest enemy.

    EDIT: Saw your last post after composing this one. Have fun on the drive, whichever car you take :biggrin:
     
  12. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Take the minivan.

    I took Model S from Ithaca, NY to Grand Rapids, MI and back, with very careful planning and a lot of redundancy.

    Due to horrible, horrible weather, it ended up being a close thing several times. It was nervewracking.

    If you hit a particularly nasty snowstorm, you'll be miserable. You don't want to do this.

    If you're willing to stay an extra night or two at Erie (or, on the other way, at Somerset) waiting until the weather clears up, then by all means take the Model S. Otherwise you do *NOT* want to try to do the 200 mile run in winter.
     
  13. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Over nearly four years of Tesla ownership and many long road trips, I have found one general principle that always applies. If the charging situation is borderline, DO NOT also put yourself on a tight time schedule. This is the sure fire way to end up with white knuckles or frustrated by the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck. If you have the time and can be flexible, there is always a way to keep things sane. If you are genuinely time constrained, or just impatient, you will ruin your own day. Until Superchargers are ubiquitous, follow this principle and love your Tesla.
     
  14. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    (as a side note, I would do the trip in a Model S in the summer any time. RV parks provide ample backup charging locations in summer and the mileage is a lot better in summer.)
     
  15. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I agree.
     
  16. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Well stated. +1
     
  17. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Trip completed. Taking the van was the right choice. Total travel time was ~9 hours in each direction including stops.

    On the way home all 3 kids were sleeping when we passed Hagerstown, MD. Getting off the highway to charge would have woken them all up and we would have had to figure out how to kill >20 minutes... We didn't go past Somerset, since we headed North before then but I think at least one of the kids was still asleep when we would have had to stop a 2nd time.

    The weather was fantastic so I could have definitely gotten away with taking the car. I think the coldest temperature I saw on the trip in either direction was 5 deg C.
    Hopefully in the near future there will be SC's in Buffalo NY, Clearfield, PA etc. so taking a trip like this will be a piece of cake. I'd hate to have to leave my Model S at home next time!
     
  18. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    Glad it worked out...
     
  19. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Sorry I didn't catch this until now MNX, I would have definitely invited you to use my HPWC in Wexford. Had two Canadian owners use it on their way back north on Saturday night. Adding the border crossing and its unknown delays really adds another wrench into the works. Cranberry should be up and running in and other week or so, next year it should be a non-issue. Tesla really needs the SpC in Buffalo, and one in Erie, PA. I am sure they will address it before long.
     
  20. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    You offered your HPWC to me in another thread. :) Thanks again!

    Driving 9 hours in the van wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The thing I missed the most other than the acceleration/handling of the S was the 17" screen / google maps....
     

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