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San Diego to Atlanta road trip

Discussion in 'Model S' started by WARP 10, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. WARP 10

    WARP 10 Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    San Diego
    My wife and I just completed a 4600 mile trip from San Diego to Atlanta and back in our 3 month old S60.
    I had seen the various posts here complaining about various supercharger problems, range problems due to
    excessive speed, cold, wind, etc. and all those other familiar issues, so I was curious to see what our
    experience would be.

    Superchargers - the gap from Casa Grande, Az. to Sweetwater, Tx. on I-10/I-20 adds about 200 miles to the
    trip since you have to go from Gila Bend to Flagstaff and then I-40 to Amarillo. However the addition of the
    Childress, Tx. location cuts that difference in half, allowing you to skip OKC, although we had to reach the
    Hampton Inn in Vernon, Tx. to use their HPWC overnight in order to make it to the Denton, Tx. location. Also,
    the addition of the Birmingham location cuts another 150 miles off the previous requirement to go from
    Meridian, Ms. to Greenville, Al. before heading to Atlanta. The Birmingham parking validation was an
    annoyance but, fortunately, we were there early in the morning and on a Sunday afternoon. The gap between OKC
    and Memphis is also an annoyance, since we would have liked to have stopped in Little Rock to visit my wife's
    sister. All in all, the total additional distance on this trip was less than 200 miles.

    Charging rates were remarkably consistent, always started between 90kW and 95kW, started slowing at 50%
    charged and, for a full charge, dropped to a little less than 40kW. Charged to 100% less than half the time.
    Only big difference was when topping off to 100% one morning in Gallup, NM. just to get the interior warmed
    up on a 25 degree morning. Only got 25kW. Never had a problem with sharing. Counted a total of 22 other cars
    at a total of around 38 stops, about 4-5 per day. Several were just leaving or arriving, so no impact. The
    least amount of charge left was 11% going from Albuquerque to Gallup, 25 degrees, heater on (pre-heated at
    the charger first), ~2000ft of elevation increase, and driving 70-75mph the whole way. We never really
    limited our speed the whole trip except for one day in a deluge across Louisiana. Even with a head wind
    across west Texas and New Mexico, we still were able to maintain speed.

    Observations - energy app and Nav system estimates are pretty accurate and, using Waze to see what the wind
    was doing, it appears wind could be quite a factor. The one day of consistent 15-20mph headwinds increased
    energy usage by about 100Wh/mi. Speed mostly didn't seem to be a huge deal, although you can see the
    increased usage. For the whole trip, I would say we averaged less than 320Wh/mi. Stopping for charging
    probably added about an hour a day, not counting charging stops for food, bathroom breaks, etc. One
    complaint is the lack of food choices around superchargers, although this route doesn't really allow for a
    lot of variety.

    I've seen complaints on other threads here about chargers not being close enough to the interstate and the
    extra time spent charging, blah, blah, blah, to which I frankly reply; boo-hoo. A small price to pay. When you think about it, Tesla has really done a remarkable job on the supercharger network. Sure, there are problems, partic-
    ularly in California, but we saw none on this trip. We met a guy from Montreal at the supercharger in
    Santa Rosa, NM. towing a small camping trailer with a P90D model X, who asked for help getting to
    Alburquerque, a distance of about 110 miles. He was headed for Las Vegas, NV to drop off the trailer and
    then continue to the factory. He was only getting about 75 miles of range per charge at 50mph and wanted
    to know if there might be a campground on the way to Albuquerque where he could charge. I didn't know, but
    suggested he head up to Las Vegas (NM) to use the supercharger there and then to Santa Fe and Alb. He
    didn't realize there were two Vegases (??). Told us there were times on his trip when he just had to un-
    hook the trailer, go to the nearest charger and then return. Made a reservation a hotel in St. Louis who
    told him they had 3 NEMA 14-50s. Got there and yes, they had 3 chargers, but they weren't hooked up yet.
    Had to use his 110 outlet. Now that's what I would call an adventure and something worth complaining about.
    I neglected to get his name, but if anyone knows who this guy is, I'd love to hear how his trip is going.

    Overall, this was probably the easiest, most relaxed road trip I've ever taken, and I've driven across the
    country more times than I can count. The only complaints I have are; some little quirks with the Nav
    system, eg. giving the mileage only to the next SuC stop, too much repitition, etc; a couple of chargers
    are a little difficult to find; and I wouldn't mind having the seats from my Lexus CT200.

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  2. metier

    metier Member

    Apr 5, 2016
    Houston Texas
    Nice write up, thanks

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