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Selling a Tesla: Compare ICE, Supercharge and Battery Swap Road Trips

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by bollar, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    Many friends are conceptually interested in owning a Tesla, but want to understand how it works for road trips and how a Tesla road trip would compare to their current family car (likely an SUV). The trip that came up regularly is Dallas to the Florida Gulf Coast -- it's apparently a big destination for people around here. Several drive twice to three times a year! If they're going to replace the existing car with an S or X, it needs to be able to make this trip.

    I tried to model this trip and the results are below. My assumptions are as follows:

    - Regardless of range, everyone needs a bio-break / driver swap every 3-4 hours and a meal stop half way. This models what the families tell me about their trip.
    - Superchargers (SC) and battery swap (SS) are available on the route. The Shreveport, LA SC is not currently on Tesla's map. Routing using planned Superchargers would add 115 miles to the route.
    - ICE MPG and range is based on a Mercedes Model S.
    - For reference, air is ~$350/person
    - Cost is not this audience's only concern, but they're not willing to have a Tesla and still retain a comfortable long-range ICE, just for this trip's purpose.

    When I talk about the road trip in these terms and with the requirements of battery swap and Supercharging, there's a lot of enthusiasm. If I discuss it as Supercharging only, there's much more reluctance and if I discuss routing via Houston to follow the planned Supercharger network, there's little-to-no interest.

    I'm curious to know what you've found when discussing road trips -- especially if you're not on one of the coasts.

    Dallas to Destin





    Avg Speed
    62



    Optimal Route
    722



    SC Route
    837(Not Used / Assumes Supercharger in Shreveport, LA)
    EV Range
    250



    ICE Range
    547.5



    ICE MPG
    25



    Gas Cost
    $3.80



    SS Gallons
    17


















    DistanceICESCSC+SSICE CostSS Cost
    Start0000

    Shreveport, LA213206206206$32.38$64.60
    Gas/Swap/Bio Break104010

    Jackson, MS220213213213$33.440
    Gas/Meal
    404040

    Pensacola, FL250242242242$38.00$64.60
    Gas/Swap/Bio Break104010

    Destin, FL47454545$7.14

    730766826766$110.96$129.20
    Hours
    12.813.812.8

     
  2. mattjn

    mattjn Member

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    Where are you finding battery swap stations in a Dallas to Florida route? I hope you didn't lie to them just to sell a car, they aren't going to find battery swaps in that area of the country in a long time, if not ever.
     
  3. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    I fully disclosed the current situation and Tesla's plans.

    Everyone saw the Supercharger map -- by the end of 2014, the longer route to Destin via Houston should be open. The direct route that follows the ICE is only possible if Tesla puts a Supercharger near Shreveport, LA -- not currently in the plans, so I said 2016 or later, if at all.
     
  4. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Do they have an existing ICE suitable for those trips they take 2-3 times a year? If they do then waiting on Superchargers and battery swap stations wouldn't mean delaying purchase of the Model S when they could drive it the rest of the year.
     
  5. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Of course the goal is to take the Model S all the time but that's what I generally tell people who have two cars in the family and hesitate for the reasons you stated above.
     
  6. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    Of course once you have the Model S taking the ICE for a road trip is a form of slow torture.
     
  7. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    With respect, people are too all-or-nothing. If it seems impractical for a trip one takes a couple of times a year, why not simply rent a car for those trips, until it becomes more practical (due to Superchargers and improvements in charging times; I wouldn't hold my breath for battery swaps)?

    Heck, when I owned an ICE, years ago my other-half-at-the-time and I rented a car for a trip to Michigan, though my Acura Integra would've been fine. But it was a long trip, and we felt spending a little on an inexpensive-but-comfortable rental, plus not putting a lot of miles for on my car, made sense. And I didn't have the excuse of owning an EV. ;-)

    Just a thought!

    - - - Updated - - -

    P.S. In case it's not clear, I mean "instead of owning an extra car just for the rare long trip." Mind you, I wouldn't do that, but I also wouldn't drive the route in question. ;-) We own an ICE and a Model S, but I doubt we'll drive to Raleigh again (5ish hours) before the Tesla Supercharger around Richmond shows up. Sorry to ramble....
     
  8. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

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    I saw 722 miles and first thought is " I'd take an airplane". I don't mind long drives by myself, and charging in the wild makes it a bit of an adventure, but 5-6 hours is about the max I'll travel with family. We're traveling 600 miles up to New England and I considered going for it in the S just for the adventure but we're flying instead. I wouldn't promote battery swap as an EV-angelist. I doubt it will make it out of California if it actually becomes operational at all. It it does the Deep South will be pretty much last in line.
     
  9. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    A gas + bio break isn't 10 minutes unless you're leaving the pump unattended - which is illegal.

    Road trip gas station stops are closer to 15 minutes. With small children, 20 minutes. With dogs, 25 minutes.

    Ironically in a Model S you can do a shorter stop if you're close to your destination, since you CAN leave a charger unattended.

    Sure, you can use a coordinated effort by multiple drivers to speed things up, but few people do that.
     
  10. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    I prefer to fly as well (or I'd consider doing it in two days), but the challenge is that flying is expensive on routes like this. $350 a person, plus rental car at the destination, plus not being able to schlep all of your own stuff to the destination add up to be significant pain points for this group -- and it's still give-or-take four hours elapsed time.

    It will be a shame if swap doesn't make it to the middle-of-nowhere Superchargers. IMO, these long-haul "ferry routes" are the perfect locations for swap -- lopping off 30 minutes or so for each charge is significant.

    I think the questions the next generation of potential owners want answers to are interesting and they're less willing to compromise than current owners. Tesla's ability to mitigate compromise concerns will be key to keeping the sales pipeline full in 2015 and beyond. And in the middle of the country, let's be clear: A Tesla is destination constrained at least into 2016. With the planned Supercharger deployment, lots of long, heavily traveled routes still won't be possible without 20-40% mileage increases due to Supercharger placement.

    Even on the routes where there's no compromise at all, there is lots of interest in understanding the process. What is charging like? Can you buy snacks there? Where do you go to the bathroom? How do you clean the windscreen? I love that people are so intrigued with the idea that these are the questions they're coming up with.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, that makes sense to me as well, but it hasn't resonated with the people I've spoken with. I guess it's a psychological hurdle that I need to figure out how to articulate better.
     
  11. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    Bollar,

    That's a tough route to make a case for an EV with. I honestly wouldn't put any expectation that we will see battery swap stations installed anywhere other than the "test case" sights on the east and west coasts until we have between 1-2 million Teslas on the road.

    I know that the idea of saving the time sounds great, but I've found that in reality it takes much less extra time at a supercharger than one realizes. (Once they are placed correctly; every 150 miles or so.) I've done tons of long distance traveling and Supercharge regularly and here is my typical scenario that tell people: On my trips from DC up to New York City, I pull into the Delaware rest stop, plug in and walk inside. By the time I find the open bathroom, wait in line for coffee and take my first sip, I've already added more miles than I need. If I were headed all the way up to Boston, I might have to drink my coffee before I'm ready to go, but it would be close. With the upcoming upgrade to 120KW charging, I wouldn't even need to do that. On top of that, I just don't realistically see many choosing to spend $60 to save 20 minutes when they really get the choice though everyone loves the idea of being able to decide.

    Also, I think the time you have down for the ICE stops is very low. One of these days I'll stop at one of the mid-atlantic rest stops and time how long someone waits in line at a gas station. I have a feeling that it will run about 30-40 minutes (we get some crazy lines on the NJ Turnpike) and then add the bathroom and coffee/food to that.....


    As for a Supercharger in Shreveport, I think having one added here before 2016 is very likely, as there is a good case for it. Tesla is actively soliciting advice and requests on the Supercharger roll-out and it doesn't look like the gulf coast has been nearly as well thought out yet as the east and west coasts. You should write up a small where and why and submit it.

    Peter


     
  12. TNEVol

    TNEVol Member

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    A Car Talk program several years ago impressed me. Click and Clack advised a caller to simply rent an SUV for the once a year trip to carry 6 people since the rest of the year they were only carrying 2-3. Why would a person buy a car to deal with a once a year situation? I recently responded to a person who challenged my Tesla purchase with "what if I want to drive 1000 miles" I told him I don't drive 1000 miles, I fly.
     
  13. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    With my and my spouse, 30 minutes. ;-) We are the least efficient rest-stop-takers on the planet. Even if the "bio break" is 1 minute, the stop usually takes at least 10-15 minutes for some reason. I swear we don't walk that slowly. We must have a time warp field around us. . . .
     
  14. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #14 ChadS, Jul 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
    If there's time, I give this example (which usually seems to sink in, though not immediately):

    Since 2006, I have been driving small 2-passenger vehicles. Not once during that time has somebody come up to tell me that my car "can never work" because, what if I suddenly need to take 3 passengers somewhere? Or what if I need to make a trip to Costco?

    Nobody has cargo anxiety, because everybody understands that a small 2-seater is not the car to take to haul a bunch of stuff around. You take a different car, or rent a truck, or have it delivered, or whatever. But mention similar options when you're discussing EVs and road trips, and while most will get it after some explanation, a few people just keep shaking their heads.

    Why is it easy to understand one case, but apparently impossible for a few in a similar case? It's crazy to think that any car has to be highly capable at all tasks before anybody will buy one; no gas car meets that criteria. Some people don't understand that they don't HAVE to take an EV on a road trip because they are not trying to understand. They are looking for an excuse to not consider an EV; and the longer refueling time is the only disadvantage - so that's what they have to focus on. They are looking for an excuse because they still have preconceptions that EVs are crappy cars. They just need another ride. (Better yet a drive, so they can feel the throttle response). Once they want one, they will be more receptive to logic.

    --------------------------------------

    Imagine it's 1993, and I am driving one of the first Mazda Miatas from 1990. Can you imagine this conversation taking place? I've had extremely similar conversations many times about plug-in vehicles, where I try to explain PHEVs and taking other cars, but some people just. don't. get. it. Fortunately, as more cars get on the road and more people know somebody that has one, this happens less.

    Hey--is that one of those "sports cars" I've heard about?


    Yes. I've owned this Miata for a few years and just love it.


    I saw a program about sports cars on TV once. How many people can they carry?


    It depends on the sports car, but this Miata has two seats.


    Do they have to be really small people? Like kids?


    No, sports cars have regular seats. Adults fit fine.


    Do you have to sit in a strange position?


    No, they're just regular seats.


    Does it have seat belts?


    Yes.


    I guess they've fixed a lot of the problems with them then. [Furrows brow] How do sports cars work you need to carry more than 2 people?


    I take another car. My wife's car seats 5, and most of my friends have larger cars.


    What if you are already out in your sports car, and suddenly find out you have to carry more people?


    Well...a couple of times I've met friends and we've wanted to go for lunch or something, but we just took their car. I suppose we could also take two cars, but it's never come to that.


    Isn't it really inconvenient to switch cars with your wife? All that switching every time you need to carry more people? I can't see doing that.


    No. It doesn't happen very often, and it's simple to do. In fact, we switch more often because she WANTS to drive my car, than because I NEED her car.


    Yeah, but what if my wife and I both need to carry a lot of people at the same time, and none of our friends have their cars? How do sports cars work then?


    I suppose that's possible, but in several years of driving that's never happened to me. In the mean time, I get to drive this wonderful car every day. It's small, so parking is easier, we've got space for our bikes in the garage, I get a discount on the ferry, fuel costs are low, I can put the top down and enjoy the sun, and the driving experience is amazing. I smile every time I get in to it. Most days it's just me going back and forth to work, so it's perfect for my needs. I will never go back to a larger car--it would cost me more, be less convenient in several situations that I do encounter on a regular basis, and be less fun to drive.


    Yeah, but sometimes I need to carry more people. And what about people that only have one car, how do you expect them to live with a sports car when they only carry 2 people?


    I'm not demanding that everybody buy a sports car; though most multi-car families could. For single-car families, there are other sports cars that can seat 4 or 5. And some people rent a car when they have out-of-town visitors, or use a car-share service for special events, or...


    [Walking away, shaking head] Let me know when sports cars can carry 7 people. Nobody will buy one when they can only carry 2 people.
     
  15. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    I'm impressed they would suggest that. Most people (including me, till I did it once) have blinders on about this kind of thing. Everyone has to buy a car to cover the whole year, but in addition to therefore overspending at times on the car . . . if one buys more car than needed and it has worse mileage than the more practical "covers every trip but 1-2 a year" car, one spends more on gas year round--not just on those 1-2 special trips. Over-planning, or something.

    Of course, I bought the 85 kWh battery, so possibly I should shut up. ;-) But in fairness, there are no Model S rentals around me that I know of. . . .

    - - - Updated - - -

    Wow, just what I was trying to say (and posted a vaguely similar idea at the same time). You're more eloquent--summed it up nicely, IMHO.
     
  16. CdnE90

    CdnE90 New Member

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    Having owned a 1st generation Miata for almost 10 years, I had ridiculous conversations exactly like this. There are people who can't comprehend having more than one car to do multiple different things, or renting if necessary to accomplish a once-every-two-years task.
     
  17. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    With respect, I don't think all of these people are trying to find ways to avoid owning a Tesla, but it's a topic that's new to them and they want to understand what process or behavior modifications might be required if they bought one. All of the families currently currently have a luxury or premium SUV plus a luxury or premium sedan or sports car. From their perspective, all of their current needs are met. At the very least, this information will let them stage their car replacements, so that they keep a car/SUV that can make the trip and they don't have to do something like rent a car.

    Speaking of renting a car, I know it's possible to do that on the cheap, but a ten day rental of a luxury SUV was $1450 on a quote I got from Hertz today. To me, a road trip is the time you want the best set of wheels possible -- especially if you're driving a great car at home. $4500 a year for those trips is a significant number for most of us.

    On the other side of the coin, everyone is thrilled that the car has no problems with commuting range. Some have 125 mile a day round-trip commutes and understand the savings, not to mention not stopping for gas twice a week.
     
  18. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    "What do you mean I won't have to stop at gas stations to fill up?"...."How will I remember to buy my lottery tickets?!"
     
  19. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #19 ChadS, Jul 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
    I agree there are many people doing that; they are not the people I was trying to describe (I made a rough transition in my last post, so it wasn't clear who I was talking about). EVs are new and many people have questions. That's fine, I love answering questions. My objection is to people that don't own one and make assertions like "EVs can never work", and refuse to acknowledge any points you when you explain that they are working very well for you. Fortunately, despite what you see in the comments sections of online articles, such people are rare IRL and getting more so.
     
  20. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    I wrestle with his myself!

    2159936610_9d13ab0bcd.jpg
     

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