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Spring Break Travel Journal: NorCal->Disneyland->Palm Springs->NorCal

Discussion in 'California' started by PureAmps, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    This thread is to track my first long distance family road trip in my Model S.

    Originally this was going to be a "speeds and feeds" journal, with all kinds of stats pulled directly from the car's telemetry system. But a few days before the trip I decided to pull the plug on the stats because I hadn't had time to measure the additional "vampire load" due to constantly monitoring the car's telemetry over 3G. It seems to be negligible, but given my itinerary, a wife and two kids in the car, I'd rather be safe than sorry. So instead, this journal may be somewhat light on stats, and focus more on the human side of the trip. In fact, I've set a Broder-like record keeping level as my high-bar for this trip, and I fully intend to go under that bar. :)

    The itinerary:

    • Travel from Bay Area to Anaheim - 3/31
    • Disneyland - 3/31 - 4/2
    • Travel to Palm Springs (La Quinta) to visit parents - 4/3
    • Return home to Bay Area - 4/6

    Goals:
    • Use superchargers exclusively for long distance routes.
    • Additional charging only done overnight at final destination.
    • Have fun. :)
     
  2. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    I'm doing something similar right now and having a blast!

    SF, San Luis Obispo, Pasadena, Vegas and now Palm Springs.

    Superchargers have been working out. No range anxiety on this trip despite having a 60 kWh model.

    Only hiccup is that despite numerous conversations over the last month, the Westin in Palml Springs is overbooked and would not honor my reservation. They are allowing me to charge my car on a NEMA 14-50 plug.
     
  3. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    #3 PureAmps, Apr 4, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
    A slow, but uneventful journey down the I-5

    I'm a little behind on my updates... Here's the first (sorry, little long, wrote it over a few nights)

    Last Sunday I drove with my family from the Bay Area down to Anaheim stopping at 4 superchargers long the way. The trip took about as long as I expected, but certainly longer than I would like or am accustomed to for this trip. The good news is that the major causes of my increased travel time are (mostly) temporary, and it really is simply an issue of more charging infrastructure.


    We left our house a little before 10am and arrived at our hotel in Anaheim just before 7pm. For a total travel time of about 9 hours. I've done this trip in my ICE SUV in under 5 hours (shh... ;)), but usually average between 5-6 hours (the door-door driving distance for this trip is about 375 miles). So why did the trip take a few extra hours?


    The Plan

    My plan for the day was to perform a max range charge at home before departing, drive the 40+ miles to the Gilroy supercharger, perform another max range charge. Then "hyper mile" it to Harris Ranch supercharger with the goal of arriving with 135 miles rated range, so I could bypass it and drive directly to Tejon Ranch supercharger if there was a big queue at Harris. Finally, rather than drive directly to my hotel as I would normally, I detoured to Hawthorne to fully charge the car since there are no chargers available at my hotel (or really any hotels in Anaheim). The car would then sit a few nights at the hotel, after which I would drive directly to La Quinta (Palm Springs area), a distance of about 120 miles.

    First let me state that I don't know my actual mileage for the trip. :redface: I forgot to reset my trip meter at the start, and ended up resetting it a few times afterwards because I was getting some really strange energy readings (but that's a topic for a different thread).

    Departure

    When I got up in the morning, I reached for my trusty phone and fired up the Tesla mobile app to start a max range charge before I hopped in the shower. Unfortunately, I discovered my first "bug" in the 4.3 software. I'm using the new scheduled charging feature, and setting the car to "max range" mode no longer initiates charging if the car if fully charged, nor is there a "start charging" button. So I went down to the car and tried to start charging from the touch screen, same problem, no "start charging" button. So I had to physically disconnect the charging cable and reconnect it, so the "start charging" button would appear, and then I was able to reinitiate charging.

    Now that the car was prepping itself, the family and I got ourselves ready, loaded the car (amazing how stuff much the Model S can hold), and started on our way to Gilroy.

    Gilroy Supercharger

    We arrived at the Gilroy supercharger to find one other P85 already charging. The owners said they had picked it up at the factory the day before and were heading to SoCal via Highway 1, a much more scenic route than ours. So how long did it take me to recharge to max range after driving ~40 miles or so? Just long enough to hunt for the bathroom, walk across the street to order a Latte from Starbucks, chat a bit with the other Tesla owners, and then we were on our way. There was no real "waiting", as I was fairly preoccupied, but some time did pass.

    Harris Ranch Supercharger

    After leaving Gilroy, my goal was to arrive at Harris Ranch with 135 miles rated range remaining, so I could skip it if necessary. The problem is, I'm no "hyper-miler". I never use cruise control, I tend to drive in the "faster" lanes on the left, and I like my climate controls set to a comfortable setting. So this goal was probably doomed from the start. Regardless, I set the car in "Range mode" to reduce the effect of climate control, turned on the cruise control and headed towards Harris Ranch (a distance of 111 miles).

    I kept the cruise control a little under 65 mph through the Pacheco Pass, but I found the throttle control a little jerky while climbing hills, so I turned cruise control off for a portion of the hill climb for a much smoother ride. Once we hit I-5, I set the cruise control to 70 and settled into the right lane and watched the traffic fly by. Somewhere at this point, I was regretting purchasing a "hot" drink at Starbucks, as the cabin was getting a little warm in the "range mode" setting, and I could have used a cool beverage instead. After about 10 miles, it became apparent I was not going to arrive at Harris with 135 miles rated range, so I reduced my speed to 67 mph. Now even the slow traffic on the right was having to pass me. Not being accustomed to driving this slow on I-5, it was quite painful watching the miles slowly count down, time seemed to stand still…

    When I arrived at Harris Ranch I noted that I had 129 miles of rated range remaining, six miles short of my goal. I could probably make it to Tejon, but not driving 70mph, I would have to drive much slower. I crossed my fingers and hoped the supercharger was available. As we pulled in, I glanced at the six new superchargers, all sitting idle, waiting for a power hookup from PG&E. Sigh. Luckily, as I pulled into the shell station, there was not a Tesla in site and the sole supercharger was available. I've never been so happy to not see another Tesla. :) I quickly pulled in, and started charging.

    We headed over to the Harris Ranch restaurant to grab lunch. By the time our food arrived, the car had over 200 miles range and I decided to hurry and eat my food so I could move the car in case somebody else showed up. By the time I finished and headed back over the shell station the car was fully charged. Two other Teslas had shown up, and were anxiously waiting. Boy, were they happy to see me. :) We briefly commiserated over the (temporary) lack of multiple superchargers at Harris, and then I unplugged and drove over to the restaurant to rejoin my family while they finished their meal.

    Tejon Ranch Supercharger

    With a full charge and only ~115 miles to Tejon, there would be no need to "hyper mile" it for this leg of the journey. I turned off the car's "range mode", set the climate to a cooler setting, turned off cruise control, and hit the accelerator pedal. I departed with 240+ miles rated range and arrived with just under 100 miles rated range. Let's just say that I drove "briskly" and arrived at Tejon with a Tesla grin on my face once again.

    There were two others cars already charging when we pulled into the supercharger. I plugged in and we headed over to the nearby yogurt shop for a bathroom break and a little froyo. By the time we were finished, the car had 180 miles of rated range. More than enough to cover the distance to Hawthorne (~90 miles). We headed out to the car and there were now 5 cars charging (including our own). Exchanged some brief greetings with the other owners, and we headed off to Hawthorne with 200 miles of rated range.

    Hawthorne Supercharger

    It was lightly raining during the drive through the grapevine. The car was using over 800Wh/mile at about 65 mph during most of the climb up the hill. We got most of that back on the way down to LA county, where we were promptly greeted with LA traffic after crossing the county line. :) After a little stop and go, we made our way onto the 405 for an easy drive to Hawthorne. We pulled into the supercharger with just over 100 miles of rated range remaining. There were three other cars already there, one owner car, and two new cars being topped off before delivery. I plugged in and began a max range charge.

    I had forgotten that it was the last day of Tesla's quarter, and it seems all hands were on deck to help with deliveries. I briefly talked with one of the Tesla employees prepping a vehicle and he was a clay sculptor in the design department!

    The biggest problem with Hawthorne, is there is really nothing to do there. We arrived around 5:30 pm on a Sunday, so the design office was closed. So we could only peer in the windows and stare at the Model X parked inside. For entertainment and to burn off some restless energy, my kids decided to practice gymnastics on the grass by the reflecting pool in front of the Telsa "monument". I took a few pictures:

    Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 10.40.32 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 3.31.05 PM.png

    Disneyland, Anaheim

    We left around 6:30pm and headed to our hotel in Anaheim. We arrived with 210 miles rated range, which should be plenty for the vampires to feast on for 3 nights and still get us to our next destination in La Quinta (~120 miles away).

    To be continued...
     
  4. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    Some of us who have been driving EV's for several years follow the practice of leaving a cell phone number on the dash when charging to facilitate sharing the charger when appropriate.
     
  5. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    GasDoc, that's a lot of driving! Glad the 60 kWh is working out well for you. I tend to agree, that with enough superchargers the 60 kWh provides enough range for most typical road trips. The only anxiety I have had is charger anxiety, and most of that will be solved soon with the additional superchargers at Harris Ranch.

    Longer term, we need more hotels with L2 charging stations.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yep, I guess I had a little breach of etiquette at Harris (my first time there). :redface: I think they have a signup sheet to leave your number in the shell station.

    Unfortunately, it is too easy to get distracted corralling kids, etc., and forget about things like that. I really hope Tesla builds some kind of software to help manage this, as I expect there will still be some queueing on busy weekends even with six superchargers.
     
  6. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    Anaheim to LaQuinta

    On Wednesday we drove from our hotel in Anaheim to my parents house in La Quinta (near Palm Springs), a distance of ~120 miles. Since we had no charging available at our hotel, I had fully charged the car using the Hawthorne supercharger before heading to Anaheim. We had arrived at Anaheim with 210 miles rated range, and I expected to lose about 30 miles to the "vampires" during our 3 night stay and leave with about 180 miles rated range. Unfortunately, I had to run a few unexpected errands, which consumed precious miles. I ended up departing with ~165 miles rated range, so about 45 miles of buffer.

    Just to be safe, I kept it at 65 mph for most of the trip. At one point my 45 mile buffer was reduced to just over 20 miles as I climbed through a mountain pass, but after that there was a long slow descent into Palm Springs, which put some juice back into the battery and let me essentially "coast" at 65mph using almost no energy. I ended up arriving at my parent's place with 46 miles of rated range!

    My parents had a 14-50 plug installed in their garage, since I wasn't sure if I'd get a 14-30 adapter in time. So no more charging worries for rest of our visit. :)

    I'm returning home tomorrow and that drive will include the longest leg of the trip: LaQuinta directly to Tejon Ranch supercharger, a distance of 216 miles. I'm planning a max range charge and driving about 65mph or less most of the way. It will be close, but I think we can make it...
     
  7. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    #7 PureAmps, Apr 7, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
    LaQuinta to Bay Area

    We drove home from LaQuinta yesterday completing our first road trip in the Model S. The route is about 480 miles door-to-door, and I normally complete this trip in about 7-8 hours in my ICE SUV including 2 stops for food/breaks/fuel. In the Model S, it took just under 11 hours including 3 stops for food/breaks/shopping/charging.

    LaQuinta to Tejon Ranch Supercharger

    The first leg of the day's journey was the longest and most challenging of our road trip so far. The total distance from LaQuinta to the Tejon supercharger is 217 miles. The journey begins at the lowest elevation, 56 feet above sea level, and will require crossing the Tejon pass at an elevation of 4,144 feet in the final miles of the journey before descending into the Central Valley and the supercharger. Even with a max range charge, I knew this would be pushing the limits of what the vehicle can do.

    We set off in the morning with ~260 miles rated range after a max range charge. With only a 43 mile range buffer, I turned on the car's "range mode" and set cruise control to 63 mph once we hit I-10 (speed limit 70 mph). Unfortunately, it was very windy that morning and I was averaging over 430 Wh/mile for the first 40 miles of my trip. My 43 mile buffer was rapidly depleting. By the time we arrived at the windmills outside Palm Springs it was pretty obvious how windy it really was. There were hundreds of windmills spinning rapidly generating megawatts of electricity. Unfortunately, that same wind had cost me quite a few kWhs. :( I had wanted to have at least a 20 mile range buffer before climbing up the grapevine, and I was already in the low 30s of my range buffer. Time for plan B.

    We had earlier picked out a Kohl's with two L2 Chargepoint chargers located just off of the 210 freeway in La Verne as our first backup charging location. As we approached the exit for Kohl's, we checked that the chargers were available and my current range buffer. I was down to 21 miles of buffer and both chargers were available (and hopefully not ICEd). We pulled into Kohl's and both spots were in fact open, so we pulled in and started charging. After shopping at Kohl's, eating lunch at a nearby Subway, and picking up some drinks for the road at Starbucks, 90 minutes had elapsed and we had added 28 miles of range to the car. I now had a 49 mile range buffer with about 107 miles left to drive.

    By the time we arrived at Santa Clarita, my range buffer was down to the low 40s, but well within my comfort level. We proceeded to drive, keeping my speed at 65 mph or less the entire time. By the time we reached the Tejon pass, I was down to 32 miles rated range, with 15 miles to the supercharger, so only a 17 mile range buffer. If I had not stopped to charge earlier I would be looking at a 4 mile rated range with 15 miles to go and sweating bullets! But here is where it gets interesting. It is basically all downhill from the Tejon pass to the supercharger. My rated miles never fell below 32 for the rest of the journey. By the time I descended all the way down the mountain, I had 34 miles rated range, and I pulled into the supercharger with 33 miles rated range. So I could have made it all the way from LaQuinta to the supercharger without topping off, and would have arrived with 5 miles rated range remaining. If I were to do it again, I would still stop and top off the car, that is just cutting it way too close for comfort.

    Supercharged drive up I-5

    After a brief break at Tejon for a frozen yogurt and more Starbucks, the car had already charged up to 200 miles rated range so we headed off to the Harris Ranch supercharger. Traffic was light, so we flew up the I-5 and arrived at Harris Ranch with about 50 miles rated range and discovered the new superchargers were now operational! I posted the news to the forums, put in some Tesla time with a few owners and onlookers, and checked out the Harris Ranch gift shop. About an hour later we departed for home with a full standard charge and a fast and easy drive home with very light traffic the entire way. All I can say is superchargers are awesome!
     
  8. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    Appreciate the post on this leg. I'm planning on doing the same early next month and figured it would be a close call. Guess a topping-off stop will have to be included.
     
  9. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    A very windy day indeed!

    So after posting my writeup on my windy trip yesterday, I was curious how much energy was being generated by all those windmills. A quick visit to http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx#Renewables for the answer. Yesterday's renewable stats for the California grid:

    Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 6.35.49 PM.png
     
  10. Wattson

    Wattson Member

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    Thanks for sharing your road trip in both directions PureAmps! Your story is a great reminder that wind can be a major factor when on long drives.
     
  11. arg

    arg Member

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    So those extra 3 hours break down something like:
    • 90 minutes for the "insurance" slow charge stop on the 1st leg (that you could have skipped given better luck with the weather)
    • 60 minutes for the difference between driving 480 miles at average 65 vs average 75 (maybe generous since you were back up to normal speed for the middle leg?)
    • 30 minutes for longer stops at the superchargers than you would otherwise have taken for your rest stops

    ??
     
  12. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    I'd say it is probably more like 45-60 minutes longer at superchargers and 30-45 minutes extra driving time for the first leg of the trip. Though I stop twice in an ICE, one of the stops is usually just a refuel stop which can't take more than 15 minutes.
     

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