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Suggestions, tips, caveats, etc. for upcoming road trip

voucher2002

"You can observe a lot by just watching"...YB
May 31, 2019
60
26
Round Rock, Texas
Howdy! After 50 years my wife and I are relocating to the Austin, Texas area from Columbia, Maryland. The road trip in our Model 3 standard range plus begins on Friday and I plan on using the in-car navigation to go from supercharger to supercharger, taking approximately 4 days. The car will be packed with about 100 lbs of added weigh in luggage. My questions are: how much will the added weight affect my mileage. How much buffer in reduced mileage should I allow to affect the projected mileage between superchargers. (you know what i mean) What is the best way to distribute the additional weight. And anything else I need to prepare for, problems in wi-fi coverage, etc. All comments appreciated.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,014
4,692
McKinney, TX
Have you planned the trip using evtripplanner and/or abetterrouteplanner.com to see what they show? They both are configurable with weight, velocity, etc. to optimize the trip plan.
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,785
8,393
Boise, ID
Cool! I did a 5,000+ mile road trip last year and intentionally didn't plan it much just so I would be able to share/show how it works out fairly easily with Tesla's Supercharger network. I just had a very general framework that I was going from Boise down to I-70 and then across to Ohio, but visiting family in Kansas and Missouri, but other than that, didn't even have the specific cities picked out--just booked AirBNB places each day.

As long as you are on major interstates, it's generally fine, and you can kind of pseudo-plan during each day as you go. You can let the car try to pick your whole route and recommend which Superchargers to use, but it gives weird recommendations sometimes, with staying for really long charges sometimes to skip over other Superchargers, and that's usually not very fun. "Splash & Dash" is usually quicker and less waiting time. So I'll usually just pick the next Supercharger that makes sense along the map as my next destination to go to, and then that will let the car charge up, knowing how much margin you'll need. I shoot for around 15-20% remaining at arrival for a buffer.

I second either ABetterRoutePlanner or EVTripPlanner. They are really handy to test some of the variables, like inside and outside temperature or speed adjustment if you want to play around to see how much they will affect you. Interestingly, weight loading makes very little difference for energy use. Speed and heat are your big things.

Freqently on long trips with multiple Supercharges a day, there is a nice rhythm to planning for alternating long/short/long/short for your charging stops. Every other stop will be about long enough that you may be ready for a meal. You will be longer, and the car charges up more than just the margin you need, so then the short stops in between have some leftover, and can be short 10-15 minute breaks to use the bathroom and get a coffee or something and go. It kind of minimizes time you are aware of "waiting", because you're not waiting while you're eating, and it makes the "waiting" stops short.
 
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NickFie

Member
Sep 28, 2017
559
648
Near Philadelphia, PA
My range-stretching tips.
  • Drive in Chill mode. Gradual acceleration reduces burn rate.
  • Use AutoPilot if you have it. Easier to maintain consistent speed, drive is less tiring.
  • Consider raising cold (before starting the day’s drive) tire pressure a few PSI above the number in driver’s door. Improves range. Never exceed the sidewall limit when cold. It’s okay if tire pressure is a few psi above sidewall after an hour or two at highway speed. I put the back of my hand against each tire when I get out. If one tire is noticeably warmer than the others, its pressure is low.
  • Energy chart is your friend. In Trip view, see how your efficiency compares to forecast. The other mode shows efficiency for past few miles.
  • I find that Wh/mile goes up pretty sharply above about 72 mph in our dual-motor 3. The knee of the curve may be different for SR+.
  • If you’re really trying to stretch range, keep cabin temperature relatively close to outside temperature. Make sure spouse agrees. My wife accepts it only when it ensures we can skip the last SuperCharger before home. I rode a motorcycle through a few New England winters, the chill factor is never that bad.
  • Start with a cautious strategy - aim for 20% charge when pulling up to SuperCharger. As you learn the car’s burn rate and the effect of range-stretching techniques.
When I returned to Philadelphia from DC last Saturday, car’s initial estimate was 2% charge left when pulling into our driveway- if I stayed below 65. After 30 minutes driving, arrival number started climbing. I decided to try making the trip without a stop.

All three rest areas on the route have Superchargers. There’s another in sight of the last exit in Delaware. Arrival estimate showed 6% as I approached the exit.

Didn’t stop, bumped speed up a few notches. Arrived with 5%. Would NOT have been so aggressive two years ago when we were BEV NOOBS.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,871
13,616
San Diego
Howdy! After 50 years my wife and I are relocating to the Austin, Texas area from Columbia, Maryland. The road trip in our Model 3 standard range plus begins on Friday and I plan on using the in-car navigation to go from supercharger to supercharger, taking approximately 4 days. The car will be packed with about 100 lbs of added weigh in luggage. My questions are: how much will the added weight affect my mileage. How much buffer in reduced mileage should I allow to affect the projected mileage between superchargers. (you know what i mean) What is the best way to distribute the additional weight. And anything else I need to prepare for, problems in wi-fi coverage, etc. All comments appreciated.

Get your tires up to 45PSI or so (cold). Make sure your Aeros are on.

On your first Supercharger leg, make a note of the predicted arrival % and then note what you actually arrive with - just to calibrate yourself about the estimates.

Weight matters when it comes to miles consumed going uphill, but you get most of it back when going downhill. It definitely matters, but not as much as you might think.

I recommend charging to at least 10% above what the in-car estimator predicts until you are comfortable with how the predictions and actual arrival charge are working out. This will allow you to travel faster and gives you margin in the case of weather/cold/short side trips. Remember the closer you get to the charger the faster you can drive (if you have margin) - but if you are far from your destination definitely heed any warnings about reducing speed.

You can log in to ABRP on your in-car browser in advance and enter your live data (if you are comfortable giving them your login credentials...) to be able to have something to compare to. However, I found a few bugs and I didn't find it to be a lot more accurate than the in-car estimator (once I had the appropriate wheel configuration selected). However, ABRP is nice for providing a better trip overview than the in-car estimator.

I don't find the in-car trip planner to be very good at picking Supercharger stations (ABRP is a bit better I think but even that I had to override when there were a lot of options). So don't just plug in your destination and do what it says. Optimize. You want to arrive at Superchargers with a low state of charge (but not too low of course). Start with 15-20% arrival target and then reduce that to 10% when you are comfortable with how things work. With an SR you may have less flexibility on Supercharger stops so maybe it matters less (there may not be much optimization possible).

Turn off all the big sources of drain (Smart Summon Standby, Cabin Overheat protection, etc.) just to make sure you don't get any surprises overnight if you weren't planning to have any drain. Or leave them on, but expect a large amount of drain, and allow for it.
 
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voucher2002

"You can observe a lot by just watching"...YB
May 31, 2019
60
26
Round Rock, Texas
Thanks again to everyone for all your suggestions.
As an update my wife and left Maryland with the car the trunk and frunk fully loaded. Our dog was given 1/2 of the back seat and more stuff was placed on the floor behind both seats and behind the driver on the seat. Actually, we purchased a "sling" that covered the foot wells directly behind both seats which kept the dog from falling into the gap although is was packed with stuff. He is 16 years old and not too mobile. Anyway, he slept for most of the four day trip to Round Rock, Texas.
It took me a while to get used to the procedure of traveling from SuperCharger to Supercharger. I initially felt very uncomfortable selecting a destination with a projected arrival with 5% power and instead opted for more frequent stops but with a 20% power buffer left. The only problem I had was after I left Memphis without a full charge on the way to Little Rock I got a RED message which said that I did not have enough battery power to get to the next SC. Yikes!. I pulled the car over and reset the navigation and saw that I "could" get there with 4% left. Rather than turning around to get back previous SC in Memphis, I decided to trust the car and go for it. I immediately got a message that I had to now keep my speed below 70mph to make the destination. I slowed down and the percentage stayed at 4%. But after about 10 miles I received another message that I now needed to keep the speed below 65, then 60. I slowed down to 55 for the next hour and saw the residual percentage gradually increase up to 9%. I continued as a road hazard until I was about 20 miles from the SC and made up a little time by passing as many of the semis as I now could until I arrived at the SC...which is located about 15 miles beyond Little Rock. My fault for not starting with a full charge in Memphis.
One other comment: actually finding the SCs usually located in a maze of shopping centers and multiple hotel parking lots is unnecessarily challenging for first time visitors to them. Local Signs please? Overall the trip was a pleasure and other than the above incident, very relaxing. AP was used most of the time except for multi lane roads around big unfamiliar cities.
I plan on doing other road trips in the future now that I am here in Texas.
 
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