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Supercharge twice or drive farther and supercharge once?

I haven't done a road trip yet that has required supercharging, but I would like to soon and I've been playing around with routes/charging with evtripplanner.
We're fortunate that Superchargers are now dense enough where we wouldn't have to stop at each one and instead could drive to the next.

Is there a recommended approach to using multiple superchargers from folks who have done road trips?
Is it better to use a supercharger at 100 miles or to go 200 miles to the next supercharger?
 

Trnsl8r

S85 2012-2018, X90 since 2016, 3 since 2018
Aug 20, 2011
1,757
145
San Jose, CA
Depends on the definition of "better"... Are you after shortest amount of travel time? Then you're better off charging more often as the initial 50% are faster charging. When Tesla did their record run coast-to-coast, they were careful not to charge too much at each location to optimize time.
But my personal preference is to take a longer break, eat and rest up, than to make multiple stops. To each his own...
 

ohmman

Upright Member
Global Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,732
20,206
North Bay, CA
I almost always do more stops instead of less. Even if the stop is only a 10 minute stop, I like to get out and stretch anyway - it's like getting a 10 minute stretch that saves you 15 minutes later. You're arbitraging your own time! I usually time it to where I'm in the last 10% of battery life when I arrive at the next Supercharger (depending on location and expected MS load there).
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,835
9,853
Boise, ID
I will agree with Trnsl8r--This is dependent on what you feel like. You may find that a place has somewhere good you want to eat, so your meal stop is much longer than the charge you need, so you get a lot extra there. Then, that extra carries over to your next stop or two, so maybe they are only 10 or 15 minutes a couple hours apart. Or you may decide to skip one, if you're still feeling comfortable driving.
 

TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,652
8,918
Austin, TX
If you are interested in battery health, my impression from what others have said is that it's best to stay as far away from the top and bottom of the battery as possible. So I'd say the answer is it's better for the battery to stop twice and charge for shorter periods of time.
There's no significant issue with battery health by supercharging to 100% because you're driving right away, you're not sitting at that charge. Mental health is another matter-- it can take 30 minutes to go from 95% to 100%. Better to stop more often and stay on the steep part of the taper curve, not charging to more than 80% unless you need to
 
If speed/time are of concern to you, stopping twice isn't ideal. Previously, if I want to drive to Kansas City, I would go from Dallas to Ardmore (98 miles), then to Perry (155 miles), then to Wichita (78 miles) then to Kansas City (200 miles). Each of those stops has me arriving with ~50% SoC or more. The charge rate above 50% SoC is HALF of the rate below 50%, so it charges half the speed.

As of a week or two ago, the OKC Supercharger is online. I can drive from Dallas to OKC (200 miles), then to Wichita (161 miles), then to Kansas City (200 miles). Each time I arrive at these three Superchargers, I'm going to be less than 50% SoC and take advantage of a higher charge rate.

One less Supercharger stop and roughly half the charging time. I say skip it if you can.
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,251
378
Houston
I've only taken one long trip in my Model S, so not the expert on this, but I did skip the Chattanooga supercharger for two reasons. One, its in an airport parking lot and there's not much nearby at all, and two, I enjoyed very much the supercharger in Atlanta. Ate a long meal and walked around, so when I got back to the car it was near the top just because I'd been gone so long. So I went from Atlanta to Knoxville with ease and had a good time in Atlanta.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,353
26,739
Texas
The quickest strategy is to charge until there is just enough range to get to the next SC. This is because the fastest charge is when the SOC is lowest. Two ten minute stops are quicker than one thirty-five minute stop. However, this method doesn't leave much room for error. I have skipped a couple, but typically I stop at every one and charge so that there's 20%+ extra. In most cases it's still done before the time I get back to the car.
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,028
1,025
I say it depends upon your needs. In my case, I have 4 boys and a wife, and we planned to do full range charges while we ate at restaurants (and skip the subsequent SC's where possible); where we weren't ready to stop for dinner, we did the shorter ones and stopped more often for the 5-10 minute bathroom breaks. It also depends on certain superchargers... for example, I try to avoid Macon, GA, at night and will happily skip it when driving from Atlanta to Tifton and vice-versa.
 

David99

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,908
7,353
Nomad (mostly US)
Charging on a Supercharger is much quicker when the batter is on the empty side and then charging gets slower and slower the higher the battery level gets. So keeping the battery level as low as you can, will save on time overall. It is also faster to drive fast and use more energy when using Superchargers. The time you spend more to charge the extra energy is smaller than the time you safe driving faster. Superchargers are just awesome that way.

But in general I would say, plan it the way you feel it's more comfortable to you. Don't let the car and charging optimization dictate how you drive. There are a lot of people here that love technology and take pride optimizing everything. At the end of the day, a car is something that should get you from A to B. If possible in a comfortable way. Enjoy the ride, don't make the car the priority.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
Most people are forgetting one important thing: many superchargers (at least by me) are not ON THE HIGHWAY! You can't say it'll be faster to stop twice. That means you need to get off the highway, drive several miles down some side-street until you find the supercharger hidden in some mall, charge, get back on the highway and only then continue your trip. That takes a non-insignificant amount of time.


I've done it both ways, depends on what I'm doing (and there are very rarely cases around me where I can skip a SpC due to spacing). FTR I also have kids, and it takes time to get them in/out of the car, snack them, bathroom break them, etc. so often during the short supercharger stops I'm there longer than necessary anyways, so adding an extra 5 mins for the potential to skip a SpC is worth it.
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 3, 2015
6,332
43,530
...
But in general I would say, plan it the way you feel it's more comfortable to you. Don't let the car and charging optimization dictate how you drive. .. Enjoy the ride, don't make the car the priority.
I agree. Sometimes I enjoy planning to minimize charging time. Sometimes I want to stop for an hour or so, in which case it's fine to be charging to a higher level. If the Supercharger is really convenient I will take a few minutes even if i could easily make ten next one. if it is off the route and/or in an unpleasant location I'll try to skip it.
Factually, it took me about 4000 miles to get to the point that i do not agonize over this subject. That said, if I have a leg on more than 200 miles, I will range charge.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Most people are forgetting one important thing: many superchargers (at least by me) are not ON THE HIGHWAY! You can't say it'll be faster to stop twice. That means you need to get off the highway, drive several miles down some side-street until you find the supercharger hidden in some mall, charge, get back on the highway and only then continue your trip. That takes a non-insignificant amount of time.
Your experience on the east coast differs from mine on the west coast. In California all the Superchargers I have used (about a dozen) are within a minute or two drive from the freeway/highway.
 

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