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Tesla, dispersed or primitive camping and bad roads

Discussion in 'Model S' started by treesandmore, May 30, 2017.

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  1. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

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    I'm posting in the model S forum but this could apply to other models too.

    If you like to do dispersed or at least primitive camping (no charging) and go wherever and whenever you want, is Tesla a viable choice?

    I'd like to hear examples of people who've done it. 'It' being, for example, driving up the Cottonwood rd in Grand Staircase Escalante, or driving the Burr trail, and camping somewhere along the way.

    I'm not an owner yet but need to replace my high clearance 4WD with a newer car. I have only one vehicle at a time, and this one's 20 years old. Am I still forced to get an ICE at this point to meet my needs? I really want a Tesla, but...?
     
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  2. IdaX

    IdaX Member

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    For better ground clearance you can go with a Model X on Very-High suspension mode. I was driving around on some dirt & sandy roads into and out of washes and it worked great. I wouldn't go rock-hopping tho.
     
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  3. kort677

    kort677 Banned

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    a tesla is not the best tool for this job, especially the S with it's low clearance
     
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  4. sdorn

    sdorn Director of Awesome

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    #4 sdorn, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
    See the link below for my experience taking the Model S onto some very questionable roads. I don't recommend doing it on purpose.

    Tesla navigation too "aggressive"?
     
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  5. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

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    Thank you for that video. Seems like a perfectly decent road to me! :)

    I understand it was a horrible road to drive in a Tesla. It would be a breeze in a decent 4WD.

    I wonder if the conclusion is that, surprisingly, it can be done, or, more likely, forget about Tesla. That would be very sad. Again, I'm a one car person, and even if I were not, these drives happen as I go on road trips, camp and hike, which is my lifestyle, so I'd want to take the Tesla.

    I might be trying to force something impossible here. Seems my only choice unless I hear otherwise to to buy an ICE.
     
  6. IdaX

    IdaX Member

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    Dude I think that these guys are being too conservative about what a Tesla can do. They might prefer to get it wrapped and park it inside a hospital-grade cleaning room for a garage lest it get lint on the paint job. But I've taken my Model X on somewhat rough dirt roads and it works great. Really nice having the nav system in satellite mode to identify turns, actually! I've been on the main road through Grand Staircase anyway in my old Saturn SL2 and it would be just absolutely not a problem at all in a Model X. I don't have an S, so I can't speak to whether the S would work or not.

    Plus then you could use Camper Mode and sleep in air conditioned comfort in the car all night ;)
     
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  7. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The main problem with the S is actually the tires--they just aren't built for serious off-road (a steady diet of gravel will tear them up) and there aren't any real replacements other than winter tires. I suspect that the really cheap winter tires that have poor ice traction would be best for three season off road. When new, winter tires have more tread depth and so will provide more cushioning.

    Other than that a Tesla will fare better than many cars due to the lack of junk underneath. After an adventure, inspect the CVS boots because they are the weakest part.
     
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  8. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

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    Another question: if a road is bad and it takes you, say, a whole day to drove 60 miles, do you expend more charge than if you were driving the same distance in one hour on asphalt?

    I'm also interested to hear how far people have driven away from chargers in uninhabited areas such as the areas of Utah I mentioned.

    I'd very much like to hear that this is doable. If no one pipes up...maybe I...will...be the guinea pig....because I just want a Tesla so much and this is the way I live. But I'm not an engineer or a mechanic...this might be a stupid thing to try.
     
  9. TD-3

    TD-3 Member

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    I had occasion to take a MX P90D on some very questionable trails in the mountains of CA. I consider myself a moderately experienced off-road driver and I believe I pushed the reasonable limits of the MX (with performance tires, anyway). The trail was narrow enough for branches to scrape both sides of the MX at times (all scratches buffed out) and the ruts were at least 18" deep. One benefit of the MX was its width allowed me to straddle the outsides of both ruts in the trail along certain sections.

    Driving downhill to get to a remote campsite was slow going but not too scary. I got out often to walk the route and check ground clearance over rocks and I was prepared to turn back if it looked too technical. I will say that I didn't enjoy camping as much as usual because I knew going back uphill on the way out was going to be the hardest part.

    Indeed, the weight of the MX combined with the slick tires proved to be an issue. When attempting to straddle ruts on a sideways angle/uphill incline, I slid into the ruts twice and had to accelerate aggressively to push the MX through those sections. That resulted in rash on the wheels, although not much worse than normal curb rash. That was the only damage sustained.

    I'll also note that I forded a few streams with no issues. Average depth was at or lower than the bottom of the doors but some unseen holes resulted in water splashing over the hood/windshield. No issues from fording and it was fun!

    Overall, with more appropriate tires I'd say the MX would perform comparably to a Tahoe (which I used to own). Similar size, weight and ground clearance on highest setting. As others have noted the flat bottom is nice!
     
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  10. Takumi

    Takumi Member

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  11. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

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    Very inspiring!

    Any (hypothetical) thoughts about the Model 3 AWD? I've reserved a model 3...I'm just at a crossroads here not knowing if my current ride will survive till then and not sure it'll make sense...
     
  12. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    Model S and model X are terribly expensive for these type of adventures. I keep a Toyota 4Runner in the driveway for adventures.
     
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  13. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    The no charging part of your question is the deal killer. Also, I've taken my P85D off road and while it's not a horrible experience, there is no way I would ever do it on purpose, especially since I have an F150 with a 36 gallon fuel tank.

    It's one thing to run out of charge on I5, quite another to do it in the woods where you may not have cell reception.
     
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  14. TD-3

    TD-3 Member

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    If it's helpful, for comparison I would confidently take my AWD MS over any of the terrain in the video posted by Takumi above (with no load towing). To me, the off-road towing is what's impressive about the MX capabilities demonstrated in that video versus the terrain.

    Personally I would not attempt anything rutted out in MS (or M3, I presume).

    It's probably safe to say an AWD M3 will perform off-road as well as any AWD hatchback with comparable dimensions, if not better due to the flat bottom. Maybe that's stating the obvious, but my point is that a Tesla is at least as sturdy as any comparable ICE.
     
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  15. boofagle

    boofagle Member

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    The first all electric truly off road capable truck/suv will redefine the off road industry. The torque, the water fording abilities, dual or quad motors, etc. That will be a fun day. Charging could still be a problem for long adventures, though.
     
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  16. TD-3

    TD-3 Member

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    [​IMG]
    Found a mid-adventure photo from the campsite. No more than 150 miles round trip to the closest supercharger. No range anxiety but much further and I would. Definitely used more energy than comparable on-road.
     
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  17. Canuck

    Canuck Well-Known Member

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    #17 Canuck, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
    No vehicle is unless perhaps a nuclear sub that produces its own power but then you're limited to the sea.

    Obviously, an EV can't go as far as an ICE with a full tank of gas -- yet. You also can't carry extra electrons like you can gas cans. So you have to plan your off grid trips based on your energy usage or make compromises and stay at least for some time in RV parks, or closer to superchargers, which are going in more and more remote locations. But if it makes your trips too short for you, then you're better off in an ICE. If you have the view that your experience is so much better in an EV despite the limitations then it might be for you. It does take a certain mindset to put up with its limitations when using EVs for off grid camping and that's for each person to decide if it's right for them. This is something Model X owners with camping trailers have to consider and they are pioneers in my view.

    As to the backroads, I've driven them a lot in my S. But they're good gravel roads, and I take it slow and watch for rocks and potholes because it doesn't come with a spare, and where I drive on the backroads by my cabin, there's no cell phone coverage either. I take a repair kit and compressor and keep my fingers crossed. But it's just the same as taking an ICE sedan on backroads, it's not an SUV. In the winter I'm in my Tahoe hybrid on those same roads.
     
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  18. Takumi

    Takumi Member

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    Would this be too big to tow around?

     
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  19. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

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    Great answers, and very helpful. Except that there's no glaringly obvious solution at this moment in EV-olution.

    I want a Tesla for the long highway portions of the trips, for the autopilot and for all the other reasons I want a Tesla.

    I want a jeep wrangler or a pickup for the bad road/dispersed camping portion.

    I can only get one.

    I guess I could compromise on a Honda CRV - which would make nobody happy...not the anti-ICE me, not the want autopilot me, not the 'wonder what's up here, maybe a nice spot to camp, oooh, what deep ruts, well I'll keep going a few miles, no that was a bad idea' me. And it's not cheap. Spending that much on something I don't really want...

    Whoever comes up with a portable solar supercharger will rule the world.
     
  20. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

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    LOL! We cross posted. But if it's enough to charge a Tesla (and quickly), what if it were set in place? What if these were available along backroads? Say every 100 miles.
     

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