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The Rules of Model S Road Tripping

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Doug_G, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. JonathanD

    JonathanD Member

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    Nice entry, agreed on all points. I would say after a couple years of ownership a lot of this becomes second nature.

    One caveat on cruise control, I've noticed if you are on a highway where there are lots of up and down hills, cruise control aggressively maintains your speed on the up portion, which sucks more battery than is probably necessary. If I'm concerned about my range I've found that if I let the car slow a little bit (obviously also staying safe in traffic) and then gradually increase speed again once gravity is back on my side that I can save some range. It doesn't make a massive difference, but for us S60 owners, every mile counts! :)

    Hope everyone has a safe, happy, and emission free holiday!
     
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  2. DragonWatch

    DragonWatch Small FootPrint

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    Outstanding, thank you.
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yes, agreed. But you have to pay attention and actually do that. If you're not paying close attention to your speed then setting cruise is better.

    That said, with "traffic aware cruise control" (aka adaptive cruise) you may find it easier just to get behind a truck and set your max speed. The truck will slow down when it goes uphill. This will also give you the benefit of some drafting, even if you're well back from the truck.
     
  4. melburstein

    melburstein Member

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    Great document. Should be a sticky at the top of the Forum.
     
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  5. JonathanD

    JonathanD Member

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    I'm sure that would work as well, but unfortunately I don't have adaptive cruise, just the old fashioned kind. Still wouldn't trade it for an option-packed ICE if you put a gun to my head!
     
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  6. ModelNforNerd

    ModelNforNerd Active Member

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    This is fantastic. I just picked up my CPO S85 yesterday, with the goal of doing the annual MA to VA Christmas trip in it.

    Seeing as we'll be leaving at around 4:30am in the dead of winter, these cold weather tips will definitely help out. I plan to use AutoPilot to draft a truck or 2 along the way.
     
  7. jackbowers

    jackbowers Jack Bowers

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    #87 jackbowers, Dec 14, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
    Just a few additional thoughts:

    (1) Tesla's built-in trip planner does a great job at projecting the number miles needed to reach a given destination because it takes into account elevation changes, speed limits, temperature, and wind. Plus it updates continuously based on actual usage, taking into account climate control and deviation from speed limit. For non-Supercharger routes you will need to scroll to the bottom of the nav direction list and press the blue link that says "remove charging stops." That keeps it from trying to route you to a Supercharger that's way off course. Then for conservative driving (the kind that we all do on non-Supercharger routes), aim for the following targets:

    Normal Conditions
    125-250 mile trips: 10-12% battery charge at destination
    75-125 mile trips: 8-10%
    less than 75 miles: 6-8%

    Winter Conditions
    125-200 mile trips: 20%
    75-125 mile trips: 15%
    less than 75 miles: 12%

    During the trip, if it turns out you are cutting it too close you will start getting warnings to keep your speed below a given threshold. These are good tips, and if you follow them your risk of getting stranded is minimized.

    (2) Rule #9 cannot be emphasized enough - in addition to not knowing if the charge station will work, you also don't know if it will be ICE'd out, or if another car will be using it overnight. For that reason I try to line up a backup plan. If no other destination chargers are available the backup can be an RV park with 50A service (charge at a 28-32A rate in summer temperatures and 33-38A in winter because RV park breakers are notorious for flipping off once they heat up).

    (3) Drafting / Range mode are useful for stretching range in the Roadster, but not so much in the S and X - which are more aerodynamically and electrically optimized. If I'm desperate for range in an S or X, I turn the climate control all the way off and drive below the speed limit.

    (4) Elevation effects can be approximated at 7 miles of range per 1000 feet (5 miles in the Roadster), and this works well both uphill and down. If power demands are high (greater than 80kW) on uphill grades there will be an additional copper wire losses, which you can minimize by slowing down. Likewise, if you are braking during downhill stretches you will be hurting regen recovery, so try to leave lots of space between you and the car ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.

    (5) Short bursts of energy don't really hurt that much on flat or downhill grades. Even when I'm a little tight on range, I'll still pass fully-loaded trucks on two-lane highways so I'm not stuck going 25 mph on the next uphill grade.

    (6) If my next destination is a Supercharger, and I've got more range than I need to get there (which often becomes clear on the last 50-100 miles), I'll drive as fast as I like. The added energy consumption only means a few extra minutes at Supercharger charging rates.

    (7) Tesla recently produced a nice chart showing charging rates for S, X, and 3 for all possible 240V connections (you can estimate 120V rates by cutting the 12A rates in half). I've attached an image of it.
     

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  8. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    @jackbowers thanks for the additional thoughts.

    The PDF looks useful (needs km). I see that my nicely-formatted charging chart got messed up by forum maintenance; I'll fix that when I have a moment.

    When I wrote the original version the energy app didn't have the trip planner screen. It's incredibly helpful.

    Yes since the Supercharger can actually charge faster than you can drive, it makes sense to speed up if you have range to spare. Speeding tickets are of course optional...
     
  9. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

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    That's not my position. I suggested keeping a reserve of 20% for unfamiliar routes and 10% for familiar routes for just the reason you cited.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Okay that is reasonable.
     
  11. JonathanD

    JonathanD Member

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    Agreed, but now if it would just stop changing the route to one I don't have enough battery for, that would be great. "Hey you can save 20 minutes by going this way, but you'll be stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery!" Not so helpful! There needs to be more route options to choose shortest route irrespective of time when range is a consideration as obviously the car does just fine in traffic. Not to mention the manic directions to exit the freeway for a block and get back on, which in actual practice would absolutely not work out to be faster.
     
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  12. BerTX

    BerTX Supporting Member

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    Actually this is NOT correct. The Trip Planner does not correct for wind or temperature.

    Currently the only planning tool that does that is EV Trip Optimizer.
    Announcing the EV Trip Optimizer for Tesla App
     
  13. bcalfee

    bcalfee Member

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    Hey, I just wanted to say that we have 58,000 miles on our S 70D. Most have been road trips. Up and down the east coast of the US, VA-WI-SD-NE-VA. The only time we were sweating is when we pulled into the Bad Lands National Park and the campground was full. Soon we found there are 240V 50A chargers in town and we spent the night at a KOA with 240V 50A. Otherwise the SC network worked well.

    We recently drive from Virginia to Hot Spring AR and there is a long stretch between Memphis and Little Rock that had our attention because it was very cold... drafted trucks doing the speed limit. No problem.

    I do the I81 to Vermont trip a lot and Tesla has added several new chargers that have shortened that trip. If I had one thing to encourage... site chargers near good food!! Some have great food, others, only fast food...
     
  14. ModelNforNerd

    ModelNforNerd Active Member

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    I actually had this happen last week and work in my favor. I was approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge, headed east, after just charging at Tarrytown. The nav had me jump off 287, and at the bottom of the ramp, cross the street and jump right back on. It did allow me to jump ahead a good 50 spots in line. LOL
     
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  15. jerry33

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

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  16. 1speed

    1speed Member

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    Keep an eye on the navigation map when in rural areas. We just road-tripped back from Orlando to Birmingham. Between Tifton GA and Auburn AL, the nav went a little wonky with trying to reroute us the long way around Columbus. I think traffic-based GPS can try to re-route you based on very outdated traffic conditions, especially when you are in a rural area and not on an interstate. We stuck with HWY280 and were much better off.

    As we approached Birmingham, it wanted us to cut across to I-65, which gave us a projected 6% battery reaching home (and got the dreaded drive below 65 message). We stuck with 280 and made it home with about 16% with no slow downs.
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Agreed. I've had the nav do totally bonkers things on occasion in rural areas. Don't follow it blindly!
     
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  18. BerTX

    BerTX Supporting Member

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    The real problem to watch out for is the situation @1speed describes, where a sudden unannounced re-routing occurs. I had this happen the other day for the first time I'm aware of. Charged sufficiently at a SC to get to my next destination with 15% buffer, then as I was driving along, suddenly I had a 3% buffer. What? Immediately slowed down while I tried to figure out where the wind had come up from, or if I had a low tire, or what was going wrong. Then I checked the route and realized it had changed to take me 30 miles out of the way. Looked for traffic snarls and such on the previous route, but there was nothing to justify the route change. The Nav was adamant about the new route and absolutely would not go back to the original shorter route, even when it involved a u-turn and retracing 15 miles I had already traveled to make the turn to take the longer route.

    Continued on the original route successfully, but I had no idea how much range I had.
     
  19. Ollie Jones

    Ollie Jones Member

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    Great stuff. Puts into words a lot of what I have learned in the last couple of years.

    For us northerners, a few things to keep in mind.
    (1) running in the cold (sub-freezing) costs plenty of range. Doug_G's estimate of 20% might not be quite enough. Preheating when plugged in helps. The range on the dash-panel battery icon tends to overestimate the truth.

    (2) you can always call Tesla and ask "is such-and-such a Supercharger working?" I recently had to travel shortly after an ice storm that knocked out a lot of local power. Knowing the Supercharger was working along my route helped a lot.

    (3) chill mode (in newer Model S software) makes acceleration less aggressive, both when commanded by the driver and by the adaptive cruise control. It saves energy and extends range.

    (4) seat heaters: yes. steering wheel heater: yes. Set the fan speed to slow (1 or 2) in the cabin heater to keep drafts down when you set the thermostat to colder than you would have in your old ICE car.

    (5) some newer Superchargers (I'm looking at you, Scranton PA) don't deliver the current you expect from all stalls. Choose a stall close to the big buzzing gray boxes behind the fence and you'll have better luck. If you're getting less juice than you think you should, try another stall. And, of course, remember that the A and B stalls (e.g. 3A and 3B) share a circuit, so avoid parking next to a stall that's in use if you have a choice.
     
  20. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Agreed, you can get more than 20% loss in extreme temperatures. If the pack heater is running it can be a LOT more than that. Plugged-in preheating is key!
     

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