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thoughts on my first road trip with the model 3

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by crackers8199, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. crackers8199

    crackers8199 Member

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    since i saw the horror story, i thought i'd add mine...this car is amazing. we just did a little over 3800 miles - from southern california to KC (via AZ, NM, TX, OK and KS), and then back on a slightly different route (via IA, SD, WY, UT, AZ, NV). no range anxiety whatsoever, the car literally tells you exactly when you need to stop and for how long (although this is one of my few gripes, i'll explain later).

    we stopped to supercharge 30 times along the way (including once at the KC supercharger the day after we arrived to "fuel up" for the week)...each time we would have already needed to stop to either stretch, use the restroom, or just take a break in general. in fact, we still had to stop a few times without supercharging (in case of needing a restroom in-between superchargers, although we tried to only stop at superchargers and at least plug in if that was the case, even if only for a few minutes). we also charged three times during the few days in KC when we happened to be near a chargepoint charger and knew we would be staying at that location for an hour or more.

    three gripes: the first two are minor, both nav related (and both kind of play into each other). if i'm missing something and it is possible to do either of these, please let me know...

    1) i wish there was a way to add a waypoint. there were a few times where we wanted to put in our final destination for the night and then add stops along the way (to use the aforementioned car ability to tell you how long to charge at each stop), and it didn't seem that was possible. we had to set up one trip to each stop, and then kinda guess from there as to whether or not we had enough range to get to the next supercharger.

    2) it would be nice if there was a way to tell the nav to limit the time spent charging rather than the way it seems to work, which is to limit the number of stops. there were a few times where we could (and did) stop at a few superchargers along the route and do smaller stops at each one rather than a longer charge at a given charger and then skipping one or two along the way.

    3) this is the more major one - not having satellite radio as an option sucks. really, really sucks. there was more than one point where i drove through areas with no cell service and no radio stations available (and that goes for both the AT&T connection in the car as well as my T-Mobile cell phone, so please spare me the "you could just tether your cell phone" excuse that i've gotten in the past when i mentioned satellite radio should have been an option...let alone the fact that according to tesla's documentation you can't use your cell phone to enable premium features such as streaming audio). i did save some music on spotify and downloaded a few howard stern interviews to get me through those spots, and that worked fine...but especially in the heart of the baseball playoff chase and the first weekend of college football, i would have rathered have the ability to listen to live content during those stretches.

    now to the best parts: autopilot - it's truly amazing how much less stressful a long drive like this is when you have autopilot available and only have to supervise while letting the car do most of the work. much, much less exhausting than trying to do this drive (as we did last year in my volt, see notes below) without any of those convenience features. my volt has regular cruise control, but that's it. even just using TACC would have made this so much less stressful, but autosteer and auto lane change just take it to another level. another gripe though (extremely minor), i do wish there was a way to limit the nag for autosteer when on a perfectly straight stretch of road. there were several points on I-40 and I-90 in particular (but also on some of the other interstates we used) where there were miles and miles and miles of straightaway stretches...yet the car still nags you to turn the wheel. even though i was driving with my hands on the wheel to be prepared to take over, i wasn't turning the wheel because there literally wasn't any reason to. the road was perfectly straight for miles and miles at a time.

    cost - supercharging and chargepoint fees combined for the entire trip cost me a little over $150. the same trip last year in my chevy volt cost nearly $400 in gas. this trip only cost me a little over $400 for both energy costs plus lodging for three nights of the road trip.

    in summary: this car is amazing. aside from the gripes i mentioned here and the madness that is the phone key, i couldn't be happier with my investment. the best part? every single gripe i mentioned here except for the satellite radio part is something that tesla could theoretically solve via OTA software update...
     
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  2. Rogue one

    Rogue one Member

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    Well written, I just completed a 2,000 mile road trip and agree with everything you said. Nice write up!
     
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  3. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Active Member

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    In response to 2)
    I don't really think that the intent of the Supercharger algorithm is to limit stops as much as it is to optimize charging.
    Stopping at multiple stops when the batteries aren't that empty are less efficient than stopping at chargers when the battery is low. A low battery accepts more current than a half charged battery does. I'd guess that stopping at 60% for 30 minutes would take twice the number of stops that stopping at 30% for 30 minutes needs.
    30 charges for 3800 miles is a stop every 125 miles. I recently had a 1500 mile trip that required 6 supercharger stops for 250 miles per stop. (Okay, there was a little destination charging in there)

    My general recommendation is to take the Tesla defaults, but maybe stay around a little longer. It isn't necessarily the mote efficient, but I don't think that the Tesla algorithm builds in the time to get off the road and back. And also, check out the map beforehand for charging opportunities that can meet biology or other needs. No need to stop at 10:30 for an hour and then stop at 12 for lunch, try to combine them.

    And don't forget that satellite radio is available in the Model 3. Sirius/XM sales a portable player ;)
     
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  4. timk225

    timk225 Active Member

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    At 6' and 310 lbs, I may not be the average driver, but the seats are hard on my ass after an hour or so.

    I took a 1500 mile trip to Alabama and back in June, and at every supercharger stop, it was an experience to get out of the car and get the legs working right and be able to walk around again, that first 20-30 steps is a doozy. After that I am ok, but my 2011 Challenger R/T never had this problem.
     
  5. Rogue one

    Rogue one Member

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    I respectfully disagree when it comes to model 3 at least, I just completed a 1,000 mile 1 day road trip. Denver CO to southern Wisconsin. Tesla nav said it would require 19 hours we cut it in 15.5 hours. The key is to hit every super charger with an arrival SOC 5-10 percent and never stay past 50 percent SOC, provided you can reach the nex super charger with 5-10 percent buffer. This ensures you are always charging at peak speed 100 KW+ Any charge slower than that is a wast of time IMHO providing of course you can reach the next super charger.
     
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  6. crackers8199

    crackers8199 Member

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    how? there's nowhere to connect it to.
     
  7. crackers8199

    crackers8199 Member

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    also, i'll add another note here since i can't edit my OP: i was amazed that we didn't have to wait for a charge at any supercharger. not once. at beaver, UT we got the last spot available (and actually left early and went to st george since beaver was super slow, even though the nav told us to stick around and not have to take another break before vegas), and in vegas there were three spots left when i pulled in (and actually two people waiting when i finished). i'll be interested to see how much this changes as they continue to crank out model 3s...
     
  8. MikeATL

    MikeATL Member

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    Yeah, that’s huge. They need to fix that. That’s like google maps from 2015.

    Have you tried?
    A Better Routeplanner

    I was frustrated by the loss of XM too until I realized I pay $300 a year for XM (2 cars) and I can get TuneIn premium and Slacker Premium and probably replace all the lost content and pay less. It doesn’t solve the problem of remote areas where you lose cell coverage, but in the future, that will become less and less of an issue. Always have plenty of Podcasts and Audio Books with me ....

    There are portable XM radios that do the trick of broadcasting on an FM channel that you car can listen to. There’s also some kind of Bluetooth adapter you can get. I don’t really like either of these hack jobs.....

    Wait until another 100,000 Model 3’s get out there !
     
  9. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    The Model 3's battery charges similar to the 100 battery pack for the S/X. Below 10% it starts charging a little slower. Then it peaks and gradually reduces power as it fill up. To optimize charge times on road trips it definitely helps to arrive at around 10% and charge only as much as you need to make it to the next one. The longer you charge, the more you get into the higher state of charge where the charge rate is slower. IOW you are adding miles at a lower rate than you could. I have written about it a while back here. The Model 3 (and new 100 battery pack) can keep a higher charge rate for longer so the effect isn't quite as dramatic, but the basic rules still applies. The other thing that has changed since I wrote this is that the M3 also starts charging slower at very low battery levels. While I aim to arrive very low with my 85, with the M3 you don't want to arrive too low.
     
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  10. crackers8199

    crackers8199 Member

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    yeah, that's how we planned the trip out ahead of time...but it's clearly not the same as the in dash nav.

    that doesn't solve the live content issue either, unless I missed something and tunein premium includes every live sporting event like satellite does.

    yeah, i know...not interested in FM transmitter unless it's the FM direct connection which doesn't seem to be an option (no antenna wire to tap into).
     
  11. MikeATL

    MikeATL Member

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    965D1A24-9A04-4117-AAB0-880CED58A12D.jpeg
    I don’t know if TuneIn is an exact one-for-one replacement for XM sports, but it seems to have a lot of overlap. I care the most about CNBC (which it appears to have) and College Football (not sure.) TuneIn actually does an AWFUL job of explaining it. They must have idiots in their Marketing department, Planning on trying it out once I take delivery of my M3.

    Tunein also has a lot of local radio stations, so you may be able to get games that way (if not blacked out.)

    And there’s always the XM Streaming App which I use in one of my cars. This assumes you have cell coverage and have the data plan to handle it (XM App steaming bandwidth consumption is pretty efficient.)
     
  12. crackers8199

    crackers8199 Member

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    the app works fine (now that I got it to stop randomly stopping playback for no reason), but it still doesn't solve the no service issue. that's where the real value in satellite is.
     
  13. tpham07

    tpham07 Active Member

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    Imagine that, autopilot making driving easier. and people on the TMC still claim that autopilot is useless and is actually more exhausting than manual driving. hahahahaha.

    i agree, i wish the navigation had a way to add waypoints or select which superchargers you wanted to stop at (instead of selecting each one individually).
     
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  14. MikeATL

    MikeATL Member

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    Agree! And they charge you for it!
     
  15. MikeATL

    MikeATL Member

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    I don’t understand why those people are on TMC! Or even own a Tesla for that matter!

    I’m planning road trips to places I wouldn’t have ever considered driving to before... so, not only do I have free Supercharging, but I’m also going to save airfare and rental car costs for some trips!
     
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  16. HopeToGolf

    HopeToGolf Member

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    Nice write-up. I have about 4K miles after a couple of months. This includes multiple 260-280 mile road trips. I cannot imagine putting on those miles in an EV without superchargers and autopilot. Both have made owning this vehicle and driving long distances easy.
     
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  17. crackers8199

    crackers8199 Member

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    yes, but you can get it at a discount pretty easily. is it worth $300 a year? hell no. $100-ish (which you can get pretty easily without even trying that hard)? absolutely.
     
  18. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Well-Known Member

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    That’s certainly a way to travel if you want to just get there. Lots of people like to road trip a bit more casually. I find the 3’s suggestions for stops works well for me 95% of the time. I can make decent time but not kill myself. Most of the stops are between 30-40 mins of charging which is near perfect to relieve myself, stretch, get a bite to eat etc... I’ll adjust my charging time accordingly if it’s got me charging for 50 mins at my next stop and I know I’ll not want to eat simply by staying longer at the current one and thus arriving with more charge. Or I’ll charge extra so as to skip a Supercharger stop and drive a longer stretch if that suits me.

    Remember the trip planning is a guideline not a rule. It’s so that people can have piece of mind they won’t run out of charge and it’s designed/programmed for the pleasure of the road trip not necessarily the quickest way to get there. Once you’ve driven the car for awhile you can simply adjust accordingly to your driving style, range anxiety levels, comfort etc...
     
  19. animorph

    animorph Active Member

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    We just finished a long road trip as well. The nav wanted us to charge for an hour or more at times and skip Supercharger stops. We stuck with our A Better Route Planner optimized stops. Travel time came out as expected, but we didn't try Tesla's strategy, which seemed like it would have taken longer waiting for those last drop charges. Not to mention I prefer the shorter 1 - 2 hour drives.

    Waypoints are sorely needed. We stopped by the Wyler Aerial Tramway just before hitting the El Paso Supercharger. Since I planned ahead I knew I needed 26% charge remaining at the Tramway to make it to the Supercharger with 20% margin (we're chickens, but it's not a big penalty with the 100D). Getting that info out of the nav would have been tough, and it seems like it would have left us at the Tramway with the same 15% it usually tries to reserve.
     
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