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trip to Miami and experience with public charging stations

Discussion in 'Florida' started by Elifant, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. Elifant

    Elifant New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
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    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
    Hello all,
    This is my first post on this forum. I thought I should share my recent experience with you all.
    I had the occasion last weekend to travel to Miami and back the same day from my residence in Winter Haven (a distance of 230 miles) in my 2015 model S 85. As the denizens of south Fla know probably, the nearest supercharger to Miami is in Port St Lucie, a distance of 130 miles. I stopped at the Port St. Lucie supercharger on my way and charged up to "rated range" of 265 miles, hoping to make it back without having to charge. So, maybe it was my driving habits, but when I got to the airport in Miami, it was showing a range of 105 miles. Obviously I was in trouble and need of a charge to be able to make it back to the supercharger. I pulled up Plug Share on my phone hoping to get a quick charge of 30-40 miles to be able to make it back to the supercharger. Which is where my ordeal started. Plug Share (and the car) which gave me a lot of options but I should note that the car did not direct me to a Tesla store or service center.


    To make a long story short, I ended up going to 5 different charging stations from Miami to Boca Raton because the charging rates were pathetic being respectively: 0 miles/hour (non-functioning); 15 miles hour (level 2); 8 miles/hour (HPWC); 8 miles/hour (Blink pay station; level 2) and 20 miles/hour (HPWC). I tried calling the local Tesla store but they were closed (around 7 pm). So between going from place to place and the slow rate of charging, it took me 6 hours to get the 40 miles charge I needed. Oh and when I got on the road to Port St Lucie it started telling me I was 2% short and needed charging but it was 2 in the morning and I was not about to go looking for another charging station in the middle of nowhere, so I kept going and made it to the supercharger with 0% left on the battery.


    Lessons I have learnt:
    1. Dont think about going to Miami and coming back the same day from Port St Lucie and north.
    2. Public charging infrastructure in S Fla is pathetic and not an option for Tesla, IMHO
    3. Mr Musk's claim of never running out of charge because the car will not let you is a bunch of hooey, at least for certain parts of the country lacking in superchargers.
    4. Rated range does not mean a whole lot.
    5. High powered wall connectors at public stations may not be so high powered. Btw, on my HPWC at home I get 58 miles/hour


    So that was my experience. I know there are lot of Tesla fans here but I just want to point that it is not all roses in the Tesla world and there are trade offs in driving this expensive and technologically advanced car which can be a Dodo if the infrastructure is inadequate.
     
  2. CatB

    CatB Member

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    I usually get close to rated when I am driving conservatively. Did you have AC or heat on the whole time? Do you know your average Wh/m? Any time I have a 200+ mile day, I do a max charge (which you did) and I try to keep my Wh/m below 300. Sounds like PlugShare really let you down too - if people had reported their results, that might have cut down on the time it took to get that 40 miles. There's a good blog entry on trip planning that mentions a lot of this, but your post is a good reminder that although things are much better than a few years ago, it is not a no-brainer by any means.
    hope you are still enjoying your MS!
     
  3. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    Location:
    Minnesota
    There are a few common lessons here. One is that public charging stations are unreliable, they can be ICE'd, broken, and more. The other is to drive slow to maximize range. South FL seems like just about the best place to drive an EV to me, flat and warm. I like to set reset my trip meter before I start a long trip. Keep your Wh/M under 290 for the trip and you'll get rated range. On your Energy display you can track the last 5/15/30 miles, but the trip meter will average for the whole trip. If you are above 290, slow down. Works in almost all cases, extreme cold being an exception.

    An HPWC at 8mph, or even 20mph? That is REALLY slow. Those should all be at least 28mph. Not sure if you had your UMC cord with you, but RV parks are a nice charging option too, often with 50 amp connections. They are very common in many places.
     
  4. Roland

    Roland Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
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    Location:
    Naples, FL
    Model S long distance driving does take some advanced planning. You could have used the West Palm Beach Supercharger on your way south. It would not have been open later in the evening. You would have made it back to the Port St Lucie Supercharger.

    I only use level 2 charging for destinations (2 to 3 hour stops).

    The Supercharger Site would have alerted you to the West Palm Beach Supercharger:

    Superchargers

    Good luck with your next trip.
     
  5. LoL Rick

    LoL Rick Like Buttah

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
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    Location:
    Land O Lakes, FL
    I am going to side with Elifant on this one. We are at the tipping point where someone should be able to just drive the car and not worry about finding a place to charge, especially in an area as heavily populated as South Florida. After all, isn't that what Elon is preaching? Range assurance so you don't have to worry and don't have to do a bunch of homework before you travel.

    But sadly, we still have no decent charging options in Miami / Ft. Lauderdale. The service centers have HPWCs but they may only be available during business hours. The West Palm supercharger is only available during business hours. And again, that requires homework to find out if/when a charger is available.

    I experienced something similar on a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for a cruise in February. We had one night's stay at a hotel with no charging option, followed by a week sitting in the Port Everglades garage. So I did some homework and ended up spending an hour at the Victoria Park Hotel's HPWC on the evening of arrival and another hour the morning we returned. BTW, they were sold out so we could not have stayed there.

    I also had to do quite a bit of homework and rely on the kindness of a FLORIDA TESLA ENTHUSIASTS member in order to manage a weekend trip to Fernandina Beach, north of Jacksonville. With no decent public charging options and the closest supercharger being in St. Augustine, which would force me into a terrible route back to Tampa, I contacted a group member to borrow his NEMA 14-50 while on the island.

    So yes, there are options if we seek them out and do some advance planning. But this kind of silliness is not going to sit well with people who just want to buy the car and drive. Elon told them they could do it, but the reality is that the infrastructure is not all there yet, and when one is caught by surprise the result can be very unsettling.

    My request to the community is that we be supportive of these folks and gently teach them about planning ahead for certain destinations while being careful not to blame them for things they didn't know. My admonishment to TESLA is "get off your butts and get the rest of Florida covered! The delays have gone beyond ridiculous."

    Elifant - welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your experience. It's unfortunate that you had to learn these things the hard way. I also want to encourage you to join the FTE group using the link found in my signature.
     
  6. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Elifant, a few thoughts to help for next time:
    1. Tesla's marketing hype about range assurance, etc. is California-centric. There you can find a supercharger or level 2 in any direction you go. The rest of the country isn't like that as you know. So it takes advance planning for a long distance trip, especially for a day trip as you don't have overnight to plug in somewhere. Use Plugshare ahead of time to identify charging options at your destination or to and from the destination so you're not in panic mode if you need one, and also look for RV parks with 50A service. Stuff happens.
    2. Speed kills range, because air resistance goes up exponentially with speed. You're not going to get EPA-rated range with highway driving >70 mph. Watch your range and energy use during the drive, not just when you get to the destination, so you can slow down if you need to.
    3. HPWC only gives 58 miles/hr if it's on a 100A circuit so it draws 80A. Most are not installed that way and they often give only 40A. Usually the Plugshare entry shows how many amps, and the Tesla destination charging map also shows that for the HPWCs that are part of that program. Of course 8 and 20 miles/hr are abberations-- I hope you reported that to their owners so it can be fixed.
    4. Level 2 J1772 at the usual 30A gives 18 miles/hr at best-- so the first working charging station you found that gave 15 wasn't far off.

    Taking a trip in a Tesla in most of the country isn't going to be a mindless thing for a long time, but that's part of the fun.
     
  7. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Location:
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    #7 Larry Chanin, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
    Hi Elifant,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for sharing your experience.

    As Rick mentioned if you are interested in joining a Florida Tesla club, please click on the links in our signatures. That will take you to our sign-up page and will describe a little about the club. There you will find that we have a private Club Charging Network in which participating club members share their home charging source.

    Here's a map of our coverage:

    FTE Charging Network.jpg

    I agree that despite the marketing hype that we have recently been exposed to, the fact remains, as you have observed, that pre-planning is still required to ensure that we don't have a bad experience. This statement is not intended to be a criticism of you, merely a statement of the current situation.

    Like all Model S owners I would like to see more Superchargers, but I feel that Tesla has done an excellent job in accelerating the roll-out of the network. Particularly in Florida, we have the second most number of Superchargers behind California, albeit a distant second. :biggrin:

    I agree with Rick's remarks that as we get past the early adopters and Tesla enthusiasts, "normal" folks might not be thrilled about the need to preplan and may not be good candidates for a Model S until there is more fast charging infrastructure deployed. Nevertheless in the short 2 -1/2 years that I've owned my Model S I have seen significant progress in rolling out the Supercharger Network.

    In addition to the 11 Florida Supercharger Stations operating, one Supercharger is about to break ground in Plantation, one is under construction in Marathon. Others are planned for Tallahassee and Jacksonville this year, and another in Miami next year.

    Larry
     
  8. Ugliest1

    Ugliest1 S85: "Sparky"

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
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    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    Hi Elifant and welcome to TMC. I echo the others' comments in this thread, things are not quite where they need to be for non-planned long trips. That said, planning doesn't have to be too onerous. About the only thing I do is use EVTripPlanner (EV Trip Planner) to kind of chart the route we want to take, and note the approximate rated miles between destinations including superchargers along the way. When I get to a supercharger, I just note what EVTripPlanner thinks the Rated Miles are to the next destination (or supercharger), and add 20 or 30 miles to that, then leave the supercharger when the car is showing that total. On our last trip to Reno down I5, that meant 15-20 minute supercharging stops.

    This is also useful in planning our nightly stops, because we only like to drive a maximum of 350-400 miles per day. The EV planning is actually a small percentage of the overall sightseeing planning we do when deciding our route. Day trips are more challenging unless there are superchargers essentially right where you need them. Day trips still require more planning and more time compromises since there will be routes that require L2 charging and the waits they entail.

    Level 2 chargers on Plugshare are useful overnight assuming they are near or at a hotel, and semi-useful for a long lunch. I always read the comments on Plugshare if I have to make a planned L2 stop to ensure there isn't a common or recent history of problems.

    In Canada we have few superchargers. On a road trip my wife and I once had to sleep in the car at a hardware store when the town's hotels and motels (like, 20 of them) were ALL full and we didn't have enough to get to the next town (the store had a 70A charger so we were good to go in the morning... or, fair to go after a not great sleep). Needless to say, I am now under firm direction from my wife that we will only be taking supercharger-enabled trips. So Arkansas is not in our near future.

    But Florida is, for 2016! It looks like Tesla will be adding just enough superchargers to make one of our bucket list goals, Key West, a reality. We've just begun the planning for that.

    Last thing, Elon's "ending range anxiety for everyone" announcement is a little premature, in fact reading TMC threads from people who are using the beta navigation software, the current version actually kind of makes things worse at the moment. But I'm confident it will be improved. It seems to me Elon is also fighting negative perception of EVs out there in general, so part of all this is a propaganda war. But Tesla is also the only company on the planet working on a *viable* infrastructure to make long trips a no-brainer with acceptable charging times. Supercharger travelling is better and far less fatiguing, IMHO, than ICE travel.
     
  9. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Location:
    Sarasota, Florida
    Great advice.

    My wife and I share your desire not to make long trips into endurance marathons. We are thinking about driving from Sarasota, Florida to the Washington, DC area and if possible we would like to limit our daily travel time to around 5 hours.

    When you complete your planning for your Key West trip, please start a thread here in the Florida sub-forum to share your research.

    Larry
     
  10. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Coral Gables, FL
    As a P85D owner of two weeks I certainly share Elifant's concerns. I still do not have home charging in my Miami condominium, and will not until the typical arduous South Florida (more difficult actually, Coral Gables) permitting process is complete. Tesla has similar long-term issues obtaining permitting for the Plantation Supercharger site. Frankly, with West Palm Beach now open (service centre hours only), Marathon in construction, and Plantation coming, South Florida will be far better off. The 2016 Miami location will make pretty decent coverage.

    In the meantime although few people know it in Pinecrest at Pinecrest Gardens free public charging is available, CHAdeMO only now, but Tesla HPWC is planned. Pinecrest is a delightful park setting to relax for a while, too.

    No question, charging availability in South Florida is pitiful. However, it has just improved with opening of West Palm Beach and more is coming soon. Ah, the joys of being an early adopter! By now we should not need to view ourselves as that, but we still do.
     
  11. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

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    Just as a note for this thread (I'm sure it is widely known though), the Boca Raton store and service center at the Boca Raton Town Fashion Mall has two chargers in the mall parking lot by their on-site Teslas. I took my test drive there and ran into two owners charging there. That said, I was also there during business hours, but hopefully you aren't blocked from those two parking stalls off-hours.
     
  12. DJ Frustration

    DJ Frustration Model X Sig, Former Model S, Model 3 Res

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    Just wanted to make an observation and say how nice it is to see the Florida Tesla community pull together as a group to help each other out. Gives us all a good name. Keep up the great camaraderie, folks.
     
  13. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    I agree. My brief time as a P85D owner has been far less difficult because of all the good advice here, not least yours about how to resolve issues at Pinecrest Gardens. BTW, any news on the tesla HPWC there? The maintenance staff there seem to want one, maybe to stop them having to deal with all the tesla's overheating the CHAdeMO:eek:
     
  14. DJ Frustration

    DJ Frustration Model X Sig, Former Model S, Model 3 Res

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    Let's take the discussion over here so we don't get off topic: Village of Pinecrest (South of Miami) Installing 2 Tesla HPWCs
     
  15. stoneskid

    stoneskid Member

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    Location:
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    I live in southbeach and there are a bunch of third party ways to charge in the area. Prob the best selection I have seen outside of Cali. It's pathetic there is no supercharger in the miami area. Also the tesla showroom on Lincoln is not really to openly kind to allow charging. I swung by one day and asked if they would charge an out of town guest. They said only if it was a last resort and they wanted us to pay to park their car in a garage. If you see what they r working w in regards to space I understand. If anyone needs a charge come by my spot.
     
  16. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Thanks very kind of you.

    We are anxiously awaiting the Plantation Supercharger to be completed hopefully this year and a Miami Supercharger next year.

    Since you are a part-time Florida resident you are eligible to join our Florida Tesla club. If you are interested in joining, please click on the Florida Tesla Enthusiasts link in my signature.

    Larry
     
  17. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

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    Jbcarioca:

    what has been your experience with the CHAdeMo adapter exactly? How many miles do you typically add b4 the charger overheats? do you unplug and replug to get more juice?

    How often do you charge?

    My S85D is arriving in NYC next month and I too have a bit of a charging issue. I got an email a month ago that my CHAdeMo adapter reservation had come up, but I see now the adapter is available to buy in the Telsa Shoppe so I am going to give it a few weeks b4 splurging.

    There is a HPWC in a parking garage a block form my apartment building in NYC, but it is still unclear how willing Tesla and/or the garage attendants will be to let me use same and how often. (there is a Tesla "store" above the garage with the HPWC which I hope to use, and I was told by the sales rep in another NYC store that I could use the charger "on occasion," but who knows what this will mean in practice..)

    otherwise i'd be stuck paying $0.49/kWh for 6.6kW level 2 in the same garage. or in a garage a few blocks away.

    I will say that there is a CHAdeMo plug closer to my apartment than any supercharger, but it is not really convenient and that fact that I charging is limited probably limited to 30 minutes is not helpful either.)
     
  18. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    It turns out that the specific Nissan CHAdeMOP station used by Pinecrest needed a serious cleaning. When i last charged there there was no problem at all. When there are CHAdeMO overheating problems i have found that charging ten minutes, recycling the connection and charging another ten minutes can do the job, much faster than a typical level 2 anyway From reading elsewhere it seems most CHAdeMO stations have been/are being upgraded so I suspect these overheating problems will soon be just a memory, anyway i hope so. I have also found more free level 2 chargers by looking carefully. On several occasions i have used level 2 for a couple of hours and gained 50-60 miles, but that all depends on amperage at the station. Charmed optimisation, BTW, pretty much requires dual chargers in the Tesla also. I am very happy I bought the CHAdeMO.
     

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