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Winter 2015 GTA to Southern US Road Trip

Discussion in 'Canada' started by FrozenCanuck, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm taking my family from Port Perry (75km outside of Toronto) to Georgia this coming March (2015). A few months ago I was certain I'd be taking the Model S because I trusted the "coming soon" SuperCharger map. Now that this trip is only 2 months away, and there seems to be no action (yet) in the blank spots on the map, I am thinking about whether I can make this work or not.

    I'm looking for opinions / sharing of any research that others have done.

    From the GTA, or in my case just northeast of Toronto, it seems the best route is to go to Niagara, through to Buffalo, take the 90 over to Erie, PA, and then head south towards the first SuperCharger in the network for my drive, Cranberry, PA.

    That is the portion of the drive I'm most bothered by ... there is currently NO Supercharger in Buffalo or Erie despite them showing as "coming soon".

    My worst case scenario is that nothing changes. Can I still take the Tesla? It seems that my only way to make this doable is:

    1) Port Perry to Niagara --> It's easily achievable in Winter but it would leave me with a mostly empty pack upon arrival if the weather is cold. I could leave in the morning, arrive in Niagara to have a nice lunch and do fun things with the kids while the car charges at a hotel plug.

    2) Niagara to Erie, PA --> Easily manageable in winter too, and assuming I could find a hotel with EV charging I could stay the night there and charge. Then I'm a short drive to Cranberry PA, which starts my SuperCharging journey.

    I do NOT have much experience with Niagara, and none whatsoever with Erie. I don't even know if Erie has a hotel with any EV charging, and I'm hesitant to rely on a hotel where the power might not be on for the charger, etc. The Tesla map that shows partner charging locations has absolutely nothing for that whole area of Buffalo - Erie.

    Quite frankly this portion of the trip seems a bit risky. If I was solo it would be fine, but with two kids and a wife who would be super pissed off if we run into problems charging .... should I just suck it up and take the SUV this year?

    (I know ... first world problems ...)

    I'd love your thoughts, folks.
     
  2. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    Were you going to bother topping up at the Toronto SC or is that not worth the bother since charging is so slow when you are still close to full?
     
  3. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    I probably wouldn't bother because I'd start with a range charge and charging would be slow. The only way I'd change my mind is if I thought I wouldn't have enough charging time in Niagara. But at least for a drive to Niagara, the Toronto supercharger is only 2 minutes off the route.
     
  4. mrElbe

    mrElbe Member

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    Only suggestion I have is to look at Plugshare.
     
  5. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    Longer term there really should be a SC in Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side) or NOTL area - I don't think there is one on the plans is there?
     
  6. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    I looked into driving to Washington DC last March in the Tesla. I decided at that time there were too many comprises. Also the freedom to drive as fast as you want and make pit stops whenever you want as opposed to stops being scheduled at SC's. I had my 3 children with me who were 23 months, 3 and 6 at the time... I was glad I didn't as they slept for a large chunk of the trip home, stopping to charge would have woken them up...

    AFAIK there are no hotels in Erie with a L2 EVSE. There are a few car dealer chargers however that are close to Hotels...

    It sounds like you'll be overnighting twice before even getting to Pittsburgh. Personally I'd much rather take an ICE on a trip like this. :) If Buffalo or Erie were online I'd probably tell you to go for it however. Buffalo -> Cranberry SC is <200 miles so it should be doable...

    All that said, only you can decide if you'd like the adventure of taking the Tesla. :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    For daytrips to Niagara Falls from Toronto? There is a good amount of destination charging in Niagara and a SC coming in Hamilton/Burlington which (I think) wouldn't make one on the Canadian side necessary.
     
  7. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    I was thinking more 2-4 day weekend trips rather than just day trips where you do a bit of driving around each day to wineries, etc. But I wasn't considering the destination charging - but even then I don't want to have to base my choice of hotel on the availability of a charger. If I could plug in at a SC for 30 minutes while having breakfast or whatever if might work better. The Burlington SC would likely work but you don't want to stop halfway on a 90 minute trip home.
     
  8. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    No, my plan would be (if possible), to simply stop for the afternoon in Niagara in order to charge up over lunch or an afternoon visit, and then head onto Erie to sleep for the night. That would put me very close to Pittsburg. The second day of driving would be all SC charging and I'd probably head to south Virginia, and wrap up the drive the third day. Easy days of driving.
     
  9. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    This is why all hotels need EVSE's. :) Or at least more than 1 per city...
     
  10. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    Toronto to Cranberry is 414 km. That's entirely doable, if you're very careful. (It's not that cold in March). Charging to 100% at a Supercharger may be slow (30-40 minutes for the last 20%), but it's a lot faster than getting a flatbed.

    Go slowly, and plan to take a break at a charger on the way. There are quite a few charging possibilities on I-90.

    Or skip Toronto altogether and stop somewhere like http://ballsfalls.ca/plan-your-visit/#hours for two hours to be sure of being able to make it.(2 80A Sun Country chargers)

    You are talking to someone who made it from Victoria, B.C. to Quebec City prior to any Superchargers being installed in Canada. I know how far the car can go. I know about inconvenience. The trip you're proposing isn't very inconvenient. Sure, it would be nice to have a Supercharger in the middle for peace of mind, but you have literally dozens of charging alternatives! PlugShare - EV Charging Station Map - Find a place to charge your car!
     
  11. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Ummm google maps says it's 480km from Toronto... (437km from my house just west of Hamilton...)
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I dunno, I wouldn't recommend doing a leg of over 400 km. Even under ideal conditions you're going to have a thin safety margin unless you can drive the whole thing at 80 kph max. Hard to do that safely on busy highways.
     
  13. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    Weirdness. You are right. I could have sworn I was looking at the same route, but an absolute for sure Google map of Tesla Lawrence Ave to Tesla Cranberry, PA gives 500 km.

    Tesla Toronto Lawrence Avenue to Tesla Supercharger - Google Maps


    So, yeah, you'll need at least a couple of hours of charging en route.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Balderdash. At 100 km/h you should be able to go well over 400 km, unless it's below zero or you insist on heating the cabin to 30 degrees. :) We are talking about a 85 kWh battery, right?

    There's also a difference between pushing the range without alternatives, and pushing it when there are a dozen places to stop and charge along the way.

    Now, back to the original question: if two to three hours of charging is considered too inconvenient, then don't take the Model S. I can understand having some anxiety when taking such a trip the first time, but it is easily doable if you don't mind the stops, and don't HAVE to go faster than 100 km/h.
     
  14. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    Yes, I'm driving an S85. I'm confused though. My typical winter driving has been in zero-ish temperatures and I'd say I'm getting about 230 Wh/km. Lately with the cold spell it has been worse, but I don't expect that kind of cold in March.

    So even with the full 85 kWh available to me, and to be conservative call it 4 KM per kWH, I should manage to get 340 km of range. How do you figure more than 400?

    Yes, I do agree that 2-3 hours of extra charge time is no big deal. I'm happy to do that if it is reliable. I'll check out what's available via PlugShare because that could make the difference I need for confidence.
     
  15. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    #15 mnx, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    Have you thought about driving to Ellicotville, NY and staying over at Holiday Valley? From there it's 200 miles to the Somerset, PA Supercharger FWIW. Evtripplanner makes it look like a fairly easy leg as long as you keep it under 20% above the speed limit and it's above -6C outside...
     
  16. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    Interesting idea. Holiday Valley (NY, not PA) looks to be a bit out of the way, but definitely fun for the kids if the snow is still on the mountain and we could go tubing for the evening :)

    Based on feedback so far I'm hopeful that I can just hang out somewhere in Buffalo or Niagara, have a nice lunch, and then continue directly on to Cranberry PA since it's about 200 miles, and should be easily achievable if the weather is OK.

    It would be nice if my first stop for the night can even be at a SC spot beyond Cranberry. Once I'm on the network I can go as far as I want.
     
  17. BerTX

    BerTX Member

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    I don't even have a Tesla yet, so this is all pure conjecture:

    I'd consider doing a long first day and go through Detroit to Cranberry (or less if I got tired). Superchargers all the way. The total amount of time would be less without the forced overnight stop. If I'm not having pay extra for the fuel, then there is less incentive to take the shorter route.

    Of course, I don't live in that area and you do. I also don't have kids to deal with. My point is that the shortest distance is not *necessarily* the shortest amount of time when dealing with superchargers vs. slow charging.
     
  18. mrElbe

    mrElbe Member

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    The long round-about way is to go via Woodstock Sc to Maumee, OH SC ( 213 Miles ) and pick up the Supercharger network from there. Going via Niagara Falls, you would need a full charge to get to Cranberry SC. That could take quite a few hours at a level 2 charger. Make sure you have CAA Plus if towing becomes a necessity.
     
  19. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Someone who is experienced with the car, no problem pushing the range. But an inexperienced EV driver casually taking your word for it that 400 km is easy is likely to end up on a flatbed.

    That's for sure.

    I don't have any experience driving on long trips where there is a dozen places to stop along the way... more often there are zero to a few.
     
  20. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    At what speeds, and over how long a distance, did you get 230 Wh/km?

    There is a big overhead in heating. If you can avoid that overhead, then it should be possible to do rated range or better. That may require using heated seats and no cabin heating, however, if it's not significantly above zero.

    Right now in Victoria it's typically 4-8 degrees C, and I can get either 400 Wh/km on a 4km trip (a huge energy spike to heat the cabin!) or better than rated if going a long way at constant speed with the car already warm.

    For a case in point of going more than 400 km: I drove Ottawa to Toronto, almost exactly 400 km, with 30 km range shown remaining. This would not be possible averaging more than 100 km/h, but keep the speed low and the cabin heat off and I'd expect you could do at least 400 km. Cabin heat on and it might be close, depending on the temperature.

    You also have to arrange for no significant headwind. :) As I say, it is pushing the range, but if you plan to stop along the way, and you have quite a few alternative charging stops, it should work out.

    Life is much simpler once you hit the Supercharger network!
     

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