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"Zero" means "Zero" - Caution about Vegas to LA trip!

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by BrainPaint13, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. BrainPaint13

    BrainPaint13 New Member

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    Dear all, we had a false sense of security after reading this blog as we set off in our 60 kw battery Tesla for our first road trip from LA to Vegas. It appears that issues between Barstow and Vegas are very underrated, plus there is a belief that there is a 20 mile reserve beyond zero. This is false. 0 on the dash means 0! Tesla does not allow you to see how many miles are used post-zero, and it is difficult to calculate since at that point we were coasting downhills and driving about 38 miles per hour. However, we estimate we got about 4 additional miles before we got the message to pull over before the car shuts down.

    Here are the details:
    We got to Vegas easily, and had about 25 miles left to spare. For this reason, we felt comfortable charging the car to 201 miles for the return trip since there were multiple Teslas parked at the Venetian charging stations making the final miles charged extremely slow.

    We encountered extremely powerful headwinds on the return trip, and the temperature dipped under 50 degrees (it was about 47 F outside). Both factors significantly dropped our range. My husband had the cruise control on 68 miles/hour until about 1/2 way to Barstow - he went down to 60 miles/hour when we noticed that we were significantly losing range. As we approached zero miles a dotted line appeared on the speedometer blocking max acceleration (this is called limping). The bar reduced more past 0.

    Tesla Roadside Assistance, 866-998-3752, was awesome! TJ (the gentleman in Fremont we got on the line) was very knowledgable, helpful and detailed - he went above and beyond even calling us back to see if roadside assistance had picked us up. The towing company was trained by Tesla on how to handle the cars since there are very specific things that need to be done. The gentleman from the towing company said that they haul in about one Tesla per month due to runnng out of electricity. There has never been any other issues with the car other than one tire blowing out. He said the Tesla owners tend to be very nice and polite :).

    I will not be brave enough to drive to Vegas again until there are more charging stations. My husband said that he would brave it, but he would allocate a lot of time to get the charge up to 210 before leaving Vegas (it would have taken at least 45 minutes to an hour more since it was going at a snails pace). I don't think a 8-9 more miles charged would have helped much since we were 2.2 miles short of pulling into the Barstow station, and we went at least 4 miles beyond zero. That leaves a buffer of 2-3 miles in the same conditions, which is too close for comfort for me (especially since we had been driving so cautiously).
     
  2. bhuwan

    bhuwan Active Member

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  3. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    Close, yes but simple math dictates you probably would have made it. It also dictates two things would have helped avoid this situation... topping off the 60kwh battery and driving slower and/or in range mode.

    People tend to believe the dynamics for range are different for gas cars vs electric cars, the truth is there is no difference. If you don't fill your tiny gas tank up to max range, hit strong headwinds, and zip along at nearly 70mph, the same result will occur. The trick is to watch the gauges and see that you are using up to much power long before you get stranded. I'd rather drop to 55mph in the slow lane behind a truck then 0mph on the shoulder any day.
     
  4. DJung

    DJung Member

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    Did your make it past Primm? Tesla's gotta put in that Primm supercharger sooner than later!
     
  5. Lump

    Lump Active Member

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  6. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    Hmmm. My slightly degraded 60 (203 last time I did a 100% max charge) would not have made it either. What's that website that forecasts wind conditions? Our flight plans need to take it into account!
     
  7. dbfish

    dbfish Member

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    The touchscreen Nav is getting a software update in a few months to calculate wind speed and direction. Keep Plugshare/Recargo and an RV Park app handy if you are leaving less than 20% margin to 0 range! Glad roadside assistance worked as advertised.
     
  8. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    The Wundermap on Wunderground | Weather Underground works well on the Model S Web Browser and shows wind from 1,000's of personal weather stations that are connected. Just remember that the little arrows show where the wind is pointed; opposite of weather vanes; if the long side of the arrow is behind you, you have a tail wind; if it's pointed in your face, its a headwind; each minor barb is 5 mph and each full size barb is 10 mph.

    My normal range drive practice is to charge at least to within a few miles of full range, then watch the rated miles left vs the miles to go in the nav. I drive very conservatively (no more than 55 mph or the speed limit, whichever is lower) until I have a 20% margin of rated miles over distance to go. If you want to correct for altitude, its 6 or 7 miles per 1,000 feet; for some reason 6 miles per 1,000 feet is easier for me to do in my head. Once you get more margin than 20%, start picking up the pace, gently.
     
  9. lloyds

    lloyds Member

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    Sorry to hear. So far I have not had this problem, but I do put in a 20% cushion in estimated miles especially when I'm not certain about terrain or weather.
     
  10. Puyallup Bill

    Puyallup Bill Member

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    Interesting use of the term. It has been many years since I prepared a cross country flight plan (before GPS), but planning an EV road trip reminds me of it. Weather, wind, mountains, fuel, ..........................
     
  11. Benjamin Brooks

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    Source? Would also be good if the Nav calculated the total elevation change on a routed trip from A to B, and gave hints about whether the rated range was an overestimate (net going "uphill") or an underestimate (net going "downhill")
     
  12. FredTMC

    FredTMC Model S VIN #4925

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    I just did this trip. Omg. Sorry to hear. I just came back from LV last Wed. No wind. I left Aria with a nearly full range charge (196mi). I did 68 on cruise most go the way back and sped up when I realized I had enough reserve. I guess I lucked out with no head wind. Yes, Primm SC is really needed. I planned on rolling into KOA outside of barstow but wasn't needed for me.
    I look forward to driving "normally" to LV and back once Primm is available.
     
  13. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I heard that too. But regardless, for the trip to work comfortably for 60kWh (rather than just barely) another supercharge is still needed on the LA to LV route.
     
  14. simplesolar

    simplesolar Member

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    do you know what your actual KWH used on the side was? Was it actually 60kwh used or less.
     
  15. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

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    I did this trip in July in my 60, and had no problems. I was using the AC instead of the heater, though. If you were only 2 miles from the supercharger, you had already passed the Roadster HPC at Barstow Station. I believe there is a Model S adapter there.

    Anyway, the supercharger map shows a future
    supercharger in Primm. With that, there will be nothing to worry about.
     
  16. brianstorms

    brianstorms Member

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    Funny you all bring up that term. I used that exact phrase at the UTC Tesla San Diego Store 1-year Anniv event this past weekend, where a bunch of owners brought their cars and answered questions for the public for like 5 hours. I kept describing the long-distance travel planning for an EV trip as being similar to flight plans. Have to take tons into account, it's no quite just a get-up-and-go kind of thing. We'll need 500-mile batteries for that.

    But yeah, Tesla owes its customers some kind of really sophisticated GPS-aware trip planning app. Can't count on PlugShare. (Or, Tesla, just buy 'em.) Need an in-car app that is able to monitor battery situation, speed, power utilization, weather, road conditions, time of day, proximity to chargers of any type, food, lodging, etc, and have it personalized, remembering past trips ("is In-n-Out the next stop?"), etc., and generally helping the "pilot" plan a trip before and during.
     
  17. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    With just a little bit of research and planning (just a little bit), they would have figured out this was plan B if they couldn't make it to the SC. Always helps to have a plan B in case of excessive winds, unexpected elevation changes, etc. that we overestimate the car's range and in the event that slowing down and putting the car in range mode isn't enough.

    In the case of a 744 flying from LAX to HKG in the winter time in strong winds, that plan B is Taipei. No different for us Model S owners, especially 60 owners. People really need to read that thread about road trips before they head out on one. I know I did, and I learned a lot from taking short day trips before heading down to Santa Barbara for first real road trip, which in turn helped when we took a longer trip down to LA.
     
  18. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    +1 Always have a back up plan. No matter where I plan on charging on a roadtrip (and Roadsters don't have the luxury of superchargers), I always know what my backup charging plan is 'just in case'). I even print out the locations, in the event that there is no cell phone coverage at the point I need it the most.

    Some day this won't be an issue. But there was a time when there wasn't a gas station at every exit and people had to plan. Eventually we'll be able to just assume there will be a place to charge when we need to charge. In the meantime, ALWAYS have a Plan B.
     
  19. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    This thread should be referenced to all those guys that keep asking "60 or 85? Help me decide" You never know when you need a bit extra range, and you need to keep an eye on energy consumption on all road trips and be ready to institute a back-up plan.
     
  20. Odenator

    Odenator P2607

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    I too have been 4 miles past zero as you can see here:

    IMG_0001_mini.jpg

    And I still had what appears to be just under 5% of my 85kW battery available. Now how much of this lower portion of my battery I could use before the car would forcibly shut down I'm not sure. John Broder (if you trust his report) stated that he drove 19 miles past what the Model S range indicated before the car shutdown and was non responsive. I don't know Broder's Wh/mile when he drove past 0, but if 0 range on the car means 5% of a 85kW, then he must have been using 223 Wh/mile or less before he brodered the car.

    Regardless, I'd have been white knuckling it like you if I knew I still had over 2 miles to go till Barstow.
     

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