Life With Tesla Model S: NY-FL Supercharger Road Trip, Returning Page 2

Randy Siebert, Sam Astley, Steve Siebert, Dave Noland on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]

Randy Siebert, Sam Astley, Steve Siebert, Dave Noland on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]

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And some more thoughts:

  • The ideal Supercharger spacing looks to be about 150 miles. This gives a reasonable cushion for even the most extreme conditions of fast driving, cold weather, and headwinds. (Major elevation changes may require shorter legs.) Under more normal circumstances, 150-mile spacing allows recharging stops as brief as 30 minutes. (This applies only to the 85-kWh models; a 60-kWh Model S will be able to handle a 150-mile Supercharger gap reasonably well in the summertime, but winter weather will force it to stay home or freeze in the slow lane.)
  • Some Supercharger stations apparently have both 90- and 120-kW charging stalls. At Glen Allen, Virginia, for example, the charge meter on the dashboard showed only 90 kW at the first location I used. I moved to another stall, and instantly registered 120 kW.
  • Cross-country Supercharger trip planning would be a lot easier if the Model S displayed precise information about the battery state of charge--either percentage or actual kWh. (Why not both?) Tesla should at least improve the software that comes up with the "Rated Range" miles-remaining number.  I found the meter to be utterly clueless.  Even in frigid weather, after you've nearly drained the battery over a 200-mile a leg at 75 mph, the RR meter will blithely tell you you've got 270 miles of range  with your freshly-charged battery. Dream on!
  • Tesla needs to create a Supercharger Cross-Country Trip Planning app. Plug in how fast you want to drive the next leg and how many miles of cushion you want to have when you reach the next Supercharger, and the app--which knows that distance, the elevation difference between the two, and the current temperature and wind along the route--would tell you the state-of-charge percentage you should dial in before you head off for a quick lunch. This would let Model S drivers arrive at their next Supercharger stops with a nearly empty battery--assuring the fastest possible recharge rate, and minimal time spent charging.

My total stats for the trip:

  • Distance: 2,431  miles
  • Total energy used: 832 kWh
  • Avg efficiency: 342 wH/mi

Oh, and did I mention...

  • Total Fuel Cost: $0.00


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