Life with Tesla Model S: coast to coast in a new 100D (and how it differed from my old 85) Page 2


2017 Tesla Model S 100D on cross-country trip from New York to California [photo: David Noland]

2017 Tesla Model S 100D on cross-country trip from New York to California [photo: David Noland]

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100 kw at 60 percent

Charging in Cookeville, I saw once more how much faster the charging is on the 100D against my old 85. I picked up 200 miles—from about 15 percent to 75 percent—in roughly 30 minutes.

That charge would have taken at least 45 minutes in the old 85. Possibly more.

I now had enough juice to skip the next Supercharger, in Memphis, and make it to the one in Jackson, Tennessee, 209 miles away. Slowed by heavy rain, I made it just before dark.

I’m glad I did; the buffet dinner of  Southern fare at the Old Country Store next to the Supercharger was almost worth the drive from Asheville all by itself.

With two Supercharging stops in the 85, I’d never have made it to Jackson before dark—and I would have missed that dinner.

Three days to the max

Days 5, 6, and 7 were friend-free, so I was able to follow the dawn-to-dusk go-as-far-as-you-can routine that typically netted me 500 to 550 miles a day along fully-Supercharged routes in the previous Model S.

But with quicker, fewer charging stops, the 100D did far better. Over those three days, I drove 674, 600, and 623 miles. On average, that’s about 100 miles a day more than I could manage in the old 85.

2017 Tesla Model S 100D on cross-country trip from New York to California [photo: David Noland]

2017 Tesla Model S 100D on cross-country trip from New York to California [photo: David Noland]

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And I came to trust the Tesla navigation app, which proved fairly accurate. It seemed to prefer arriving at the next  Supercharger with about 15 percent of battery charge remaining,  on par with my semi-cautious mindset. 

But for those drivers who laugh in the face of range anxiety, the app allows you to cut the margin as close as you like.  Simply unplug and proceed when the app prediction of remaining charge on arrival meets your risk threshold.

Two percent? Go for it. (But are you really, really sure the app knows how strong that sudden headwind is?)

More efficient

The 100D is supposedly about 13 percent more efficient than the 85, according to the EPA. But I've found the dual-motor Teslas’ supposed efficiency advantage to be illusory.

After 8,000 or so miles of mostly local driving, my 100D had delivered virtually the same efficiency numbers as the old 85: I logged 290 to 300 watt-hours per mile.

But during this trip, there were stretches where the 100D seemed to beat  the 85 hands-down in efficiency.

Driving through El Paso on I-10, limited by traffic to a steady 60-65 mph, with a tailwind of 10 to 15 mph, the 100D showed an astounding efficiency of 240-250 Wh/mi. (At that rate, total range would have been more than 400 miles.)

I don’t recall the 85 ever doing that well with comparable speeds and tailwinds.


 
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