Life with Tesla Model S: coast to coast in a new 100D (and how it differed from my old 85) Page 3


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]

Quirks

On the other hand, looking back, two quirky Supercharging stints in the 100D still mystify me. On both occasions, the charge rate surged initially up to 115 kw, as usual, but after a few minutes, began to taper off for no apparent reason.

On one occasion it settled at 65 kw before slowly climbing back up to 80 kw . The other time, it settled around 75 kw and stayed there.

I have no idea why that happened.

During previous local Supercharging sessions near my home, I had learned the 100D is far more sensitive to temperature than the old 85-kwh battery.

In cold weather, the initial Supercharging rate for the 100D is severely restricted unless the car has been driven enough—at least 50 miles—to warm the battery fully.

On a really hot day—above 90 deg F—I found that Supercharging rate is also limited in the 100D, presumably because the battery is now too warm. I never noticed that with the 85.

This particular trip was always in cool to moderate temperatures, so I have yet to try a hot-weather Supercharge after a long drive. Can anybody out there provide any feedback on that?

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]

Bottom line

Despite the quirks, I’ll definitely give the nod to the 100D. I always felt the 265-mile range of the 85 wasn't quite enough to account for cold weather, 75-mph cruising speeds, headwinds, and gradually rising elevations.

I’d like to be able to drive 250 miles under all but the most extreme circumstances, and the 100D gives me that. Essentially, it allows 600-mile days with only two Supercharging stops.

Unless batteries become ridiculously cheap and ridiculously light, anything more than about 350 miles EPA range seems wasted—adding extra weight and extra cost that will virtually never be used.

The promises from Faraday Future, Fisker, and Lucid of  400-mile ranges for their upcoming electric sedans and utility vehicles strike me as overkill. And the new Tesla Roadster’s claimed 600-mile range is just plain ridiculous.

I suppose you could argue that mega-batteries are worthwhile because they can charge faster. But with Elon Musk tweeting not long ago that a 350-kw charger would be a mere “children’s toy” compared to future Tesla Superdupercharging, that advantage may soon be moot.

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

Superchargers are boring

My first cross-country Tesla “dash,”  in 2015, took 10 days due to the longer Southern route and the many Supercharger gaps at the time.

I had to go off the beaten path and improvise to find electrons, and in the process stumbled onto a number of intriguing diversions: a great blues piano player in  Saluda, North Carolina; a pink four-poster canopy bed in Foley, Alabama; and some really cool old farm implements in Elk City, Oklahoma.

I even got the inside scoop on the Texas legislature’s anti-Tesla efforts from one of its members—a Tesla owner who let me plug in overnight at his house in Beaumont, Texas.

On this most recent trip, with a longer-range, a quicker-charging car. and a fully built-out Supercharger network, I could have made the trip in five or six days if I’d bypassed the friends.

As for adventures, well ... I guess  that dinner in Jackson was sort of memorable.  Other than that, the trip was just Interstates, Superchargers, Comfort Inns, and road food.  Pretty boring.

That’s progress. I guess. 


 
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