Just got back from a trip from Davis, CA to Long Beach, CA. My first real test of the range… First, I will say… I made it! With that said, I must be doing something wrong. The range is not what I expected, and I am not sure how it can be made better reasonably. Here’s the story:
Wednesday, we left Davis at 3 pm on a extended charge of 259 miles on the battery. I mistakenly did not check my lights and realized later that I had the daytime running lights and fog lights on. I do not know if the radio can be turned off and if there is a draw on power from the radio (or internet radio) if it is on or muted or paused. The radio was on. We had the climate on fairly neutral at about 72 degrees. I drove at about 74 miles per hour. As we approached Harris ranch 204 miles away (45 miles out) I realized that I just might not make it! My battery gauge showed me with 45 miles of battery left… I was at this time I realized that my lights were on. So I turned them on, turned off the radio (any help? I don’t know), put the climate on extended range, and started driving only for range… I kept my usage at or below 20 watts on the odometer gauge (this made my speed fluctuate between 50 and 65 mph depending on hills). I didn’t turn the lights back on until it was pretty dark and I had about 15 miles to go. I arrived at the Tesla charger with 16 miles to spare… oh my!! The rest of the trip was uneventful. I fully charged at Harris Ranch, drove to Fort Tejon and charged again… went up the energy-sucking grapevine, and ended up in Long Beach with plenty of juice.
Gotta say that driving around the LA basin with an electric car is AWSOME! No problem and plenty of charge available (albeit for a fee with “Blink”, but still available).
Drove home with what I thought was everything in the right way… left at 8 am with the lights off, climate in range mode. I drove with no worries about energy usage for the first half of the trip, as Fort Tejon and Harris Ranch are plenty close. But at Harris Ranch I left with an extended charge of 262 and drove at the speed limit of 70 mph on cruise control. There was light traffic, so I very nearly never had to brake. I arrived in Davis at 4:30 (yes, that is 8 ½ hours) with 12 miles left!! This is NOT acceptable. If I do everything just right… don’t travel at night or in the cold or the heat and have no traffic, I can travel 200 miles with little or no buffer.
Gotta say, I loved the trip. I enjoyed the adventure… but my wife… well… not so much. The stress of possibly being stranded and bricking our car was too much.