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Thread: A "scary" trip from Davis CA to Los Angeles...

  1. #1
    Junior Member Bruce's Avatar
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    A "scary" trip from Davis CA to Los Angeles...

    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.

  2. #2
    S VIN S1049, X Resv S744
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    The difference between 65 mph and 70 mph is rather incredible, and even more with 75 vs. 70. Until Superchargers are spaced at the 75 to 150 mi spacing, you'll run into this.

    As I understand it, the lights are rather meaningless in the bigger scope, but everything you save might translate into 1 or 2 miles. The biggest thing is the climate control -- I would argue that 72 isn't neutral, it's hot... ...but that's just me. I typically set the climate control to 65 or so and use the seat heaters, myself.

  3. #3
    Member K Hall's Avatar
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    Bruce, dropping your speed will give you more than enough range. If your cutting it close slow down.
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  4. #4
    Blue 85kWh "Electron" Stoneymonster's Avatar
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    Your experience nearly exactly matches Telsa's range simulating calculator here: http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric#range,
    with outside temp set to 50F, heat on, and extrapolating to 70 mph (it maxes out at 65mph).

    Were you watching the projected range after settling in to cruise?

  5. #5
    Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12
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    A couple of thoughts from my experiences and what I've read on this forum...

    - Lights don't matter much for range. I keep my DRL on and headlights on Auto.
    - Radio doesn't matter much either.
    - Climate control matters. I keep my on Drive Range mode and turn it off if I get in trouble. Seat heaters are good, air condition/heat is bad.
    - Speed matters. Looking at this graph from Elon's blog post show a ~25 mile range difference just for slowing down from 70 to 65. (Ignore the max ranges at these speeds... or read Elon's disclaimers in the post.)
    Name:  graph1.jpg
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    I keep the nav on to show me remaining miles to the destination in one half of the screen, the other half showing the Energy app with projected miles based on the average last 15 or 30 miles. Then all I have to do is make sure there are less miles to my destination than what the projected range is showing the Energy app... and that's how I arrived at the Gilroy supercharger once with only 6 miles on the battery. (Not something to be proud of, but wasn't too stressed either.)

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    Senior Member brianman's Avatar
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    @FlasherZ - 65 is cold.

    In most cars, I set the auto somewhere between 73-75 (because I like it warm).
    In the Model S, in range-aware mode I drop it to 72 whereas I sometimes [1] have to set it to 77 to actually have it maintain 75ish. The issue in [1] seems to be solved in the current firmware by setting the fan speed to 3 or higher, rather than auto.
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    PLEASE NOTE: these musings are the copyrighted intellectual property of the author, and are intended as part of a conversation among the Tesla Motors Clubs membership. My words may not be quoted by any third party outside the Tesla Motors Clubs forums, without my expressed consent. Especially the NYT, which is clearly ethically challenged.

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    Yea, I've been disappointed in actual range. I thought with the "300 mile" battery, as it was original advertised and then 265 EPA, I'd have a huge cushion for 200 mile trips in the very temperate state of Oregon. The reality seems to be 200 miles is pushing it at normal freeway speeds. I'm rather surprised the new EPA rating is still so far away from reality.

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    Junior Member Bruce's Avatar
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    So what I have gathered from this so far is that I need to drive at somewhere between 55 and 65 mph on the 70 mph speed-limit freeway with my heater and a/c off to reliably make it past 200 miles using my car with an EPA of 265.

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    S VIN S1049, X Resv S744
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    So what I have gathered from this so far is that I need to drive at somewhere between 55 and 65 mph on the 70 mph speed-limit freeway with my heater and a/c off to reliably make it past 200 miles using my car with an EPA of 265.
    Pretty much. The EPA rating is a standardized mixture of highway and city driving with controlled climate control settings, mostly at around 60-65 mph highway speeds. With climate control and 70 mph highway speeds, I generally count on 210-220 miles with a full range charge.

  10. #10
    Senior Member stopcrazypp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckessel View Post
    Yea, I've been disappointed in actual range. I thought with the "300 mile" battery, as it was original advertised and then 265 EPA, I'd have a huge cushion for 200 mile trips in the very temperate state of Oregon. The reality seems to be 200 miles is pushing it at normal freeway speeds. I'm rather surprised the new EPA rating is still so far away from reality.
    Speed kills a lot of range. 300 mile is at 55mph steady speed. From the Tesla chart you lose 20% if you go 70mph.

    The new tougher US06 highway cycle averages 48.37mph. The peak is 80mph, but the speeds are rarely at 70mph or above, it's mostly 60 something:

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/standards/li.../sc06-sftp.htm

    The old EPA test is even more mild, peaking at 60mph, although the average is still 48.3mph.

    http://www.epa.gov/nvfel/testing/dynamometer.htm
    Because there are tons of crazy people in this world...

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