We made it back from Denver to San Diego with no problems. We got back home around 2pm yesterday, Wednesday, after a "fill-up" at the Temecula, CA Supercharger. We left the Tesla Model S 75D set at 90% because there is no need to wait around for the extra time to get that last 10% anyway. We only missed the one Supercharger in north Las Vegas because we wanted to stop at the one close to the airport, Las Vegas south. We would stop it at 80% then on to the next station. We very much enjoyed our drive, meeting many other Tesla owners. We ended up spending more time at most stations than we had planned just chatting with the folks.
We found ourselves driving much faster than we had planned, just following the flow of traffic. We LOVE the AP2. It took some getting used to but eventually we both learned to trust it to make the curves by itself without us taking over. We were set for 7 car lengths spacing but eventually realized that we will need to change that, maybe try 3 and see how it goes. The auto lane change is great. The car already had the 17.17.17 update installed. We do hope that future updates will help to smooth out the driving around curves, but the jerking was not too bad, considering that we could just let it go and do it's thing and still get us home safe.
We only had one leg that gave us worry. We had stopped the charge at 70% in Green River, UT, thinking that the rated 181 mile range would be enough to get us the 124 miles we needed with a little reserve until the next Supercharger in Richfield, UT. After all, we did have 57 miles more than we needed, right? Well, what we did not (read that to mean me, not my wife) account for was the terrain and wind. We were happily driving along with AP going 80 mph up, then up, then up some more. There is a lot of high mountain passes on this route. Beautiful though it was, even at night, it is very high. Also we were experiencing very strong head winds. Now in the usual rented cars we take our cross country trips in we can feel the wind, hear it even. NOT in the Tesla S. It was so smooth and quite. Such a joy to drive in. Okay, back to the story. Anyway, we were happily driving (meaning me for this leg), using the AP2. Every once in a while I would check the Remaining Miles, and compare it to the miles needed to drive to get to the Richfield, UT Supercharger. I began to notice that our reserve of 57 miles kept reducing. Then the GPS on the touch-screen, along with the dash GPS started giving me the message that I needed to slow down to 60 mph to make it to our next stop. Well when did I ever listen to sound advice. I was not going to let some computer tell me what to do. So on I drove at 80 mph (this was the posted speed limit, by the way), but I was continuing to watch the dwindling reserve while AP2 was continuing to safely drive us along the freeway. Eventually I started having visions of spending hours waiting on a tow truck, in the middle of the night, just to drag us to the next Supercharger. Therefore when the reserve reached 30 miles I slowed down 5 mph, to 75. When the reserve reached 25 miles I slowed down another 5 mph, to 70. This was a little better, but it kept dropping. By this time we were past the summit and on our way down so it should give us lots more range. However, the headwind was not helping us at all. At 20 miles reserve another 5 mph reduction to 65 mph. We were lasting longer at each reduced speed, but still losing reserve. At 15 miles reserve I slowed down another 5 mph to 60. By this time I was wishing that we had waited the extra 10 minutes to charge from 70% to 80%. That extra 25 rated miles would have been useful. Even at 60 mph we were still losing reserve because of the headwind. At 10 miles reserve I again slowed down another 5 mph to 55 mph. As a side note, we do love the AP2 speed adjustment of 1 mph and 5 mph. It makes it so easy to adjust speed. Finally at 55 mph we were able to get better efficiency than rated so the reserve started to grow. I though about increasing speed but decided that the extra time driving slower was not worth the risk of not getting to the station. Well Hallelujah, we made it to the Richfield, UT Supercharger station with a whopping 22 miles remaining (8% of battery). From then on we charged a minimum of 80%, except at Las Vegas south we stopped as soon as we got back from the bathroom and the car was at 66%. We only had 36 miles to Primm, NV. At Primm we went to the MacDonalds for breakfast so the car was almost 90% when we returned. We waited a couple of minutes for it to finish, then left for Barstow, CA., 119 miles away.
Overall, we are very happy with our new Tesla, and are looking forward to the next 15,000 miles or so of trips we will be using it for in the next 3 months.
Concerning the Supercharger speeds, I was looking forward to getting 120Kw for the first 50% of charge, but was disappointed. It must be with the 90 or 100Kwh models that get that speed. The highest speed we got was 99kw, but usually 97 or 98kw below 50% battery charge. From above 50% the speed dropped. I tried to record speed at each 5% mark but missed some when we left the car to eat or use the restroom. I will continue to plot our Supercharger speeds as we continue our travels in the next few months. We did notice that every Supercharger was different, but within a close range of speed. I will post what data I have now.
Below 50% charge: 96 to 99Kw
55% - 80 to 87Kw
60% - 72 to 81Kw
65% - 64 to 78Kw
70% - 56 to 66Kw
75% - 43 to 56Kw
80% - 36 to 44Kw
85% - 29 to 36Kw
90% - 25 to 30Kw
I will update this list as more data is gathered on our next trip.
The slowest charge, and the station furtherest from the freeway, was St. George, UT. Also at St. George we were not able to find restroom until the Starbucks opened up at 5am. Because of this we stayed plugged in until the full 90% charge was achieved while we were away from the car. The GPS got us to every station, but we did have to search in the dark before we saw a few of them. Still, overall we were very happy with our experience.
On a side note, we have learned to use "Hypermileing" techniques driving our Leaf. We try to drive only 55 or 60 mph on the freeway, Occasionally we go faster, but only if we are in a big hurry and a short trip. With the Tesla I thought about trying to limit our speed to 60 mph on the trip back to conserve energy. However, since I needed to get back home to teach a class Wednesday night I felt it best to give the Tesla a real world test run. Most drivers of gas cars seem to push the limit of speed. If EVs are to gain general acceptance then they must meet these needs, even if that is not the most efficient method. Very few drivers are thinking about conserving. They just want to conserve their time and never mind what fuel or energy they waste. Because of this, I set the Tesla limit at 5 mph over speed limit. However, on the entire trip our fastest cruising speed was 80 mph.
2013 SL Metalic Slate - We LOVE our Leaf
MFG 08/13 Dlv 09/06/13 @ 10 mi
# 77 100 mile club
# 10 200 km club
2017 Tesla S 75D Pearl White
Delivered 5/16/17 @ 900 mi
Tesla Model 3 on order awaiting 200+ mile range Nissan Leaf