Took a trip to Vegas last weekend in my Tesla Model S P85. Here’s a summary of the trip and some data points for anyone interested.
Technically I got stuck in Vegas (although I did plan to leave the car anyway). I didn’t have enough charge to drive back so I took a gas car instead. If I had a home in Vegas with a high power charger I’d be ok, but just getting a convenience charge from various hotel and shopping mall parking did not cut it.
The solution for out-of-town charging is the Tesla Super Charger. I did not mind spending an hr getting a charge as I could watch the progress and was able to relax, listen to internet radio, and browse the web while charging. However, Tesla needs to install one just outside of Vegas and another outside of San Diego. This would have allowed me to charge up once arriving at Vegas and just before departing for San Diego or visa-verse for someone taking a trip in the other direction. Placing these just outside of town would make it less convenient for folks just topping off leaving them open for people that really need it.
All in all the chargers are still somewhat difficult to find, but most attendants seemed to know about them. Google maps worked well navigating me to them, however Tesla’s navigation still needs some work.
“rr miles” are rated range in miles of battery capacity reported by the car.
4:20pm Leaving San Diego
- 262 rr miles
- 259 rr miles, stopped for gas, err I mean to get some water.
5:17pm Tire Pressure Warning
- 187 rr miles, tire pressure warning
o Called Tesla support (5:17pm Sat), said the sensor was too sensitive (first sw bug) told me to pull over and check, then reset the system to eliminate the warning. Car does not report actual pressure in tires, must check them manually – 42psi expected.
o Was able to reset the system and tire pressure warning went away. This warning came on again later in the trip, but I just ignored it and eventually it went away on its own.
- At this point I became concerned about the range and distance remaining so I slowed down to ~71mph and put the car on cruise control
7:33pm Reached Barstow
- 40 rr miles
- First leg of trip 172.2 miles, 62.2kWh, 361 avg Wh/m (~71mph)
- Couldn’t find the Tesla super charger – Tesla Navigation left me in the middle of the road with no visible signage or clue. I stopped at the In-N-Out and collected my thoughts over a burger and fries. I was extremely nervous about not finding the super charger and using up my remaining range looking for it. Ultimately I used my Android Phone and Google Navigation to get me there.
7:50pm Found Tesla’s Super Charger
- 39 rr miles, Tesla’s super charger was located behind Chile’s in a very inconspicuous spot with no real signage. Once connected I could relax, put the seat back and listen to my internet radio and browse the web. Eventually took a walk to the gas station for a drink, etc.
- The following are some data points taken during the charge:
o 7:50pm, 40 rr miles, 248amp, 362v, 300mph
o 8:34pm, 200 rr miles, 114amp, 390v, 250mph
o 256 rr miles, 55amp, 404v, 196mph
o 9:21pm, 270 rr miles, 20amp, 404v, 168mph
9:21pm Left for Vegas
- 271 rr miles, decided to cruse at 73mph
- One observation, while I can smoke anyone on the road (even motorcycles), gas cars still smoke me on the long hauls. I’m forced to drive slower and more conservatively due to range issues. Watching the Gas guzzlers zip by after a couple hrs put things back in perspective.
11:48pm Arrived in Vegas
- 40 rr miles, and I’m extremely nervous about finding a charger and getting a charge before I run out. Typically I’ve been using almost 2x what’s reported as rated range, so I don’t want to spend my remaining charge looking for chargers.
- Parked the car for the night and met up with my friend.
Sunday - In Vegas
- Didn’t use the car until the next day, down to 32 rr miles now since the car was not plugged in overnight.
- Car was also de-rated meaning that I was losing my top acceleration as the range decreased.
- First charge was at “the Shops Valet”. There was a Volt plugged in when we arrived, and I told the Valet that we needed to get on the charger asap. He told me that their manager knew how to connect the car and would be the one to do it. When we got back we had 70 rr miles. Better, but not comfortable to last the entire weekend. Pretty sure we weren’t on the charger for long – Those damn Volt owners that don’t really need a charge…
Monday – In Vegas
- Next charge was at the Venetian 6th floor parking. We left it there Sunday night (or Monday morning…) From the charger I could see that we got 32kWh in ~5hrs. For an 85kWh battery that’s not enough, so I disconnected and reconnected it again and could see the car continue to charge. The charger connected to the Volt next to me was green which I think must indicated a full charge while mine was still red. I would need at least 260-270 rr miles to make the trip back to Barstow.
The Drive Home
- At this point I borrowed my friends gas car and drove home. Amazingly it took only a half tank of gas and prob around $30 to get home without stopping in Barstow. Again, the gas car wins on the long range trip…
Didn’t see any Leaf’s while I was there…