EV Trip Planner vs Trip Planner - N Central MA to DC

EV Trip Planner vs Trip Planner - N Central MA to DC

Im reaching out for some help for our first trip. We're going from North Central MA to Alexandria, Va in a couple of weeks. And then back home of course.

There's a bit of a difference between EV Trip Planner and Trip Planner.

For EV Trip Planner I entered in S85D, speed factor 1.2, temp 45, 19", weight 400

EV Trip Planner - 5 stops
Auburn, MA Miles 31 Why am I stopping here???
Greenwich, CT Miles 174
Cranbury, NJ Miles 89
Newark, DE Miles 113
Bethesda-Montgomery Miles 128
Destination 29 miles

Trip Planner - 2 stops
Darien, CT Displays a battery with 20%
Newark, DE The battery displays a check mark
Destination The battery displays a check mark

We would add the Bethesda-Montgomery SC just before reaching our destination.

My commute is 100 miles each day so I understand the various factors of driving. Especially the impact of extreme cold.

What are your real life experiences for these legs or trip?

I appreciate your help. Thank you!

jordanrichard | 25 February, 2016

Run4Waffles, just drive, you will be fine. My wife and I have made two long trips in our S85 from here in CT (20 minutes from the MA border) to NC and FL.

Fully charge at home, go straight to Greenwich, then Hamilton NJ, then Newark DE.

We did use the one in Bethesda because we were heading further South. We were able to go from Newark DE to Glena Allen VA.

Since we last made our to trip to FL a year ago, there have been more SC sites added, so this is super easy to do.

One more thing, since I gather Auburn is 31 miles from your place and it seems silly to stop there, but it will take all of 10 minutes to get those miles back. Meaning you are starting over again and with the extreme temp. swings we have been going through here in the North east, you may want the added buffer.

tes-s | 25 February, 2016

If you are 31 miles from Auburn, I suggest Greenwich CT and Newark DE.

Auburn to Greenwich is about 140 miles (so should be under 175 miles for you). Greenwich to Newark is about 160 miles.

Greenwich is a more direct route than Darien, but a smaller rest area with limited options (DD and Subway).

tes-s | 25 February, 2016

BTW. I'm about 10 miles from Darien and 15 miles from Greenwich. Been to Maine several times stopping in Auburn, and to DC several times stopping in Newark. Nice one-stop trips for me.

AoneOne | 25 February, 2016

The speed factor of 1.2 may be a real difference. The direct route at a speed factor of 1.0 consumes 483 rated miles (Framingham to DC), 1.2 consumes 584 rated miles. Does Trip Planner take that into account (I don't use it).

You might be overthinking this. Instead of such detailed planning, take the evtripplanner driving duration of 6;17, and add about two hours for the 605 rated miles of charging and know that you'll need about 8 1/2 hours for the trip.

Now, each time you start the car, choose the furthest supercharger along your route that you can confidently reach and just drive there. Then take a break, short or long as you like, and check your charge. If you can confidently reach another supercharger, leave immediately. If not, of course, continue charging until you can leave with confidence.

Use the trip chart (consumed vs. predicted energy use) as you drive to periodically confirm that you'll reach your next planned stop and maintain your confidence.

Beware of slow charges for long legs: Greenwich to Newark is 225 rated miles, so you'd have to leave Greenwich with a full battery. That can take an hour or more of charging. Shorter legs with quicker stops can be more efficient. A quick charge in Cranbury can let you leave CT before you get restless without adding more driving time.

Try to coordinate long legs with meal stops. Of course, if you leave after an overnight charge, you'll have a full battery and can start with a long leg, as @tes-s does driving directly to Newark.

You might also look out for superchargers, like Hamilton, which are relatively far (11 minutes total additional driving) from the highway.

The Bethesda mall location is tiny and crowded. It would be a good place to stop for a meal, but you might have to claim a space in line to charge. Woodbridge would add a half-hour (depending on traffic) driving time, but is a much better stop for charging.

Lot's of good info here:

AoneOne | 25 February, 2016

In short: with a full battery and minimal planning, you can just drive, choosing stops and charging times as you see fit.

murphyS90D | 26 February, 2016

I have driven both directions between Newark, DE and Charlottesville, VA in my S85 five times in November and December with no problems. That includes route 29 which has a speed limit of 60 and 55. Avoid Bethesda, it has two stalls in a very busy parking garage. If you can't charge at your destination, go to Woodbridge, VA which has 8 stalls. I've been there twice and have not seen another car charging. I've driven from Woodbridge to my house, which is about 35 miles north of Philadelphia, without stopping at Newark.

Rocky_H | 26 February, 2016

I think people sometimes don't think through the math of what the speed factor is in EVTripplanner. I see people often throwing out 1.2 or 1.25 speed factors because they think they drive "a bit faster". Bear in mind that the 1.0 speed factor on EVTripplanner is for the average speed of actual traffic on that road, not the speed limit. So when a highway usually has most people going 75 mph, a 1.2 speed factor is 90 mph. What the hell are you thinking, going that fast?

mathwhiz | 26 February, 2016

@Rocky_H ... +1

Run4Waffles | 27 February, 2016

That was very helpful advice everyone. They were very informative and useful. Thank you again.

@Rocky_H - I wasn't aware that the speed factor was against road speed. I thought it was vs the posted speed limit. I'm not the fastest driver out there but I'm generally about 10 miles over. EV Trip Planner showed me no difference in stops using 1.2 vs 1.2. And I wanted to show a little more consumption to be on the save side and not have to worry about driving 55. It's hard to drive 55.


JAD | 27 February, 2016

The trip consumption graph is extremely helpful as well. Just watch that change as you drive. If it starts to get to an uncomfortable level 10-15% battery left, slow down and watch it climb back. If you have plenty of battery at destination, go as fast as you want and don't worry about it.

Rocky_H | 29 February, 2016

@Run4Waffles, I made the same assumption too at first, about the speed multiplier. But, hover your mouse over that field in EVTripplanner. It will pop up a tooltip that says:
"Ratio of your typical driving speed to average for the road"

PhillyGal | 29 February, 2016

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I think EV trip planner routes you through any SC stops along the way, needed or not. Nav trip is still very flawed, so err on the side of extra charge stops.

I agree with Greenwich, somewhere in New Jersey (there are now chargers right near the Turnpike), then Newark. You'll want to give yourself a little cushion since it's your first long trip - so stopping extra times is a good idea. Plus, if you stop at places like Greenwich and Newark, the chargers are so close to the rest stops you can literally plug, use facilities, buy a drink and be on your way in 15 minutes. That (or 20) might even be enough to get you well to your next destination, depending on which stall you get and whether someone else is charging at the moment. Stretch your legs a bit and enjoy the stops.

Proceed to come back and tell us how great/easy the trip was :)

PhillyGal | 29 February, 2016

So I did EV Trip Planner from Cambridge to Alexandria and it does say Auburn (start full and skip this), then Greenwhich, then "one of the Turnpike locations in Jersey" which I now know is called Cranberry.

Then Newark, Bethesda.

You'll need to do this:
Charge at Greenwhich for just enough for that bio/drink break. 12-15 minutes Make sure you have 130 miles.
Drive to Cranberry and take your time a little more. Get a snack. Charge 15-20 (to 200 miles) and roll out.
If you happen to be ready for a real meal at that point, go ahead and charge more. Newark can get crowded/slow so arriving there with a big buffer may save you time.
Whatever you end up with at Newark, go ahead and charge until you've got at least 175 miles. Plan for Bethesda to be a decently long stop. It's a mall so you'll be able to kill time but also, those chargers are always slow from what Hubs says. (He heads that way for work a bit.)

Wait, scratch that last step. Will you have charging at your destination? If so, consider skipping Bethesda all together.

Al S | 2 March, 2016

Until the expansion project underway there is completed, avoid needing a long charge in Newark during peak hours. It may be the most congested site in the East (besides 2-stall locations in Montreal and Bethesda.) So, southbound I would stop somewhere in NJ.

teslaliving | 7 March, 2016

Based on where I live in MA I like to hit Hartford CT, then Paramus NJ (I much prefer the Tappan Zee over the GWB) then hit Newark DE. I really dislike the Greenwich CT stops as they're packed and constantly ICE'd and not a fan of the Merritt Parkway either.

Also, the charge times are more like 30-35 minutes than 20. Just check your margins

brec | 7 March, 2016

@JAD, re: "The trip consumption graph is extremely helpful as well. Just watch that change as you drive. If it starts to get to an uncomfortable level 10-15% battery left, slow down and watch it climb back."

Do you mean 10-15% predicted at destination, or 10-15% currently as you're en route? Over on the other forum (Tesla Motors Club) there's a guy who stops charging and heads out to the next Supercharger when the predicted gets up to 7%, or if conditions are adverse, up to 10%.

Run4Waffles | 8 March, 2016

Just a quick note - thank you again all. We're leaving in a couple of days for the DC Rock & Roll Race. We're only running the Half Marathon this go around. We'll report back on how it went.

JAD | 8 March, 2016


When the estimate at destination gets to 10-15%. The number varies based on your personal preference. With experience and monitoring, you can certainly go with a lower estimate at destination. For the first few big trips, or really bad weather, leave a little more until you can understand variations in the estimate.

I left Mammoth with a cold soaked car last week. The cold soaked battery would not regen going down the long hills as the estimators expected, so they were overly optimistic on energy needs. I slowed down to the speed limit and easily made it, but you need to plan some buffer for unknowns.

Rocky_H | 8 March, 2016

That % remaining at destination is usually fantastically useful, but it does predict 70+ mph highway driving. I had plotted out a trip on EVTripplanner that showed the route was doable, but it was really nerve racking departing my garage with my fully charged car, with the trip graph showing that I would arrive with -2% remaining and charging needed to reach my destination. But I had confidence in EVTripplanner. I took it slow on the first hour at 60 mph, and by that time, the estimate had adjusted to 15% remaining. At that point, I was turning off the interstate onto some smaller highways that were about 55 or 60 mph speed limits anyway (which is what the car's trip meter wasn't accounting for), so the estimate stayed between 10 and 15% the rest of the way.

JAD | 8 March, 2016

Rocky_H, does the estimate assume 70+ mph, or does it use your historical driving? I know it adjusts fairly quickly based on your current driving style and recalculates and does not assume 70+ mph for the remaining portion. I just don't know what the initial estimate is based on.

Rocky_H | 8 March, 2016

@JAD, I haven't seen any source of information on what speed it uses for its estimate. That basically comes from my own experience that when I'm traveling interstates doing low 70's it is almost always right on. In the case of this trip, where I mostly did between 55 and 60, it thought I was going to be using energy a lot faster.

Run4Waffles | 11 March, 2016

GOOD MORNING ALL. 8am. At the Darien SC. The traffic is horrible. We left a little later than expected. Stopped at Auburn SC for 15 minutes Didn't need to but now we know where it is. LOL Will be headed to Newark, DE next it looks like. typing on the 17". Using an Apple is so much better though. But this is cool.

Run4Waffles | 11 March, 2016

We had about 100 mi left when we pulled in to Darien.

Run4Waffles | 14 March, 2016

We stopped at Newark, DE next. We got a bit nervous when we first pulled in and saw the expansion project taking place. We didn’t see any chargers that were functioning. We didn’t have any notice on trip planner that they weren’t working. Was this a glitch? We drove to the next parking area and behold! The existing chargers are in a different location. Phew!!!! We grabbed a bite to eat and the charging was above what we seemed to need.

It was running late so we changed our itinerary and charging at Bethesda. We went directly to the DC Armory via the 295 Parkway for the marathon expo and check-in.

We finished up and it was now 4:30. Trip planner showed that the traffic was going to be ugly to go to Bethesda. We decided to go to Alexandria and charge later or when we leave for home. I was concerned about the car not being plugged in from Friday night till Sunday morning. I wasn’t sure how much of a loss there might be. I’ve never had it unplugged at night. But there was enough miles remaining so it really shouldn’t matter. (You KNOW what was going through my head – A happy Tesla is a plugged in Tesla.)

We got into the car Sunday morning thinking we would need to go to Bethesda for a charge for the return trip. I entered the trip for home and we were going to have 5% pulling in to Newark, DE. No need to go around to Bethesda. We figured it would be fine. I drove conservatively and there were no traffic issues. We pulled into Newark and I had 50 miles remaining. GRIN We walked over to the expansion project to take a better look. It looked really cool. 12 stalls. GRIN

Not surprisingly, traffic was heavy on 95 in CT. We decided not to stop at Darien and to go to Milford, CT. We charged it up there and then hit home.

The trip was just fine. There were sufficient choices along the way as to where to stop for this stretch of I-95. I gave us an additional 50-60 mile buffer for the unexpected and to not have to worry about altering my driving. If something happens, you have alternate stops that you can make.

I felt like we were pioneers or something as at each of our stops there were no other cars charging. It was strange plugging in rather than gassing up. Were these planetary outposts? Others did pull in after our arrivals. None were actually “friendly”. A couple didn’t even glance over or give a wave. How rude. LOL It was funny seeing an apparent, 20 yr younger, “trophy” wife/girlfriend get out of the car. But we don’t need to go there.

Stopping to charge is about changing your mindset. We ICE’d it driving straight through to FL 2 years ago. I thought we’d have a problem with waiting for the charging but it was just fine.

TACC and autopilot worked well. They made for a more relaxing and safer trip.

Thank you all again. And thank you again Tesla.

Run4Waffles | 14 March, 2016

We did make a stop at Darien, CT North on the way home. We didn't skip this one. This was a quick stop to see the place and a few electrons.

Run4Waffles | 14 March, 2016

Newark, DE expansion pics:

Run4Waffles | 14 March, 2016
Run4Waffles | 24 March, 2016

The word is out that the new, expanded SC's are now open and that the original 4 are shut down. There are no signs out yet to re-direct you to the new chargers.

markvallaster | 6 April, 2016

I've noticed the difference between EVPlanner and the onboard as well. I'm on a trip at the moment to/from Ottawa from DC and the route EV picked vs. the onboard was very different. I followed the onboard and it worked out well. The one piece of advice I would give is always overcharge. I've found that the tripplanner on board computes the "Ok to Leave" time based on a much lower speed than I like to drive. I'm a 75MPH driver most of the time on the highways. I don't leave the supercharger until the estimated battery remaining said 20%. It usually tells me to leave around 10 - 12% and when I've left at that time, I'm almost coasting into the next supercharger. The 20% buffer takes into account temperature and elevation changes as well. My 2 cents!!

jordanrichard | 6 April, 2016

markvallaster +1. Last month I made a trip SC from CT. It was my first trip since the nav system was updated with the trip planner. I wasn't too comfortable with it projecting an arrival SOC of 10% at the next charger. So I too stayed plugged in until it read at least 20%.