Need advice for range anxiety

Need advice for range anxiety

Although I don't post often, I am having my first episode of range anxiety. I have VIN 2532 85kWh non-performance that was delivered on Jan 9. No problems to date but have only put about 1600 amazing miles on so far. I am planning a trip from St. Louis to Jeff City, MO that I thought was a little over 100 miles each way (mostly flat; some rolling hills) and would have no problem getting there and back. Although I have made this trip numerous times, I Google Mapped it tonight and realized it is 130 miles each way and I'm a little nervous. On PlugShare the only reasonable charging station to get to is the Nissan Dealership in Jeff City. This would be very convenient and I would have time to add charge. The Nissan Dealership's website has no info on their charging station so my questions are:
1. Has anyone had experience with a Nissan dealer -- is it reasonable to think they would let you charge there without a hassle?
2. I assume I would just need my J1772 adaptor - anything else to bring?
3. Besides doing the max range charge prior to leaving, driving reasonably and limiting electronics in the car, any other suggestions to maximize range? Would lowering the suspension to the low setting make an appreciable difference once I get on the highway? I don't think this is talked about much.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. (We need more Superchargers-Jeff City, MO wouldn't be the first place but I'd put it on the wish list!!!) Thanks

Schlermie | April 8, 2013

1. It wouldn't hurt to call the Nissan dealer first to get their comments.
2. The J1772 adapter is probably all you need, but if you might want to bring the whole cable as a backup. If you really get in a pinch, you might be able to find a regular electrical outlet somewhere to charge from.
3. You can't really lower the suspension while driving a reasonable speed. It's all pre-programmed, based on your speed after 15MPH or so.

Plugshare doesn't list every RV park and campground, but almost all of them have NEMA 14-50 plugs you can use (assuming you bring your charging cable). Search for RV parks and campgrounds where charging stations are sparse.

GeekEV | April 8, 2013

With respect to charging at Nissan dealers, if the forum is any guide, it's a mixed bag. Some dealers frown on charging there if you didn't buy there - even if you have a LEAF. But they're supposed to be open and free to all. Be prepared to charge for a while though, all the ones I've ever seen are the AV made Nissan co-branded EVSE which are 30A max.

kidheme | April 8, 2013

Thanks. Helpful thoughts. I will call the dealership and bring all my "stuff" for an RV charge if needed. The more I think about it, SC in Columbia MO, near Jeff City and 1/2 way between STL and KC is ideal.

NKYTA | April 9, 2013

Don't forget "Range Mode" in Controls->Settings. It was invaluable to me doing the Barstow, CA to Harris Ranch, CA run.

jat | April 9, 2013

I agree with GeekEV - one Nissan dealer I talked to would only let LEAFs charge there, and only ones that they sold! Other ones have said it was fine as long as no LEAF needed to charge (I plan to use one in NC when I make a 240mi trip in a few months, and can only charge at 120V at my friend's house over a 4-day weekend which isn't quite enough). Finding an RV park nearby might be a better bet, and you can charge at 40A rather than 30A.

260mi round trip with no charging is probably doable, but you would have to drive quite slow, probably 55mph (less if you run HVAC a lot). If you are staying for a while, even 120V charging will get you some margin (at ~3mi/hr though).

kyleket | April 9, 2013

Check out the AllStays Camp & RV app, if you have iPhone. It lists campgrounds, in addition to all sorts of other resources for campers. Relevant to your needs, it lists any chargers a campground, Wal-mart, National Park, etc, might have.

I've seen video, and read in articles, where Tesla engineers have said that the electronics in the car (i.e. - radio, touchscreen, lights) really have a negligible draw on the battery. Air conditioning/heat is another story. I gather that you'd only squeeze a few miles out of not using them.

edcalis | April 9, 2013

Very soon, this discomfort and range anxiety will be history, with more businesses installing chargers between cities and populated areas.
Good luck planning for an interesting trip. Keep us informed, please.

village33 | April 9, 2013

I did this distance with no problems but charged 110V overnight for 15hrs (I got 60mi of range from the charge running at 12A which is 4mi/hr, but I plan only on 2mi/hr from 110V). Do all of the above, check the wind, drive 68-69mph with plug in, leaving on both ends with battery warm and you should be fine. I actually drove 60-65mph outbound to be safe. On way back I run the "cushion" (difference between 5mi average projected range range and GPS calculated remaining distance) down to X miles and speed up if I have extra cushion. If I am going home and know I have a charge port X is 20mi. If I am going to a city with many charging option but have to find them, X is 50mi. On the 130mi RT with 15hr 110V I was doing 80mph for the second half of the return leg as I had plenty of extra cushion.

CarlE_P439 | April 9, 2013

I charged at a Nissan dealership after hours once (was in a desparate situation due to my not planning well- only had 8 miles of charge left and I was about 15 miles from home and it was about 20 degrees F). Thought about leaving a note, but didn't. Just need the J1772 adapter. The car's suspension will automatically lower the car once you reach about 60mph.

CarlE_P439 | April 9, 2013

Oh, I think Tesla recommends using cruise control but I have not found that to make much of a difference (unless you have a lead foot which would not be associated with range anxiety!!). I have been able to get the average energy usage down to as low 280 Wh per mile by driving conservatively without cruise control.

mrspaghetti | April 9, 2013


Are you staying overnight in Jeff City?

mrspaghetti | April 9, 2013

Oops, hit submit too soon...

Anyway, on I see at least one hotel with a J1772. Also, there's apparently one on the campus of Missouri SciTech and another at the airport parking garage (maybe there's also a hotel there?).

Plugshare is good, but it's not complete. Also be aware of recargo, evgo and probably some others I can't think of right now.

Good luck!

Sudre_ | April 9, 2013

I have checked some of the RV sites around STL and most are fine with you charging. Don't panic about your trip at all. I know for example the park ranger at Meremac State park loved my Tesla and let me charge for free since the campgrounds were pretty empty. My wife and I drove out there to hike around.

Plan a few RV places out about 50-100 miles outside STL which is where you will need it if you need it. Remember you don't have to sit for the entire charge just long enough to get enough to make it home.

As far as EV charging. . . Don't expect MO to get too many any time soon. Walgreens are all supposed to have charging but none do in MO that I have found.

kidheme | April 9, 2013

A POST-SCRIPT. I made my trip to Jeff City reasonably uneventfully. Thanks to all for your thoughts/suggestions -- they were spot on.
Range mode charge last night got me to 270 miles charge for the start this morning and was helpful as several have suggested. However, in my calculations, I forgot that I had to take my son to school this morning so in fact, I had used 5 miles of range going 5 miles in the opposite direction. Therefore the trip was about 135 miles one way with 265 rated range to start. Drove about 65-68 mph (speed limit 70 mph most of the way) with cruise control and little traffic and arrived with about 125 rated miles. I set the trip button but forgot to look at how many kWh I had used to that point. It was just fun to drive and get lost in your thoughts. So far so good.
I had planned to charge at the nearby Nissan Dealership while at my conference This was identified on PlugShare but did not show up on Recargo. As suggested, I called early this morning and learned that they had "disconnected their charger" and it was no longer available -- more on this in a minute. Plan B was to drive from Jeff City to Columbia MO where there was another Nissan. I called them as well and they were as pleasant as can be and said no problem (Joe Machens Nissan). This was 20 miles and about 25 minutes out of the way. I arrived with 86 miles rated range; I quickly found the chargers and nestled in between an Armada and a Titan and started charging. One sales person approached me to see if I was interested in a new car (which I was not) and told me that the reason the Jeff City dealership took out their charger is that their dealership had been downgraded somehow and no longer sold the Leaf. He also volunteered that the Leaf has come down in price from $38k to $26k (unverified) and his dealership has only sold "a couple" and he believes there are much better cars out there even at that price for him to sell. (Carlos Ghosn you have a problem). This is obviously an anecdote and not real data but certainly believable.
In fact, the only problem I had was the slow charge, as was anticipated in several responses to my original post. The Charger was easy to use -- but only 30 amps; it recharged at 18 miles/hr. I recharged to 130 miles range which took a while and headed home. I drove cautiously but not Frank Markus/Jessi Lang to Vegas cautious. Made it with 13 miles to spare. Next time I will be more adventurous and look for RV parks -- Unless there is a Supercharger!
Final numbers for the entire trip on the trip calculator: 290 miles driven; 85.2 kWh; 293W/mi.
In summary, the trip was about 20 miles and 3 hours too long. A supercharger anywhere in mid-Missouri along the I-70 corridor would have solved most of this. I hope supercharger installations are a top priority for TM. Seems doable and there must be a way to make it work. Driving slower then the speed limit has its advantages: People wrenching their neck as they pass to see what kind of car it is, thumbs up from drivers passing by, cars zooming by then braking in the left lane to get another look, and the kid in Columbia who rolled down his window from his ginormous pickup to say "Howd you get a Tesla!". Many Tesla grins. That never gets old.

shop | April 9, 2013

Too bad there was nowhere to plug in during your conference. That would probably have made it much easier.

Bubba2000 | April 9, 2013

It takes a lot dedication and research to make a long trip like this one. May be only early adopters are willing to do this kind of thing. With $1.2B on the balance sheet, Tesla needs to spend an extra $50M to deploy SC in the interstates, etc.

Tesla talks about SC, and they need to install 8-10/mo. It is certainly easier than building a brand new MacDonald, Burger King or some no name fried chicken store... those come up way faster in my state. Leasing land is really not a problem, even if it is a parking lot sublease. 3-phase 480VAC is no biggie, as most locations have this kind of access such as malls, truck stops, etc. Read it costs $250k for a 6 bay installed.

Anyway, on this kind of trip got to have multiple back-up plans. Anyway, I do not think anybody would want to travel with spouse and kids, then have to suck wind at a lame charger for a few hours after spending $100k for a car.

Brian H | April 9, 2013

that's almost childish thinking. How long was that fried chicken joint in the works, selecting and preparing the site, etc. before it began to get built? It might have been 2 yrs for all you know.