This past weekend I drove about 650 miles from LA to Salt Lake City. This was the first long trip I've taken in Sparky and took full advantage of FSD, streaming, etc. Here's my observations and the lessons I learned along the way:
- Auto High Beams makes you look like a maniac on the road. They came on and off so many times that it almost looked like I was flashing oncoming traffic, so I ended up disabling it. Maybe I need to understand it a little better, but it was not very useful for me.
- The struggle is real - high speeds above 80 MPH is a battery killer. On the way northward I spent around $50 in Supercharger fees. On the return trip, it was $37. I know that it should consume a little more going northbound since it's going uphill for a good stretch. Still very good considering that it would have cost me that amount to make to to SLC about 75% of the way in my old SUV. The biggest killer was a leg in Utah where the speed limit is 80 MPH so I left it to drive at 90 MPH on FSD. It used 2X as much energy and limped into the next Supercharger at 5% charge....dangerously low. I noticed that at 90 MPH the real-time energy usage bar (the line just under the speedometer that is green when regenerative breaking or black when consuming) was consistently about 75% of the bar. I checked the energy graph and I was floored at how poorly the energy consumption becomes at high speed. From that point forward I didn't exceed 80 and tried to stay between 70 and 75 max. That seemed to do the trick. Tack that one on to a lesson learned.
- Video streaming was awesome. At every single Supercharger stop, every car that was occupied had Netflix on...without exception! It was glorious to see that most of us are taking full advantage of this feature. I love it!
- Audio streaming was also excellent. I have streaming on my phone, but it's not integrated so this way I don't have to fiddle with the phone.
- FSD was good for the most part. There were stretches that I thought were a little too complicated and tight that I took over, but the biggest issue I experienced from time to time was lane changing - it was inconsistent in its behavior - sometimes it would work like a champ while other times it would hessitate so much that it would time out - all of it when making a lane change to the right. It would start, jump back like it detected a late vehicle but there was nothing for at least a quarter mile. In those cases I had to take over and had two options - force control which is always a jolt that always startles my wife or just turn off the autopilot and make the change - I chose the latter to avoid alarming my wife! The thing, though, is that it was inconsistent - later in the trip it was rock solid and made changes without issue, but from time to time it would show up. All in all, I love FSD - no matter how long it takes to travel I always end up much more relaxed than if I was driving any other vehicle.
- I ran into the first Superchargers that were inoperative! Kinda like a pump that's out of service.
- Tire Pressure Sensors - Boy, these are sensitive. Since I'm going from sea level to 4,500 feet above sea level, it detected that the tire pressure was low. I wouldn't consider 2-3 PSI low, yet it alarmed. The alarm finally went away when I reset the TPS.
- Summon and self parking were 100%, no issues whatsoever.
- Seats were comfy although the arm rest location/height/cushiness or something needs to improve so I can rest my arm a little more comfortably to keep the autopilot satisfied that I still have my hands on the wheel.
All in all, it was a good trip with things I learned along the way that will better prepare me for the next long trip. I must say that I've taken this trip many times in the past, yet this one was the one my body didn't feel tense and tired as I normally did before.