Charging on the road

Charging on the road

I just picked up my Model S and am trying to plan my first road trip. I'll be driving in areas with very little current coverage by SC stations. I've looked at the apps for PlugShare and for CarStations. I have a few questions about how to use the various types of public charging stations and would appreciate any insights from those with experience:

1. When I see stations listed as having a J1772 connection, can we use that with our Model S or do we need some different type of adaptor? How fast do these types of outlets charge (mi/hr)?
2. I see some reference to Nissan dealers having EV stations. Will most allow us to use their stations? Do I need to call in advance? How fast do they charge? Do most Chevy dealers offer the same?
3. Does anyone have experience with taking advantage of the private, residential charging network like on Plugshare? If so, what's the etiquette for using someone else's home charger and what's the etiquette for making your own available?

Thanks for sharing your experience!

jat | September 24, 2013

You can use J1772 chargers with the adapter that comes with your car. Most of them will only be 30A (some Blink ones are lower, a very few ones are higher).

Some Nissan dealers are friendly, some aren't -- one even refused to let LEAFs charge there if you didn't buy it from them. Call ahead to be sure. Almost all of these will be 30A chargers, so about 17 rated mi/hr.

I have used PlugShare numerous times, and my HPWC is listed. Just list your own with whatever conditions you like (call/email ahead is a common one), and follow the conditions the donor asks for.

Andrew_OH_70D | September 25, 2013

RV parks can be a great alternative to J1772 chargers as many have 50 amp circuits. Make sure you call ahead to verify availability and cost. I have just about every plug adapter combination just in case there are older plugs.

Earl and Nagin ... | September 25, 2013

A few quick tips:
If you've got SuperChargers on your route, you're in great shape. However, today, I recommend you carry a J-1772 adapter and a Nema 14-50 cable just in case. Its also good to have a smartphone with apps.
Googlemaps is pretty good for finding RV parks near a location. RV parks are often closed in winter so call before counting on them.
Always have a backup plan as there may be problems with charging stations.

jat | September 25, 2013

Also, if you are staying with someone at your destination, you may be able to charge off their dryer outlet.

CarlE_P439 | September 25, 2013

If there are any Tesla service centers near your route, they have High Power Wall Connectors (most useful if you happen to have Twin Chargers). Otherwise I think charging will be slow for you (patience is a virtue!!). Ditto about the PlugShare app.

mumanoff | September 25, 2013

I was saved by a Plugshare " angel on a Sunday night at 10PM. Spent an hour chatting while car was charging. As a result, I listed myself on Plugshare as a charging site

lammersc | September 25, 2013

Here is a good website for finding RV Parks with 50-Amp Hookups. Just select the state in question, click on "View Camping Map", and select the "50-Amp" Filter.

Good Luck

azapple | September 25, 2013

Our MS P85 was delivered 10 days ago and we decided to drive from Scottsdale to Tucson (140 miles) and use the public charging stations. We initially thought we would try CA, but we are VERY glad we did a shorter trial first.

Here's what we learned.

Our MS is incredibly fun to drive--even on this boring road. Coming back we hit a wind storm, and she was solid--would not even have known there was wind if we didn't see the bushes bent sideways.

We got about 80% of the MPH shown on the dash board. We charged to 280, drove 140 and arrived with 110 left. I confess we were driving 80, in hot weather with the AC on.

Be sure and set up accounts with Blink and Charge Point before you leave. We had not received our physical cards, but were able to use the apps on our iPhones once we figured out what we were doing.

We were using a combination of Plug Share & ReCargo maps to help us decide where to charge. We had decided to try a Charge Point station and a Blink station, so we could find out how to use each of them.

The Charge Point station we choose, had a J1772 that charged at 42mph. It took us about a 1/2 hour to figure out how to use it the first time--including calling in to get instructions from ChargePoint. We went back the next day and it took us about a minute to do it the second time.

The Blink station we selected had 2 units, but neither of them worked. Apparently this is common, and the J1772 charge units have been "dumbed down" because of an overheating problem. Blink reset, but couldn't get them working. We will find a unit in Scottsdale to try to see how much "juice" we get and make sure we know how to use them.

In the future we will make sure we have an alternate choice "just in case". We will also offer our HPWC at PlugShare.

I was not aware of CarStations, and it looks like it could really be another good resource. There doesn't seem to be a perfect map to find stations, but if you look at all three you can do pretty well.

Next time we will try to find stations that allow us to go to a movie, or shop while we wait. We were fine for the first two hours, but the third got a little boring.

We will try CA in a couple weeks (400 miles). Once we get there we will have all kinds of charging opportunities. Getting there will be an adventure.

Heard a term "Teslaholics" yesterday--yep, guilty as charged!

Gizmotoy | September 25, 2013

42MPH on a Charge Point J1772? That's awfully fast. Nice! Most of them are 30A and charge at 16-20MPH or so, from what I've read.

ir | September 25, 2013

There are 70 and 80 amp J1772 chargers out there. More common in Canada, but there are a few in the US.

dfriedman415 | September 25, 2013

Thanks, everyone, for sharing what you've learned. I appreciate the insights!