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Drove M3 500mi to N. Cascades to heli ski

Drove M3 500mi to N. Cascades to heli ski

I drove 500 miles round trip to get in some heli-assisted splitboard touring in the North Cascades. 250 miles & 5 hours one way from Fall City to Mazama (WA state). 3 mountain passes w/snow & ice. Freezing temps. 1 stop at the Leavenworth SC on the way out. Drove up steep sheet ice too slick to even walk on to stay for the night at my friends’ cabin in Winthrop. Motored right up without a hitch. Trickle-charged on their 120/15 overnight as there are few other options in the area. Then from there to the heli barn in sub freezing temps on miles of more sheet ice. Didn’t see many other Teslas in the area, but had a mutual thumbs up with a MX going in the other direction in Twisp. :)

Trip back over same three passes after that, winter conditions, another stop at Leavenworth SC. Only needed 10 minutes to charge.

Trip stats: ~500 miles, 133kWh, 275Wh/mi. Mountain passes: Snoqualmie, Blewett, Loup Loup. LR AWD on 18” Aeros with Hakkapeliitta R3 at 45psi, roof rack (removed bike mount & rooftop box for this trip). Carried a spare wheel + all the appropriate emergency gear, plus all my ski touring stuff and a Jones Ultracraft splitboard in the back (1/4 seat folded down).

Bluetooth audio from iPhone helped a lot for the long stretches of remote roads with no cell service.

In case you’re wondering: blower pow.

billtphotoman | 16 février 2020

Your Wh/mi seems _stellar_. What was your average speed?

Magic 8 Ball | 16 février 2020

I plan on driving our Tesla next week up to Santa Rosa next week to shop for azaleas. I will most likely get purples ones and pink ones.

Wait for my full trip report I might throw a few stats in but I really will want to tell you about the azaleas.

coselectric | 16 février 2020

@M8B, does the helicopter land at the azalea site, or do you bail out near the ground? Are ropes required?

bp | 16 février 2020

A lot of negative posts about the M3 as a winter car, but I hope to shift that perception by showing that, provided it’s outfitted with snow tires and you mind your power draw, it’s an outstanding winter car (an outstanding car in general).

@billtphotoman: yeah, that Wh/mi is really surprising. My average speed was about 50mph. Many long stretches at 60+ or 70+. What I should have included in my original post are some factors that I believe helped achieve that efficiency: far and away the greatest was turning off cabin heat for the remote section, which was about 200 miles RT with only an overnight trickle charge. And that would absolutely be impractical if not dressed for it. But being dressed appropriately and using seat heater as needed made that possible. Another great assist was having regen on full. Especially going down long mountain passes. I don’t ascribe to the advice of turning off regen in snow/ice, when imo that’s when you need it the most. Just retrain yourself to not let off the pedal so much/so quickly.

Also, to temper the overly ebullient tone of my original post, here are some issues I did encounter:

1.) Careful relying on L2 chargers in remote areas. I had been hoping to park for the day at the Mazama Country Inn to leverage the J-1772. Amazingly, it wasn’t ICEd, but I couldn’t get it to charge. Not sure if it was the charger or the car, but given my schedule it definitely gave me a little anxiety.

2.) The mobile charging cord may not be long enough to reach a vital emergency 120v receptacle; I had to borrow an extension cord, which the car correctly detected was in path and dropped the charge rate even lower.

FISHEV | 16 février 2020

"My average speed was about 50mph."

That should limit it to temp issues only.

"far and away the greatest was turning off cabin heat for the remote section, which was about 200 miles"

No heat for most of the ride (200 out of 250 miles) is not acceptable.

So slow speed and no heat means you likely would not have made it driving normally.

But good job making it work and what it takes to make it work.

bp | 16 février 2020

No, you're wrong: 50 miles average speed was due to below-50mph speed limits on rural roads, but mostly because it **includes the time I stopped to charge** - that is, I took my trip distance and divided it by the total trip time (including SC time). That's only fair as I would not have needed to stop for gas in my prior ICE car. So clearly, I was generally hauling ass for a lot of the trip (as I noted in my comments).

bp | 16 février 2020

You're also wrong on the heat numbers: it was 200 miles out of 500 miles that I turned off the cabin heat - that is about 100 miles without heat in each direction, not 200 out of 250.

bp | 16 février 2020

But what you're partly right about is that driving long stretches without cabin heat is not mainstream/mass-market acceptable. Until more high-speed charging infrastructure is built up in remote areas, this will be the primary balancing game EV drivers will have to face when going long distances in remote areas during the winter: trading heat for range. I was prepared to make only 1 stop in each direction, and get only 1 night of L1 charging, in exchange for a faster trip.

FISHEV | 16 février 2020

"50 miles average speed was due to below-50mph speed limits on rural roads"

No doubt but it is a 50 mph average speed which means you also had even slower, even more efficient speeds in the mix. 50 mph average should get better than EPA Rated Range. Temp would be the big factor then but you turned off the heat for a very uncomfortable 80% of the trip.

So slow speed and no heat in winter will increase range. OK if you can afford to do both, my ski trips have to keep up with speed of traffic and there's going to be heat, typically necessary for clear windows.

Nice you can make it driving slowly and without heat but that just doesn't work for a lot of people.

82bert | 16 février 2020

You’re the worst fish

AWDTesla | 16 février 2020

^yeah, speaking the truth is the WORST.

Bighorn | 16 février 2020

50 mph is excellent averaged time. I can’t do better than that in my S on 80 mph interstates.

82bert | 16 février 2020

@awdtesla. If you’re implying fish speaks the truth, you’re worse than them.

coselectric | 16 février 2020

Fish math: 200/500 = 80%

@awd - if you think Fish's math is "the truth" then you need a new calculator

bp | 17 février 2020

For the record, eliminating the time for the 1 charging stop yields an average speed of 58 and change over 250 miles, some of which were in rural zones with limits between 25 and 50.

For the record, I did not say that I needed to turn off the cabin heat to make my journey, only that I didn't need it on and opted to turn it off to give myself the greatest range margin covering a long distance with no high speed charging options. As it was, I arrived at the SC with 20% SOC, meaning I could probably have had the heat on for most, if not all, of that stretch.

Also for the record, I am fairly certain that I did experience a frozen charge port in Mazama (rapid clicking sounds, J-1772 failed to lock in place, no charging). I didn't have time to debug and test, but in the future if that happens again I will try the "stuffed hand warmer" trick and see if it works.

FISHEV | 17 février 2020

"For the record, I did not say that I needed to turn off the cabin heat to make my journey, only that I didn't need it on and opted to turn it off to give myself the greatest range"

"Freezing temps."

It's freezing outside you need heat. OK you were able to make it not using the heat but I would not call that normal use.