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My Upcoming 3-Day Test Drive

My Upcoming 3-Day Test Drive

I live in Northern Virginia and have a business trip to Ohio coming up later in the month. I have figured that door to door would be 5 hours if flying and 6.5 hours if driving. Since I do not currently own a Tesla, and don't have the experience with the Supercharger network, I decided that I would gain a little intimate first-hand experience with the brand and the network prior to converting my M3 reservation to an order and drive it.

I have never used Turo (turo dot com) before, but understand them to be the AirBnB of rental cars (and that they have some high end cars in the crowd-fleet). So I looked them up and have found three Model S rentals in my area to choose from at anywhere from $100/day to $250/day. I ultimately will be saving my client money versus the plane fare and regular rental car - though I will be eating about 2 hours of my own unchargeable time each way.) I will likely be renting a 85D with AP (no ludicrous mode) - A nice free three-day test drive, right !!!

Mapping out my route, I am seeing what my future of long distance travel might be like. I will have to jump off of the most direct route to take a nearby highway to get to the mid-trip supercharger - which should add 20 minutes to the drive time (added to the 30 minutes of charge time) - it is about mid-way of my 400 mile trip (otherwise I could stop twice on the way there). Once I am in Ohio, I have two meeting sites north and east of Columbus, while the supercharger is at the SW portion of Columbus. So I will have to go a good bit out of my way to hit up the supercharger to charge up to start my return - or I can pick the only hotel near my sites that has destination charging, so I can charge up over night (although there is only one charger space available at the hotel and I am wondering what its general availability is). This hotel is not what I would have chosen on my own, but is a reasonable distance (and is on the clients nickel), so all is good .... this time.

I am seeing more clearly that there is some inconvenience to driving long distance this way, with multiple time penalties. This is not a surprise to me, as I am expecting some bumps in adjusting to this paradigm shift. I am sure that I myself can deal with them, as I would bring a book, or do some Duolingo phone app french lessons during the break - though I am not sure that the wife, kids, friends, etc will be as flexible or understanding, when the situation arises where I am driving them around on trips. Looking to the future, I foresee frequently visiting my daughter in Richmond in my M3, and there is a very convenient supercharger around 15 minutes before her apartment. But then again, it will also be weird getting so close to her house and then stopping for 20-30 minutes to charge when I am so close. I am seeing that the supercharging network is currently decent, but will be much better when it is doubled, and tripled and quadrupled +.

I am really looking forward to my upcoming trip and getting to really experience the car (much more than a short test drive) and also experience the unique "trip planning" aspect of owning an electric vehicle. I will report back with my car and supercharger experiences.

jsanford | 3 juin 2016

That's pretty cool! I'll be curious to find out how the experience goes. Will you be sharing here blog-style?

moorelin | 3 juin 2016

@ mntlvr23

Have a super time on your trip - a really great way to learn the car, and it looks like you already have a good feel for the process.

The bad news is that it will make the wait much, much longer.

And, unless you are planning to drive 65 the whole way, you will certainly want to charge twice. At about 240 miles, Somerset SC to Columbus is way outside the range if you are going 75 or more.

do you know about https://www.evtripplanner.com ?

Badbot | 4 juin 2016

Don't forget to ask the rental co. if SC access is enabled on the car you rent

bj | 4 juin 2016

When Henry Ford came along people had to plan their trips around where gas stations were located.

mntlvr23 | 4 juin 2016

@grantandjessica0813 - Will not be doing an ongoing blog, but will post my thoughts at the end

@moorelin - I finally came to the same conclusion, even if I could stop just once, the two stops on the direct route would be faster. THANKS for the link for EVtripplanner. Very very cool site. I am sure that it is old stuff to most, but I am still learning something every day on these boards. I played around with a lot of trips (including Fremont to VA) and have found that on the long trips that I tried out, the stops will add 15-30% of the travel time (versus fewer and "instantaneous" gas stops).

@Badbot - yep, the one I am looking at has SC. It is surprising though that the most expensive MS available did not have it. I am surprised that it ever gets rented.

@bj - lol

diegoPasadena | 4 juin 2016

Sounds like a nice trip. Have fun!
But let's keep in mind: Yours is a utilitarian trip, and therefore every change to the timing and route compared to an ICE is of consequence, and rightly so.
I would venture a guess, though, that most road trips are at least partially recreational, without tight time pressures and only pinpointed locations you *must* hit. So, stopping at a Supercharger can have the pleasant effect of getting you to a place where otherwise you might never go. Also, my experience has been that the additional time spent at Superchargers was made up to a substantial degree by the fact that I arrived at the destination fresh and ready to do things, instead of being worn down and delaying activities to the next day. I used to suffer from the compulsion of "making good time", and that could make for exhausting drives. Now, I can have a little relaxing stroll or even a little nap every now and then, and the whole road trip thing took on a totally different character.
In your final analysis, you probably should take these factors into account. Either way: No doubt, you will enjoy this experience.

mntlvr23 | 4 juin 2016

@Diego - I am definitely an uber "make great time" guy. That will be my toughest transition. Thanks for the different view. I will definitely try to hold on to the "arrive relaxed" thought.

tfay412 | 1 juillet 2016

I will be transitioning from ICE Car to my first EV with the Model 3. I have been doing extensive research in taking a long road trip and charging. It seems that when Model 3 launches, Super charger networks will be congested with people traveling up and down the east coast on I-95. I have been looking at using Chademo and J1772 Level 2 chargers. I feel that, even though they charge slower, They are better than nothing in a pinch. I plan on stopping at Super chargers for very minimal time on my trips. Maybe add 40 miles more than recommended on evtripplanner.com