We just got back from our very first road trip in the Tesla Model S, and I must say, I was very impressed on a few key items. The road trip consisted of starting in Marietta, GA, traveling to Dothan, AL to visit my parents, then on down to Fort Walton Beach, FL to visit a good buddy for a couple days, then all the way back to Marietta in a single day of driving.
During this trip, we knew we were going to have to rely on the Tesla SuperCharging network to help make this trip possible. We plugged in the address to my folks place in Dothan, AL, and the Tesla GPS routed us through, of all places, Auburn, AL.. ::shrug:: This was the closest supercharger on our route, and in order to make the journey to Dothan, safely, we needed so spend around 20 minutes at this supercharger. The supercharger in Auburn, Alabama is conveniently located right beside the Auburn mall, so luckily there was plenty to do. My wife and daughter went into the mall and walked around and shopped a little, while I stayed with the car and babysat the dog. Instead of just charging for the recommended minimum of 20 minutes, we went ahead and juiced up to 100%, so around 50 minutes or so. This way, when we got to Dothan, we would have plenty of reserve power. This day of traveling was a piece of cake, and honestly, that 1 stop in Auburn was the only stop we made, so not that different than if we had taken my wife’s Santa Fe.
Sunday, we left out of Dothan with a full charge on the way to FWB, made it there with no problem, had around 35% remaining. We charged up for a few hours while hanging out at a local bar/restaurant right on the water called The Gulf. Awesome spot, had dinner and drinks, and was able to juice up to around 80%.
Now for the fun 🙂 On Tuesday, when we left FWB, we knew we had to stop in Defuniak Springs, Florida, the closest supercharger on the route back through Dothan. We left our daughter and dog there in Dothan with my folks for some good grandparent bonding time, so our route obviously had to take us back through Dothan. Defuniak Springs, IMO, was a very sketchy place to stop. Many people reviewed the supercharger as a “small town feel,” but if I had to make this stop in the middle of the night, I would have had my Springfield loaded and in my hand while sitting there..just saying. We topped off to 100% there, and ate some nice country breakfast while we waited. When we got to Dothan, we had around 62% battery remaining. When we charted in our home address, we knew we would have to make one final pit stop in Auburn to juice up again (same as our drive down), but this time, the navigation said we would arrive with 6% remaining, and we needed to keep our speed below 55mph in order to make it 🙂 So, you could say, I had a little range anxiety at that point, having never taken the car on a road trip before and not knowing it’s range potential. We didn’t have an option though, so we hit the road, fully loaded, wife, daughter and dog 🙂
At first, we were cruising around 70 (speed limit was 65). When we got out to the highway, our projected battery remaining in Auburn had climbed to 7%. After cruising a short while on the “hilly” roads from Dothan towards Auburn, it dropped back to 6%. After the warning message popped up several times saying keep it below 60mph (this time, instead of 55), I figured I would drop it to 65mph (still not listening lol). Cruised at 65 for while. During some of the major elevation changes, I saw it drop to 5% at one point, and that was enough for me to listen lol. From that point on, we were cruising between 55 and 60. This wasn’t all that bad though as we quickly got off the 65mph 431 highway, and hit the backgrounds (per the GPS guidance) to make it to Auburn, and those speed limits were 55 anyway, so it worked just fine. Long story short, the projected range fluctuated from 5-7%, and when we pulled into the supercharger in Auburn, we had 7% remaining 🙂 MADE IT!
Juiced up in Auburn, another mall visit for the wife and daughter, and we made it back to Marietta without any issue.
Road trips are absolutely doable, and frankly, easy. Just look at your route ahead of time, make sure there are superchargers along the way, maybe investigate where they are so you can plan something to do while you charge. In our case, Defuniak Springs we ate breakfast and had coffee, and both stops in Auburn we had a mall right there. From a stop frequency, no different than a regular “ICE” vehicle. The only variable was time at each stop, and of course, the 6% remaining “scare.” I will say this, the #1 thing I was most impressed with, throughout the entire trip, was just how accurate that % remaining indicator was! It never fluctuated beyond 2%, on the whole trip, not just that last leg 6% situation, but the whole trip was like that. That gave me tons of confidence moving forward that if it says you’ll have 20%, or 30%, or 6%, you’ll have it when you get there! ….cruise on!
Gas Cost = $0.00
Distance Traveled = ~700 miles
Video review of this road trip if the above was tl;dr