Tag archives for road trip
The Tesla Model S is on another cross country road trip. It’s not being driven by a Tesla team, like last year – this time it’s a long, winding tour for old friends Peter, Luba and Tina, making their way from Portland, OR, to New York. It’s been a sightseeing drive – as of day six, they’d only made it to Albuquerque from Oregon and still had a couple thousand miles to cover. Thankfully, they’re writing up their journey, so we can ride along with words.
The Model S was picked up by Peter three years and 273 days after his deposit was placed. Jared, the Tesla store manager in Portland, walked him through delivery of the new car, which was given the name “Sunrise” by the road trip crew. Even though Peter is an engineer who’s done a lot of homework on the Model S, Jared was able to teach him a few things.
An hour after picking up Sunrise, Peter drove to the airport and picked up Tina. The initial trip plan was changed on the spot, as they decided to spend some time enjoying the sunshine of Portland, along with breaking in the new car and verifying charging stations.
On day two, heading out of Portland to San Francisco, they tested out charging networks. On a ChargePoint station in Forest Park, just south of Portland, they got an error message after swiping the card, informing them to call ChargePoint. The charging station customer service rep quickly got back to them and fixed the problem – an incorrect zip code was initially entered.
In Corvallis, OR, they pulled into a local RV park, where Peter decided to test out his custom designed electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) multi-input unit. It was his first time plugging the EVSE into a Model S, so he took it slow. He was more than pleased to see it working right away, and was able to charge at 50 amps and 240 volts.
Stopping at the Tesla factory in Fremont, CA, was almost like Charlie Bucket exploring Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory for the road trip team. Far from being a car enthusiast like Peter, Tina found herself fascinated by the size, scope, organization, teamwork and technology at plant building the Model S. As a group, they were fully entranced for about 30 minutes as they witnessed the assembly line in action.
Luba joined her friends on day five of the road trip, in the Los Angeles area, where they visited a Tesla supercharger in Hawthorne, CA, for a quick charging “top off.” Peter ended up having a fascinating conversation with Larry, a navy pilot who flew F14s and who’d also graduated from University of Maryland and owned a Model S. It was so fascinating, Peter didn’t realize until about 40 minutes later that their Model S wasn’t even charging at all. Oops! Oh, well – they’ve still got a lot of miles to drive, things to see and lots of chances to learn something new every day about Sunrise.
By Jon LeSage
“There is a learning curve to taking long road trips in an EV, especially in the cold.”
In the last week, we have read and written many thousands of words about the Tesla Model S road trip that The New York Times writer John Broder could not accomplish. Thanks to a critical tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, a digital firestorm erupted about the electric vehicle test drive (if you need a refresher, please read these posts in order: one, two, three and four). In all those passionate paragraphs, nothing stood out quite like this little understatement: “There is a learning curve to taking long road trips in an EV, especially in the cold.”
That’s from an open letter to Broder written by Peter over at Electric Road Trips. Peter recently drove his own Model S almost 5,000 miles from Portland, OR to New York City. Despite the reality that most EVs aren’t particularly suited for long drives, the truth is that it can be done, and a group of Model S owners set out to prove that fact once again this weekend.
We’ll spoil the story now: all the drivers made it. From a report by Xander over at Strassenversion, a small number of Model S owners (something like six, but at times there were over a dozen vehicles together) spent Saturday and Sunday recreating the east coast drive that Broder attempted and failed. In his honor, as it were, they came up with the term Brodering – “running out of power due to human error, or generally dropping the ball when dealing with electric cars” – along the way.
Two special firmware updates (delaying one driver by an hour) were required to set things right.
Still, despite the drivers being well in tune with their EVs, the drive wasn’t 100-percent easy. One Model S plugged into a Supercharger just stopped charging and wouldn’t fill up past 180 miles of range (the target at that point was 270). Strassenversion reports that two special firmware updates (delaying the driver by an hour) were required to set things right.
Late last night, the official Tesla Road Trip group tweeted, “The trip was a success and everyone has diverted to their homes” (see the official twitter feed here). Thom Landon tweeted, “This is an amazing show of solidarity. Hopefully an antidote to the crummy he said/she said coverage of NYT.” Two short videos of the trip are available below. We expect more to surface soon.
In other Tesla/The New York Times spat news, the Atlantic Wire threw some cold water on CNN’s recreation of Broder’s drive, saying it was done in “a Tesla-controlled PR bubble. Yes, it proves the car can do the coastal trek. But it doesn’t mean that Broder did everything in his power to sabotage the trip. Nor does it signal much for consumers. Some people spending $100,000 on a car might not want to drive it up the coast without going above 65 miles per hour or, on a particularly bitter day, turning the heat up.” The Oroville Mercury-Register talked to some experts who agreed that Musk was well within his rights – and was smart – to respond to Broder’s article. And, let’s admit, Musk certainly has gotten a lot of mileage out of 140 characters. Too bad you can’t power a car on tweets.
Related GalleryTesla Model S Owners Road Trip
Tesla Motors recently completed its summer cross country road trip, from San Francisco to the Big Apple, in its Model S electric sedan. While that is slow going for most electric vehicles, the Model S can drive up to 300 miles on a full charge, depending on options. It can go even further under some driving patterns – using the 2-cycle EPA testing method with 55 percent city driving and 45 percent highway, the high-end Model S with an 85-kWh battery pack was able to go 320 miles on a full charge. “With this kind of range and a full charge, this sedan is unstoppable!” the company says in a new video of the Model S in NYC you can watch below.
Eventually, there will be more of the Tesla Supercharger fast chargers stations to make a cross-country trip even easier. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, the 30-minute Supercharger experience can be a good fit for passengers to stop and take a break, get a bite to eat before getting back on the highway for three more hours of driving. We are still early in the Supercharger deployment process (i.e., none of the stations are active yet, even if a half-dozen are already installed), so Model S drivers moving from San Francisco to NYC today will need to access a map of public charging stations and be ready for serious downtime during charging sessions.
What’s next? Tesla says it will continue the Model S journey worldwide offering “the world a chance to see, drive and experience the car of the 21st Century.” Somehow, we assume more videos of the car in interesting locations will be involved.
By Jon LeSage