A Cautionary tale of Range, Anxiety, and Supercharging.....

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3V Pilot

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#1
(For the TLDR crowd, skip to the last paragraph and pics below.....)

So, I've done a few road-trips now that I've had the car and despite the title of this thread I really don't believe that "Range Anxiety" should ever be a thing. At least not in the Long Range version. With the excellent guidance and all the constant calculations given by the car it really should take a chain of unexpected events to run out of juice. Well, this is just that kind of story......

Last Saturday morning I set off for a weekend in Vegas, roughly 400 miles away it's around 6 hours of driving time with one planned charging stop. I made sure the car was all charged up to 100% just as it was time to leave (not that I needed it but I like to start my trips with a "full tank"). I hopped in and as I put the car in reverse a nice little message pops up that I had never seen before, something to the effect of "You are not running the current version of maps". The first thought that came to mind was "Well, I know I'm about to leave on a road trip but there is nothing I can do at this point." So I quickly clicked the "x" to make the note go away and as soon as I did this thought pops into my head "Oh, man, I should of taken a picture of that to see if anyone else has ever seen it?" Now, for those of you who are saying "I see where this is going already".....yes I know but if I had perfect 20/20 hindsight and had read this thread title first, well, I would of known also....LOL.

So off I go and everything is great to my first stop in Wickenburg Arizona. Loving the car, the autopilot and the trip all the way. I knew I could make it to Vegas if I charged long enough but I wanted to arrive with plenty of juice for the few days I'd be there. The plan quickly became a second charging stop in Henderson Nevada, just outside of Vegas. It would be easy given the range was only around 220 miles. I grabbed a quick sandwich down the street and the car was saying it had enough charge to go before I was even ready. Of course I let the charging continue until I got back to the car but it was only a few minutes. Usually I like to have at least a 10% buffer beyond what the car advises because, well, you know headwinds and such.....after all, I would never speed.....:D. I've found that on most long distance runs I'll use more battery than the computer computes, if that makes sense.

As I set off the trip computer is estimating 18% battery upon arrival in Henderson. Now that I'm a road-trip expert (or so I thought...lol) I knew this was plenty. After all, I had a good tailwind and another supercharging option in Kingman if I needed it......no problem! I've got the nice nav lady cranked up to 11 so I can hear her over my blaring road-trip music and with Autopilot engaged I'm just having a good old time (some of you might see where the second chain is about to break...)

As I'm just outside of Kingman I look at the nav and it's still showing around 12% when I get to Henderson, no need to stop, plenty of range! I'm on I-40 and a mile or two before I need to turn off my daughter calls and I start to have a nice chat with her. A minute or two later I realize I missed my turn off because the nice nav lady is too polite to interrupt a call and say "Hey dummy, you're about to miss the turn." Also I'm enjoying the drive so much that I don't notice the HUMONGOUS map screen right in front of my face:confused:. Not a big deal, just a few miles out of the way, a quick U-turn and I'm back on course. Now I'm really considering a quick stop in Kingman since I'll be passing right by the supercharger. However, UN-common sense takes over because the nav is still showing 8% by the time I get to Henderson so I know I can make it. Even though I'm breaking my 10% rule I'm positive it won't be a problem........

The farther I drive the lower the estimate gets, 5%......4%.......3%........however I never get the warning "slow down to make it to your destination." So, like the expert I am, I DON'T slow down! Well, as you might of guessed, here is where the updated map problem arises. Just prior to Henderson there is a brand new section of highway that routes you farther around town than the old way. Also the road just automatically routes you in that direction with no indication from the nav that I should "exit" to stay on the route it had planned because it doesn't even see the new road. Additionally the new route has a much higher speed limit than the old way so that also aggravated the situation. As I the roads divided the nav starts going crazy attempting to figure out where I am and how to get me back, it's of no use at this point. I turn it off and start to fumble with google maps. I can see the road I'm on and I know it's taking me to the supercharger that is just up ahead, what I don't know if exactly how many miles this will take me out of the way and if I have the range to make it or not.

At this point I did slow down as the car was showing around 15 miles of range left and I had no good way to tell how long I needed to drive. Lucky, it didn't take long and I did make it, however with only 6 miles left!

But here is the real magic of this story...... As you can see from the pics below I plugged in with only 6 miles left and it only took 42 minutes to bring the battery back up to 80%. Interestingly enough, as you can see, it would take another 40 minutes to charge the last 20%! This is why I never normally wait beyond the 80% level when I'm supercharging. Unless I'm not done eating or not ready to get back in the car yet, it's usually better to charge to 80% and get back on the road.

The moral of this story is....well, don't do what I did!....LOL;)



2018-09-22-17-58-09-jpg.15183
2018-09-22-18-40-47-jpg.15184
 
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garsh

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#4
As you can see from the pics below I plugged in with only 6 miles left and it only took 42 minutes to bring the battery back up to 80%.
Oh, you think that's range anxiety? You merely flirted with it. I go below 3 miles of range remaining every day, on every commute. You get nervous when your Tesla shows only 40 miles remaining? I start off every morning commute that way before I even leave the house! Your inexperience betrays you. I will show you where I have made my home, while preparing to bring cookies.

 

3V Pilot

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#5
Oh, you think that's range anxiety? You merely flirted with it. I go below 3 miles of range remaining every day, on every commute. You get nervous when your Tesla shows only 40 miles remaining? I start off every morning commute that way before I even leave the house! Your inexperience betrays you. I will show you where I have made my home, while preparing to bring cookies.

That's awesome...LMAO!!!
 

ER1C8

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#6
Did that supercharger session from 6 miles to 80% really only cost you $0.72 like your picture shows? That's a crazy cheap supercharger
 

3V Pilot

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#8
Did that supercharger session from 6 miles to 80% really only cost you $0.72 like your picture shows? That's a crazy cheap supercharger
I was going to ask the same question?
Very sharp eyes! I forgot about that part. The actual charge was $8.88 for that session but the total round trip was less than $23 in Supercharging fees!! I'd like to see any other form of transportation on the planet beat that...in the same amount of time!!
 

Nikola

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#9
I'm looking at your average energy consumption rate for that last leg: 260 Wh/mile. That's pretty high, so even with some elevation gains along the way, I'm thinking you were running pretty fast for a while there. (Not that I'm casting stones, trust me!) Traveling over 70 MPH definitely has a huge impact.

On a recent 3,500 mile roadtrip from east coast to west coast running 65-70 MPH most of the way, we averaged 206 Wh/mile, just for comparison.

The rapid recharge of the Model 3 is the most under-appreciated aspect of the car, in my opinion. With higher overall efficiency, it's absolutely amazing how fast it recharges to 80%. You gained 241 miles of range in 42 minutes.
 

Kizzy

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#10
I hopped in and as I put the car in reverse a nice little message pops up that I had never seen before, something to the effect of "You are not running the current version of maps". The first thought that came to mind was "Well, I know I'm about to leave on a road trip but there is nothing I can do at this point." So I quickly clicked the "x" to make the note go away and as soon as I did this thought pops into my head "Oh, man, I should of taken a picture of that to see if anyone else has ever seen it?"
I saw that message right after delivery and did take a picture of it (it's attached to one of the v9 download threads).

I was afraid this story was going to end with a flatbed tow truck! Glad you made it to power!
 

3V Pilot

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#11
I'm looking at your average energy consumption rate for that last leg: 260 Wh/mile. That's pretty high, so even with some elevation gains along the way, I'm thinking you were running pretty fast for a while there. (Not that I'm casting stones, trust me!) Traveling over 70 MPH definitely has a huge impact.

On a recent 3,500 mile roadtrip from east coast to west coast running 65-70 MPH most of the way, we averaged 206 Wh/mile, just for comparison.

The rapid recharge of the Model 3 is the most under-appreciated aspect of the car, in my opinion. With higher overall efficiency, it's absolutely amazing how fast it recharges to 80%. You gained 241 miles of range in 42 minutes.
Yes, I know that speed has a big impact on range but it's a price I'm willing to pay. It's also really nice to know that slowing down by 5mph or so can "buy" 20 more miles of range. I usually set the cruise at 82mph......but of course that is only when the speed limit is 85;).

I saw that message right after delivery and did take a picture of it (it's attached to one of the v9 download threads).

I was afraid this story was going to end with a flatbed tow truck! Glad you made it to power!
Thanks, I was super happy to avoid the flatbed also! I've seen how some Tesla's will go 15 miles or so beyond empty but I sure didn't want to try it. Plus I'm sure that is not great for the batteries as well.
 

garsh

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#14
Stories??? I got stories.

Nissan Leaf terminology:
LBW == Low Battery Warning, happens with about 8 miles left.
VLBW == Very Low Battery Warning, happens with about 3-4 miles left.
Turtle == Happens shortly before shutdown - you have maybe a half-mile left.

I hit VLBW _every_ _day_. I've hit turtle about 6 times. I've run it until it died three times (although the one time, I made it to the charger, and it died just after I took a picture of the little turtle symbol on the dashboard).

You're damn right I deserve a 310-mile Tesla. :D
 

kort677

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#15
LOL, I'm glad I never saw "0". I'd really hate to test the actual limit of how far the car would go. Do you have a story behind that pic?? If so please share.....
the short version is that I was on a road trip and I parked the car for the night with about 42 miles of range, I was about 20 miles from the next supercharger. that night it went down to 15 degrees and the car used a lot of range to keep the battery pack warm, I woke to a car with 16 miles of range. I drove very slowly to the supercharger and less than a mile from that supercharger that message popped up. I would not assume that there is any buffer, zero means zero!
 

3V Pilot

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#16
the short version is that I was on a road trip and I parked the car for the night with about 42 miles of range, I was about 20 miles from the next supercharger. that night it went down to 15 degrees and the car used a lot of range to keep the battery pack warm, I woke to a car with 16 miles of range. I drove very slowly to the supercharger and less than a mile from that supercharger that message popped up. I would not assume that there is any buffer, zero means zero!
I have read stories and seen some videos of cars going beyond 0. Here is one in very cold weather:


Just beyond the 2 min mark he hits 0 and keeps driving, not far but for the temps I thought it was interesting.....
 

3V Pilot

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#18
thinking that there is some sort of buffer beyond zero will result in either getting stuck on the road with a dead car or possibly doing damage to the battery pack
I totally agree. I think the "buffer" if you want to call it that has nothing to do with design feature and much more to do with the inability to accurately measure exactly what the pack will provide. I've also heard stories of cars stopping while still showing some range, that is what worried me the most in this situation. I had no idea if my car would keep going once it showed below 10 miles left. If I recall I think I read where a Model S showed 15 miles or so of range and stopped dead.
 

kort677

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#19
I totally agree. I think the "buffer" if you want to call it that has nothing to do with design feature and much more to do with the inability to accurately measure exactly what the pack will provide. I've also heard stories of cars stopping while still showing some range, that is what worried me the most in this situation. I had no idea if my car would keep going once it showed below 10 miles left. If I recall I think I read where a Model S showed 15 miles or so of range and stopped dead.
I won't dispute that but in my experiences I've run the car down very low more than a few times and never had it shut down with any number of miles showing as available. when on road trips I try to ride the bottom of the battery because the charging goes faster, the only caveat to that is when I get surprised by weather or elevation changes that I didn't anticipate.
 

3V Pilot

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#20
I won't dispute that but in my experiences I've run the car down very low more than a few times and never had it shut down with any number of miles showing as available. when on road trips I try to ride the bottom of the battery because the charging goes faster, the only caveat to that is when I get surprised by weather or elevation changes that I didn't anticipate.
So, I'm just curious, what is your personal comfort zone for the trip computer showing battery % at your next charging spot? For the speeds I drive I always look for at least 10% more than what the computer calculates and I'm really only comfortable when it's showing more than 15%. Oh, and I've never heard of a Model 3 stopping before zero miles, only a story about a Model S. With better batteries, a way more efficient motor and a few more years of Tesla's learning curve behind the Model 3 I'd be surprised if one stopped before reaching zero.