My first Experience with Range Anxiety

Brokedoc

Kick-Gas Contributor
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
1,715
Location
New York
Tesla Owner
Model X
Country
Country
#1
I've had a Tesla for just over a year now. I am generally a good planner and use the Tesla SCs, destination chargers, and Chargepoint chargers a lot as well as other public chargers listed on Chargepoint and Plugshare.

This week, I'm on a roadtrip to tour colleges with my son and I had my first experience with range anxiety. Maybe by sharing my story, others can avoid my pain.

TLDR: EVs are getting more popular and charging sites may be full or may be out of service. Leave a cushion or have a backup plan. If you dont like planning ahead, driving an EV on a roadtrip is probably not for you.

I have a 75kwhr battery in my X with a full range of about 225-230 mi. I charged to 90% which is 205ish mi. Yesterday I left Long Island at 430am to take my nephew to his orientation at UMass Amherst 184 mi away. Along the way we stopped briefly at a SC and got breakfast and a quick charge and made it to Amherst at 8am with 30% remaining. Piece of cake.

Then I needed to drive to UConn for my son's college tour 43 miles away, about 1 hr drive. If I didn't charge, I would have arrived at -1% but the computer recommended a 20 min SC stop to get there with 20% reserve.

My wife and Sister in Law took my nephew to the orientation and took their time. They didn't return to the car until 845. There are several L2 J1772 chargers at UConn so I figured I didn't need too much of a charge so I could just SC for 5 or 10 mins and add charge at UConn while I was on the tour. I drove faster to make up time but that also uses more juice.

I got to UConn just in time with 2% (18mi) remaining. My family went to start the tour while I searched for chargers. First stop on the Chargepoint map was. UConn J1772 with 2 plugs. Both were occupied. I didn't want to waste too much more time or power so I just paid to park in the UConn North lot which has 2 more J1772 chargers. After driving around to find the chargers, I was disappointed to find that both of them were occupied also. OH CRAP! I found a standard spot and went on the tour.

I returned to the car after the tour and the two chargers were still occupied. I had 16 miles left so I looked on the Chargepoint app and went to a nearby Price Chopper that had a charger. Arriving there, I was staring at a GE charger linked to the EVConnecticut network. What? I searched the web and it seems that the GE network is a pay network after you join.

Too much work. I opened Chargepoint again and there was another charger at a nearby parking garage. I drive there and see 2 Teslas parked in 4 EV spots. I pull in and try to figure out how to get the charging cable to drop and see a big OUT OF SERVICE sign. WHAT IS GOING ON TODAY?#%@^

I have 14 mi left and I'm starting to get hit with range anxiety. The nearest SC is 20 mi away and messages keep popping up on the display saying that I out of range of the nearest charger. My son and daughter asking stupid questions didn't help. "Does the car just stop when the battery dies?" "Can you still steer or brake when the battery dies?" "Do we need to take a bus?" "Can't we just call an Uber?"

I drove back to the original J1772 Charger at UConn and with 12 mi left, I was relieved to find an open plug. I plugged in at a measly 30amp and was filling at 16mi/hr. I figured I should have at least 30mi range to comfortably get to the SC.

We went to get lunch and came back with the battery at 24mi. We sat for another 30 mins and headed slowly to the SC. No fast starts. Drove locally with the windows open and AC off. On the highway I drove at 60 (65 speed limit) being passed by old drivers in cars with Florida plates.

I got to the SC with a huge sigh of relief and 12 mi left in the battery. Our hotel was only 35 mi away and had a Tesla destination charger but we were exhausted from waking up at 4am so we passed out and got a full charge. I used @TrevP 's tip and programmed another driver named "Chill" with seat memory programmed into a comfortable recline for napping. THANKS Trev!

My takeaway lesson here is that Universities and other locations where people are more likely to be early adopters, chargers will be in higher demand. All Model 3s currently have LR batteries so range anxiety will be less of an issue but my situation could have happened with any size battery. Until more chargers are installed, this situation will only get worse as more EVs get on the road. Plan ahead, leave a margin for emergency and have a backup plan.

Currently, I'm back at UMass Amherst for my son's tour and my Tesla is happily charging at a @ChargePoint charger in the schools parking garage.

20180713_114520-jpg.11462
 
Last edited:

GDN

Moderator
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
3,516
Location
Far North Dallas, TX
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#2
Too much work. I opened Chargepoint again and there was another charger at a nearby parking garage. I drive there and see 2 Teslas parked in 4 EV spots. I pull in and try to figure out how to get the charging cable to drop and see a big OUT OF SERVICE sign. WHAT IS GOING ON TODAY?#%@^
No fun at all with that kind of stress. I'm truly hopeful with the LR 3 that this doesn't become reality. I've not had any kind of trip at all yet, but thinking I only want to plan on Superchargers and will go out of the way to find them (although I've heard of some of these being full too).

My real point in reply here is the part of your post about chargers being out of service. Were the two out of service truly Chargepoint? @ChargePoint is here on the forum and I hope they have a way of finding out about OOS equipment and have a quick way of getting them fixed. That could be the quickest way for me to ignore a service - is to find too many chargers not working.

I've not used them yet - so do they only list their chargers or did they list someone else's chargers you attempted to use and were OOS?
 

Brokedoc

Kick-Gas Contributor
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
1,715
Location
New York
Tesla Owner
Model X
Country
Country
#3
No fun at all with that kind of stress. I'm truly hopeful with the LR 3 that this doesn't become reality. I've not had any kind of trip at all yet, but thinking I only want to plan on Superchargers and will go out of the way to find them (although I've heard of some of these being full too).

My real point in reply here is the part of your post about chargers being out of service. Were the two out of service truly Chargepoint? @ChargePoint is here on the forum and I hope they have a way of finding out about OOS equipment and have a quick way of getting them fixed. That could be the quickest way for me to ignore a service - is to find too many chargers not working.

I've not used them yet - so do they only list their chargers or did they list someone else's chargers you attempted to use and were OOS?
The malfunctioning chargers I encountered were not Chargepoint chargers. Also, at the Residence Inn in Springfield Ma, one of the 2 Tesla destination chargers was not functioning and one of the 2 parking spots was ICEd.

Chargepoint's app lists many other non Chargepoint chargers as well that show up as grey on their app map. Chargepoint chargers show up as green and if the plugs are in use, the green dial changes partially blue reflecting the available plugs.

The Chargepoint app shows which chargers are free and which are pay (if the landlord chooses to charge a fee). It would be great if @ChargePoint had a different color or logo thumbtack on their map to easily different paid vs free Chargepoint chargers without clicking on the charger details.

As @Travelwolf 's recent experience showed, even some Chargepoint chargers that are displayed in the app as functional and available may not actually be functioning.
 

garsh

Dis Member
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
11,083
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#4
...Both were occupied.
...both of them were occupied also.
...the two chargers were still occupied.
...charger linked to the EVConnecticut network. What?
...see a big OUT OF SERVICE sign.
Gas stations can have similar issues, but those are easily and quickly solved:
  • Out of order? Go to one of the other 4-8 pumps.
  • All pumps occupied? Just wait 5 minutes for one to be freed up.
  • Worse case, there are probably two other whole gas stations at that same intersection, or within a quarter-mile of each other.
But EV charging - especially Level2 - takes too long. If spots are occupied by employees, it might be 8 hours before a charging spot frees up. I'm actually surprised that you didn't run into any combustion cars blocking the chargers - that's a common issue too.

Tesla's SuperCharger network is a partial solution. They're faster than other charging stations. You can find out if they're occupied or out of service before arriving. Normally, they are located in "non-ideal parking locations", which means you're less likely to find a combustion vehicle parked there. So it's best to stick with supercharging for long-distance travel whenever possible.
 

Brokedoc

Kick-Gas Contributor
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
1,715
Location
New York
Tesla Owner
Model X
Country
Country
#5
Gas stations can have similar issues, but those are easily and quickly solved:
  • Out of order? Go to one of the other 4-8 pumps.
  • All pumps occupied? Just wait 5 minutes for one to be freed up.
  • Worse case, there are probably two other whole gas stations at that same intersection, or within a quarter-mile of each other.
But EV charging - especially Level2 - takes too long. If spots are occupied by employees, it might be 8 hours before a charging spot frees up. I'm actually surprised that you didn't run into any combustion cars blocking the chargers - that's a common issue too.

Tesla's SuperCharger network is a partial solution. They're faster than other charging stations. You can find out if they're occupied or out of service before arriving. Normally, they are located in "non-ideal parking locations", which means you're less likely to find a combustion vehicle parked there. So it's best to stick with supercharging for long-distance travel whenever possible.
There are occasional hiccups with the Tesla SCs also. @Travelwolf had a problem with a 4 stall SC where only 2 stalls worked and on her return trip, only 1 stall worked.

I've been at a SC in PA where an ICE driver purposefully parked at the SC and stared down the other Tesla owners as he walked into the Red Robin to eat. Idiots live among us.
 

Ed Woodrick

Top-Contributor
Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
649
Location
Atlanta, GA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#6
Things to remember:
  • Just because the computer says you only need a 20 minute charge to get to a destination, don't forget that you might want to drive after getting to a destination
  • NEVER assume that you can get a parking spot at a University, let alone one with a charger.
  • Always look at PlugShare's rating, comments and pricing information before you head to a charger. A rating of less than 10 should make you question if the plug will work.
Think if how much less anxiety you would have if you charged for an extra 10-20 minutes at the supercharger.

When the NTSB investigate an accident, especially aircraft, they come to a set of conclusions called probable cause. Think of how many things you could have changed to keep from having those butt cheeks kept so tight.

But congrats on finally getting charged.

BTW, I've run out of gas 3 times in an ICE. Believe it or not, each of those times, I was able to roll into a gas pump with the engine not running. You sometimes just have to pray and be nice to the fuel gods.
 

Travelwolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
211
Location
Missouri
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#7
as @Brokedoc said, there are occasional hiccups at SC as well- the one I ran into the problem at was in SE Indianapolis where half the stalls (literally) didn't work. I actually thought there was something wrong with my brand new car and called Tesla; they were aware of the issue and told me which 2 stalls to try that had been working the best. To be fair, the hotel they were by was having a bunch of remodeling done so there may have been a power interruption or something causing the issue.

I did also run into a chargepoint charger showing up as open 24/7 and available that was not actually working. I called ahead and asked permission to use it b/c it was a BMW/Jaguar dealership & I was arriving after hours and checked in again the afternoon of my arrival. Both times I was assured that it would be on and available for me and they would move their cars out of the way before they left for the day so I could plug in my Tesla. The app showed it still available when I arrived, yet I couldnt get it to "talk" to the car to start charging. After 10 minutes messing with it and several trips around the building to see if there was a different station, I called chargepoint. They tried to connect to the station to start it for me and they were unable to get it to talk to the network at all. They said that the station either had a malfunction or the breaker had been turned off. This was my first chargepoint experience on the road by the way. Either way I was out of luck and had to go to the next closest charger available, which was a Tesla destination charger that I got to with less than 20 miles left. Side note, I did stop at several chargers on the Canadian network and had no issue at all with those.

I just got home a few days ago from my trip (4500 miles, drove from Kansas City, MO to Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada) & I will second the suggestion made in a previous post about stopping even if the car says you don't have to, just based this chargepoint experience alone! Had I not made an extra stop to top up an "extra" 30ish miles, I would have been stranded. Make the safety stop! If you want to see how the trip went, you can check it out here. https://evtrip2018.blogspot.com/

Other than that chargepoint stop, I didn't have any issues with range anxiety, but I did do a lot of planning ahead and slept in the car at 2 different destination chargers (Tesla PLEASE build the superchargers in New Brunswick! That would have really helped, there are none in that provence at all!)

As for being ICEd at hotels- I was at a Hilton in Akron OH and was the first Tesla to use their destination chargers (they had just put them in). I found them easily, right near the front of the building, and they were all ICEd; but I reported it to the front desk and they found the owners of the vehicles and made them go move, then blocked one of the spots off for me with a cone and called my room to let me know I could move my car to plug in. They got it done within 15 minutes. Give them a chance to help if you are ICEd, most really want to. :)
 

PNWmisty

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
2,539
Location
Anacortes, WA
Country
Country
#8
I've had range anxiety before but only on my ICE motorcycle. A lot of motorcycles can't even go 200 miles. Mine go 230-280 depending upon temperature, speeds and amount of braking for corners. When touring in rural areas, a lot of gas stations have very limited hours and some are even closed on Sundays! When you're counting on a gas station to be open, and it's not, there might not be another one for many miles. In an electric vehicle, you can almost always find an outlet someone will let you use in an emergency. Sure, it might be slow but at least you can get enough to make it to a more powerful charger. And electric chargers are constantly becoming more prolific.
 

Travelwolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
211
Location
Missouri
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#9
Sure, it might be slow but at least you can get enough to make it to a more powerful charger. And electric chargers are constantly becoming more prolific.
very true, one of my hotels allowed me to plug into their outdoor wall outlet since they didnt have a charge station. I got about 40 miles added is all but 40 miles is 40 miles. I could have gotten to the SC without it, but it was nice they allowed it.
 

JWardell

Legendary Member
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
3,598
Location
Boston
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#10
I know the charge point chargers I used to have by my office at MIT were ALWAYS occupied. Does it surprise you that intelligent people who work for universities tend to be more likely to have plug-in cars?
Of course many times, they stupid plug-in hybrids that don't need to be there. Frustrating.
I'm curious though why you were only using Chargepoint's app and not PlugShare, which should list several more chargers, as well as very good comments about how available and reliable they are. In a pinch it will also list available AC outlets.
 

Brokedoc

Kick-Gas Contributor
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
1,715
Location
New York
Tesla Owner
Model X
Country
Country
#11
I know the charge point chargers I used to have by my office at MIT were ALWAYS occupied. Does it surprise you that intelligent people who work for universities tend to be more likely to have plug-in cars?
Of course many times, they stupid plug-in hybrids that don't need to be there. Frustrating.
I'm curious though why you were only using Chargepoint's app and not PlugShare, which should list several more chargers, as well as very good comments about how available and reliable they are. In a pinch it will also list available AC outlets.
I also use PlugShare but I've been using the Chargepoint app more because I prefer the notifications and functionality when attached to a Chargepoint device. In the case of my recent scare, it wasn't a shortage of chargers. It was a shortage of unoccupied, functioning chargers and my limitation to drive around.

The comments in Chargepoint's app will also give you an idea of the quality of the charger. Only when I can't find something in Chargepoint do I feel the need to check Plugshare.
 

Dogwhistle

Top-Contributor
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
429
Location
Delaware
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#12
Based on my 4 years of experience with my MINI-3, and i3, I NEVER expect to depend on J1772 Level 2 chargers. They are crap, and usually broken or ICEd or used by a plug-in Prius. A Level 3 DCFC with at least two connections was a good bet, but right now the Model 3 can’t use those. So, any road trip will be based on Supercharger only, period. And I always charge to 100% before leaving on any trip that may require charging outside my garage.
 

PNWmisty

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
2,539
Location
Anacortes, WA
Country
Country
#13
Based on my 4 years of experience with my MINI-3, and i3, I NEVER expect to depend on J1772 Level 2 chargers. They are crap, and usually broken or ICEd or used by a plug-in Prius.
Maybe this is an East Coast/West Coast difference? Because I haven't found chargers to be broken or blocked by ICE cars hardly ever. In fact, the small town I live in has a free 30A municipal charger right by City Hall and it's open about 80-90% of the time (and never ICED). The charger right next to it is reserved for municipal cars (they have at least one plug-in hybrid) and it's often being used by the City. Lot's of tasty restaurants and small shops nearby too. I could charge there all the time since it's very convenient to where I go to eat/drink but I never do since it's so easy/inexpensive to charge at home.

Many chargers (including the one mentioned above) are not on charger maps (at least not the maps I use).
 

Dogwhistle

Top-Contributor
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
429
Location
Delaware
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#14
Maybe this is an East Coast/West Coast difference? Because I haven't found chargers to be broken or blocked by ICE cars hardly ever. In fact, the small town I live in has a free 30A municipal charger right by City Hall and it's open about 80-90% of the time (and never ICED). The charger right next to it is reserved for municipal cars (they have at least one plug-in hybrid) and it's often being used by the City. Lot's of tasty restaurants and small shops nearby too. I could charge there all the time since it's very convenient to where I go to eat/drink but I never do since it's so easy/inexpensive to charge at home.

Many chargers (including the one mentioned above) are not on charger maps (at least not the maps I use).
Perhaps, J1772 L2 are still fairly rare out here. Expect one to be available to complete your journey, and prepare to get burned. With my i3, I had gas back-up, which I had to rely on fairly often for the reasons stated above.
 

Travelwolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
211
Location
Missouri
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#16
I'm curious though why you were only using Chargepoint's app and not PlugShare, which should list several more chargers, as well as very good comments about how available and reliable they are. In a pinch it will also list available AC outlets.
I use plugshare as well, the guy at the Tesla 800# suggested it. After that I started using it as my first stop for overnights & the area of canada without superchargers (seriously need to fix this- it is the entire province). I went to plugshare after to check availability if it was on that network. I had totally forgotten to download it before I left until the Tesla guy said something after my issue that first night.
 

JWardell

Legendary Member
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
3,598
Location
Boston
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#18
I had totally forgotten to download it before I left until the Tesla guy said something after my issue that first night.
I've had Chargepoint and Plugshare on my phone for a year now. It's fun* to go places and see what chargers are nearby and imagine deciding which to use. My poor charge point card has been waiting patiently to go in my wallet just as long.
*The bar for my level of fun is very low.
 

KarenRei

Top-Contributor
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
1,647
Location
Reykjavík
Country
Country
#19
After that I started using it as my first stop for overnights & the area of canada without superchargers (seriously need to fix this- it is the entire province)
I honestly think that they'll have the Canadian superhighway mostly done by the end of Q3, based on how they started permitting the middle of it last quarter. I'd be shocked if it wasn't largely done by the end of Q4.

Good things come with time. :)
 

Wooloomooloo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
250
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#20
BTW, I've run out of gas 3 times in an ICE. Believe it or not, each of those times, I was able to roll into a gas pump with the engine not running. You sometimes just have to pray and be nice to the fuel gods.
I have no idea how people manage to run out of gas. My car (a VW GTI) will do 30 - 50 miles after range hits 0. :p

People parking their ICE cars in front of chargers is seriously rude. If I saw that at a restaurant or other destination charger, and I wasn't desperate to charge, I'd just block them. I know that makes me a child, but a confrontation or two will stop this type of behavior.