Now the rhetoric is "waaah, the charging stations are kind of inconvenient."
Anyone who writes this kind of article without looking at dsituation/dt is being dumb.
On the other hand he paid $0 for energy, which would be very different had he brought along a comparable gasoline-powered car (Audi RS6?).
In my experience taking long road trips in expensive cars is a fools errand, electric or not. Expensive cars are either fast, heavy, or both, and get horrible milage. Sure, an Audi RS6 would have had fewer stops which also would have been quicker, but you'd be there in the same amount of time at a quarter of the cost in a Miata, which would have been a lot of fun at the race track, too.
It seems among small aircraft pilots that we're split about 50/50; some care about fuel costs and some don't.
Airplane ownership has also allowed me to switch my daily driver to a Nissan LEAF, since the overwhelming majority of moderate to long range travel is done by airplane rather than my daily driver.
I have owned two Miatas, most recently a 2008 PRHT Grand Touring, which is about the most "luxury" Miata you can buy. I also have a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C400, which I've done 3 long road trips in since buying it in Oct. 2014.
The Miata and the Benz actually get comparable gas mileage (Miata: 29mpg; Benz: 26mpg) on the highway, so the difference there is negligible.
The huge difference is how you feel after having sat in each car for several hours. Miata seats are great for short road trips or the track, but absolutely horrifying after about 3-4 hours on the road. Plus, you can barely stuff any luggage in it!
As someone who owned and used 2 Miatas as daily drivers (and each one being my only car!) from the year 2000 to 2014, you won't find a bigger Miata fan than me, but you have to be realistic--5 straight hours in that thing is enough to make anyone beg for mercy. The Benz is so much better equipped (OMG Bluetooth!), and so much more comfortable, that there is no comparison.
Also, the C400 is pretty zippy. It's not a Miata, but it's a nice sporty feel.
759 mi/(18 mi/gal) = 42.17 gal
42.17 gal*(3.29 USD/gal) = USD 138.74
That's still not a hell of a lot of money, especially if you're driving something that costs three orders of magnitude more.
I remember reading a report of a fast road trip on a superbike, the author had to stop every 30 minutes to fill up.
Maybe the moral of the story is that all Tesla owners doing long-range driving should invest in a AAA membership for the inevitable occasion when the battery jumps down to -22% before reaching the next charging station.
I know people on HN love to discuss things they aren't personally familiar with, but this is really getting out of hand!
It doesn't really matter if they get included roadside service or not, since they'll still have to sit around, wait for a tow truck to show up and rescue them from the middle of nowhere, ride in the truck's cab or possibly have to get a separate taxi to wherever the car is being towed, and wait to get charged. This has to happen whether one uses Tesla, AAA, or any other entity (including themselves) to coordinate the tow. It doesn't materially change the argument.
That assumes the Tesla is that person's only car. I own 3 cars and have AAA. If I bought a Tesla I would still have at least one additional car. (Simply because my wife needs a car at the same time I do so we are pretty much a 2+ car family.) I would still have AAA.
One of the nice things about an electric car is that the measure of remaining capacity is really accurate. In a typical gas car, anything below ~50 miles of range is basically a crapshoot. In an electric car, if it says you can make it 5 more miles, that might actually be 4, or 6, but it won't be zero.
I don't know what happened with the author, but given the total lack of discussion of the trip energy use graph in the article, I suspect he was not using all the tools available to him and misinterpreted something. That's not to make excuses for Tesla; they seriously need to improve their trip planner to stop being so stupid. However, if you take five minutes to familiarize yourself with the car and the tools it provides you, then there is no worry about the battery suddenly jumping to -22% and leaving you stranded. It's certainly not an "inevitable occasion."
That, and, over the years, an HBO animated special, a musical stage production, a non-musical stage production, and, most recently, a box-office success as a movie last year. The title has been a fairly frequent pop culture reference with the "Alexander" at the beginning and the "day" at the end replaced with other things, e.g, on the Daily Show, etc.
The review seemed gratuitously negative. Fact is that almost everyone in the traditional car industry wants Tesla to fail. I know some folks "back home" who are into cars, and when they talk about electrics it's like mockery mixed with a tinge of dread.
If you're a CS/software person, imagine if a new computer came out that is far superior to existing computers but has almost nothing in common. The way you program it is alien to anything you're accustomed to. That's the situation car people will find themselves in if things go electric... not to mention the waves upon waves upon waves of bankruptcies as entire swaths of the economy find themselves obsolete. Electric vehicles are armageddon to what probably accounts for a double-digit fraction of our economy.
I disagree. I think Teslas are interesting, and I never tend to road trip so it's an edge use case for me.
But the descriptions of the navigation system are just flat out baffling. That's a horrible fault in a car that can't be easily/quickly charged at tens of thousands of gas stations.
A navigation system should never have you drive FURTHER BACK to the PLACE YOU CAME FROM rather than the SHORTER distance to the NEXT supercharger. That's insane.
And having him get off the highway to stop at a supercharger where he needed "0 minutes" of charging? Why wasn't that cut from the route?
I understand him losing mileage to the A/C, but it's a connected car. If it knows where it is, where you're going, and can access it weather it should be able to predict you'll probably end up using the A/C and adjust the expected range accordingly. That should't have been a surprise either.
At the end of the article he said he could do the trip in about 12 hours if he planned by hand with 3 stops instead of 6-8 stops and 17 hours if he let the Tesla software plan it. That's a disaster.
This sounds like one of those cases where bad software ruins (or significantly detracts from) an experience that shouldn't otherwise be that bad.
This article is an indictment of the navigation system.
I'll also say it sounds odd that you can set the car up to control the heat and sunroof and such with the phone app when the car is driving. If it's moving, why allow that? If you're driving or in the car you already have access to the controls. Sounds ripe for abuse/pranks (as happened in the article).
Yep, for sure. But note that that's all it is. It's not an indictment of Tesla overall, or the Model S's ability to road trip. The trip planner does need some serious work. But if you ignore it, road trips can be a joy.
As far as remote access while the car is driving, why not allow it? That means that, for example, somebody in the back seat can adjust the controls using their phone instead of bothering the driver to do it for them. It's only ripe for abuse if you give your account credentials to someone you shouldn't trust. And why would you do that? It's pretty much on the same level as giving your car keys to your coworkers and then complaining when they prank you by moving your car to a different parking lot behind your back. Don't give them your keys!
That assumes perfect security. I'm more worried about someone external hacking in to the Tesla site via a security vulnerability (or even just username/password dump from another site) to do such things to random cars than little Billy in the back seat.
We can discuss the plusses and minuses of various intentional access points, or we can discuss security. But they're different topics.
Exactly. I'm bullish on electric cars, and the next time I car shop I'll probably get one, though at the moment they are better suited as town/station cars. The typical person doesn't need much range day to day, but it can be pretty difficult to take a long trip in one. If I got a BMW i3, for example, I couldn't take it for a weekend trip down the shore because I'd run the battery down halfway home, and there are no public charges near the beach I go to.
If we want electric cars to catch on, they need to be better. They can't be crapboxes that you justify with "at least it doesn't pollute so much." They need to be, "I want that awesome car!" Tesla has achieved this, and a big part of that is the supercharger network and the ease of long-distance travel with their cars.
The experience described in this article is surprising and definitely should not happen at this point. Fortunately the problems were due more to bad choices on the part of the driver than anything to do with the car. The car's trip planner certainly had problem here, but the driver could and should have ignored it when it was being dumb.
"Stations are strategically placed to minimize stops during long distance travel and are conveniently located near restaurants, shopping centers, and WiFi hot spots."
From the sounds of it, this answer won't make you happy, but that's fine: Tesla is at market share of << 1%.
Edit: and what the hell are you trying to imply with "women traveling solo"?
Money in the bank, sure, but cash money? I'm not sure about the typical habits of a Tesla owner, but I haven't regularly carried cash, or my ATM card, around in years.
From the article:
the Tesla predicts 40 minutes of charging is required to
juice the battery to its 230-mile-ish “daily limit”—and no
meal coinciding with the stop, I’m left to pace around an
empty Hobby Lobby parking lot.
As for the specific place they author was at, it's directly off the interstate and other than the Hobby Lobby there is an Outback Steakhouse and a bank directly by the charger. As well as a Home Depot, a movie theatre, McDonalds, Wendy's, Best Buy and tons of other stuff. It sounds like an awful suburban strip mall, but not a place where you should be worried about a car jacking.
I agree. But driving around in a very expensive car is a great way to signal you have other very expensive things like fancy phones, laptops, watches, etc., that can be quickly disposed of for cash.
> It sounds like an awful suburban strip mall, but not a place where you should be worried about a car jacking.
Violent crimes of all sorts happen in suburban strip malls all the time. Guess it never happened for you. Didn't find any crime maps available for the area. I would expect Tesla to locate stations in good areas based solely on good business sense.
I get that Teslas are interesting cars and their owners like to defend them, but to pretend there are no personal security considerations for Supercharger stations strikes me as irrational.
If the author decided instead to stand by the car looking rich and vulnerable that is no fault to Tesla. You can also be robbed at a gas station, which are places unlike superchargers that require you to have money.
I think you've misunderstood the author. He just ate lunch at previous station, that's why there are no meal coinciding with this stop. Not the lack of places to eat.
I understand that the issues faced by the author of the article were probably due to changing atmospheric conditions, but the Tesla should know how to include the effect of these in its calculations with reasonable accuracy, since they're a constant in all long-distance driving; weather is not going to be same 200, 400, or 1000 miles away from the starting point. I wonder if this is a learning issue, where the Tesla rates its battery based on the atmospheric conditions where it is most used, after sampling atmospheric data and combining that with battery learn data.
While other luxury cars may not be intended for long-haul drives, at least you can be assured that you'll get to your destination as long as you stop at a gas station when your car indicates that it's getting low. It doesn't seem one can trust the Tesla to know when it's going to need to be refilled.
The good news is that this is the sort of problem that can be fixed with better software. The bad news is that Tesla's software isn't good enough to answer questions like "how far will my current battery charge get me" reliably already.
you'll notice major corridors like I-64 from Lexington to St. Louis have no intermediate chargers, and from St. Louis to Kansas City on I-70 is similarly devoid. It would look like if you don't live on the north east coast or out in California, you'd be in real trouble. The chargers probably don't have to have the same ubiquity as gas stations, but having 400-500 miles of _interstate_ (god forbid you need to go somewhere like Ithaca, NY where no interstates run) without any way to refuel the vehicle still would certainly make me nervous driving it cross country.
Ithaca would depend on where you're coming from and where you're going. It's well within range of the supercharger at Paramus, NY or Syracuse. Coming from Pittsburg you'd have to detour through Buffalo.
However, the infrastructure is not that tough to build out. At the start of 2014 there were 50 superchargers in North American. Today there are 217. That's one company, funding them with the profits from selling cars. Give it another couple of years and the network should be nearly ubiquitous.
I mean... Most trips (probably over 90% of the distance ran) are very short, for city people. It seems that you could get pretty much all the enviromnental benefit, and nearly all the savings, using a smaller battery pack. And authonomy would come from an ICE to rechange the pack
So, maybe the volt (or at least the idea behind it) is more resonable than tesla?
How about the idea of a plug-in hybrid, but done better? Maybe. But you're talking about two separate drivetrains, which is going to inherently hurt things like cargo space.
There's nothing silly about road tripping in a Tesla. The charging infrastructure is great and road trips are smooth. The author just didn't do his very well.
I have a '14 and the storage space seems fine to me. No kids though. I did put 14 large bags of mulch in the back once...
The Volt also does a really great job with range vs. the driving habits of it's owners. According to Chevy, 80% of volt trips don't use any gas. Could be some confirmation bias there, but my personal rate is somewhere in the 70% of trips don't us gas.
I'm leaving on a small road trip tomorrow, taking four adults, two children, and luggage for an overnight stay. Total driving will be about 350 miles. All electric, obviously. I should only need one charging stop, at a supercharger, but may take advantage of public chargers in garages and such while I'm parked, just for convenience.
Obviously a lot of that difference is just because the cars are different in general, and not the drivetrains specifically. But the Volt does sacrifice a lot of volume because of the need to support two entire drivetrains at once.
"Tesla Motors Inc. drivers were more likely than Porsche owners -- or anyone else -- to say they’d buy their cars again in this year’s edition of the closely-watched Consumer Reports buyer survey.
"Tesla’s Model S luxury electric sedan topped the U.S. survey a second year in a row, scoring 98 out of a possible 100. The No. 2 brand, Porsche, scored an average of 87 out of 100 across its model lines."
Road tripping a Tesla does require a bit more forethought. You can't depend on the trip planner at this point and get good results. That is a serious flaw and I hope Tesla improves their trip planner soon, because it can be terribly stupid. But if you can apply that extra forethought and you're taking a trip within the charging network, it's a fantastic road trip vehicle.
He noted at the end that he thinks he could get the same road trip down in a pretty reasonable time.
However, if you're wiling to do a bit of your own thinking and the supercharger network accommodates your trip well (which it mostly will at this point, there are some holes but most people won't have trouble), the Tesla is a fantastic road trip vehicle. It's quiet, smooth, and comfortable, which means you won't be as fatigued. Superchargers are located at convenient locations so you can get a snack or a meal while you charge. My experience so far is limited, but range anxiety for me has been less, not more, because I know in advance exactly where I'm going to stop, rather than trying to search for a gas station in just the right spot, trying to find a cheaper price, etc. And of course paying $0 and not being bombarded with carcinogens is a big bonus.
I don't know if most Tesla owners keep a gas car. I didn't, and not keeping one seems pretty common. Unless you plan to take trips into the relatively few supercharging deserts, you really don't need it.
What the article talks about is 100% expected due to the target market of the Tesla and the current state (still building infrastructure) of the charging stations.
There are some destinations which are inconvenient right now, but most road trips can be done easily. Much of the trouble the author had was avoidable with a bit more forethought.
Early adopters have early adopter difficulties. This article is a no-op.
A Tesla Supercharger has a maximum output of 100 kW (400V, 250A).
J1772 level 2 has a maximum output of 19.2 kW (240V, 80A) but I believe most don't put out the maximum amps.
If you have an EV with a small battery and you're trying to get around town, a J1772 stop might be useful. For a Tesla on a long distance trip, a J1772 stop won't be worthwhile on its own unless you're desperate. (If you're stopping anyway for some other reason, you might as well plug in if it's convenient.)