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San Diego to Las Vegas road trip

Took a trip to Vegas last weekend in my Tesla Model S P85. Here’s a summary of the trip and some data points for anyone interested.

Conclusion:
Technically I got stuck in Vegas (although I did plan to leave the car anyway). I didn’t have enough charge to drive back so I took a gas car instead. If I had a home in Vegas with a high power charger I’d be ok, but just getting a convenience charge from various hotel and shopping mall parking did not cut it.

The solution for out-of-town charging is the Tesla Super Charger. I did not mind spending an hr getting a charge as I could watch the progress and was able to relax, listen to internet radio, and browse the web while charging. However, Tesla needs to install one just outside of Vegas and another outside of San Diego. This would have allowed me to charge up once arriving at Vegas and just before departing for San Diego or visa-verse for someone taking a trip in the other direction. Placing these just outside of town would make it less convenient for folks just topping off leaving them open for people that really need it.

All in all the chargers are still somewhat difficult to find, but most attendants seemed to know about them. Google maps worked well navigating me to them, however Tesla’s navigation still needs some work.

Trip Log:
“rr miles” are rated range in miles of battery capacity reported by the car.

4:20pm Leaving San Diego
- 262 rr miles
- 259 rr miles, stopped for gas, err I mean to get some water.

5:17pm Tire Pressure Warning
- 187 rr miles, tire pressure warning
o Called Tesla support (5:17pm Sat), said the sensor was too sensitive (first sw bug) told me to pull over and check, then reset the system to eliminate the warning. Car does not report actual pressure in tires, must check them manually – 42psi expected.
o Was able to reset the system and tire pressure warning went away. This warning came on again later in the trip, but I just ignored it and eventually it went away on its own.
- At this point I became concerned about the range and distance remaining so I slowed down to ~71mph and put the car on cruise control

7:33pm Reached Barstow
- 40 rr miles
- First leg of trip 172.2 miles, 62.2kWh, 361 avg Wh/m (~71mph)
- Couldn’t find the Tesla super charger – Tesla Navigation left me in the middle of the road with no visible signage or clue. I stopped at the In-N-Out and collected my thoughts over a burger and fries. I was extremely nervous about not finding the super charger and using up my remaining range looking for it. Ultimately I used my Android Phone and Google Navigation to get me there.

7:50pm Found Tesla’s Super Charger
- 39 rr miles, Tesla’s super charger was located behind Chile’s in a very inconspicuous spot with no real signage. Once connected I could relax, put the seat back and listen to my internet radio and browse the web. Eventually took a walk to the gas station for a drink, etc.
- The following are some data points taken during the charge:
o 7:50pm, 40 rr miles, 248amp, 362v, 300mph
o 8:34pm, 200 rr miles, 114amp, 390v, 250mph
o 256 rr miles, 55amp, 404v, 196mph
o 9:21pm, 270 rr miles, 20amp, 404v, 168mph

9:21pm Left for Vegas
- 271 rr miles, decided to cruse at 73mph
- One observation, while I can smoke anyone on the road (even motorcycles), gas cars still smoke me on the long hauls. I’m forced to drive slower and more conservatively due to range issues. Watching the Gas guzzlers zip by after a couple hrs put things back in perspective.

11:48pm Arrived in Vegas
- 40 rr miles, and I’m extremely nervous about finding a charger and getting a charge before I run out. Typically I’ve been using almost 2x what’s reported as rated range, so I don’t want to spend my remaining charge looking for chargers.
- Parked the car for the night and met up with my friend.

Sunday - In Vegas
- Didn’t use the car until the next day, down to 32 rr miles now since the car was not plugged in overnight.
- Car was also de-rated meaning that I was losing my top acceleration as the range decreased.
- First charge was at “the Shops Valet”. There was a Volt plugged in when we arrived, and I told the Valet that we needed to get on the charger asap. He told me that their manager knew how to connect the car and would be the one to do it. When we got back we had 70 rr miles. Better, but not comfortable to last the entire weekend. Pretty sure we weren’t on the charger for long – Those damn Volt owners that don’t really need a charge…

Monday – In Vegas
- Next charge was at the Venetian 6th floor parking. We left it there Sunday night (or Monday morning…) From the charger I could see that we got 32kWh in ~5hrs. For an 85kWh battery that’s not enough, so I disconnected and reconnected it again and could see the car continue to charge. The charger connected to the Volt next to me was green which I think must indicated a full charge while mine was still red. I would need at least 260-270 rr miles to make the trip back to Barstow.
The Drive Home
- At this point I borrowed my friends gas car and drove home. Amazingly it took only a half tank of gas and prob around $30 to get home without stopping in Barstow. Again, the gas car wins on the long range trip…

Didn’t see any Leaf’s while I was there…

Pung_Dave:
Prove it? You have found no evidence of anyone getting rated miles? I have personally posted data from my trips and have no issues hitting rated miles. (which is around 320Wh/mi) I did my entire vegas trip with an average of 322Wh/mi and a GPS recorded avg speed of 61.6. That makes all the calculations correct as I see it.
I recently questioned the Ideal miles of 300, which come in around 285 Wh/mi. My best normal 70 mph freeway round trip to work combined with city at 45 mph nets me around 305Wh/mi. To do the test I skirted the freeway on side roads that have posted speeds of 50-55mph. Guess what? Wh/mi dropped to 287 wh/mi putting me within striking range of 300 ideal miles and Tesla's marketing numbers.
I seem to recall Motor trend proving the S is capable of 265 (or more) miles...
You must respect aerodynamic drag, love the regen and hate the brakes!

I think its comical, the suggestions that I should drive at 55mph when the posted speed limit is 70mph most of the way. That said, my original post was not a complaint, just a trip log along with my conclusions. I do LOVE my car. Here are my notes for the return trip.

Conclusion:
Still would like to have a Tesla Super Charger either just outside Vegas (not in Primm), or perhaps at the Clark County location (I didn't see any other cars parked there this weekend).

Trip Summary:
12hrs, 45min from 68rm to 268rm (extended range, almost full) on public 30amp, 240v charger. At home I got 6hrs 30min for 60rm to 242rm with my newly installed NEMA 6-50 at 40amp, 230v. 10amps more seems to make a big difference in charge time.

This time I just drove normally (well normal for me behind a Tesla...) Not sure if there is just more down hill from Vegas to San Diego, but I think the traffic played a big role in reducing my average speed and energy consumption. I am getting used to the car, its rated range, and reality. I made the trip just fine this time w/no worries (no tire pressure warning). I was able to keep up with the gas cars this time no problem. In fact, I had a Porsche following me (just trying to keep up) the entire second leg.

11:45pm 68 rm
Picked up the car with 68 rmiles. Found the Clark County Charge Point chargers and used my new Charge Point card.
Noted that Government buildings were closed, no access to restrooms. Walked across the street to the mall, hrs are 10am-9pm, no access to restrooms. Eventually found a Del Taco still open. Next time I'll walk to Fremont St. as suggested.

11:45pm - 68 rm, 30amp, 208v, 11mph
1:00am - 93rm, 30amp, 208v, 12mph - 9hrs 20min remaining
3:05am - 130rm, 30amp, 208v, 12mph - 7hrs 55 min remaining
9:00am - 232rm, 30amp, 209v, 12mph - 2hrs remaining
11:00am - 268rm, 14amp, 213v, 12mph

Note: running climate control, radio, etc. seemed to increase predicted charging time by an hr or so at the start. Also noticed that everything turns off after 15-30min or so just sitting there parked. Either touching the screen or some other control turns everything back on (I found the power off control later)

11:00am - 268rm, Left Vegas
1:22pm - 58rm, arrived in Barstow
159.6miles, 59.0kWh, 370Wh/m (67.5mph avg)

Had lunch at Chiles, no rush. Took my time. Car was technically ready to go when I got out, but I wanted some extra buffer for safety, so I waited another 30min.

2:22pm - 238rm, 80amp, 402v, 145mph
2:45pm - 266rm, 27amp, 404v, 120mph

2:45pm - 266rm, left Barstow
5:07pm - 60rm, arrived at home San Diego
170miles, 56.5kWh, 332Wh/m (72mph avg)

Charged at home w/my new NEMA 6-50 outlet on standard range for 6hrs 35min:
5:15pm - 60rm, 39amp, 230v, 23mph (6hrs 35min remaining)
11:51pm - 242rm, Charging complete

Can't wait for my High Power wall charger, should realy reduce my down time after a long trip. Oh, and It looks like I didn't get charged for using the Clark County chargers which is nice.

I like your summaries brookbot. Good info. I agree with you all the way, I don't drive 55 just to meet the numbers. I have done it to test the theory so I know it can be done, but I wouldn't suffer in the right lane on a road trip. Also recovering 200 miles at 30 amps takes some patience and a lot of shopping! LOL
You do lose a bit of elevation from Vegas if your home is less than 2300 Ft elevation. I had awesome 'mileage' on the way home. Pushed it really hard with max speed of 89. Came in at just over 300Wh/mi. I too was chasing a range rover that was determined to pull away from me. He finally gave up!
I am confident that I could do the 270 mile trip from Vegas to my house non-stop if I just did posted speeds. Elevation drop helps on the trip home.

This thread is somewhat old, but I wanted to share a couple of my observations this weekend driving from downtown San Diego to Las Vegas. I have a 60KW battery, so keep that in mind. I used cruise control almost 100% of the time. Was out of cruise control no more than a few minutes at any given time due to traffic.

1) Range charged at home and left with 201 miles of rated range -- yeah, unlike most, we do not getting 208 or more.

2) Head winds and elevation climb killed our range. We drove 65mph almost the entire way (speed limit once you get out of San Diego is 70mph on the 15/215 North. We pulled into the Barstow Supercharger with 2 miles of rated range. Talk about range anxiety. Range charged again to 201 and made it to The Cosmopolitan (on the Strip) with 8 left.

3) Coming home from Vegas to San Diego was much easier. Not only because there was practically head wind, but also because of the elevation drop. Left the hotel with 201 and made it to Barstow with about 25ish (I forgot to record the exact number). Just to be safe, we range charged again to 202 at the Barstow SC, but didn't need it. Pulled home (downtown San Diego) with 47 miles still remaining. On the way home, we kept the speed at 70mpg for the first left. During the second leg, once we cleared the summit, we felt safe and bumped the speed up to 75mph.

Hope this helps other people planning the trip. Would love to see one more Supercharger somewhere near Temecula or Riverside. Being able to top off before the big ascent through the San Bernardino mountains would really have been nice, not only to go to Barstow, but also to Big Bear.


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