Nicky-The-Tesla

So, I have always wanted an electric car and often thought of building one when I was a teenager. With the lead acid battery technology of the time that was, of course, totally impractical. So fast forward a few decades and Elon Musk creates Tesla. With a lot of encouragement from my son, James, I broke down and ordered a Model S. After waiting three months it arrived in March and after getting used to it and doing a few trips around Florida I felt it was time for a bit more of a test drive. I had a conference in Boston to attend and the urge to try it out was overwhelming. So, Kissimmee to Boston is 2,800 miles round trip. Obviously with a range of 276 miles on a full charge that wasn't going to make it. Time to test the new version 6.2 navigation software with Range Assurance. The only planning that I did was to look for hotels that had charging capability. One of the benefits of the Tesla is that it charges to provide a full 'tank' every night when I am at home and I'm a little spoiled by that and didn't want to give it up while travelling. I found a few hotels advertising charging capability and off I went.

First stop St. Augustine Friday evening:
On the Supercharger getting charged at a range of 366 miles per hour to start with. Time for a coffee, a bio break and a quick stretch of the legs and then onward.

Quick stop at the Savannah, GA Supercharger for a break and then on for the first nights stop.

Best Western Point South Yemasee, SC. Kudos to the owner of the hotel, who greeted me, and Best Western for their foresight in installing not only Tesla but general EV charging capability. 

 
Good nights sleep for me and the car fully charged for the morning.

Santee Supercharger 
In the car park of the Clark Inn and Restaurant for a breakfast stop

Lumberton Supercharger
Lunch break at the Texas Steakhouse. I got to file a lot of Trip Advisor reports on this journey!

Rocky Mount NC for afternoon tea at the Hilton

Saturday night hotel stop didn't have charging but the Supercharger at Glen Allen was just down the road
Almost all Superchargers have nearby restaurants for dinner.  A full charge while I was sampling the local delicacies.

Sunday
Woodbridge Supercharger
At the Potomac Mills shopping Mall which was closed except for the ubiquitous Starbucks breakfast.

Newark Delaware Supercharger was the only place where I had a problem. It only has 4 Supercharger bays and there were already 5 Teslas there when I arrived. Oops! Fortunately this is where the Chargepoint App came into use. Looking up the site it showed that there are an additional 2 charging points in the Truck parking area. I plugged in there while I was waiting for a Tesla slot to open up. About half way through my lunch a couple of the Teslas left and so I moved Nicky over and topped off the battery. Added time for the hassle about 15 minutes I guess. This was the only time it occurred on the trip and probably because this service area has to cater for both north and southbound traffic and it could really do with more Supercharger bays.

East Brunswick Supercharger on the NJ turnpike was the last stop before I got to New York. Quick top off and yet another cup of coffee. 

Hyatt Regency Jersey City is a convenient New York stop with charging point included in the parking fee.

Monday morning fight through the Big Apple traffic to get on the road to Boston.

Breakfast stop at Greenwich, CT and lunch at Auburn, MA Superchargers. Arrive at the hotel in Boston early afternoon.

Two days of conference later it was time for the return. It was mostly retracing my track. But not before a little sightseeing:


Wednesday to Hyatt Regency Jersey City via the Auburn, MA and Greenwich, CT Superchargers.
Last time I was here I was 3,000 feet up flying CAP post-Sandy damage assessments

Beautiful night time view of the Manhattan skyline from the Hyatt

Thursday night at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. They don't have charging but arranged to have the car charged at the NRG office next door. Way to go Hyatt!

Leaving the Hyatt on Friday morning, the navigation system threw a fit. For reasons that I don't understand it decided that I wouldn't have enough range to get to Newark and kept insisting that I turn around and go in the opposite direction to Edison, NJ. I eventually got fed up and just turned it off until I got to Newark when it settled down and resumed normal operation. Don't you just love these computer bugs!

Newark Delaware for breakfast. No trouble this time with only a couple of others there. Woodbridge at Potomac, VA for lunch, Glen Allen, VA for afternoon tea. Friday night at the hotel across the street from the Rocky Mount Supercharger.

Saturday morning to Lumberton, NC for breakfast, Santee, SC for coffee, Savannah, GA for a late lunch. Detoured over to St Simons Island to have a look around. There is a hotel here with charging and so we will have to return for a longer look and a romantic weekend.

Then to Brunswick, GA for a motel overnight. 
The motel only had 110v power but I had an extension lead and so I got another 30 miles of range while we slept. Never miss an opportunity to pick up juice!

Sunday morning to Jacksonville river front. 
Not a lot of competition for charging spots. Picked up another 60 miles of range while we explored the city and had a coffee.

One last stop at St. Augustine for some shopping at the outlet mall and then home.

Overall the journey was long, but apart from having to tailor the breaks to the Supercharger locations no different than the last time I drove a journey like this. The range of the battery far exceeds my endurance and frankly one shouldn't be driving more than 2-3 hours without a break anyway. The Superchargers are fast enough that the car was always ready (with the exception of the Delaware stop I mentioned) by the time I was. If I had any doubt about the capability for long distance all electric travel this trip dispelled it. 

The Adaptive Cruise Control is wonderful apart from having to dodge a couple of idiots who cut in front of me. It relieved the workload of travelling tremendously and enabled me to keep moving without getting stiff on the journey. I can't wait for the next round of software enhancements to change it from lane departure to lane holding. 

Points to note:
- Remember to turn on the A/C from the cell phone 5-10 minutes before you need it so the car is nice and cool before you get back to it. It also means that you are not using valuable range to heat/cool the car after you disconnect.
- Check the surroundings of the Superchargers. For example I didn't read carefully and the Clark Inn at Santee looks a wonderful place to stay but I didn't notice it before I got there.
- Remember to ask the hotels if they have charging capability. The Hyatt Princeton doesn't but arranged it for me. They will have their own charging station soon hopefully.

This is the future of cars. Just think were they will be in another 20 years. I will never go back to an internal combustion engine for my ride. That isn't to say that I won't take a hot car around a race track when I get a chance or continue to fly Lycomings and Continentals, just that for a regular road car electric is the only sensible way to go.

Cheers!








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