May roadtrip

From iGeek
A quick day trip to San Antonio, turns into a few life lessons about Tesla, and what can go wrong?
A quick day trip to San Antonio, turns into a few life lessons about Tesla, and what can go wrong? Other than lying about range, traffic, supercharger lines, road hazards, technical difficulties, it was a great day.
ℹ️ Info          
~ Aristotle Sabouni
Created: 2023-05-27 
  • I know, I'll take a little day roadtrip because there's not enough stress in my life.
  1. Me (to myself): I'm not a huge fan of long drives going back to an Anxiety Disorder I got over in my 20s, etc. I've still driven across the country a few times, and done road trips, it's just been a while.
  2. But I'm in rebuilding/improvement mode, and don't have enough stress in my day-to-day life right now (snark) -- so let me do a day trip to San Antonio (and back) -- and really see how I and my Tesla hold up to cross-country driving?
  • Napkin math I figured 3 hours there, an hour or two there (with a recharge), and 3 hours back. Figured leave at noon, back by 7 or 8. It's 220 miles, and the Tesla has a 310-mile range. I take off around lunch, all is right with the world, nice day for a drive.
  • Tell me sweet little lies? As I'm getting closer, the Tesla is letting me know that I'm going to arrive with ≈5% range when I get there, not the 30% that napkin math says it should have had. 15 miles isn't a lot of buffer, and there's no supercharger at the Riverwalk, just regular chargers. Instead of getting 300 miles of range in an hour or so while I have dinner, it'll be about 80 miles in 2 hours? Not thrilled with Telsa's little overstated range, but I stop about 1 hour out at in Flatlandia (Flatonia), and give it a little boost with a 30-minute supercharge that puts a quick 100+ miles (and I had to pee anyways) -- and I'll figure it out the rest later. No big deal.
  • Maps-traffic isn't the whole story Traffic on 10 also looked green, until I'd get close, then construction/accident would slow it down, etc... so it was more like 4:30 pm when I get there (not this 3:00)... so running a little behind schedule. But not a big deal. Oh, and the chargers at the parking structure are all broken, so I'll be getting no charge while having a little late lunch/dinner, instead of easily enough range to get back to Flatonia.
  • I still do River-walk So I have a beer, burger, and enjoy the brewery (Pearl) and get back on the road at 6:30pm (which is probably better to avoid traffic). And Tesla maps me a supercharger on the way out (only 5-10 miles out of my way) -- still should be home by 10:00 pm. It said 20-minute charge, with a little 10-minute boost charge required in 2 1/2 more hours of driving (with another supercharger on the way). This isn't horrible -- it'll have taken 1 hour of total charge time and a 30, 20, and 10-minute stop every few hours of driving, which are good pee/stretch breaks anyways.
  • Superchargers have lines? I get to the supercharger during some weird 7pm supercharging/shopping rush hour (or mapping quirk), and the stalls are all full. No big deal, I just wait in line (2 cars), and 30 minutes later, I'm in, and give my car enough Juice that I'll only require a little boost later. I give it more like 40 minutes instead of the 30 it said, just to make sure I've got more range than I need. (I like a little padding -- and its calculation seems to be off by 10%+). And I'm off...
  • Technical difficulties There was another quirk, that I plugged in the Supercharger and it flashed blue and wouldn't charge. Wait, what? It tried again. No go. Another spot opened up, so I swapped and the same result in that one. It had worked a little while ago, and now nothing? Then I debugged. I'd deleted my wife's Tesla account a while ago (her seat settings, etc)... so the Tesla didn't delete it, and instead changed it to her email address instead (for some odd reason), and decided what I really wanted was to default to this new account, that had no information tied to it -- so it couldn't pay for a charge. I switched to my account (the actual account), and it worked. Cancelled the Tesla Service call I made that they hadn't responded to yet -- and got it working. I didn't want to try to hack this while hundreds of miles from home. But not a fan of whatever they did there.
  • Mapping Tesla mapped me back to 10, via a weird farm-to-market road that's taken me an hour through middle-of-nowhere to get back to 10 -- but it is the shortest route (by range and time) -- I just didn't expect to be driving 1 lane country roads (and of course I have a slow truck+trailer in front of me for 20+ minutes slowing me down). But I have nowhen to be anywhere. So might as well enjoy the ride through banjo land and flat Texas.
  • Road Hazards And just after I get back on 10 (and nearing a Buc-ee's in Luling) a jacked-up pickup in front of me goes straight over a semi-truck tire tread in the road, that it clears easily, but the Model-Y isn't going to. Insta-brain-calculations go, "Cars to the left of me, truck to the right, here I am... There was no swerving option -- so just hit it as head-on as you can. BAM! Drag-drag-drag... and I pull into the Buc-ee's which shockingly didn't have a line. The car is still driving, but the dead body noise underneath the car makes me think the tire remains were stuck, and I'd have to pull it out.
  • Tesla Roadside Assistance
  1. I'd let AAA lapse because I have Tesla roadside assistance and wasn't driving the Mini much.
  2. So I call Tesla roadside assistance -- and they don't respond right away.
  3. I also go into Buc-ee's and they give me the number for a local Tow Truck, which I call anyways. It appears the whole plastic air-ducting under the front of the car is destroyed by what I hit, but still hanging on -- and I'm not dragging that back home.
  4. Tesla eventually calls me back (after Local guy is already on his way) and after some back and forth, explain that all they can do is offer me a tow for 220 miles, they won't tow it to a service center until I have a service order, and they won't tell me where the closest one is so I can ignore them, and it won't be covered under roadside since I hit something, it'll be fucking expensive to tow it home, they don't have any better suggestions, but they can't get me a quote or anyone that will come out and do it that night, so fuck you very much and have a nice night! P.S. You should call AAA if you have it. (Their words). <- someone's going to renew AAA soon and know that Tesla roadside assistance is ironically named.
  5. Local guy gets under the car, removes the plastic fairing/underguard, I throw it in the back of the car, and get on my way... with new and reduced range.
  • Limping home
  1. With reduced aerodynamics -- and EVs are netoriously sensitive to aerodynamics -- I know my range is going to be reduced, and expect more stops. It started by implying it was going to be off by about 30%+ which means I can't trust the recharging mapping. But it settles out to more like 10-20% off. (A lot for a little plastic, but not unmanageable).
  2. I stop for one more charge in Columbus (about mid way), and they put this Supercharger behind a motel, in a dark alley sort of thing, with nothig around. It's like midnight, but whatever. I got my truck gun, and I give it about 45 minutes to make sure I not only have enough to get home, but an extra 50+ miles of range, just to be sure. (There's also another Supercharger on the way home, 10-20 minutes out of my way, if my math is way off. But while driving, it's obvious that I'm dead on, in my calculations, and make it home with 50 miles to spare.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

  1. 7 hour roadtrip and lunch that should have gotten me home by 7 -- actually was 14 hours, and got me home at 2:00 AM so up at 5:30 AM to write this up and go for my swim.
  2. The Tow Truck guy charged me $125 ($132 w/Tax) to crawl under the car and unscrew some plastic -- but it was worth it.
  3. I imagine Tesla will charge me $1,000+ to put it back on (w/replacement part). I'll check on insurance deductible if it goes anywhere above that. Not going to break me -- just midnight annoyance that could have happened to any car. In fact, the tough nature of having battery/armor under your car, and less of a fluid-cooling system likely made this less worse than it could have been.
  4. Tesla Roadside assistance isn't. Get AAA.
  5. Tesla mapping will get you there, but isn't nearly as reliable as I expected. Adding/dropped stops is confusing, but doable. Their range mappig is optimistic by a few percent at least -- but you should make it, just with tight margins... unless you can go faster than it expects, or you take any fairing damage to the car -- then it doesn't seem to recalculate dynamically very well.
  6. I kept a pretty good attitude considering the series of annoyances/delayes. I was joking with the Tow Truck guy, Buc-ee's is always wonderful experience. And I had friends to talk to until the wee hours on the drive home which kept me awake without stimulants (other than Adrenaline).


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