Recently we had the need to charge the car away from home, with some interesting experiences. I also had a question from my Mom on the Tesla.
This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.
A Long Day
We had a ski weekend planned in the mountains recently. I went up early one Saturday with one kid, who drove his fun WRX. His first time heading into the mountains, and I think the first time he’s driven us to ski in his car.
My wife had a horse class that day, so she drove the Model Y up north, going about 60 miles each way. I’d set the car to charge to 95% the night before, but her round trip ate up some battery, and as a result, she stopped partway on the journey to charge. She added 18kWh.
She and my oldest grabbed some food, walked dogs, and didn’t find it a problem to charge, spending about 13 minutes connected.
The next day, she ran some errands in the mountain town and noticed the car was down to about 30%. She stopped at the Supercharger in Silverthorne, finding only one stall open. When she plugged in the car, it recognized the charger, but didn’t charge.
She tried a few things, but gave up. She was slightly annoyed, and didn’t want to wait to try another charger when someone left.
Between her driving and the cold, we lost about 8% of charge in subzero temps. Some of this was thermal protection, and some was likely additional inefficiency of the battery in very cold weather.
The next morning, we woke up with 17% on the battery. I started the heaters to warm the car as we packed, as well as get the battery ready. We drove over to charge, stopping for coffee.
In 32minutes we added 42kW to the battery, which was more than we needed to get home, but it was what the planner recommended. Since we were chatting, handling some email, and drinking coffee, we weren’t that hurried. I might have stopped around 60% charge, but we let his get up to 72%.
The drive home was easy, and I had plenty of charge to run to the gym and a few errands later.
I chatted with my Mom about this a bit, as she’s curious. She has no interest in trading her Lexus for a Tesla, but she asks about how it works and how we deal with it. She hears a lot of FUD in the news about electric cars.
Here are our charging stats for 16 months.
My life supports charging at home, and the driving profile for me is that we almost never need 300 miles of range. Even a ski trip is about 220miles for me, so the car has plenty of range. I don’t tend to worry about it, and even on the ski trips, I don’t know if I can go up and back on a cold day with a full charge. I rarely charge about 95% and on ski days, I stop for 15 minutes to use the restroom, get coffee, and let the car charge.
In general, I just don’t think about charging the car. I have on trips, but I’ve also had to think about fuel on trips. We drive through Wyoming and Montana at times, and we usually fill petrol cars up when they’re 1/2 empty. We do this because the fuel is not as reliable in remote places.
The mountains of Colorado aren’t remote, but long trips require a little planning, and I don’t find that onerous.
I also just don’t think about range because I have a (mostly) full tank every day. With my gas/diesel cars, there are plenty of times we’ve run down the tank and have to plan a gas stop that day. I almost never do that with the Model Y.
I probably wouldn’t have written this post if not for the conversation with my Mom. While the charger not working was mildly a hassle, it was a 3 minute conversation with my wife, not something that was concerning.
For most people, electric works find. However, it is a different paradigm, and you should think about your lifestyle and driving profile. It’s not for everyone, but it is for me, and I really enjoy the car.