I expect that this will be the most challenging stage for the vehicles. Distance, heat, and hills all combine to make for a lot of travel. The terrain is also sparsely populated, so although charging stations can be found, they won’t necessarily be within a mile when you need one. I have learned a fair bit from going up and down hills (we gained about 1000′ climbing up to Grants Pass, with more up and down beyond the net elevation gain). Even with that hill climbing, I can get close to the ideal miles on the Roadster, or at least I did for the run into Grants Pass.
I know that won’t be the case during stage 2, but it also gives me confidence that I’ve got a good ballpark estimate of what the extra elevation gain will take over the course of the day, and that I can plan for that from the beginning. The map says I’ve got 367 miles to cover, and I estimate the net effect of the elevation gain and loss will be about 30 additional miles of charge. I figure that means about 6-7 hours of driving (I’ve been setting cruise at 59), and an additional 3-4 hours of charging at ~50 miles of range/hour (I start with 233 miles of range and I will use 400 miles of range if my estimate is correct; I want a 50 mile buffer at the end). Others in the rally have been pulling in with 2-5 miles of estimated range – I’ve decided I’m on vacation and don’t need to cut things that fine.
The rubric I’ve read is to figure about 7 miles lost climbing 1000′, and 4 miles gained descending 1000′. It looks to me like we have about 10,000 feet of upping and downing (or more accurately, 10 climbs and descents of 1000′), with a net descent on the day of close to 1000′. The net at the end of the day will be nice, but the front end is going to cause some wild variations in estimated mileage.
You will also see in the Glympse tracks we’ll be posting, that there will be some degree of scattering tomorrow. It looks like many participants are heading from Grants Pass to the coast for the run down to Santa Rosa. The advantage I see there is less up and down, less truly steep hills to climb, and along the coast – less heat (to cool via AC, and more comfortable period). The disadvantage is about 30 extra miles to drive and therefore, charge.
I’ll be taking the I-5 route. The advantage for me is I’ll be able to use Roadster specific chargers that will let me charge at 70A (about 12 kW each hour, or around 45-50 miles of range/hour). Alternative chargers would take me down to 20-30 miles of range per hour. Needing ~200 miles of charging over the day, that would be 6-10 hours of charging rather than 4 hours (and a really, really long day). I expect the other cars that can make good use of the higher charging rates to also be taking I-5. As there are 2 chargers with 2 plugs total between them, the three of us will need to share (or at least, one of us will end up sitting – we draw cards in the morning to determine departure order, and that will probably determine who sits).
One tip I got from somebody today that I expect to be trying tomorrow – when charging, get the car into shade. Alternatively, open the trunk in such a way that it shades the PEM (Power Electronics Module?) that handles the conversion of AC to DC, pushing power into the battery, and other power distribution stuff. The PEM is air cooled on the Roadster and the battery pack liquid cooled (and heated – not an issue this time of year). In the heat we’re seeing lately, it seems the PEM can get hot enough that it basically stops funneling power into the pack. Opening the trunk will help it breathe. Creating some shade, or draping it in light cloth will help. I might also wipe the top down with a damp cloth now and then to further cool it – all in an effort to keep the charge moving along.
One of my early takeaways is that this trip is actually quite doable, and is comfortably within the limits of at least the cars I am primarily contending with. The points that make this trip challenging are stuff that I would expect to make the trip challenging to anybody doing this in a small sports car – very little room for luggage, no cupholders, road noise from hours of driving. I’ll add a photo of my Roadster Center Console Insert (RCCI) that is working quite well – both cupholder and right side armrest.
I’ve also learned that the Roadster is surprisingly spacious in some odd ways. I’m about 6′ tall, but I can get my legs completely stretched out straight. I might use all of the cabin, but it’s pretty easy to stretch as I’m rolling along.
After tomorrow, we’ll see how close what I think is going to happen, is a reflection of what actually happens.