For those not completely clear, the “race” component of the rally isn’t a big deal for me. This really is more about the journey and doing something new, as well as learning about the car.
In Stage 1, we departed from Blaine, WA in the early afternoon on our way to Grants Pass, OR. My plan was to make my way home in the Portland area, sleep the night, and then carry on to Grants Pass on Sunday the 30th. And that’s what actually happened – more than less.
We stopped at a couple of museums on Saturday after we started – a museum devoted to the history of electricity in Bellingham, and a car museum in Tacoma that had a display of electric cars (including one of the very few EV-1’s that wasn’t crushed). Though we did tend to bump into each other at these stops and at some of the public charging locations, we are each making our way from stage start to completion, at our own pace and using our own route. We had a bit of a crunch in Centralia as it seemed most everybody needed a charge about then. The end result for me was about 3 hours of charging when I had planned more like 90 minutes. That turned into a later arrival than I planned, but I still got home Saturday evening for the first half of stage 1.
On Sunday, I had originally planned to depart in time for the Portland gathering at noon. That fell through, but had already planned to do some morning errands (farmer’s market, that sort of thing), and didn’t end up leaving Portland until around 2. My only charging stop of the day was at the self described “coolest gas station in the world” – and I agree with their description. They sell biodiesel that, as best I can tell, they collect and make themselves. They also serve hot and cold organic food in their deli / convenience market, and they also provided wifi and somewhere to sit while my car charged; that let me get my homework complete that was due for week 1. I got into Grants Pass and stopped the clock on stage 1 about 9:55pm; I believe I sit firmly in last place for elapsed time.
Between Saturday and Sunday, I’ve covered around 550 miles now, and I am now highly confident in my ability to get actual miles that closely resembles the ideal miles, anytime I want. On a range charge, that means I could theoretically cover 230 miles. In practice, I don’t want to be in the car for 4-5 hours doing that distance, so 150ish is about the limit I’ll aim for between stops – for my own sanity and comfort, as well as to avoid pushing too deep into the battery, or spending too much time with a red energy bar glaring at me.
I learned Saturday night, in the last mile before arriving home, that if the charge level goes low enough (about 20-25 miles in range mode), that the Roadster will inform me that the charge is now so low that estimates are inaccurate and that the car can stop at any time. Though I know it usually doesn’t actually stop immediately in that situation, I won’t be targeting 20-30 remaining miles at my destination – I’ll aim for closer to 50. That translates directly to 20 more miles of charging during a travel day, but that’s as little as 10 minutes and as much as an hour, and coming up short is a whole lot more than that. I believe I was at 45 ideal miles when I arrived at Grants Pass, so my first attempt to target 50 remaining miles was pretty close.