Now that I’ve completed Stage 2 and begun preparations for Stage 3, I wanted to take a look back at how things went for me over Stage 2 – what went how I expected, what went better, what was unexpected. I’ve posted separately about the charging dynamics and using water to cool the Roadster PEM; I won’t be revisiting that topic here.
In Preparing for Stage 2, I documented some expectations I had about how things would go.
Time wise, I was expecting about 6-7 hours of driving (367 miles at 55 mph) and another 4 hours of charging. With a 9am departure and random stuff on the road, I was thinking a 9pm arrival in Santa Rosa. Actual stage end for me was 11:45pm, and arrival in my room around midnight. There was an unexpected 3 hours in there. And that did make for a long day.
I was expecting to use about 400 ideal miles of charge (367 plus 30 for the elevation gains and losses). With 50 miles of buffer, that would be about 4 or 5 hours of charging. So I was figuring around 2 hours at the 2 charge stops – maybe 2 and then 3.
I didn’t account for the fact that the stage starting at 9am meant that I wouldn’t start for another 40 minutes. Running in next to last elapsed time after the first stage, I didn’t depart until 9:20am with the first driver going at 8:45 (we were all ready, so we started early). Good thing – that was the difference between beating midnight and not!
After looking at the stage profile, I had expected to use 110 ideal miles covering the 78 miles between Grants Pass and Yreka. That turned out to be excessively pessimistic as I only used 82 idea miles. Partly I got such a good result by setting the cruise control at 50 and taking my time. I knew I would end up sitting at Yreka while the Model S in front of me was finishing up, so saving energy would be partially recouped by needing less of a charge. It was entertaining watching the estimated and ideal miles comparison. I believe the worst estimate I was 158 ideal miles and 110 estimated miles remaining.
After charging back up to about 180 in Yreka (155 to Orland – with the elevation drop, I figured I would arrive with 50), I headed back out. Charging seemed to go fine in Yreka – maybe a little slow. The drive to Orland provided entertainment in the other direction with estimated and ideal miles, with the biggest difference at 200 estimated miles and 122 ideal miles. I actually arrived at -2, or about 30 miles remaining. I had expected 50. I’m guessing the extra 20 miles disappeared in the faster driving speed (55 instead of 50) and AC on high. Still comfortable I would get in, and mostly thinking I would rather do my waiting in a restaurant than a Taco Bell.
Once I got the charging figured out, I planned to get back on the road at about 180, mostly because the clock was ticking and I was getting tired. I had some Tesla Time as a couple of fellow restaurant patrons followed me out and we talked for a bit, taking the charge level up to 200 (thanks guys!).
I guess I should have asked somebody about the drive from Orland to Santa Rosa. I assumed it would be much like the other highways we’ve been driving, with at least the ability to go 55. My favorite sign of the evening was passing one of those yellow S curve signs recommending a speed of 25, with the additional “Next 3 Miles” placard attached. I cackled!
Turns out that the last 60 or so miles into Santa Rosa was some of the twistiest roads I’ve ever driven, and at that time of the night, there was nobody on them. It also turns out that I can drive aggressively in the 20-50 range on that kind of highway, and still get 1 to 1 estimated : ideal miles. Talk about having your cake and eating it too – that was beautiful. It was also tiring after 30 or 40 miles, and I went through more like 60 or 70 miles of it. I am expecting more roads like this when I return north from San Diego – I want to drive as much of Hwy 1 and 101 right on the coast as I can. Next time, maybe I’ll do that during the daytime.
The end result on the day is that I seemed to use about as may ideal miles as it took to cover the course. That was about 30 miles better than I expected and I took those out in reduced charging time. The extra Tesla Time at the last charging stop is providing me the getting around charge for today and tomorrow; I have a few ideas for how to get the car charged tomorrow and am only intending to put on a standard charge for stage 3 due to the number of chargers along the way, and how short the stage is. More to come on stage 3.