Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/7/22 12:21 p.m.

Another road trip! But this time I knew I was bringing home something that wouldn't physically fit in the Tesla (there are some things you can't fix with a software upgrade) so we took the diesel truck. It's been almost exactly a year since I road tripped in an ICE, and this trip was a copy of what we usually do with the EV so it's familiar. The truck is a 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins, and I've got 90k behind the wheel so it's a pretty familiar vehicle itself.

Things I have forgotten or been trained to do differently:

  • the cruise control will not slow down if I approach another car, but the truck will happily drive right over the car in front. You get used to that radar cruise pretty easily. This is not an EV-specific thing but a modern car thing, of course. You realize that non-aware cruise is very crude, and "don't slowly drive into the back of the car in front of you" is a nice update.
  • the thing has enough range to do the round trip without stopping, but we found ourself stopping a couple of times for biological reasons. Those required charging stops are almost a treat, if only to let my eyes focus on something different for 10 minutes. We did top up the diesel on one of the pee stops just because we were stopped anyhow, but that was a "while we're here" scenario.
  • stop and go traffic is very much more of a PITA in a big diesel truck with a stick than in an EV. 
  • the truck has an exhaust brake which feels very much like regen, but you don't get the fuel back. For some reason I find this annoying. Not because I need the power back, but because I'm aware that I've just thrown away all that kinetic energy for no reason.
  • most of the time you don't notice the extra noise of the ICE but there were times when the diesel purr got a little more intrusive. This truck is worlds better than the previous generations in that regard - it purrs, not rattles - but you still notice it. The clunks (lots of mass in that trans) and changes in acceleration on shifts are also obvious by comparison.
  • Janel really missed the immediate heat of the EV, as it took the big diesel cooling system a little while to get up to temp when cold-soaked and the heater don't work until then. Especially in downtown driving where the diesel is literally just idling so it's not generating real heat. 
  • She also really missed the ability to pre-heat the car - jumping into a truck at night with an interior temp around freezing with no heat available for 10 minutes was not popular. The EV has a huge advantage in this regard.
  • we think batteries are heavy, but this engine makes 350 hp and 600 lbs of torque and weighs something like 1200 lbs. Add about 500 lbs for the transmission and a tank of fuel. That's almost half the total mass of the Tesla right there.
Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
2/7/22 12:35 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

That throwing away of energy on decel was a huge part of what caused our WRX->Leaf move. After watching the Leaf top itself up on a downhill during the test drive, every stop light was an affront to efficiency and perhaps even rationality when I got back in the WRX.

Obviously we've hopped around since then, but that feeling sticks with me.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/25/22 10:49 a.m.

RECALL! Oh noes!

This is not a surprise, it was in the news. It was a problem with a Tesla, of course it was in the news :) The recall in question isn't something that can be fixed with a software rollback (using the screen to play video games on the move was a dumb idea in the first place), but a potential physical problem with the car. The coax cable that's attached to the trunk lid can fatigue and break, leading to the loss of the NHTSA mandated rear view camera. That makes it safety related and that means the whole physical recall process kicks in.  The letter I received says that my cable will be inspected and will be replaced if damaged, and a guide will be installed to prevent further problems. This was the initial announcement, it made it clear that the parts weren't available yet. So far, the communication was clear and useful.

Ironically, the NA Miata has this exact same problem with the wire for the third brake light. It was never recalled as far as I know, but I've had to splice that thing back together on a few cars.

So far, it's been handled better than the recall on my Dodge truck, which was a potential failure of the steering tie rods in a 4 ton vehicle and which was not viewed as important by either Dodge or my local dealer.  Took me over a year to get that one done, and the dealer broke every empty promise they made about waiting lists and contacting me. The only reason I got it fixed was because I happened to call on the day a handful of parts arrived.

I have also heard from some friends who are little deeper into Tesla ownership that the front upper control arm - specifically the upper ball joint - is wearing quickly. Symptoms are creaking noises due to a loss of lubrication, and apparently there's a pre-emptive fix being rolled out with notification via the app. It may be related to build date. I'd never thought about it, but a double wishbone front suspension is not the obvious choice for this car.

In almost-but-not-quite-related news, Tesla is building a new service/parts/showroom center in Gypsum, less than 2 hours away. Mobile service should hopefully be more responsive when that's done. I haven't needed any service yet other than the install of my Homelink transmitter.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/6/22 5:54 p.m.

Found an unexpected bonus to electric car ownership today. I have a solar array on my shop roof that's acting up - I discovered when I started data logging the diagnostic information that panels are dropping out as the output rises and the voltage is high. The theory is that the buried cable running to the house is not up to the load. To test this, I was asked to see if I could add a big load to the shop so it could absorb some of the power production. 

No problem. I unplugged the mobile charger, drove down to the shop, plugged into one of my welding plugs (I was smart enough to standardize all my 240V plugs to a single type of circuit) and told the car to charge to 100%. It started to pull 32A at 240V, or a nice sustained 7 kW for a couple of hours.

The offline panels bounced back, system voltage dropped down to where it belongs and the total array output spiked. So yes, it does look like the wiring is a problem. But thank you to the 3 for being such a handy testing tool :)

NY Nick
NY Nick HalfDork
4/6/22 6:45 p.m.

32A at 240V. That is a handy tool. Not a lot of things laying around the house to pull that for too long!

I love this thread, it is the electric car gift that keeps on giving. 

Gzwg
Gzwg New Reader
4/7/22 2:57 a.m.

and you can now be sure that the cables and fuses in the shop have the proper size wink

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/7/22 10:17 a.m.

I wasn't worried about that, I had the whole shop rewired when I moved in wink The circuit I was using is rated for 50A.

I don't think I've posted a picture of this before, but here's my at-home charging setup.

The car came with a "mobile charger" which will adjust its charging speed depending on what kind of plug is attached - if you're not up on your 240A plug types, there are a whole bunch designed for different ratings so you don't accidentally plug your welder into a circuit intended for an AC unit. The charger knows what kind of plug is attached and changes its maximum charge rate accordingly, or you can tell the car to charge at a maximum of X amps "at this location". The car is parked right beside the panel, so it was easy to add a 50A circuit for the charger.

Maximum output of this charger is the 32A/7kW mentioned earlier, which is fast enough to handle normal daily use. That's roughly 30 miles of added range per hour, so even if we run the car down to electronic fumes by the end of the day it'll be topped up by morning. You can get faster chargers but I figured the difference between being fully charged at 1 AM and 4 AM was academic at best. Yesterday was the first time I've unplugged this charger since the car moved in, but it did prove to be useful to have it instead of a wall mounted unit yesterday.

I will happily admit that I got very lucky with how my house is built when it comes to charging the EV. My shop would be similarly simple, as would the garage in my previous house and (if memory serves) the two houses before that. Same with my mother's house. They all had the main or a subpanel in the garage. This isn't always the case of course, and this was the easiest possible solution. If we replaced the other car in the house garage with an EV, I'd have to run some new wiring to the other parking spot to charge it.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports HalfDork
4/7/22 10:45 a.m.

I have the same charger but have just been using the 110v which does 12A.  This is about 5 miles per hour but tends to be sufficient so far for us.  It will pretty much cover the back and forth from work commute each night but if I do any extra trips it will not.  What I have been doing is by Friday if I'm too far below where I want to be, I'll head to the supercharger and bring it back to a reasonable level to be set for the weekend or next week.  Think I've only had to supercharge it about 7 or 8 times since Thanksgiving with this scenario other than a longer trip to PA we took a few weeks back.  I have to run another service to my garage for another 220 outlet since my home panel is full so I've been doing this to get by until then.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/7/22 12:28 p.m.

That's a good way to work it. Most days, you have a typical EV use pattern where charging happens at night. But you've got some reserve you can top up if necessary.

That's good feedback on living with a less-than-ideal home charging setup. Anybody can do what you're doing.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
4/7/22 12:56 p.m.

Yesterday I learned that Teslas can charge on the blink network with an adapter. Had a nice chat with a Model Y owner.

Interestingly there was an abandoned Leaf taking up one of the spaces.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/7/22 1:46 p.m.

All Teslas ship with a J1772 adapter in the trunk, that's the normal Level 2 standard so they're compatible with a very, very large number of chargers out there. They're not high speed chargers, they're about the same as the one I have at home. Good for an overnight, not so convenient for a mid-trip top-up. We've never had to use ours but it lives in the car in case we need it for a destination charger.

There are CCS adapters coming for Teslas. They're in beta testing in the US at the moment, I believe. The cars have to have the necessary modem (seriously, that's what it's called) installed, which you can check via the information screen. Mine was built right before the cutoff sad The modem upgrade isn't all that expensive if I ever feel the need to "unlock" CCS capability. You can also get a CHAdeMO adapter for some models but there's not much point really. That's a dying standard.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/7/22 8:58 p.m.

I just found out another friend of mine charges at 110V at home and has been doing that for three years. His wife occasionally runs to the fast chargers to top up but it sounds as if it's combined with shopping - possibly recreational shopping. 

He also has a McLaren that gets track time, so it's not for lack of funds to install a fat circuit. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
4/8/22 1:09 a.m.

While I have both 240 & 110volts in my shop located in several places. I suspect we will be charging our Tesla with 110.  The reason is simple. We are driving less and less as we age. 
  My wife no longer shops other than on line.  She has nether the time or interest. ( And frankly the stamina) 
      It's rare she even visits anyone other than her mother. 
 She's made the house exactly as she likes it and it is her favorite place to be.  
 I've traveled over 2&1/2 million miles in my life and I too am exactly where I'd like to remain. 
     While she occasionally dreams of traveling it's become too difficult for her.   

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle UltraDork
4/8/22 7:15 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Found an unexpected bonus to electric car ownership today. I have a solar array on my shop roof that's acting up - I discovered when I started data logging the diagnostic information that panels are dropping out as the output rises and the voltage is high. The theory is that the buried cable running to the house is not up to the load. To test this, I was asked to see if I could add a big load to the shop so it could absorb some of the power production. 

No problem. I unplugged the mobile charger, drove down to the shop, plugged into one of my welding plugs (I was smart enough to standardize all my 240V plugs to a single type of circuit) and told the car to charge to 100%. It started to pull 32A at 240V, or a nice sustained 7 kW for a couple of hours.

The offline panels bounced back, system voltage dropped down to where it belongs and the total array output spiked. So yes, it does look like the wiring is a problem. But thank you to the 3 for being such a handy testing tool :)

Keith - When you say "type of circuit" are you referring to the receptacle type.. or something in the wiring?

 

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports HalfDork
4/8/22 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

It works out fairly well as long as you have other cars that you can rely on to hop in and go if you need to.  I'm working on expanding the driveway now so I can get a couple of the other cars in actual parking spots. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/8/22 10:35 a.m.
OHSCrifle said:
Keith Tanner said:

Found an unexpected bonus to electric car ownership today. I have a solar array on my shop roof that's acting up - I discovered when I started data logging the diagnostic information that panels are dropping out as the output rises and the voltage is high. The theory is that the buried cable running to the house is not up to the load. To test this, I was asked to see if I could add a big load to the shop so it could absorb some of the power production. 

No problem. I unplugged the mobile charger, drove down to the shop, plugged into one of my welding plugs (I was smart enough to standardize all my 240V plugs to a single type of circuit) and told the car to charge to 100%. It started to pull 32A at 240V, or a nice sustained 7 kW for a couple of hours.

The offline panels bounced back, system voltage dropped down to where it belongs and the total array output spiked. So yes, it does look like the wiring is a problem. But thank you to the 3 for being such a handy testing tool :)

Keith - When you say "type of circuit" are you referring to the receptacle type.. or something in the wiring?

All of my 240V circuits are 50A with a NEMA 6-50 receptacle - with the exception of the 100% dedicated ones like the dryer and a couple of AC units. Mostly it's for the welder so I have maximum flexibility. The lift has a 6-50 outlet on it so I can plug the welder in right there, the air compressor uses one, there's a spare halfway through the shop and the EV charger uses one. I've also got a 25' extension cord for 6-50. So yes, both the receptacle and the wiring.

Placemotorsports, even if you didn't have another car, I don't think you'd get yourself in trouble. Either you're on a very high priority short drive (hospital, for example) or you have a longer one ahead of you. In the first case, you've probably got enough range even if it's almost "top-up day". In the second, you can stop by a Supercharger on the way and get a good slug of power fairly quickly. The fact that the charge rate is fastest with a very depleted battery helps there. The situation of "I need to get 500 miles away as soon as possible" is mostly a theoretical construct. If it's an emergency evacuation scenario, chances are you knew it was coming so you could have prepared.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports HalfDork
4/8/22 10:58 a.m.

Very true, about the same as having enough gas left in the car anymore. 

the_machina
the_machina Reader
4/8/22 1:20 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

All of my 240V circuits are 50A with a NEMA 6-50 receptacle - with the exception of the 100% dedicated ones like the dryer and a couple of AC units. Mostly it's for the welder so I have maximum flexibility. The lift has a 6-50 outlet on it so I can plug the welder in right there, the air compressor uses one, there's a spare halfway through the shop and the EV charger uses one. I've also got a 25' extension cord for 6-50. So yes, both the receptacle and the wiring.

Placemotorsports, even if you didn't have another car, I don't think you'd get yourself in trouble. Either you're on a very high priority short drive (hospital, for example) or you have a longer one ahead of you. In the first case, you've probably got enough range even if it's almost "top-up day". In the second, you can stop by a Supercharger on the way and get a good slug of power fairly quickly. The fact that the charge rate is fastest with a very depleted battery helps there. The situation of "I need to get 500 miles away as soon as possible" is mostly a theoretical construct. If it's an emergency evacuation scenario, chances are you knew it was coming so you could have prepared.

If you were doing this all over again, would you have still picked 6-50's, or would you have gone with NEMA 14-50's to get you easy access to 120 and 240 at the same outlet? Any feelings on going with regular 6-50's or 14-50's instead of their twist-locking counterparts?

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
4/8/22 1:27 p.m.

Here's an unexpected question from people who might have a handle on this:

 

Hertz rents Model 3s. Sometimes I have business trips. I'd rather not fly if I can drive within, say, 12 hours. I get reimbursed for mileage.

 

What daily mileage makes it worth renting a Model 3 on my own dime and getting reimbursed, versus having my employer pay for a rental and fuel? I don't readily know the daily rate of a Model 3 (none apparently in my area yet) nor how Hertz is charging for supercharging en route.

 

Thoughts?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/8/22 1:36 p.m.
the_machina said:
Keith Tanner said:

All of my 240V circuits are 50A with a NEMA 6-50 receptacle - with the exception of the 100% dedicated ones like the dryer and a couple of AC units. Mostly it's for the welder so I have maximum flexibility. The lift has a 6-50 outlet on it so I can plug the welder in right there, the air compressor uses one, there's a spare halfway through the shop and the EV charger uses one. I've also got a 25' extension cord for 6-50. So yes, both the receptacle and the wiring.

Placemotorsports, even if you didn't have another car, I don't think you'd get yourself in trouble. Either you're on a very high priority short drive (hospital, for example) or you have a longer one ahead of you. In the first case, you've probably got enough range even if it's almost "top-up day". In the second, you can stop by a Supercharger on the way and get a good slug of power fairly quickly. The fact that the charge rate is fastest with a very depleted battery helps there. The situation of "I need to get 500 miles away as soon as possible" is mostly a theoretical construct. If it's an emergency evacuation scenario, chances are you knew it was coming so you could have prepared.

If you were doing this all over again, would you have still picked 6-50's, or would you have gone with NEMA 14-50's to get you easy access to 120 and 240 at the same outlet? Any feelings on going with regular 6-50's or 14-50's instead of their twist-locking counterparts?

The welder at work that I used to borrow before I got my own used 6-50s. That started the chain reaction. It wasn't really a conscious choice beyond "this works well, I should make them all the same".

I've had no reason to second-guess the decision. Usually I have a 120v nearby so I've never said "boy, I wish I could plug this into that". The nice thing about the 6-50 is that the plugs are fairly low profile so you don't have a big plug sticking out of the wall.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/8/22 1:38 p.m.
tuna55 said:

Here's an unexpected question from people who might have a handle on this:

 

Hertz rents Model 3s. Sometimes I have business trips. I'd rather not fly if I can drive within, say, 12 hours. I get reimbursed for mileage.

 

What daily mileage makes it worth renting a Model 3 on my own dime and getting reimbursed, versus having my employer pay for a rental and fuel? I don't readily know the daily rate of a Model 3 (none apparently in my area yet) nor how Hertz is charging for supercharging en route.

 

Thoughts?

I think supercharging averages about 26c/kWh, and you can use 3 miles/kWh as a good rule of thumb. So your fuel cost (assuming Hertz doesn't surcharge, which may not be accurate) is about 8.7c/mile. I guess you work from there. 

Ideally you'd find a hotel that has destination charging, as that's usually free of charge.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
4/8/22 2:24 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
tuna55 said:

Here's an unexpected question from people who might have a handle on this:

 

Hertz rents Model 3s. Sometimes I have business trips. I'd rather not fly if I can drive within, say, 12 hours. I get reimbursed for mileage.

 

What daily mileage makes it worth renting a Model 3 on my own dime and getting reimbursed, versus having my employer pay for a rental and fuel? I don't readily know the daily rate of a Model 3 (none apparently in my area yet) nor how Hertz is charging for supercharging en route.

 

Thoughts?

I think supercharging averages about 26c/kWh, and you can use 3 miles/kWh as a good rule of thumb. So your fuel cost (assuming Hertz doesn't surcharge, which may not be accurate) is about 8.7c/mile. I guess you work from there. 

Ideally you'd find a hotel that has destination charging, as that's usually free of charge.

So a three day trip covering 1500 miles, 100% supercharging, would pay me (at 58.5 cents per mile) $877.50, and cost me (something like $175/day probably) $525 plus $130 in electricity, so $655. That's a win. I'll make a spreadsheet when the time comes. Any idea which Hertz locations rent them? I could not find them locally.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/8/22 4:22 p.m.

Availability: https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/rental-car-deals/tesla-car-rentals/
 

No surcharge for supercharging (just the Tesla fee), third party charges are your responsibility to pay. They had free supercharging until March 1st at least. 
 

Car has to be returned with at least 10% charge, no need for a final fill. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
4/8/22 4:29 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Availability: https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/rental-car-deals/tesla-car-rentals/
 

No surcharge for supercharging (just the Tesla fee), third party charges are your responsibility to pay. They had free supercharging until March 1st at least. 
 

Car has to be returned with at least 10% charge, no need for a final fill. 

Thanks.

 

Oof, a trip from Greenville to Atlanta just to drive to Chicago is an unpleasant thought though.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/14/22 1:49 p.m.

So I had a little fun yesterday. Picked up some black reflective strips for the wheels. They're a perfect match for the color of the aero covers so they're invisible during the day but at night it gets all TRON. Stupid thing but it makes me laugh. 

I have some other ideas for lighting effects that will require input from the CAN bus.

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