Road trip observations

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    • #11584
      Darren Schebek

      I just completed a 4600 km summer road trip from Vancouver to Winnipeg and back in my 2018 Performance Model 3 (no FSD Beta, just autopilot). Thought I’d share a couple of observations.

      Low-profile tires: in hindsight, not a good choice. 🙂  The Trans-Canada highway east of Alberta is in laughably poor condition and pretty much all the roads in Winnipeg are approaching war zone levels of disrepair. I was constantly concerned about cracking a rim on one of the many gaping potholes (this includes the T-C highway). Driving across Saskatchewan and half of Manitoba, it felt like my car was going to be vibrated and rattled into pieces. Did not encounter any issues with the car at all during the entire trip, though; that thing was a workhorse.

      Autopilot: simply amazing for road trips. I was able to drive over 1000 km a day without tiring. It’s so much easier and less stressful when you don’t have to focus on speed, following distance or staying in the lane for hundreds of kilometres just driving in a straight line (Saskatchewan). As well, you’re taking 20-minute breaks to charge up every couple hundred kilometres or so. While this adds time to the trip, I wasn’t in a hurry and those breaks were more refreshing than I expected. I’d say about 98% of the trip was done using autopilot. I felt more like an emergency backup driver, or just a passenger with a few additional responsibilities.

      Charging: When I stopped at a supercharger, I always charged enough to get me to the next supercharger with at least 20% battery remaining. Tesla navigation will tell you to leave with 15% remaining at the next station but I wanted more of a buffer. If the next supercharger on the nav route required charging above 88% to achieve that 20% buffer then I would add a nav point to a closer supercharger if possible because it’s much faster to stop at the closer one for a quick charge back up to 75% or so than to sit and charge for half an hour to get close to 100%.

      Favourite supercharger station outside of BC: The station at a Co-op store in Whitewood, Saskatchewan. It’s right beside the highway, has a convenience store with bathrooms and they put squeegees right next to the superchargers to clean your windshield.

      Some travel stats: It took two and a half days to reach Winnipeg (two hotel stays) but only two full days to drive back (one hotel stay) because we were losing two hours from time zone changes going east and gaining two hours heading back west. Total amount of charging required was approximately 1200 kWh (I don’t know what that would cost as I have free supercharging), which includes a fair bit of driving/charging while I was in Winnipeg. Driving through the mountains really slowed down progress since it’s currently just endless construction zones but at least the scenery was lovely. 🙂

      The next time I do this, I’ll bring a cooler and load it with sandwiches, snacks and drinks I can eat when I reach a supercharger that doesn’t have a lot of food options, or where getting to a food place and waiting for the food to arrive would likely exceed my charge time.

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