So we did our big trip for the year to Kansas like we do every year for Christmas. This is something we’ve done now for going on 10 to 15 years. I can’t remember when we switched from driving to flying it was pretty early on. I’ve taken that trip in a Chrysler Pacifica, a Toyota Hybrid Highlander, a Ford Flex, a Ford Explorer, a Ford Expedition and now a Tesla Model X. We got that Pacifica in 2004 I think, and it had a DVD system (the only car) and let me tell you listening to the same six movies got really old. The kids were too young to use the two headsets. When we got the Flex I did the math and bought them all an iPad instead, cheaper, and I didn’t have to hear Toy Story. Don’t get me wrong, still love the movie, but funny things like ‘oh hey, that’s Combat Carl parts that bounce off the house’ when you see it after hearing it only.
I figured I’d post some stats. Fortunately because I had an Automatic Pro on my Expedition EL that we sold for the Model X for and I have the miles and gas consumption/cost (mostly). So lets look at maps and numbers and see how things changed.
Firstly, I did have a one weird things happen. The trip out was uneventful, but on the leg outside of Nashville all cruise control disappeared. What was even more weird was when we stopped to charge in Nashville and ate dinner, once I started car it acted like nothing happened. Didn’t happen again rest of the trip, but having to manually drive 120 miles without even speed control was really weird and not something I’ve done in a long time. There was a software update during our trip, the ‘Christmas Update‘ that was supposed to add visualizations for stop signs and what not, but apparently my brand new Model X doesn’t support that because I’m on ‘HW2.5‘ and not their fancy FSD computer like I thought. Somehow I managed to find a Raven Model X that doesn’t have HW3. Don’t know if I’ll ever get it, time will tell. So the update was anti-climactic for me, I think we got Twitch in the entertainment section but that was it.
Much to my surprise, Lawrence, KS does not have crap for charging options. I thought my progressive little spot in Kansas would have more, but since the Superchargers are in the Kansas City and Topeka there isn’t much for standard L2 charging there. I think I found five 220v chargers, and was only able to actually use one. The three at HyVee were always ICE’d out, seemingly always by BMW SUV drivers so way to keep the stereotype up guys.
Another observation is 110v charging is…hilariously slow. We got to my parents house at 9% as planned, and when I plugged in at the house the app was just ‘fuck it, 24+ hours until full’ I used TeslaScope and TeslaFi and they had the actual number, and honestly we never got it full on 110v. I think the final number was in the 60% range which was plenty, but I did charge at The Merc with their solar panels for an hour, but that just kept us from dropping below the start of the days battery level when we ran errands.
So The key takeaway here is 110v is barely better than letting it sit unplugged. I did get one alert after we got there right before I plugged in that the battery was so low that leaving it unplugged might not start again (something along that line) mainly due to the temperature, though it was unseasonably warm (50s) while we were there. For reference, when I’ve been this low at home, plugging into a 32A 240V home charger the car was charged to 90% in 8.2 hours.
I’d played with several map tools trying to figure out the best route. The big things were ‘is there a charger where we stop for the night’ and I was willing to use a ‘Destination Charger’ or a nearby supercharger. When we had gas cars early on we stopped in Evansville, IN and then later we switched to Paducha, KY after that whole ‘right to be a bigot because religion’ law was signed in Indiana. However Paducha didn’t have a Supercharger, and we were unable to get any reservations where there were Destination chargers. So nearby Kuttawa/Eddyville Hampton Inn had a Supercharger in its parking lot, so we stopped there, 30 miles earlier. Overall, probably a good plan as from the timeline I’m going to show you can see that the two legs of the trip were a bit longer. So let’s look at the ‘old’ way of doing this trip first.
December 2018 trip was in a Ford Expedition EL. This is a V6 with two turbos on it, using 87 Octane Unleaded gasoline.
The first leg was from our house to Paducah, KY. It was 685 miles, driven in 11:57 hours. So that means the car was on and running for that time, this doesn’t include our stops as I don’t have a ‘quick’ way to see how long it took to fill gas, but if I compare the start/stop times of every time the car turned on/off the shortest was about 15 minutes, and the longest was 45m (lunch) and we left at 7:30AM and got to the hotel location at about 8pm. We averaged 17.1 MPG for that day.
The second leg started at 8:49am (slackers) and we hit my parents house at just a bit past 4pm that day. Judging by the start/stop times we decided to say ‘fuck lunch, GOOOO’ which sometimes happens and our longest stop was 20 minutes which was probably the turn the kids loose on snacks. The longest leg of that trip 317 miles and that Expedition had a 33 gallon tank. The average MPG was 17.2MPG for this day.
For fuel costs of these two days, The Automatic App let you put information in. So as long as I didn’t miss any trips, we spent $85.84 the first day, and $51.27 the second day for a total of $137.11 in gasoline. This is probably missing at least a tank of gas, as we tended to fuel it earlier in the week before so we left home on a full day of gas, so figure another $50 or so in gas. 18:58 hours in the vehicle for a total of 1145 miles. The total average for gas mileage was 17.5 MPG.
We then return trip. on our return it was tradition for us to stop in Lexington, KY. There is a BD’s Mongolian Barbecue there and since there isn’t one in Lawrence and I love the place we would stop there for the night. So another 10 hours of driving (652 miles) getting there by 7:10pm.
The last leg was 500 miles, we left at 7:45am and got home around 3:15pm, but we did stop for a late pizza lunch at 2:51pm. So again another 7h 26m in the car that day. 17.3MPG again.
I’m going to set the stage with that, and break this up into a couple of posts because this is a ton of data. But here’s my reference case