Today I found myself low on charge while I was out and about. A late night car wash Monday night due to an overloaded weekend messed up my normal routine and I didn’t plug in for my nightly charge. Normally I can probably go about 2 days on a charge, but yesterday was unusually heavy mileage and I faced more of the same today.
In the AM I swung buy the Tesla store to see if I could grab a charge before lunch but the two HPWC’s were occupied with test drive cars (fully charged) and wouldn’t be moving for at least 2 hours when the store opened. The Natick store updated their outlets to NEMA 14-50’s but I didn’t bring my cable (yes, thats 2 mistakes so far, strike 3 is coming).
I was out of luck, so I went to work and then ran my errands. I learned that I need to have some backup plans if I may need a charge during the day — if I had brought my cable I would have been able to charge up before the lunch errands.
I learned that I need to have some backup plans if I may need a charge during the day.
The Model S helpfully shows your rated range front and center and the nice green battery full bar changes to an appropriately sickly yellow as your range drops. I found myself with 51 miles of rated range after some lunch errands and a 50 mile commute home ahead of me at the end of the day. I swung by the charging locations at the Tesla store again and was lucky enough that a test drive event had just ended and the Tesla employee helpfully moved the car so I could plug in. Given the person getting out of the driver side I don’t think there was much of a sale going on, but never judge a book by its cover.
Tesla has a publicly stated policy that “there is no charge to use a Supercharger” (of course, you have to be equipped to use one), but their stores and service centers allow free charging as a courtesy. I needed enough charge to get home. It was an unusually warm day for Massachusetts so the A/C was going to be on and I was going to use more power than normal.
Stores and service centers allow free charging as a courtesy — be thankful!
I figured I wanted 100 miles of rated range to be comfortable. Overkill I know, but, hey, i’m not even 2 months into this whole EV thing yet and I still have range anxiety. I needed to get to work and really didn’t want to come back and move it again until my day was done but I also didn’t want someone else who needed a charge to be blocked by me. I had a few options:
- Disrupt my afternoon and come back when I had my “threshold” charge.
- Use the new and cool SuperChargerQR App to print and leave a QR code for someone to notify me.
- Leave an old fashioned note with some more lower tech forms of reaching me.
I didn’t want to leave mid-day again as my errands had already killed too much time. That left me with QR or a standard note. The QR approach is cool but it requires you to download an app, print your QR code, and then it requires someone who wants to notify you to download the app and scan the QR code. Not everyone knows what a QR code is, how to work it or even has a smart phone. Sound crazy? You didn’t see that test driver getting out of the Model S! Anyway if the QR thing let me add additional (lower tech) to its QR printout i’d consider that but it doesn’t yet (I suggested it to the author) so I went lower tech:
It’s nice and big and I leave it on the dash in front of the steering wheel. Obviously thats not my actual phone number in this post, but one thing i’d recommend is using something like Google Voice. With a Google Voice number it rings my desk and my cell phone at the same time and has all sorts of spam protection on phone calls. You have require people to provide information before it will ring you, etc.
You may want to use something better than a cell phone number.
You just may not want all the loonies out there seeing your nice $100K car and having your cell phone number. Google voice number? Go for it.
And, because i’m that guy, I had planned for this event so I just so happened to have this sign in my glovebox. Do you have yours ready? What’s your plan for friendly charging?
I felt like I was being a good citizen while taking advantage of the benefit of being a loved Tesla owner. Nobody called me to move the car but I assume they would have if they had needed it. Plus I may have gotten a few more twitter or WordPress followers in the process, whats not to like about that?
I worked late enough that I came back to the car with a full 90% charge, 240 miles of rated range. 189 miles of rated range added in just under 4 hours. Thats the magic of Tesla and thats without a SuperCharger!
As I unplugged the HPWC I noticed that the test drive car had its charge port open, seemingly inviting me to plug it in when I was done charging. I tried plugging it in, it wouldn’t go in – it was locked. I pressed the button on the HPWC connector a few times, no clicks and it wouldn’t go in. As a noob, I figured you can’t do that without the FOB, so I hung up the cord and drove home.
At home later I did some testing. It seems that if the car has gone into sleep mode (about 30 minutes after you stop bugging it with apps and the like) it takes many attempts of pressing the button on the charge cable to get the car to wake up and allow you to insert the charger cable into the open port but it will do so even without the key nearby. If I had been a little more persistent I could have left that test drive car charging but I didn’t know enough to do that. Sorry Tesla!
Try repeatedly to unlock and insert a charging cable as the car takes time to wake up if the charge port is already open
I’ve never felt the need for a HPWC at home, but today was one of a few days where I wish I had a second mobile connector (charge cable). It’s a $650 expense and i’m still feeling poor post-purchase, so perhaps in a while. A second mobile connector is moving up on my priority list as I don’t want to keep unplugging and packing the one I use at home regularly plus i’ve heard its bad for the NEMA 14-50 connector to have many plug/unplug cycles (i.e. daily).
I learned to have more options when i’m going to be short on charge (mobile connector i’m looking at you!) and I learned to try a bit more persistently when a fellow owner (or Tesla!) is waiting on a charge with an inviting open port.
I also learned how to work the “Unplugged?” query/email notification in the VisibleTesla App, but thats a story for a different time.