[Podcast] Dial-In a Model S Road Trip with these Tips

This is part II of the podcast discussion with Grant Gerke of EV Parade (www.evparade.com) and Tesla Motor’s Model S owner Dave Zygmont on his road trip out West and his experiences using Tesla Motors’ supercharging network—part I is on EV Parade.com.

RELATED: The Tesla Podcast Series

In this episode, Zygmont discusses the upside of EV Trip Planner, extra charging equipment needed and whether hotels are a good option for charging…and don’t forget about RV parks. Take a listen.

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Grant Gerke

Author: Grant Gerke

Grant Gerke wears his Model S on his sleeve and has been writing about Tesla for the last five years on numerous media sites. He has a bias towards plug-in vehicles and also writes about manufacturing software for Automation World magazine in Chicago. Find him at Teslarati, EV Parade, Inside EVs and Automationworld.com. (Full Disclosure: Grant Gerke is a Tesla owner and holds stock in the company).

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  • anderlan

    This is my rule on payment rate for power on road trips: I will pay up to the equivalent of gas for a 30mpg vehicle. Most of the time (not on road trip) I pay 1.5cents per mile, so I can’t complain! I’ll pay more than 30mpg gas equivalent at certain spots on a road trip, because, like Dave says, I *have* to. But I’ll complain and I think that business case is doomed to fail.

    As a LEAF plebeian (pLEAFbeian, opposite of Teslarati?) I’d definitely pay gas money for a reliable Chademo network between cities. Nissan dealer QCs (and others) are a total crap shoot!

    I’m constantly sizing up the needed number of charges needed to pay for a network of such stations. A 100kWh pack (four LEAF packs) would be around $30k. Four Chademo ports (but, importantly, only one super ample inverter, because power would be pulled from the grid and stored in the battery and from there pumped to the cars, just as Tesla does at SCs) and the invaluable power electronics and logical glue would be perhaps another $30k.

    (Yes, I think when Tesla reckons $250k-$500k per station they are being ample with the installation costs they quote. Lord I hope they never pay rent to anyone because they’re doing local landowners a favor.)

    I think it’s vital that someone other than just Tesla develop a drop in 4+ port battery-buffered DC charger system. The existing QC products are repurposed products, single-port, one inverter per port, not battery buffered (for better grid interaction and that means lower price for power), not designed for large fleets.

    But I digress. At $60k for a 4-port Chademo station (I call it the Quad QC–one parking space-sized box touching 5 other parking spaces as charging slots–the goal is to productize this), and $10 per session (it would be 33 cents per minute, to discourage staying on when the power level drops and freeing up the space for more cars–I suppose some stations could have some adjunct 6kW AC slots available for topping off–sort of a very lame parallel to Elon’s “fast or free” (referring to for-pay battery swaps vs free SC charges)). Where was I? Yes, at $60k investment, $10/session, you need 6666 sessions to payback (assuming $1/session power costs). That’s only 18 average sessions per day for 1 year payback, 9 sessions per day for 2 years, and 5 average per day for 4 years.

    We just need to find data on how the number of Chademo cars in the 2 cities at either end compares to the number of likely sessions per day.

    • “Only” 18 sessions per day is still very close to the high water mark for QC stations today. I believe we’ll hit those numbers routinely in a few years, but between now and then is a chasm for QC install. They have to support other economic activity (retail, food) until then for most property owners/managers to make the investment.