Recently, my wife and I were going to make a day trip to go to an event at the Georgia Aquarium. This trip is about 217 miles and is pretty doable no a charge to 100%. We had planned to get up super early (5 am CST) on a Saturday to get there by the 9:30 (EST) time our event started. The wife and I kept considering going down a day early to avoid all the early morning driving and arriving at our event already tired.

About Teddy

Teddy is the name of our Long Range All Wheel Drive Tesla Model 3. We have 19” Sport Wheels, Enhanced AutoPilot, and Full Self Driving. Due to us using a friends referral code, we have free supercharging into next year.

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A change of plans…

We made the decision just shortly after lunch on Friday. A last-second change might send people unfamiliar with electric cars into a bit of a panic about the battery range. I had charged it to 90% the night before and driven it to work that day. So I was in Nashville with 78% charge when it was time to head home.

Day 1 of our trip: Rushing to leave and stopping to charge

Day 1: Overview Map As you can see, I came home from work in nashville, we picked up the dogs at home and dropped them off at the vet’s for boarding and started on our trip with about 66%. With the charge at 66%, I get over 150 miles, but not enough to get to Atlanta.

Day 1: Nashville to Manchester We decided we would stop for a burger and a car charge in Manchester. It’s got a lovely supercharger behind Dunkin Donuts and near Russell Stovers (aka good ice cream). We went from 49% to 95% in 33 minutes at the supercharger for free! This level of charge left us with more than enough to get to Atlanta and the hotel we had selected. Day 1: Manchester Supercharger

Navigate on Autopilot with no confirmation lane changes was nearly flawless from Manchester to Atlanta. We had one aborted lane change and one episode of phantom breaking due to the way a car crossed in front of us. Day 1: Overview Map

You’ve arrived at your destination

One of the other excellent features of a Tesla charging network besides superchargers is destination chargers. While not as fast as a supercharger, these chargers are where you want to go and spend time in our case that meant a hotel. No not every hotel in Atlanta has a destination charge, a whole bunch did. We found one that had a AAA discount, Aloft Atlanta. We found it using the Tesla destination charging website earlier in the day.

When we arrived with 29% battery, the valets took my car straight to the charger and plugged it up. They knew exactly what they were doing and made sure all the Tesla and other electric cars at this hotel were ready to go in the morning rotating as needed. I saw one Model S and two Model 3s plus ours in the hotel parking lot along with a couple of Nissan Leafs.

Aloft Destination Charger

When we awoke the next morning, the car was charged back up to 90% again for free. I Regularly charge my car to 90%. I only use 100% when I need it for a trip - see the Gatlinburg trip.

Play with the fishes

We made the short drive over to the aquarium and enjoyed our visit there. The aquarium had a bunch of level-2 chargers, but thanks to the full charge via the destination charger at the hotel, we left those spots for other vehicles that might need them and parked in a regular place.

Famished, after all the behind the scenes and walking the rest of the aquarium with our reef club, we headed to get some food nearby.

Day 2: Aquarium and food

Part 2 of our trip: North by North-West!

After that quick stop, we set off towards home. It’s worth noting that we likely had enough charge to get home, but I had never been to the Chattanooga supercharger before, so off we went. Day 2: Atlanta to Chattanooga

This was the first time I’ve ever been disappointed at a supercharger location. It at the Chattanooga airport, and when we arrived on Sunday all of the food, snack, whatever places outside of security were all closed. We did manage to find a vending machine and use the bathroom, but overall, it was a disappointment. We went from 45% to 90% in 25 minutes. Day 2: Chattanooga Supercharger

Navigate on Autopilot with no confirmation lane changes was flawless from Atlanta to Murfreesboro! We finished off our trip back to Murfreesboro and grabbed a bit to eat. After it was all said and done, we got home with 47% charge. Chattanooga to Murfreesboro Resturant to Home

Recharging at Home

Final Thoughts

Day 2 - Overview map This was the first full long trip I had done with Navigate on Autopilot with the lane change in a city as complex at Atlanta. It worked wonderfully both going and coming. I never felt nervous for a moment about how much range we had left at any point in the trip. In total, we spent 58 minutes charging on the whole trip. Both times it was when we wanted a break or food. We paid nothing, as in $0.00, for charging on this entire trip as I still have free supercharging on my car!

I’d love to make a more extended trip and really test out how that changes the impact of my charging.