We made the roughly 32-mile drive to Manchester with no problem.
The supercharger is in the back of a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot. YEAH, BREAKFAST! We pulled in Teddy and popped inside for a quick bite. We finished eating in about 20 minutes and walked back to the car which has charged from 77% to 96% in that time. That’s amazingly quick charge time. Reduced charge times are due to the new 150A charging that Model 3’s can get.
Additionally, the supercharger was empty, and while you don’t get all the juice from the whole place, it does mean that you aren’t sharing a charging circuit with anyone else. You see the Tesla superchargers have several stations at them and they have labels, for example, we charged at 2A here this morning. There is also a 2B at this station, and it would share a charging circuit with me if someone would have plugged in there. I learned this not that long ago, and it was something I didn’t know about charging the car initially. You should always try to find an unused circuit when you pull up to a supercharger, and if one isn’t available, then share one with someone else.
After giving teddy an electron high, we headed off to our next destination. I used abettertripplanner.com to help plan our charging for this trip, and it suggested the Alpharetta supercharger. I had enjoyed great luck with their trip plans before, so I blindly trusted it.
I tried to enter that into the cars GPS, and it didn’t come up, but the Alpharetta Tesla showroom and service center did come up. I thought it might be like ours in Franklin, TN, a combo center and supercharger. Off we went…
On the way there, I got in a spot where I wanted to get around a tractor-trailer to get back into the right-hand lane to let someone who was very close to the rear of my car to pass. I hit the gas going downhill, and Teddy gives me his rollercoaster-like acceleration instantly as always… then I heard it. BEEP BEEP BEEP (red steering wheel on the screen) my wife freaked a tiny bit, but I knew what was up. I had entered autopilot jail.
You can only go so fast with autopilot engaged before it will disable it for the rest of the drive! There was no way I was driving to Alpharetta from Jasper. I use autopilot as much as I can. I’ve not been in autopilot jail before as I’m a rule follower; however, here I was squarely in it. I tried rebooting the software (you can drive the car like a normal car while doing this!), and that didn’t get me out of jail either. I gave up and stopped at a rest station near there and put the car in park and I was released from autopilot jail. I’ve become dependent (read as addicted) to autopilot. The wife had a good laugh at me, and off we went again.
Photo Credit: Reddit user u/BlargyMcBlargFace
We arrived at the Alpharetta service center only to learn that they don’t have chargers for public use there! I was … shocked and confused and panicked for a second; however, the service tech there reminded me how to find additional superchargers in the car, and after stopping to think for a minute I quickly realized two things.
My car has a ton more range than I typically use, and I can make it all the way to pick up the cats and then down to a different supercharger about 30 minutes away from the cat lady! I had about 26% battery. That’s a metric ton of miles, and my brain forgets that. 100% battery = 310 miles for my car at the base usage. We were running at 104% efficiency, so 4% above base was available. Even without that extra boost, we had more than 80 miles left. Range anxiety is a thing that gets mentioned a lot with electric cars, and when I first got my car, I was very nervous about it. It has been several months since I had thought about range, and this was the first time in longer than that in which I was anxious. That quickly subsided once I thought rationally about what I had available vs. some silly percentage. My car had already told me it could make it; nonetheless, I still had a moment because the charger I had wanted didn’t exist. But that didn’t even matter because just a tiny bit away was another one.
We drove from the Alpharetta service center to the cat lady’s house with no issues. Hung out for a bit, took Mille and Basil (the cats’ names).
Now we were off to the Atlanta Supercharger and to get some food. We made it with 14% battery left. That is the lowest I’ve ever had it, but it goes to show that after I panicked, I completed my trip to my destination and headed to the next supercharger and still had 14% left.
We plugged into the Atlanta supercharger, which is located in a nice parking garage where are a bunch of food and shopping options.
We had the cats in the car, and we turned on dog mode. Dog mode leaves the AC and music on along with putting a message on the screen informing people of the temperature in the car (70 in our case), and we headed up to get some food. We enjoyed a nice meal at BGR and went back to the car where we enjoyed the darkness of the parking garage and the coolness of the car. We charged from 15 to 93% in 1hr and 7 minutes. So basically we ate and hung out for 15 minutes gooing and gawing over our sleeping kittens before heading home. This charging session was the longest ever for us. The supercharger had one open space when we arrived so we did have to split a charging circuit, but the break was welcome after already spending 4 hours on the road.
If you read our last trip to the Georgia Aquarium, you’ll remember I thought we could have made it home. This time I wanted to give it a shot. Because I didn’t want to go to the Chattanooga supercharger again. Worst-case scenario, we would have to hit the Manchester one again. So off we went starting at 93%
We arrived all the way home after a couple of bio breaks with 16% left in the battery; including stopping in traffic from an accident in Manchester near exit 105. These things don’t panic me because of how little energy gets consumed in a traffic jam.
In total, we drove 487 miles today, and we paid nothing to make this trip. We had no charging costs (our supercharging is free until October). If we had had to pay for our supercharging, it would have cost $7.18 and still would have saved $38.16 in gas compared to our 2018 MINI Countryman and current gas prices.
Every time I think I understand what to expect from my car, I’m surprised by something I’ve forgotten or some fear that I made up in my head and didn’t think about it. Having that charger not been there could have gone a different way. I had a backup plan already in mind (however, it would have been so much slower.) In the end, all I needed to do was think about what that percentage meant and just trust the car. You can view the charge percentage as miles in the car, and I found myself obsessing over it and switched to the percentage to avoid trying to “hyper mile.” The stop at a nicer supercharger and the break made the rest of the trip a breeze.
On this trip, we had one phantom breaking, one two-step lane change, and one panic and take over. Oh yeah… and autopilot jail… (eyeroll) Anyway, the phantom breaking was due to a dip in the road that aligned with an overpasses shadow. The two-step lane change was due to it being wet and a car coming up two lanes over. The panic was the most interesting one. Teddy was in the second lane leaving ATL when the lanes all shifted to the right in a construction area, and a truck in the right-hand lane didn’t get over the solid white line. We had a solid white line on the left as well, and Teddy didn’t want to avoid the truck by crossing that line or so it seemed in my head. Either way, we got the super loud beeps and the take over message.
All in all, I drove about 23 miles of the trip between parkig garages, neighborhoods, stop signs/lights, and sigh… autopilot jail.