2015-05-23: 240 Miles (round trip) 1 Day Trip (Austin/Fredericksburg/Enchanted Rock)

2015 Enchanted Rock (100)

Preparation/Planning
I planned for a one day family trip to Enchanted Rock State Park, which is about 120 miles from Austin. As the drive is going to be in the hill country side of the State, I scouted for any suitable charging places, in case I had to charge my Saara. As of 05/2015, there is only one place where I can charge, which is located in Fredericksburg and I decided to charge there. The charging station is a Clipper Creek CS-60 (http://www.clippercreek.com/store/product/cs-60/) with a max of 48A/12kWh output that charges at a max of 38 mph which can be activated only by a ‘MobileNow! app which charges at $2.35/hr (incl. and Google Group convenience fee $0.35).

Screenshot_2015-05-25-18-06-48

Saara has a dual charger which can take in a max of 20kWh/58mph as opposed to the base configuration’s capacity of 10kWh/29mp, so this trip will utilize the car’s dual charger’s capacity for the first time. I downloaded the MobileNow app on to my phone and created an account with no charge. I also did pack all the 3 adapters (110V, 240V and J1772 (public charging station)) and the Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) that came along with the car when purchased.

Route
183S, Mopac S, 290E

Trip
Actually I was planning to charge Saara to 100% (I have never done that before) the previous night, but guess what?! I forgot to plug it before going to bed. We were planning to head out at 630am, but when I woke up at 430am on the day of the trip, I realized that I had not plugged the car the previous night and immediately plugged it then, which still gave me enough time to charge it to about 90% if I would delay my departure by 30 mins.

By the time we all got ready and left home, it was 720am with 90% charge. I had the ‘Range Mode’ ON and as per the car’s calculation, I would be reaching Fredericksburg charging station with 49% remaining on the battery.

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On the way, we made a halt at a gas station in Johnson City for a restroom break and to buy something. Believe me! it was very odd for me to pull my electric sedan into a gas station….maybe it was also due to the fact that it was the first time I had to do that since we bought the car 3 months ago 🙂 Going forward, I should be able to get used to it! Later, I also made a short stop at another place to catch up with my friends (who are with us on this trip but left Austin earlier than us). Finally, we reached the charging station at Fredericksburg at 940am with 47% battery remaining – I was very impressed with the car’s initial calculation/prediction of 49%.

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Charging at 206 W Austin St, Fredericksburg, TX

I plugged the car at the station while my family had a quick breakfast. Activating the charge via the MobileNow app was quick and easy. I charged it for about 40 mins and added about 35 miles and headed to Enchanted Rock which is 16mi from there. We reached Enchanted Rock at about 11am and spent the day there and had a nice time doing the hikes, had lunch at a huge pavilion.

Enchanted rock
At Enchanted Rock

There were a total of about 30 folks of us who had a nice time there. Luckily, for us, there was no rain right until after we were almost done with the hike. Once it started raining, it never did stop.

We left at about 830pm in heavy rain with about 40% battery from Enchanted Rock. I drove to Fredericksburg and charged it to until 50% for about 50 mins and started from there at about 10pm. Saara’s prediction was that I would reach home with 8% battery remaining, but with the heavy rain and winds, I knew that I might not be able to make it home if I drove at normal speed of 65mph. During the whole return journey, I had the ‘Range Mode’ ON and kept on checking the range prediction at regular intervals. After about half the journey, it said that I had to slow down to make it to the destination without any charging on the way, so I cut down my speed from 65mph to 55mph. Once I reached Austin city limits, I reduced my speed to 50mph and finally made it home with 8% battery remaining.

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Also, this was the same night that the Blanco and the Pedernales rivers got flooded and started overflowing for a couple of days since then ending up in several severe flash floods at Dripping Springs, Wimberley, Austin and several surrounding areas. One the way back, amidst the heavy rains, we kept checking the weather pretty regularly, with a contingency plan to stay overnight at Johnson City or Dripping Springs in case of any flash floods on the way, especially on hwy 290.

Summary
Total miles driven: 237
Total energy consumed (kWh): 72
Total amount paid at charging station: $4.70

Tips
– Do not forget to plug the car the night before you head out for the trip 🙂
– Give a leeway of about 10-15% on the remaining battery to take into account any headwind, rain or weather/traffic related factors that can affect the rate of battery drainage
– Refer to www.teslamotorsclub.com and https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/austinsan-antonio-area-tesla for any tips/ideas

Note
After I came back from my trip, on 2015-05-29, a new charging location, Torre di Pietra Winery (with 2 80A Tesla connectors and 1 Clipper Creek J-1772 chargers) on Hwy 290 near Fredericksburg (between Fredericksburg and Johnson City) popped up on http://www.plugshare.com. I am really glad that Hill Country businesses are encouraging EV owners to take trips there.

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