Today was a travel day. I aimed to get to the Texas / New Mexico border area on I-40. I had arrived in Waco just before 2am. I charged up a bit so I wouldn’t risk waking to an empty battery, but I didn’t stay for the full charge before going to my hotel. As such, the first thing in the morning was to return to the SuperCharger for a charge.
The Waco SuperCharger is near Collin Street Bakery and they have placed this sign near in view when charging:
Free caffeine in a bakery? YES! I received a large Breakfast Blend tea and purchased a small pecan brownie and three different cookies. 🙂
Next SuperCharger was in Denton. At this point, I could head North along a route with more SuperChargers to I-40 in Oklahoma City and then head West, or I could take a chance and cut NW across Texas to the SuperCharger in Childress. I looked and the distance between SuperChargers was about 211 miles. More than I have attempted. It’s also a gradual incline as you’re heading towards the Rocky Mountains. The Tesla navigation estimated I could make it with a 6% buffer if I charged to 240 miles estimated range. That’s a long charge as it gets very slow after about 230 miles. I settled in for the long charge.
At 241 estimated range, I unplugged and set out. I kept to the speed limit of 75 and 65 along the route. The car informed me to reduce my speed and I did, a bit, but not as much as recommended. I was keeping an eye on the buffer in the range and things were looking good.
Then there was a highway detour. That cost a few miles of range. After that, the temperature outside dropped rapidly. Cold air is harder on the range for two reasons. First, the air is denser so it takes more energy to drive through it. Second, the battery starts to get cold and has to use energy to warm itself. My estimated range started dropping faster than I planned. I cut speed several times until I was the slow car being passed by everyone. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. The dreaded, “charging required to reach destination” message appeared.
I had checked to make sure there were destination chargers along the route, just in case. There is one at the Hampton Inn in Vernon, TX. I called ahead to ensure it was operational and available. It was. Unfortunately, I had to either stay at the hotel or pay to use the charger. Since I was going to stop, I sped up to make up a bit of lost time. I arrived at the Hampton Inn, paid $10.86, and plugged in for one hour. I was disappointed to pay for the charge. Up to this point, I had not spent anything for charging on this trip. The hour added 25 miles of range and I believed I could make it, so I disconnected and resumed the trip. I arrived at the Childress SuperCharger with 15 miles of range remaining.
The route had taken longer than planned, so I drove one more segment to Amarillo and called it a night.