My Model S turns 2.5 years old end of this month. It’s a 2016 ‘refresh’ MS90D with AP1, standard 19” wheels, coil suspension, and pano roof. Midnight silver metallic with gray Next Gen seats and matt Obeche trim inside. It was delivered to my house on June 30, 2016 from the Cincinnati Service Center as the Indianapolis Service Center did not yet exist.
I had started debating whether it was time to finally replace the Honda S2000 that had been my ‘toy’ since purchasing it new in 2001. I had not actively started looking yet for a replacement, but more just thinking about it. My first look at a Model S actually happened by chance in February 2016. We were killing a couple hours at The Fashion Mall between performances at a state high school music contest and my daughters and I stopped in just to see one. I think it was a little over an hour before we left the store that day. As many of you know the drill, that started the wheels turning in my head.
I’m as big a geek as any and all the tech was appealing, but I must admit that I struggled a lot with the decision to purchase my Model S. How would I adapt to an electric vehicle? How do I get past spending 2.5 times what I’ve spent on any car in my life? The Model S did have the benefit over my last toy being a car I would drive year round and could haul two daughters to/from school events.
Note … don’t try driving a Honda S2000 in the snow, especially with worn tires; been there, done that, DON’T recommend it!.
The key thing for me that I needed to get past was getting comfortable taking it on trips. No way was I going to spend that amount of money for a car that I’d just use driving to/from work or the occasional trips to Indy or Bloomington. Where would I charge? How long would it take? How would I adapt to the realities of not stopping at any exit on the interstate knowing I could find gas? Was I ready for what I ended up referring to as the psychological social behavioral experiment of owning and traveling with a totally electric vehicle??
You can imagine that the supercharger network, although still with some key gaps for me in mid-2016, was a key part of my decision. I quickly found sites like supercharge.info and evtripplanner.com and started using them to explore potential road trips. We did a Spring Break trip to Atlanta that year and after we got back it became one of my test cases. Would I have made that trip in the Model S? My family would also tell you that trip became Dad’s ‘spot the Tesla’ trip while we were driving around Atlanta (yeah, the disease was starting to take root).
I finally got comfortable enough that I scheduled the first test drive. Shortly after that was the discussion at home about me spending that amount on a car. Ultimately my wife made the same statement she’d made with the S2000 purchase; “If you want it, get it, but if you decide not to, I never want to hear about it again!”.
So how has this worked out?
My MS90D just hit 40,000 miles earlier this week. I realize that’s not extreme by some standards, but realize my daily round trip work commute is less than 15 miles. The Model S has become my preferred car for road trips, although the van still gets used when moving one of the daughters or all are home and there are five of us traveling. Maybe more impressive for some is not the total miles but the map showing my supercharger visits. My current tally is 67 unique supercharger locations across 17 states. Yes, I do keep track.
The supercharger stops includes doing college visits the past couple years with two of my daughters ranging from Madison, WI and Minneapolis, MN in fall 2016, to Rochester/Syracuse NY, Philadelphia PA, and Washington, DC spring 2017. The NY/PA/DC trip ended up playing dodge the blizzard across central New York and Pennsylvania during spring break. I’ve also done the more pedestrian visits to family in eastern Iowa or the one time I drove to Detroit area for business. All your basic, normal travel stuff.
There have been a few trips just for me. Like driving to the Kentucky/Tennessee border in August 2017 to experience totality during a solar eclipse. Or the couple ‘mental health days’ when I drive 500 miles in a day just to visit a couple superchargers I haven’t been to before (like Mt. Vernon IL or London, KY). There also was the time I decided to go have dinner one night with my eldest daughter. Did I mention she was in New Hampshire at the time and having dinner meant a 2,000 mile round trip in 4 days?
I guess you could say I’ve gotten comfortable with my travels with a totally electric vehicle. I still use evtripplanner.com to get a sense for trips ahead of time. That includes the two most recent trips this fall; New York City over Labor Day to visit eldest daughter and Asheville, NC to see the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Biltmore Estate.
I do find that I must expand my travel boundaries if I want to continue to add new sites to my supercharger list. As you can tell by the map, it’s become tough to find someplace that I can tick off the list in a convenient day trip … that is until the ‘coming soon’ dots on the map for Bloomington and Elberfeld (Evansville) show up. My tally of 67 locations puts me 2/3rds of the way to The Century Club as some call it. Not sure if I’ll make that total before Skywalker’s third birthday in six months or not, but that’s the next goal.
I have a sister-in-law that referred to her ’50 by 50’ challenge. That was visiting all 50 states by the time she turned 50 (just an airport layover did NOT count; had to spend a night and eat a meal). I guess my Tesla equivalent of her ’50 by 50’ might be charging my car at a supercharger in every state in the lower 48, but that may take a bit more work.
Humm … I wonder … Spring Break 2019? Maybe somewhere in the southeast? How many locations and states might I be able to add with that trip??? It might be time to fire up evtripplanner.com again!
Stay tuned …