Published on August 18th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
Prepping For World Electric Car (Tesla) Distance Record Attempt
August 18th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
This weekend, members of the Tesla Shuttle crew are going to attempt to break the world record for miles/kilometers driven on a single charge in an electric car. The attempt is being led by Tomasz Gać, founder/CEO of Quriers and co-founder of Tesla Shuttle. But I’m also one of those people and will be doing a good chunk of the driving — weather permitting. A third co-founder, Jacek Fior, and I did a test drive for several hours recently. Below the video (and in the video chat) are some of my notes from that test drive.
For the test drive, we planned to drive at ~40 km/h (25 mph), but we were also a bit loose about this. The first thing we noticed was probably that accelerating up to 50 km/h really does make a difference — at least, it seems like it from the Tesla energy graph on the navigation screen. Of course, we knew it makes a difference since I’ve been trolling Tesla forums for years, but yeah, if you’re ever approaching an unfortunate ending or close call with the limits of your car’s electric driving range, drop your speed down to 40 km/h (25 mph).
Generally, it was just fun to see the estimated battery capacity at arrival continually climb up as we keep going, going, going. … Driving slow can be fun too!
I used Autopilot much of the way, which quickly put me in the disposition of a passenger. At 40 km/h, with very little traffic, Autopilot is a whole other animal than it is on a fast-speed highway or in busy stop-and-go traffic. It was extremely comfortable and made it easier for me to envision the day when we have fully self-driving cars on the market.
The really weird thing was transitioning from Autopilot on 40 km/h to driving (even with Autopilot) on a normal highway. It took several minutes to return to “normal driving mode.” Even compared to using and then switching off Autopilot on such highways, this was several times more dramatic of a shift. And it wasn’t like switching from a passenger seat to the driver’s seat. Somehow, my mind had jumped into a kind of semi-driving mode, and getting out of that after a few hours to zip along on the highway was super awkward. Making turns, watching for other cars, changing lanes — it was all as if I was 15 and learning how to drive again.
Another notable energy spike comes with the climb from 0 km/h to any normal speed, even 40 km/h. Even if you go really slowly and try to conserve energy, getting a heavy mass rolling requires a surge of energy, which results in a mountain of some sort and size on the energy graph.
It’s easy to presume that loud music and air conditioning use a lot of energy, but we actually had a hard time noticing them on the energy graph. Using air conditioning seemed to register — maybe — but playing music didn’t seem to change a thing. Perhaps some techies with more detailed information on this can provide some perspective, but my takeaway was that I wouldn’t worry about music sucking energy away if I was in a tight situation, and I’d probably choose air conditioning over an uncomfortably hot temperature in all but the most nerve-racking of circumstances — you know, like trying to break the world record in driving distance on a single charge.