Jakub Stechły and I are a little more than halfway (~9 hours) through our drive from Wrocław, Poland, to Paris, France (to attend and moderate roundtable discussions at Autonomy). We’ve taken a few photos of our erratic driving patterns, our average Wh/km, fast chargers we stumbled upon along the way, wind farms, and solar panels — have a look below.
More or less, we’ve driven with the flow of traffic, but we have at times driven at extreme speeds (more on that at the bottom) and at other times we have slowed down a bit to not cut our battery range too close to its limits.
Yes, some people do drive insanely fast on the Autobahn, but most drive at a reasonable speed that doesn’t get the blood pumping too fast, so we haven’t really had to moderate what would be our normal driving approach.
When we have slowed down a bit, we have actually appreciated the more peaceful ride, especially with Autopilot on and early visions of a robotaxi future.
We have stopped to Supercharge a few times and enjoyed chilling out at the stations, stretching, getting food, and complaining about pay-per-use toilets in Germany in the meantime. Actually, nearly every time, we have stayed later than we needed to and been surprised by how fast the time went. Again, what really hit us is how this more relaxed pace of travel actually makes the road trip feel more peaceful and comfortable.
Just due to the normal nature of human biology and urinary systems, we’ve also had to stop some extra times beyond the Supercharging. At the last quick stop, we ended up parking right next to an innogy fast charging station. We decided to plug in for 20 minutes and boosted our battery capacity by 13 percentage points as a result.
As far as other electric vehicles, we’ve only spotted 10 plug-in vehicles so far. Yikes!
1 — Nissan LEAF, from our friend meeting us at Kostomłoty Supercharger
6 — Tesla Model S (5 at Superchargers)
1 — Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
2 — Model X (at a Supercharger)
The interesting thing is that 2/3 of the electric vehicles we’ve seen so far have been Teslas sitting at Superchargers (often just for a few minutes).
Getting back to the matter of driving speed, something to keep in mind is that the aerodynamic wind drag on the car reduces range exponentially as your speed increase. I have never felt comfortable venturing far above 150 km/h due to the high speed as well as the battery hit (also, I probably still think of it too much like it’s 150 mph even though I know it’s not), but for a few moments in Germany, Kuba decided to go from 110 km/h up to 216 km/h. After ~5 seconds, taking that driving style into account, Tesla’s estimate for our battery capacity at our next stopping point dropped from 21% to 13%. Note that this was when we were actually ~2 hours away from that destination, so Tesla’s quick adjustment was based on an assumption that we’d be driving like madmen for many kilometers. (That brief sprint also jetted our energy consumption up to ~500 Wh/km, versus our previous average at highway speeds of ~200 Wh/km and our average for a record-range attempt of ~105 Wh/km.)
∴ Learn more about Tesla’s brilliant navigation system here: Tesla Smart Navigation Is Brilliant (+ 3 Tips).
∴ Learn more about what I’m doing at Autonomy here: See You In Paris! — Talkin’ Bikes, Electric Scooters, & Electric Carsharing At Autonomy.
∴ Learn more about why Tesla’s Superchargers rock here: Tesla Superchargers vs … Ugh.