So one of the things I’m hoping to get from the Model Y is the ability to do the whole trip comfortably, with no load. To make it more interesting, we added bikes to the rear, using our freshly installed tow hitch. Would model Y be able to do this?
A little more background first. Our Model X, which I discussed at length, was pretty much the definition of a lemon. Throughout our 3 years with the vehicle it had a faulty axle which likely contributed to its poor range. It was probably a Tesla ground model, so we got a significant discount on this “as is” one, but we started to regret that decision. It came with the 22 inch turbine wheels which were gangsta and really added to the Falcon Wing door set when I was dropping the kids off at school, but apparently they were pretty awful on the car’s lineup as well. I practically verified this fact by getting better range with 20 inch snow tires in winter vs 22 inch gangsta wheels in summer. The point is, we’re not starting from a very high bar here.
Model Y as a travel car
The Model Y delivery experience has been very good and incredibly efficient. There were holes in the panels and a stain on the inside, but Tesla, to their credit, sent a ranger home on Friday to do minor work. The technician was super professional, friendly and knowledgeable and even checked my tow hitch installation and readjusted a few clicks which looked good, but I didn’t realize they weren’t placed correctly.
I set the Model Y to fully charge on Friday evening on my Juicebox charger, to prepare for the big trip. When I woke up in the morning the charging stopped at 307 miles and I got a 12V battery warning. I have had them before and sometimes they are due to sudden load changes, which may have been caused by my. Juicebox turns off at 8 a.m. (I’m in the Smartcharing ConEd / Fleetcarma rewards program, so I’m largely rewarded for only charging from midnight to 8 a.m.) Since I already received the 12V warnings, I knew it was OK to drive with it and, incidentally, not to have seen the warning since.
By the way, if you want to know what it’s like to write about Tesla impartially, check out the above Tweet responses from the TSLAQ Tesla haters and separate Vitriolic Superfan thread. Which side is the worst? Guess I know I’m fine if I piss both sides?
Anyway, I plugged the charger back in, put the AC power inside the car, and started packing for the trip.
Cargo space for model Y travel
Some freight observations of Model Y versus Model X:
- The Frunk is wider on the Model X but the Model Y is deeper.
- The space under the trunk floor is gargantuan in the Model Y compared to the Model X. Most of our belongings for the 2 week trip fit here.
- Our 50lb. husky occupies the rear area of Model Y, which is not as big as Model X in all dimensions, but still large enough for her to move around and be satisfied. No complaints from him.
- The same Thule bike carrier that allowed the Model X trunk to open does not do the same for the Model Y. The trunk hits the rack if I try to open it. Maybe I can extend it a bit – it’s close. It means we have to change our process a bit. Doggo will have to enter and exit through the rear passenger doors. NBD.
- My 2 boys (11 and 9) like the rear seating area but had more independence in the Model X captain’s chairs. But they certainly appreciated the rear pockets and storage under the front seats which is a great help. upgrade from the X.
- USB-C chargers allowed them to charge their Chrome / Macbooks while driving, which is an upgrade from the Model X. The armrest / cup holder is also a welcome addition, but of course was a cause brawl or three over the course of 3+ hours. trip.
Loading the bikes is pretty easy and due to the aforementioned rear door closing issue it had to be done last. The last step is to put the dog in the back, which we have now done through the rear passenger door. pose the single seat. We bribed her with treats and maybe gave her a little CBD / Benadryl cocktail, hence the derpy look, don’t judge !.
Model Y travel
Once we mapped our destination, the computer estimated that we would arrive with 32% range remaining. It ended up dropping to around 25% during the trip and stayed constant (probably because of the bikes). We take the Taconic Parkway, which is twisty and hilly most of the way with a speed limit of 55 mph.
I put AutoPilot at 64 mph, which puts us on the right track most of the time (if you don’t know, New York drivers are agro). With 4 passengers and the dog, the air conditioning is set to 71 degrees Fahrenheit and, most importantly, the bikes in the back, we average about 320 watts / mile on the highway. That’s roughly an extrapolated range of 240 miles on the 75 kWh battery, or about 76 miles less than the normal range of 316 miles.
After the Taconic, the second half of the journey is made up of country roads, which have a similar speed limit but with significant drops as we pass through small towns.
What is amazing is that even with the bikes, I got a much better range than the Model X without the bikes. Comparatively, the Model Y is a marvel of efficiency.
The last stop of the trip is up a mountain outside of Manchester, Vermont, which is obviously very taxing on the drums. The flip side is that coming home is easier and we can regenerate some autonomy early on, if we don’t want to fully charge. At the end of the day, if we can do it, we can definitely come back.
Model Y success!
We finished the 174.3 mile trip with 28% – or about 92 miles – of range remaining, easily making the trip with a lot to lose. Again, it’s with the bikes in the back.
Model Y: The ideal travel car?
Obviously, I haven’t done a long term travel test yet, but our first test was a resounding success. The bike hitch worked well and the bikes arrived working perfectly. Everyone was comfortable on the trip and the car was all we needed. There was no significant anguish once on the road. Even the acceleration was still amazing with everything including the packed bikes. It was easy to forget that the bikes were even there.
With a range of almost 100 miles even though it’s packed to the max I’m confident I can catch up with it here without the charge stopping in the winter, especially when it’s really cold. It will be interesting to see how the Octovalve heat pump contributes to battery autonomy. With supercharging and without the bike rack, I’m pretty sure over 300 miles between boost stops will be easy to achieve, even at much higher speeds.
Every family is different and ours is relatively small, but for our 4+ dog crew, the Model Y seems like the perfect electric travel vehicle and a big improvement over our experience with the Model X.
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