Hypermiling

EV tripplanner data for route from Beaver to Las Vegas

EV tripplanner data for route from Beaver to Las Vegas

A couple of new superchargers were added in Utah recently allowing me to drive home along Interstate 70 and Interstate 15 through Utah and Nevada (including a tiny section of Arizona) instead of the long loop back through Gallup New Mexico.  At this point of the long journey, I was happy to cut both miles and time.

However, one glaring hole existed for charging.  Between Beaver, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada was a total of 223 miles between superchargers.  The weather was also quite warm and the freeway speeds quite high.

EVtripplanner.com lists the journey requiring 268 rated range miles in 82 degree weather.  In between Beaver, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada were very few charging stations.  A Nissan dealer in St. George, Utah allows Teslas to charge there but the charge rate is slow.  A few RV parks exist along I15, but after calling one I was dismayed to hear it was not possible because they were all booked up for the holiday weekend.

I decided to drive straight to Las Vegas without stopping or charging.  Even if the report listed a requirement of about 270 miles needed, I also noticed a large drop in elevation of -3884 feet, which should enable me to not use very much energy.

I decided to hypermile my way to Las Vegas.  Hypermiling in an electric vehicle can include many techniques but the following are the ones I used:

  1. Drive significantly slower than the 75 and 80 mph hour speed limits.  I decided that I felt safe enough about 20 mph slower than the speed limit if there was plenty of visibility from the rear.
  2. Allow the car to slow down up any small uphills and regain speed on the downhills.
  3. Keep the air conditioner off as much as possible.
  4. Keep the fan off and crack open a window to cool the car.
  5. Enjoy all the other Model S electronics because they run off the 12 Volt battery.
  6. Do not stop and take a break.
  7. Accelerate slowly.
  8. Use the cruise control to maintain a consistent speed.

Other techniques include:

  1. Drafting semi trucks.  I dislike people tailgating me and also did not want a lot of road debris hitting the car, so I decided to not try to save energy by drafting trucks.
  2. Putting the car in neutral and coasting.  I had earlier played with this on some remote roads but I preferred regenerating energy on the downhills instead of coasting.  In some states driving the car in neutral is illegal.

I fortunately had met a couple the day before doing the same trip in their Model S with 19” tires, and texted them to make sure they were successful.  They made it to Las Vegas with plenty to spare.  My exact data for the journey is listed in the table below.  I made it to Las Vegas with 74 miles of rated range in the battery.

When needing to save energy, I prefer to drive conservatively in the beginning and then relax the driving in the second half.  Once I hit St. George, Utah I had only 118 miles left to go and 194 rated range listed.  I pretty much followed the speed limit from that point on and had the A/C on also.  The huge drop in elevation between Cedar City and St. George allowed me to drive between those two cities using only 7.6 kWh.

If I were to drive this route again, I would feel quite comfortable increasing the speed in Utah.

Hypermiling Data from Beaver to Las Vegas

Hypermiling Data from Beaver to Las Vegas

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10 thoughts on “Hypermiling

  1. It’s interesting that you kept the AC off. I’m not a Tesla owner (yet!) but from what I’ve read, the energy to run the AC is miniscule compared to the energy required to move the vehicle, so driving with the AC off does very little to extend your range. I got this from the forums at teslamotorsclub.com and I will admit I haven’t read them extensively, but that was my overall impression.

    • Normally you would not worry much about the A/C. But it is the only other factor that does use the main battery.

      • I’ve seen a lot of comments at TMC saying that it’s less efficient to open windows, though (drag, I presume) when driving at highway speeds (or even at near-highway speeds).

        I’m curious about the big difference in your second leg (the table at the end of your post); that can’t be from A/C (or at least, not A/C alone) even if the window was more efficient than A/C…was that where most of the elevation drop happened? Adding another column with this info would make this table clearer, methinks.

        Anyway, interesting post, as always.

      • I thought about putting in elevation in the table, but elevation is more complex than a simple drop in numbers. The main reason being that there are rolling ups and downs that impact efficiency and also I cannot record the elevation at the point I am recording my statistics. So I decided to keep that out of the table. But I added the data below from the web from probably the downtown locations of each city. The second leg had the huge elevation drop. During that leg I only opened the windows a crack or two.

        Here are some simple elevations

        Beaver 5,900
        Cedar City 5,800
        St. George 2,860
        Las Vegas 2,030

        I have since added the data as per Kendall’s suggestion.

    • Much much harder to go in the reverse direction. I don’t think I would chance it with the huge elevation gain.

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  3. Here in Australia we have only 6 or 7 SCs in the whole country between Melbourne & Sydney making hypermiling virtually a necessity for driving long distances electrically. Driving Melbourne to Perth has been done already by Tesla and the challenge is to find charging locations to at least allow an overnight charge which would need at least 7-8 kWs for a 12 hr charge. Id like to do the trip myself.

    • I would myself enjoy driving cross country in Australia. I did a trip from Alice Springs to Uluru a few years ago. I think Australia needs a lot more superchargers and overnight charging. We still have a few similar areas with low population that are really hard to reach.

      I recently returned doing some overnight charging at 4kW, but that helped a lot but it wasn’t a complete “tank” / battery.

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