Tesla Model 3 Road trip – trunk space

During a road trip in a Tesla Model 3, one worries about range. But before said road trip, one first has to worry about trunk space. And traveling with a toddler means traveling with a lot of extra gears. Here were what we brought:

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A full size stroller, a full size hiking carrier, and a full size travel crib, all fit very comfortably into the trunk:

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Two of the larger bags fit into the front trunk, and 3 of the smaller bags fit into the compartment below the trunk. All in all, it was quite easy. We didn’t even have to put much in the passenger cabin, so my wife could choose to sit in the front and enjoy the panoramic view, or sit in the back and entertain our little guy. We could have quite easily fit another adult passenger and a small bag or two of extra luggage (which we did on a separate road trip to Seattle).

Although possible, I don’t think it would be hospitable fitting 2 more adults and their luggage on a road trip though. The carseat has to go on the right back seat, and the middle passenger would have a very cramped ride.

So if you are hesitant about buying a Tesla Model 3 for your toddler, just know the usual gears for your day to day activities or short road trips can quite easily fit into the surprisingly deep trunk.

Tesla Model 3 Road Trip – highway range anxiety

Over the last weekend, we took a small road trip from Vancouver to Kelowna (about 800km round trip) in our Tesla Model 3. Driving the Tesla on the open road was both exhilarating and comfortable at the same time. Why? The powerful acceleration (0-100km/h in just over 5 seconds) makes even the entry-level Standard Range Plus very fun to drive. The low center of gravity and superb aerodynamics produces a smooth, grounded ride even at high speeds. And of course the relaxing knowledge that when Elon Musk is doing 50% of the driving (via Autopilot), Tesla is at its safest.

However, there were definitely things that I didn’t have to think about when taking a road trip in a gasoline powered car, such as how energy efficient is my driving, how accurate is the estimated remaining range, and where the next charging station is and how long we will stop for — or more simply put, range anxiety. 

You see, Tesla Model 3 displays an estimated remaining range on the dash board, which cannot be trusted when driving on a highway.

In the case of my Standard Range Plus, the estimated range is based on a rated efficiency of 160 Wh/km. A battery capacity of 62kWh translates to the advertised 386km range on a full charge. But you would have to drive under 100km/h, on a flat road with no incline, and avoid fast accelerations to achieve that efficiency.

I learned quickly that the adage “your mileage may vary” is very much the case when driving a Tesla through a mountain highway.

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Case in point. The Model 3 displayed that there was 267km of range left, but when compared to the Energy app, the actual energy usage was a whopping 455 Wh/km (almost 3 times as much as the rated 160 Wh/km), which translated to only 80km of range left!

On a few other occasions when I checked the Energy app, my energy consumption was still around 300 Wh/km, which meant a full charge on the Model 3 Standard Range Plus would only give us a range of about 200km driving through the mountains. Come to think of it, when we drove from Vancouver to Seattle on another road trip, which was about 200km of not particularly mountainous driving, we also went from 100% to just under 10% of charge.

This taught me a few things:

  1. Open the Energy app periodically and check the projected Average Range there, which is based on the energy consumption in the last 10, 25, or 50km driven. This would be a much more accurate estimation for your remaining range than the number displayed on the dashboard.
  2. When in doubt, stop at every Supercharger and stretch your legs. There is a reason why they strategically put the stations 150 to 200km apart.
  3. Try to stay at a place where it’s convenient to fully charge the car overnight, or near a Supercharger town.

We made a stop at each of the superchargers along the way: 50 minutes to get full charge at Hope, 30 minutes of energy boost at Merritt, then overnight charging when we reached our Airbnb in Kelowna. Then on the way back, 50 minutes to get full charge at Merritt, and 30 minutes of juicing up at Hope to get back home to Vancouver.

We used the longer stops for lunch (but I had to move the car midway through lunch to avoid idling charges, which is a bit of an annoyance), and a quick exercise break on one of the shorter stops in Merritt:

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We would not have played with the soccer ball on this trip if we didn’t have to stop in Merritt.

I actually didn’t mind stopping every 1.5 hour for a charging break. It slowed us down a little and our friend got to the destination 20 mins before us, but we weren’t tired at all when we got there. No complaints from the little guy at all except for when we woke him up from a nap too early.

The total supercharging amount during this trip:

  • Hope – 38 kWh
  • Merritt – 18 kWh
  • Merritt – 23 kWh
  • Hope – 17 kWh

I used a total Supercharging time of about 150 minutes, which at $0.44/minute it would have cost about $66 CAD. Our friend spent about $150 on gas.

Instead of actually paying for Supercharging, though, I used 387km of my Supercharging credits. You can earn free Supercharging credits too if you buy a Tesla using my referral code: https://ts.la/shengping75849

It’s not really about saving $66 for the cost of charging. It’s more for the happy feeling that we travelled for free, both in terms of fuel cost and carbon footprint (electricity in BC is 95% from renewable hydroelectric sources).

Buying Tesla Model 3

Like many of my fellow Tesla fans, I’ve followed Tesla with fascination over the last few years. My first introduction to the cars and their fans was by The Oatmeal (of all people). Until the release of the lower-priced Model 3 AND the provincial and federal EV incentives in BC, Canada, though, owning a Tesla car had been a remote dream for me.

When I found out in May 2019 that Tesla cut their MRSP for entry-level Model 3 to qualify for the Canadian federal incentives, I jumped on the chance and ordered the first car I’ve ever bought. I went with a Standard Range Plus Rear Wheel Drive (the cheapest Tesla and the only one that qualifies for the EV incentives you can order online), with the lowest cost options for customization, which, at that time, meant the black exterior and interior, aerowheels, and skipping the full self driving option. I am buying the car for its performance, Autopilot, and fuel savings, and I don’t need any extra bells and whistles to get these things.

I waited with abated breath and watched as the BC provincial EV incentives dwindle at an alarming rate, worried that the pot of funds would run out before I get my car. Tesla can’t apply for the incentives until a VIN number is assigned to me, which was 1-2 weeks after paying my deposit. Thankfully, my car arrived after 3 weeks of waiting and at a combined discount of $10,000 thanks to our EV loving governments. (After a few weeks of my delivery, the incentive funds in BC did run out and they lowered the incentive to $3,000 per car.)

For those of you living in BC, if you are considering buying an electric car at some point, you should check the CEVforBC website for info on the the remaining incentive funds. If you decided to go with a Tesla like I did, please consider using my referral code: https://ts.la/shengping75849. We each get free supercharging credits!

Well, hello there!

Welcome to my blog. I’m your host, Vancouver Tesla Dad.

Now, I love my Tesla Model 3 as much as the next Tesla owner, but as parents of a toddler, my wife and I had some reservations before buying the smallest Tesla: is the trunk big enough to hold the stroller? Is the car seat going to fit comfortably? If we went on a road trip, would it fit a travel crib?

This blog is to document our family’s journey with the small but mighty Model 3. Hopefully we can answer some of your questions along the way, or at the very least, entertain you with interesting tidbits about an EV lifestyle.

If you were convinced to join the Tesla community, please consider using my referral code. We both get some supercharging credits and my toddler would thank you for supporting our road trips! https://ts.la/shengping75849