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Unique ExperienceI set the EV Cannonball Run Record in my Tesla Model 3, AMA!

Jan 10th 2018 by CannonballDan • 19 Questions • 52 Points

My short bio: My brother waited in line for me at the Tesla store in West Palm Beach on March 31, 2016 to make a Model 3 reservation and put a $1,000 deposit down on the car. Tesla provided current Tesla owners with priority over non-owners and provided reservation holders in California with priority over the rest of the country. Since I am a Tesla Model S owner, I had priority over non-owners, but living in Florida put me at a disadvantage against almost everyone else in the country. To get around this issue, I planned on taking delivery of my Model 3 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. It was a risk, but apparently my strategy worked because I was one of the first to receive a configuration invite from Tesla.

Since I was picking my car up in Fremont, and I knew that the Model 3 was much more efficient than the Model S that held the Cannonball EV record at that time, I was kicking around the idea of trying to beat the record with some friends. At that time, I had never heard of Alex Roy or that he held multiple Cannonball Records for both gas and electric cars.

I met Alex when he PM’d me on the Model 3 Owner’s Club site. He had found out that I was taking delivery of one of the first non-employee Model 3’s and was interested in flying down to Florida to shoot some pictures of my car. I emailed Alex telling him that he was welcome to fly down and take pictures of the car. Once I found out that he had recently lost the Cannonball Run EV record, I also asked if he was interested in regaining his title with me. He responded, “Set a new EV Cannonball record with you in the [T]M3? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.”

I flew up to San Francisco on December 27, 2017 and did not take delivery of my Model 3 until late that night. I woke up at 4:00 AM the next morning and headed down to meet Alex at LAX. On December 28, 2017, we set out to beat the official Cannonball Run EV record of 51:47 and an official record of 51:17. We drove from the Portofino Hotel in L.A. to the Red Ball Garage in NYC in 50:16, setting the new record.

You can ask me anything about the Model 3, Alex Roy, our trip, or why I’m selling my Model 3.

Article regarding my invitation to configure: https://insideevs.com/non-employees-invite-order-tesla-model-3/

Article regarding my delivery: https://insideevs.com/insideevs-contributor-tesla-model-3-delivery-experience/

Cannonball Run EV Record: http://www.thedrive.com/new-cars/17312/tesla-model-3-sets-new-ev-cannonball-run-record-of-50-hours-16-minutes

Alex Roy’s review of my car: http://www.thedrive.com/new-cars/17280/tesla-model-3-the-first-serious-review

Reason why I'm selling my Model 3: http://www.thedrive.com/opinion/17399/why-im-selling-the-tesla-model-3-cannonball-run-ev-record-holder

eBay Listing for my Model 3: http://r.ebay.com/9PAPOF

Record: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannonball_Baker_Sea-To-Shining-Sea_Memorial_Trophy_Dash#New_era_and_electric_vehicle_records

My Proof: https://imgur.com/HGCuc7k

Q:

Were there any supercharger stops that could have been shorter to cut the time at all? Did you learn Alex's secret to avoiding tickets?

A:

Yes, but there was minimal data on the car when we started, so we were pretty much learning on the fly and making it up as we went along. Alex' Valentine was SUPER annoying, but it did save us a couple times and Waze of course helps too.


Q:

How much time and kwh did you use between each Supercharger? How many kwh did you have when you arrived at each Supercharger? How many kwh did you charge to, and how long did it take?

A:

LOL, if I told you all that, I might as well give you the road map to beating our record!


Q:

I wasn't looking for that, but there is a lot of good data there on how the battery performs.

You could anonymize the data, such as:
What was the average kwh in the Rockies vs the Plains and the temperature?
From point to point (not telling what the points are), what was the average speed and khw/mile? How fast do the batteries charge from x% to x%?
How quickly does each Supercharger location charge?

A:

Fair enough. The issue is that I didn't record a lot of that data and I accidentally reset the trip counter after the 3rd or 4th leg. From memory, CA was great, we were getting 250-270 Wh/mi. I don't know that we actually touched the Rockies, but there were huge elevation changes in AZ and it was cold. That was the worst efficiency, probably 340-420 Wh/mi. Once we got into the plains it was below freezing still, but at least we didn't have the huge elevation changes. That was probably 280-340 Wh/mi. This is off the top of my head, so don't hold me to that, but I think it's +/- right. Average charging speed completely depends on your state of charge and up to what you are charging. It is most efficient, 100kWh+ from about 20-50%. Below 20% and above 50% it drops quickly. Each Supercharge location at most efficient was probably 105-115 kWh, but again depends on your state of charge. I don't know if you have a Tesla, but it's a little more complicated than how long does it take to charge. Depends on a lot of factors. See preliminary curves based on available info at the time here: https://model3ownersclub.com/threads/model-3-charging-curve.5112/page-2#post-60035


Q:

As you've driven both a model S and model 3, how does the wind noise compare between the two? Especially at highway speeds.

A:

My Model S is over 4 years old, so it's probably not a fair comparison, but the Model 3 is quieter than mine.


Q:

So how was Alex during the trip?

A:

I don't pull any punches, if he was a DB, I'd let you know, but Alex is actually a great guy. I know he probably comes across as cocky and an asshole in his videos and articles sometimes, but he's really down to earth, reasonable, and doesn't force his opinion on you.


Q:

What do you think about the rear visibility issue?

How would you compare the autopilot interactions between the model s and 3?

A:

Rear visibility isn't amazing, but it's not terrible. It's perfectly manageable, especially since you have the sensors telling you if something is close. AP interactions are not as good. Stalk is much more intuitive. Manageable, as it is, but I don't love using the screen for adjustments. You shouldn't have to take your eye off the road on the highway to find a button on a screen and peck at it. I suspect this will be updated in a future OS, but it's not great as it is now.


Q:

Thanks! Did you find a good work around for adjusting speed in lieu of using the screen buttons or is the TACC good enough to not adjust the speed much? Or maybe changing your speed and just resetting it?

A:

The screen only adjusts the MAX speed, so it's not like something you should be adjusting constantly. If you set it at 65 mph and want to raise the max to 69 you tap + 4 times and it's done. Then the TACC adjusts the speeds based on traffic up to 69.


Q:

Yea, I feel like if you're not messing too much with it, it's probably not as big a deal then if the TACC is just doing most of the work. Still, would be better on the scroll wheels, but it seems it's not as horrific as some make it out to be

A:

It really isn't. Alex says he loves the car and talks about the negatives of the AP inputs for the other 99% of the time. Based on the amount of time devoted to the AP inputs, you'd think he hated the car, but it's really our only complaint and it's minor. It's not as intuitive and eyes-free as a Model S or X adjustment, but having AP and TACC with a slightly inconvenient interface is still better than the vast majority of other cars.


Q:

How much does your Model 3 cost incl. all taxes with what options and how much loan are you paying monthly? Would like to know about the loan and interest rate for Model 3, if you’re okay.

A:

Out-the-door it was $60,500 with the long range batter ($9k), premium upgrade package ($5k), and AutoPilot ($5k). I haven't gotten a bill yet, but with the required $3,500 down payment, I expect it to be $850 for 72 months, $1,000 for 60 month. I think I'm paying 2.25% with the local credit union.


Q:

Just wondering: What made sleeping in the back uncomfortable? the kind of mattress, the low metal beam between trunk and back seats, the dimensions (length or width) or something else?

A:

All of the above. I wouldn't say it was completely uncomfortable, but it wasn't comfortable either. At 5'8" I could make it work diagonally, if I had my feet resting against the cold back of the trunk, or if bent my knees. None are ideal, but you can make it work in a pinch. As far as the roof beam, it was tight, but I wasn't pinched between the mattress and the beam. I only hit it whenever I tried to rotate. This could easily be solved with something lower profile. After trying that and the front seat, I just found the front seat fully reclined with a neck pillow more comfortable than laying down in the back on a cheap air mattress.


Q:

What is your headliner made of?

A:

Alcantra.


Q:

What is your headliner made of?

A:

And as far as the aero wheels go, I don't know what kind of added range they get you in reality without driving with both wheels. I assume they get you some better efficiency, but no idea if it's 10%.


Q:

I assume you’re an S or X owner as well. Alex Roy’s main criticism was the TACC/AP controls on the 3 compared to S/X. At what points in the trip did you or Alex realize how bad it was?

A:

Yes, I have a Model S, but it's a 2013, so no AP. I have had multiple loaners with AP though. Having only driven with AP a handful of times it wasn't awful to me. If you're coming from another Tesla, it's definitely not as intuitive, but if your coming from a different car, having the AP is far better than nothing. To me it's just a minor annoyance, not a deal breaker. The car is in AP mode when you are adjusting, so it's pretty safe to take your eyes off the road for a second to adjust the Max speed. It's just not as easy as clicking a stalk up without looking.


Q:

I feel like if they could map one of the scroll wheels on the steering wheel to adjust speed it would be perfect...

A:

Yes, should be an easy update. The left scroll wheel doesn't do anything, but allow you to give voice commands if you hold it down, so I assume that's what it will do.


Q:

What was the best meal you had during the trip and where was it?

A:

Lol, I think Alex would probably agree, the buttered popcorn Jelly bellies. The only real meal we had was Chipotle because I looked ahead to the next charger and did an online order that I ran in and picked up. Other than that, the only options were McDonalds or gas station food. There were occasional actual restaurants, but we always managed to hit them when they were closed or when we weren't hungry.


Q:

You driving with no heat for days across an absolutely frigid country? Fine.

You risking your neck and license to break a speed record? Good for you.

You guys liking butter popcorn Jelly Belly? I doubt your sanity. ;-)

A:

I never said either of us were sane, lol. I don't have a sweet tooth, so sweets I eat are few and far between. Heath bars, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and buttered popcorn jelly bellies. And I don't eat any of those that often. Alex thought I was nuts when I got them, but he ended up eating half the bag. It's crazy how they can get the taste of popcorn into a jelly bean.


Q:

Why have you done 3 separate AMA’s thus far today and does that relate to you currently having the car listed on eBay?

A:

This is the first actual AMA. I posted on the Tesla Motors subreddit earlier today to see if anyone was interested in asking me questions, but it wasn't an actual AMA with the reddit required proof. People were asking me questions in that post, but I deferred most of them to this actual AMA because I was at work. I cross-posted this AMA on Tesla Motors subreddit, but its the same AMA. I've only had 2 posts on reddit, so that's it. I dropped the link to the ebay article and listing in my bio because it seemed like people are interested in it, but I have not brought it up in comments until you asked. If there are questions, I'll answer, but I'm not commenting about it on my own.


Q:

Did you log your trip via the REST API? Can we see those logs?

A:

I'm not sure. Alex handled the GPS recording and video. I doubt it though, because that would probably give away all our trade secrets.


Q:

I'm new to cannonball, so I have a question : it seems that you were driving over the speed limit a lot. Did you have a special permit or was that illegal?

And if it's illegal, could the police arrest or fine you based on the gps evidence?

A:

I think most people on the road drive 5-15 miles over the speed limit a lot of the time. I don't think I was doing anything more "illegal" than I do on any given day. No permit. I'm not sure about that last one. I'll let you know if they do!