Road Trip Planning Guide (Recommendations from a 1400 mile trip in two travel days)

evanevery

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I just finished a 1400 mile trip with my Taycan Turbo S in two days of travel. I did a lot of research up front and was pretty well prepared. I read @louv's ENTIRE trip thread. The Taycan is my fourth EV in the last 6 years (of which I still have my BMW i8 and Tesla Model-X) and I've never even SEEN a public charger until this trip. I did this trip specifically to experience the realities of "over-the-road" travel with an EV.

Here are some recommendations for those who might be considering going out on the road with their Taycan:

First and foremost:

Folks need to understand that you NEVER travel anywhere NEAR your total range capacity as you may find that the entire charging station you planned to stop at will be completely unusable. This actually happened to me TWICE in the seven stations I had planned to visit (each way). TWO whole stations were completely down and phone calls to Electrify America could not get ANY of the charging terminals at either of the stations working (3 terminals at one and 4 terminals at the other)! You will likely want to have 50-60 miles of range in reserve in case you simply can't get a charge at a planned stop. Consider the density of charging options in the areas you will be travelling. You don't want to be forced to go backwards because the only station within your remaining range is behind you! (I always had the necessary range to make a secondary choice I had laid out further down the road). You REALLY don't want to be looking for a a car dealer (Chevy, Porsche, BMW), an RV park/campground, a Tesla Charger at a hotel, or be forced to plug into some 120V outlet cause nothing else is within range!

Adjust your expectations:

My 700 mile trip (each way), which normally takes me 12 Hrs, took about 3 hrs longer with the added charging stops. That 25% percent overhead for an EV vs an ICE vehicle. Understand what it is you are getting into. This isn't the way I would normally drive (stopping so often). Accept it as an adventure if necessary. ...or skip all the challenges and take an ICE. (Not Kidding here!)

Preparedness:

Have a good travel charger in your car for the trip. I carry a Mustart Travelmaster (120/220) with several adapter cables (Nema 10-50 (RV), Nema 6-50 (Welder), Nema 14-30 (Drier), and Nema 5-15 (120V)). You might need a travel charger in an emergency if you can't get to a public EV charger. You may need to pick up an emergency charge at an RV park or garage somewhere.

I also have a 40ft J1772 extension so I can run a charging circuit from inside a house/garage/building. The 40 ft extension is for the car connector not the supply plug. This lets me keep the charger itself out of the weather and I can use it regardless of which adapter plug I have attached. This extension also makes it handy if you want to use a relative's drier or welder connection from a relatively remote location inside their home. ;)

Keep a Tesla Tap in your charging kit in case you also need it in an emergency. You can't use Tesla SuperChargers with the tap but you can use lower power Tesla Destination Chargers found at many Hotels, etc!

Go out and run a test charge before your trip so you know what works and what doesn't. You don't want to be figuring how to activate a charger at Zero-Dark-Thirty some morning in the rain on your first trip. You need to establish a process YOU are comfortable with.

Planning:

Use ABRP (Web) to plan your route and charging stops NLT the day before you depart. (Its easier to do this using the Web app on your PC with a real keyboard and mouse). Figure out what stations you want to use. Consider where they are and how convenient they may be (rush hour around cities, etc). Consider if there are secondary choices further down the road and how far they are. If you have two possible stops 30-miles apart, plan to stop at the FIRST (nearest) one in case you have an issue and need to travel to the SECOND one. Make sure you are happy with your ABRP route before you go any further. Planning is everything! (Do NOT expect to rely on the onboard Nav system to plot your stops. You might have to use it in an emergency, but it makes unexplainable choices and I would never use it for planning).

Use PlugShare (Web) to confirm quantity/size/number/status of chargers at your selected stops. (IOW: Feedback from real users). Set yourself up with a free account so you can "Check In" on the road.

Use Electrify America (Web) to double check your "FREE" charger locations. Set up an account and you can also activate their charge points without having to rely on the "Porsche Connect" or "Charging NA" apps which are riddled with bugs.

Push your chosen Charging Stops down to your car as "favorites" for easy access on the road. Use the web-based version of the Porsche Connect to push all the charger locations down to your vehicle so you have quick access to them as "favorites". (You will want to use the web based version while you are still sitting at your keyboard). Here is how you get to the web based version of Porsche Connect: Log on to the "My Porsche" portal". (Note if you are a US driver and Porsche is redirecting you to the "GB" site for some STUPID reason, you will want to use this link instead.) Click on "Service Overview" (under your car). Hopefully you will see "Navigation Plus" in one of the service boxes. Once you click on Navigation Plus you should see a map. Click on Add Destination and type the address for the desired charging station. Make sure you mark it as a "FAVORITE" before you save it. The location will be transferred to your car! BUT! You are not done yet! (More Porsche Software Crappiness!). Once you get ALL your charger addresses pushed down to the car, you will now need to go out to the car and "convert" those addresses.

Convert your Charger Addresses so your Porsche understands they are actually charging stations (not just a mailbox). Go into your car and pull up each "favorite" in the Nav system. Even though it is the EXACT address of a charging station, you will have to select the option to "Find Nearby Charging Stations" and then select "Porsche Charging Services". Once you have done this, you can mark THAT EXACT SAME NEW address as a "favorite" and discard the original one you sent from the web. (If you don't do this, the Porsche Nav system may inexplicably route you to some OTHER charger miles away from the one you were right next to! As long as your "favorites" are known to be charging locations then the Nav system SHOULD use them as a charging stop (and also pre-warm your battery for optimum charging speed at arrival).

EnRoute:

When you first get in the car to begin your trip, put your final destination into the Nav system. After you specify a final destination, you can then add charging "stopovers". Luckily you now have them all converted and stored as favorites! You can add all your charging stops - but you must do this in reverse order - from the destination backwards (thanks @louv !). However, since you are going to have to fight with the Nav system as it continues to calculate and add OTHER charging stops as you try to enter yours, I recommend you initially add only your very first charging stop. This will get you out on the road ASAP. Once you actually start charging at your first stop, you will have plenty of time to fight with the Nav system and add the rest of them!

Here is a tip to help make the onboard Nav a bit more useful on long trips. There is a fairly useless insert on the Nav screen which will show you a green line and the next two charging stops you have scheduled. The thing is, it doesn't show you how far away you are from each of these stops. It only shows you how long you will have to charge at each stop. ...and clicking on this pretty useless screen does nothing to bring up any additional info. Similarly, the Nav system simply doesn't show you how far you have left to travel before your next charging stop (unless it is your final destination). Who designed/tested this crap? ...anyway, if you hit the three little dots on the lower right of the nav screen you will see an option to "Edit The Route". Normally, this is one of the places you would fight with Porsche to try and get all your charging stops in the correct order. If you select the "Edit Route" option, you will see that it leaves up your list of charging stops AND IT WILL CONTINUOUSLY UPDATE THEIR DISTANCE as you get closer. So, I normally put the map up on the center of my instrument panel and then leave the "Edit Route" screen up on the center console. Perhaps it would be better named "Display Route" instead of "Edit Route".

Use the Porsche Connect app or Charging NA app to activate your free charging sessions as you arrive at each charger. (Good Luck!) If you have an issue with the Porsche Apps just use the EA app and pay the price to skip all the headaches! I brought my iPad on the trip to compare the Porsche IOS apps vs the Porsche Android apps. The IOS stuff works more reliably than the Android stuff (a very low bar as the Android apps pretty much don't work at all). Basically, I ran the Android apps all the way in one direction and then the IOS apps all the way back. I had much less "connectivity" and "activation" issues when running the IOS apps.

Use Electrify America App to activate chargers if the Porsche Apps don't work. This is by far the most reliable method of activating a charger. I often just used the EA app right off in order to skip all the frustration with the Porsche apps. After hours and hours on the road, I was happy to pay just to avoid the delays and headaches...

If all else fails, call Electrify America, explain your situation, and they will likely activate a free charge for you. However, It should be noted that calling Electrify America never activated a charger for me if the EA app itself could not. If I had to call EA, and I already tried the EA app, they could NEVER improve my situation (with a terminal reboot etc).

Keep the ABRP app handy. You might want to use it if you need to find a charger or re-route your trip. Do NOT rely on the Nav system as it makes some very questionable decisions.

Use PlugShare App to "Check In" with PlugShare whenever you arrive at your charging stops to let other users know what the condition of the station and chargers are. Pay it forward!


Planning is everything! Plan before you go, know EXACTLY where you are going to stop, have multiple planning (ABRP, PlugShare) and activation (EA, Connect, Charging NA) solutions available on your phone! Do NOT rely on the Nav System to make intelligent routing or charging choices. Do NOT rely on the Porsche Apps (Connect and Charging NA) to be able to activate a charger.
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RonMcg

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Evanevery,
I think this is a wonderful letter to all new Taycan owners! I love my car, but did not understand the trade-offs of ownership. Thank you very much for the work you put into this letter!
RonMcG
 

thecoloradokid

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This should be pinned to the top permanently and should be considered a must read for any new owner, or anyone considering an Taycan, or an EV period. Bravo.

I have put 6,000 miles on my Taycan so far, and just returned form a 2,400 mile road trip, and I can assure you this email outlines exactly what an EV driver needs to do in advance of their trip, and while on their trip.
 

riburn3

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This is an awesome article and perfect for anyone that has never taken an EV road trip or even for someone that has only been with Tesla.

If anything, it really highlights how far EA needs to go to inspire confidence in EV's in a way similar to Tesla's network. I've found my Porsche to actually be a faster road trip vehicle compared to my Tesla's ONLY when the EA chargers are working as intended. Out of half a dozen trips in it though, only 2 have been a flawless experience.

I would add that an EV roadtrip is a fun adventure unto itself, and I personally have grown to enjoy being able to stop and stretch every couple of hours. When my 5 year old is with me, it makes it so I don't have any unexpected bathroom stops. It might mean a longer trip, but I find myself feeling more rested when I arrive versus when I just power through and don't stop in an ICE.
 
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evanevery

evanevery

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This is an awesome article and perfect for anyone that has never taken an EV road trip or even for someone that has only been with Tesla.

If anything, it really highlights how far EA needs to go to inspire confidence in EV's in a way similar to Tesla's network. I've found my Porsche to actually be a faster road trip vehicle compared to my Tesla's ONLY when the EA chargers are working as intended. Out of half a dozen trips in it though, only 2 have been a flawless experience.

I would add that an EV roadtrip is a fun adventure unto itself, and I personally have grown to enjoy being able to stop and stretch every couple of hours. When my 5 year old is with me, it makes it so I don't have any unexpected bathroom stops. It might mean a longer trip, but I find myself feeling more rested when I arrive versus when I just power through and don't stop in an ICE.
It also demonstrates how really awful the Porsche Software is at any level and for any application. Apps, Nav, and Web Based... It seems they got the "really big things" right (chassis, power, performance, comfort) and then totally screwed up the "little things" (User Interfaces, Software Functionality, Software Intelligence, Software Reliability). Hopefully much of this can be sorted out with future updates. However, so far, we have seen absolutely no improvement...
 

riburn3

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It also demonstrates how really awful the Porsche Software is at any level and for any application. Apps, Nav, and Web Based... It seems they got the "really big things" right (chassis, power, performance, comfort) and then totally screwed up the "little things" (User Interfaces, Software Functionality, Software Intelligence, Software Reliability). Hopefully much of this can be sorted out with future updates. However, so far, we have seen absolutely no improvement...

Preach. I can't stand apologists for the Porsche software ecosystem. It's absolute dogshit no matter what you're coming from, but a total failure if you are familiar with Tesla. Charging on the EA network is supposed to be improved in the coming year for us, but man oh man do they need to poach some folks from silicon valley to make proper software.
 

daveo4EV

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@evanevery very nice writeup - and I agree with every single bit of it! Nicely done.

People listen to this man!
 
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evanevery

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(I Posted this to another thread, and will edit my initial post above for completeness)

Here is a tip to help make the onboard Nav a bit more useful on long trips:

There is a fairly useless insert on the Nav screen which will show you a green line and the next two charging stops you have scheduled. The thing is, it doesn't show you how far away you are from each of these stops. It only shows you how long you will have to charge at each stop. ...and clicking on this pretty useless screen does nothing to bring up any additional info. Similarly, the Nav system simply doesn't show you how far you have left to travel before your next charging stop (unless it is your final destination). Who designed/tested this crap?

...anyway, if you hit the three little dots on the lower right of the nav screen you will see an option to "Edit The Route". Normally, this is one of the places you would fight with Porsche to try and get all your charging stops in the correct order. If you select the "Edit Route" option, you will see that it leaves up your list of charging stops AND IT WILL CONTINUOUSLY UPDATE THEIR DISTANCE as you get closer. So, I normally put the map up on the center of my instrument panel and then leave the "Edit Route" screen up on the center console. Perhaps it would be better named "Display Route" instead of "Edit Route".
 
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4SJB

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@evanevery can I ask why you need the mustart travelmaster? Can you not use the Porsche charger?
Excuse my ignorance still awaiting delivery, but planning long trips already.
It’s another dimension planning where to stay based on Tesla destination chargers!!!
 
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evanevery

evanevery

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@evanevery can I ask why you need the mustart travelmaster? Can you not use the Porsche charger?
Excuse my ignorance still awaiting delivery, but planning long trips already.
It’s another dimension planning where to stay based on Tesla destination chargers!!!
I've had the TravelMaster for a couple of years (well before the Taycan). The Mustart Travelmaster supports both 120 and 220/240V (32A) charging (like the PMCC) and has a collection of different charging cables/plugs which can be attached. Each add-on cable/plug is relatively inexpensive ( <$50 ) and easy to procure (Amazon). I'm not even sure if or where you can find similar cables for the PMCC. If you are going to use the PMCC with different plugs, you are likely going to need some adapters. The thing to understand about adapters is that while you can step down a 4-prong 220V socket to a 3-pring plug, you CAN NOT step up a 3-Prong socket to a 4-prong plug (as there is no neutral). The economical and flexible Travelmaster handles all this with a relatively inexpenive set of add-on cables/plugs. Its a nice small kit to keep in the car.

I also have a Mustart 40A (240 only) plug-in charger at home. (I've never even opened up the PMCC which came with the car). The Mustart stuff is a bit more flexible and much, much less expensive than the Porsche equipment...
 

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I've had the TravelMaster for a couple of years (well before the Taycan). The Mustart Travelmaster supports both 120 and 220/240V (32A) charging (like the PMCC) and has a collection of different charging cables/plugs which can be attached. Each add-on cable/plug is relatively inexpensive ( <$50 ) and easy to procure (Amazon). I'm not even sure if or where you can find similar cables for the PMCC. If you are going to use the PMCC with different plugs, you are likely going to need some adapters. The thing to understand about adapters is that while you can step down a 4-prong 220V socket to a 3-pring plug, you CAN NOT step up a 3-Prong socket to a 4-prong plug (as there is no neutral). The economical and flexible Travelmaster handles all this with a relatively inexpenive set of add-on cables/plugs. Its a nice small kit to keep in the car.

I also have a Mustart 40A (240 only) plug-in charger at home. (I've never even opened up the PMCC which came with the car). The Mustart stuff is a bit more flexible and much, much less expensive than the Porsche equipment...
I am also keeping a Mustart TravelMaster as an emergency charger in the extra storage space under the trunk. It works well, but I was a little shocked (no pun intended) to find out it charges at full spec even from a 220 V outlet which did not yet have its ground pin connected.
 
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evanevery

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I am also keeping a Mustart TravelMaster as an emergency charger in the extra storage space under the trunk. It works well, but I was a little shocked (no pun intended) to find out it charges at full spec even from a 220 V outlet which did not yet have its ground pin connected.
In all fairness, the GROUND is not typically used for anything other than a protective channel for "misguided" power to flow away rather than through a person. It really serves no electromotive purpose on a "normally" functioning electrical circuit. That is what the "Neutral" is for. (Even though they essentially go to the same place...) ...and in some 240V circuits (USA), we don't even use the Neutral and just position the load between two out-of-phase "hot" legs.

This is also why, if you buy a charger which has (requires) a 4-prong plug, you can't adapt it to use a 3-prong socket (as there is no Neutral in a 3-Prong socket). ...but you CAN adapt a 3-Prong plug to use a 4-prong socket (by just ignoring the unneeded Neutral wire).
 
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Kingske

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In all fairness, the GROUND is not typically used for anything other than a protective channel for "misguided" power to flow away rather than through a person. It really serves no electromotive purpose on a "normally" functioning electrical circuit. That is what the "Neutral" is for. (Even though they essentially go to the same place...) ...and in some 240V circuits (USA), we don't even use the Neutral and just position the load between two out-of-phase "hot" legs.

This is also why, if you buy a charger which has (requires) a 4-prong plug, you can't adapt it to use a 3-prong socket (as there is no Neutral in a 3-Prong socket). ...but you CAN adapt a 3-Prong plug to use a 4-prong socket (by just ignoring the unneeded Neutral wire).
Very true, but the Porsche Mobile Charger Connect refused to operate from that same outlet before it was properly grounded. I guess I already know your opinion about the PMCC...
 
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evanevery

evanevery

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Very true, but the Porsche Mobile Charger Connect refused to operate from that same outlet before it was properly grounded. I guess I already know your opinion about the PMCC...
I'm guessing it was some sort of a "safety check"...

I don't really have anything "against" the PMCC. Comparatively, I simply think its way too expensive and not quite as flexible as the Mustart Travelmaster. (In fact, in threads where folks were blaming the 12V battery failure on the PMCC I actually stood up for it...)
 
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