2019.8.5 Trip to Manhattan via Long Island

Following last month's family trip down to Brooklyn, we recently took a trip down to Long Island for a wedding followed by a few days in Manhattan without the kids. I was looking forward to trying-out AutoPilot on a longer trip under 2019.8.5, but unfortunately my Model x, Pensive, stated the obvious: the weather was bad. It was raining heavily for most of the trip down, so there were limited opportunities to test changes in AutoPilot. For parts of the trip, the rain had relented enough to enable AutoPilot, and just as we saw on our last trip to NY, Autopilot had trouble with lanes splitting and merging, oddly even when it knew which lane it was supposed to take for AutoNavigation.

Massachusetts to Long Island

Admittedly, we were leaving a little later than planned, and I'd forgotten to bump the charge level up to trip level before we set-off so I was expecting to need to stop for a quick charge along the way. Surprisingly, we saw the estimated charge jumping between 8% and 38% battery remaining at destination. Eventually, we realized that the difference was that with one route, it expected to have 38% battery remaining, because we'd be taking the Ferry from New London to Orient Point. Since this would save us some charging time, and the route estimator had both routes taking about the same amount of time, we looked into the ferry route, weighing the approximately $73 fee compared to charging time.

Looking a little closer, we realized that we'd miss the 2pm ferry by almost 30 minutes, meaning we'd need to then wait about an hour for the 3pm boat, making us arrive later by taking the ferry. Not only didn't the route take the ferry schedule into account, it didn't even call-out that there was a ferry, other than a dashed line crossing the Long Island sound.

We ended-up taking CT-15 once again, stopping at the Greenwich supercharger southbound on the Merritt Parkway. The southbound station was generally very busy, and even though the superchargers had shown three available chargers as we pulled-in, each of those spots had been occupied by non-EVs (the chargers are signed as 15min without charging, or 45 minutes while charging). Fortunately, a Tesla pulled-out letting-us charge-up for a half-hour to get to the hotel and the wedding.

Long Island to Manhattan

Despite chain-level agreements Hilton has with Tesla, the Hilton Garden Inn did not have a destination charger (a Hyatt Place and an Embassy Suites1, each about 25 miles away, did have destination chargers). We realized we'd been a little spoiled with our earlier stays at Cranwell, 1 Hotel Brooklyn, and even the bed and breakfast in the Berkshires where we could charge during our stay and wake-up with a charged battery; and planned to add enough juice to get us comfortably to Manhattan as we departed the hotel the following day.

After breakfast, which was quite good at the Hilton Garden Inn, we set-off to the nearby Islip charging station, which was in a strip mall. Unfortunately, the Tesla route finder couldn't find exactly where it was, and ended-up taking us on a scenic loop through the parking lot and back onto the highway; if you happen to be looking for the Islip Supercharger, it's along the outside of the parking lot: look for the water tower, and then look towards the highway to find them. There's a bagel shop nearby which is useful for grabbing a snack while waiting to fill your battery.

After we passed 80% charge, we headed on to Brooklyn for lunch before continuing into Manhattan. I was excited that we'd be visiting the new hudson-yards project and having dinner at Thomas Keller's new TAK Room there.

Manhattan to Massachusetts

We had more opportunity to test AutoPilot on the return trip, although it did not leave a positive impression. There was a complete failure to handle the turns of the Hutchinson Parkway, turning-off auto-steering at each turn and forcing control back to the human driver. There was frequent sudden breaking when I left pacing to the cruise-control/Auto-Pilot system, generally during changes in road material (white cement) or lighting (coming over the crest of a hill onto a brightly-lit patch of road). Auto navigation continued to be suicidal, wanting to switch lanes where there were no lanes, crossing dividers, and even driving into medians.

Shortly after returning, we noticed there was an upgrade available to 2019.12.1.1 which would bring 150kW charging, which would have been helpful given our competing time and charge-level pressures.

  1. another Hilton brand