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Experienced model S drivers - any driving tips and tricks you can share?

hanl1

Member
Sep 2, 2015
101
10
Stamford, CT
So about a week after delivery of my S85D I have started to get used to the very different driving dynamics of an EV, and as it is quite different from the experience of driving a traditional ICE car, I can't help but wonder what things about driving people could have learned after driving an S for thousands if not tens of thousands of miles.

I'd be very curious to learn from you experienced drivers out there about basically anything that you can share with new drivers like myself. Doesn't have to be mind-blowing or life-changing type of tips, just anything that you think we new drivers could benefit from knowing, or anything you know now that you wish you knew earlier that has become part of your driving habits.

To begin with a specific question, are there driving habits that you picked up which have helped driving more energy-efficiently?
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,710
22,716
Texas
The main ones are:

1. Keep your tire pressure up with regular checking, first thing in the morning before driving.

2. The slower you accelerate and the slower you decelerate, the more efficient you will be.

3. It's okay to lose a bit of speed going uphill.

4. It's also okay to gain a bit of speed going downhill. (not too much though because you'll just be pushing air.)

5. Keep the car aligned.
 

SteveS0353

Member
Aug 23, 2014
365
54
San Diego, CA
To begin with a specific question, are there driving habits that you picked up which have helped driving more energy-efficiently?

  • High torque launches are really fun, but speed kills efficiency. Despite the very low drag coefficient of the Model S, as speed increases, you're using more energy to push the air in front of you and roll the tires on the road.
  • Standard regenerative braking is really nice to capture some of the kinetic energy and recharge the battery, but that process is not 100% efficient. To maximize efficiency, it's best to try to "feather" the go pedal to coast as much as you can, and avoid using the friction brakes if possible, which is a simple waster of energy as heat.
  • As you say, it takes a little getting used to, but one-pedal driving is awesome. When I first got my Model S, I used the instant torque for fun and demonstration a lot, but my Wh/mi suffered. Lately, I've been trying to use the one-pedal approach with coasting to see how low I can get the Wh/mi.
 

purplewalt

Active Member
Jun 9, 2013
1,630
582
Dallas, Texas
1. When going on trips/long drives, keep Range Mode ON. It does take a moment more for the car to "wake up" when you first get in, but the overall driving range is then increased.

2. Drive using the accelerator pedal gently and not engaging cruise control will also increase driving range/mileage.

You can get over 300 real long-range miles of range in your S85D when driving effectively.
(City driving range will probably be less because of the stopping and starting.)
Watch how big trucks drive: slower speed going uphill in the mountains, use regenerative power going downhill in the mountains.

If you have air suspension, set the car to lower @ 50 or 55 mph. This helps the car's aerodynamics.

The car is more aerodynamic with the windows up and the sunroof closed.

Practice makes perfect, or at least better.
 

Jason S

Model S Sig Perf (P85)
Apr 20, 2012
1,590
208
Rocklin, CA
For the S in particular, my tips having nothing to do with it being an EV:
-- what jerry33 said. The energy meter in the speedo helps with this.
-- side mirrors are great, rear view is limited. Therefore I use the rear camera for the top part of the screen all the time.
-- pre-heating/cooling the car is a great comfort feature, make it a habit to use it. This does use some extra energy tho, so if maximum efficiency is your thing then just use the pano roof venting help. Also I've read one can triple-click the fob to get all the windows to roll down.
 

hanl1

Member
Sep 2, 2015
101
10
Stamford, CT
The main ones are:

1. Keep your tire pressure up with regular checking, first thing in the morning before driving.

2. The slower you accelerate and the slower you decelerate, the more efficient you will be.

3. It's okay to lose a bit of speed going uphill.

4. It's also okay to gain a bit of speed going downhill. (not too much though because you'll just be pushing air.)

5. Keep the car aligned.

Great tips, thanks! Regarding number 1, about how much PSI is considered 'good'? What gadget do you use for checking tire pressure?

- - - Updated - - -

1) The instant torque is addictive, but to maximize range, strive for smooth acceleration/deceleration
2) Range anxiety is over rated

By 'over rated range anxiety' I assume you mean the EPA range is overrated? Or do you actually mean the 'anxiety' is overrated (i.e, the anxiety is not as bad as people think)?

- - - Updated - - -

1. When going on trips/long drives, keep Range Mode ON. It does take a moment more for the car to "wake up" when you first get in, but the overall driving range is then increased.

2. Drive using the accelerator pedal gently and not engaging cruise control will also increase driving range/mileage.

You can get over 300 real long-range miles of range in your S85D when driving effectively.
(City driving range will probably be less because of the stopping and starting.)
Watch how big trucks drive: slower speed going uphill in the mountains, use regenerative power going downhill in the mountains.

If you have air suspension, set the car to lower @ 50 or 55 mph. This helps the car's aerodynamics.

The car is more aerodynamic with the windows up and the sunroof closed.

Practice makes perfect, or at least better.

Thanks for the tips. Although I am surprised that cruise control is less efficient than manual control. Shouldn't it be more efficient due to its smoother maneuvers than human drivers?
 

Carspotter Daily

Tesla > ICE
Aug 12, 2015
84
21
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Small tip - to get max acceleration go to controls>driving>slip start click "slip start" okay the pop-up window. Bring the supercar to a halt, then bury the throttle, depending on which model you own, you will get about .75 to 1 G-force. Good luck with your car!
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,102
3,978
Central Valley
Your profile says you are from New Jersey. You will soon find out that a 150-mile drive now with clement temperatures will use a lot less energy than the same drive in January. Those from colder climes (I am from California, so really don't know what cold weather is!) can tell you the difference in wh/mile when the temperatures are in the teens or it is snowing pretty hard. They also know little tricks (like use the seat heaters instead of the cabin heater) to improve your energy usage. The heater really saps the battery.

I understand that charging a cold battery takes longer at start-up than it would during summer months because the battery needs to reach a certain temperature before it can take the maximum charge. (This may only apply at Superchargers; I really don't know.)

Use EVTripplanner to determine charging stops on extended trips or to new destinations beyond the normal range of a round trip. This website allows for variables as far as payload, temperature, model, tire size and speed factor. It is generally accurate to within 5% or so.

On longer legs where you might not have fast charging availability, it is better to start out more slowly for the first quarter of the trip or so. You can always increase your speed when you feel comfortable with the estimated range remaining at your destination.

Be extra conservative with the state of charge in the battery when it is raining or when you will be encountering headwinds or crosswinds. Those situations dramatically increase the resistance and reduce the efficiency of the motor. The trip planner when the car is parked and charging does not consider these external variables, only distance, route and elevation changes. You may think that the 85% charge with a 15% reserve is more than enough to reach your destination at normal speeds, but will soon find out that the trip meter on the energy tab will recalculate this estimate once you have been on the road several miles. If that trip is in a rainstorm or into 20MPH winds, you may find that the revised estimate will drop precipitously (it happened to me: a 94% charge on a 145-mile leg resulted in a 28% buffer when I unplugged. I knew it was real windy. I did not know just how much extra energy it took to overcome that resistance. Twenty-five miles into my journey, the reserve dropped to 8%, as I was driving into a 30+MPH wind. I reduced my speed to 48 and made the next Supercharger with 9%.)
 

omarsultan

Active Member
Jun 22, 2013
2,940
8,311
Northern California
By 'over rated range anxiety' I assume you mean the EPA range is overrated? Or do you actually mean the 'anxiety' is overrated (i.e, the anxiety is not as bad as people think)?

The latter - once you get a few thousand miles under your belt, you'll begin to get an intuitive feel for range, impact of driving style, etc.
 

ThortsMD

Member
Nov 30, 2012
321
280
Seattle
On long trips, if your range anxiety is increasing, SLOW DOWN. Even 2-3 MPH makes a big difference over time. Also, if on your trip you are risking being quite low on juice, start your trip driving conservatively in speed. Then, as you are nearer your destination, you know you can safely accelerate. I find this last tip to be most helpful.
 

Afdyce

Member
Nov 17, 2013
129
30
Hampshire, United Kingdom
The Model S is a great car. Every time I drive any equivalent sized car from a competitor i just want to be back in my S. A key reason is the regenerative braking. I recommend working on your observation and planning while you drive so that it becomes a matter of pride to use the foot brake as little as possible outside of bringing the vehicle to a final stop (or applying it in an emergency). Work on slowing down always in a straight line, not while you are cornering. Balance the car with the throttle in corners. Position the car to maximise your view ahead and through corners and use the "two second rule" to ensure you always have enough following distance to safely stop in an emergency. When you do stop, make sure that when you look at the car in front you can see tyres and tarmac. This is the smoothest driving car ever built and you will become the smoothest of drivers.

Smooth is energy efficient. Smooth is fast. Watch any great driver from Jim Clark through Jackie Stewart to Lewis Hamilton , they are all smooth and calm with the controls and don't waste a joule of available energy.

Keeping the tyres at the right cold pressures and ensuring the alignment is spot on are also great points.

i certainly don't mean drive like a granny, this is a high performance car with great chassis balance and you will enjoy every minute of it, I'm sure.
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,683
1,493
Huntington Beach, CA
Be extra conservative with the state of charge in the battery when it is raining or when you will be encountering headwinds or crosswinds. Those situations dramatically increase the resistance and reduce the efficiency of the motor.

Air resistance increases as the square of velocity, so driving 60mph into a 30mph headwind requires 2.25 times the energy to overcome air resistance as when there is no wind.
 

gavine

Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2014
2,590
2,118
Philadelphia, PA
In cold weather, it's best to schedule charging so it will end just before you leave in the morning. Charging warms the battery and therefore that heat can be used to warm the cabin vs using the resistance heater.
 

napabill

Active Member
Apr 30, 2009
1,508
280
Napa, California, United States
So about a week after delivery of my S85D I have started to get used to the very different driving dynamics of an EV, and as it is quite different from the experience of driving a traditional ICE car, I can't help but wonder what things about driving people could have learned after driving an S for thousands if not tens of thousands of miles.

I'd be very curious to learn from you experienced drivers out there about basically anything that you can share with new drivers like myself. Doesn't have to be mind-blowing or life-changing type of tips, just anything that you think we new drivers could benefit from knowing, or anything you know now that you wish you knew earlier that has become part of your driving habits.

To begin with a specific question, are there driving habits that you picked up which have helped driving more energy-efficiently?
I'm coming up on 3 years with Tess, and 55K+ miles. I enjoy avoiding ever using the brake pedal. Up to and including coming to complete stop. Takes practice but it is a matter of honor never to touch that pedal. And of course, more range.:wink:
 

hanl1

Member
Sep 2, 2015
101
10
Stamford, CT
Drafting at Highway speed..It works

Not necessarily recommending it - just pointing it out.

I've seen this video. Can't wait to try it out!

- - - Updated - - -

I'm coming up on 3 years with Tess, and 55K+ miles. I enjoy avoiding ever using the brake pedal. Up to and including coming to complete stop. Takes practice but it is a matter of honor never to touch that pedal. And of course, more range.:wink:

So do you recommend turning off creep mode?

- - - Updated - - -

I have advice. Don't do what I just did - don't take your insurance agent on a demo ride and do a launch. Just sayin'
You got my attention. WHAT HAPPENED?

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks for all the great advice people! Very helpful indeed
Please feel free to share more of your thoughts here. Hopefully this will get seen by more new owners.
 

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