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Extremely Disappointed With Model S Range When Driving on the Highway at 35F

Beasts

Member
Sep 20, 2021
69
51
NW Ohio
Jill and I went for our first long trip in our 2021 Model S LR yesterday. The trip covered 325 miles of roads with speed limits mostly between 55 and 70 mph. Close to half of that was on 70 mph highways. The car was set to Chill Mode and I have never been stopped for driving at the speeds we traveled. The temperature outside hovered around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and we kept the inside of the car at 68 F. My calculations show that we got 258 miles with 100% of a full charge (325 miles with 126%)! No where near the 405 miles of range advertised. And that doesn't even account for leaving enough charge to be able to safely reach a charger. Yes, we were traveling mostly at high speeds but we had hoped that these conditions wouldn't result in a 36% drop from the 405 miles advertised even with the cold weather. And I would have hoped that the estimated range would leave a safe reservoir to get to a charger. Much of the distance was spent on cruise control, so no heavy foot on the gas and light winds. Please explain.
 

krsgio

Member
Nov 8, 2018
444
440
Colorado
Hi, this must be your first EV. Cold weather almost always sees you lose a decent amount of your rated range. Also you're never going to get anywhere near the 405 miles range unless its 0 wind, perfectly sunny warm day and drive 40 mph nonstop on a flat road. I don't get why Tesla even bothers putting those numbers because it gives new owners unreasonable expectations. Also depending on where you're driving elevation plays a major factor in your energy consumption. Going uphill you'll use more energy but on the way back you'll offset that with regen. Also I'd kill for 258 miles of range.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,308
9,002
Boise, ID
The temperature outside hovered around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and we kept the inside of the car at 68 F.

This is it right here. A lot of people coming from a gas car don't seem to realize how horrifically inefficient they are because they were used to it, which has an unintended consequence related to heating. Gas engines are continually blowing two thirds of the energy of the gasoline out the radiator and tailpipe. They have to constantly, desperately try to remove that heat quickly to keep the engine from melting itself down. So if you want to heat up the inside of the cabin, that energy is totally "free". It's got to dump that heat somewhere anyway.

So now comes the downside of the amazing efficiency of electric motors. They run cool. The don't waste TONS of the energy getting extremely hot like gas engines do. So if you want to warm up the cabin, you need to run an electric space heater quite a bit.
from the 405 miles advertised
People think that is promised miles, but it's not. That main battery is the only source of energy that has to supply everything in the car. So that is miles + HEAT. So yeah, that is going to run down a lot faster if you're running the heat all the time with the temperature outside near freezing. On the upside, you won't notice this much in the summer. Air conditioning is a little bit of a draw, but it's a heat pump type of operation, which has far better efficiency than heating.
 

Beasts

Member
Sep 20, 2021
69
51
NW Ohio
400 miles is an unachievable fantasy to begin with.

Cold weather kills range.


Please share your calculations.
Nasty how I never saw the word "fantasy" in the estimate.
Next winter road trip we'll just have to wear our winter weight coveralls.
Charged at home to 99%. Stopped at the only supercharger anywhere close to our trip at 106 miles and 49% of battery usage, then did the other 219 miles after charging to 99%. Didn't want to take the chance of trying to go the other 100+ miles to the end of our trip and then back to the charger before charging considering we used 49% just to go 106 miles. Watched the battery usage closely on the way back and arrived at home with 22% remaining. We were concerned but, happily we did a bit better on battery usage on the way back. There was another charger closer to home but we would have had to go well out of our way.
325 divided by 126 = x divided by 100. 325 miles took 126%. x miles would consume 100%. You don't have to worry about the units, just how the numbers compare.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,116
9,207
Visalia, CA
...No where near the 405 miles of range advertised...

That's why we should not believe those who downplay the needs for more than 400 EPA miles because those are laboratory miles and very good in theory but we have to drive in the real world:

 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,116
9,207
Visalia, CA
A Lucid can get 400 miles real world. Tesla needs to step up their game.

That's because it's rated for 520 EPA miles so in real life, we can subtract 120 miles from it and we got 400!

1637696243462.png
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,693
14,975
California
A Lucid can get 400 miles real world. Tesla needs to step up their game.
I’m not particularly impressed that a company that has delivered fewer cars than I have fingers and toes can achieve 400 miles of real world range for the bargain basement price of $170,000.

When Lucid delivers a car to a customer that can match Tesla’s range at an equivalent price, wake me up.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,693
14,975
California
Nasty how I never saw the word "fantasy" in the estimate.
Yeah, Tesla translates it to "405 Miles Range (EPA est.)" but it means the same thing.

As the literal saying goes, "your mileage may vary". Tesla support article on range tips here: Range Tips


There was lots of coverage about Tesla's gaming of the EPA range calculations (while remaining perfectly compliant) last year:

 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,906
3,422
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
Tesla estimated that range at 60 mph, not 40, and they weren't doing any stop and go. It's OPTIMUM range, not daily driver range, but on a trip, in comfortable weather, no heat or AC, at steady 60 mph (you almost have to follow a semi to do this) you will get 400 miles of range. Some folks can do better on cruise, and some can do better soft-pedaling.

Either way, it gets good range compared to most other EVs. Lucid is just playing mind games. 500 miles is further than most bladders can go, so it's a moot point. Tesla CAN get 400 miles of range, though most people will get closer to 350 at speed. It would be interesting to have a Lucid and a Tesla go the same place, the same speed, the same roads, the same time, and see how they compare, but after owning Teslas since 2012, I'm a Tesla fan, I admit. Lucid doesn't do it for me.
 

orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
298
771
NC
Jill and I went for our first long trip in our 2021 Model S LR yesterday. The trip covered 325 miles of roads with speed limits mostly between 55 and 70 mph. Close to half of that was on 70 mph highways. The car was set to Chill Mode and I have never been stopped for driving at the speeds we traveled. The temperature outside hovered around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and we kept the inside of the car at 68 F. My calculations show that we got 258 miles with 100% of a full charge (325 miles with 126%)! No where near the 405 miles of range advertised. And that doesn't even account for leaving enough charge to be able to safely reach a charger. Yes, we were traveling mostly at high speeds but we had hoped that these conditions wouldn't result in a 36% drop from the 405 miles advertised even with the cold weather. And I would have hoped that the estimated range would leave a safe reservoir to get to a charger. Much of the distance was spent on cruise control, so no heavy foot on the gas and light winds. Please explain.
You know, don't let the ardent supporters gaslight you with the "you're holding it wrong" line of defense to excuse Tesla for their blatant gaming of their mileage estimates which everyone is happy to take at face value when comparing against the competition (Mach-E range is only 305 miles! they will exclaim gleefully) and yet are also first in line to defend and excuse when someone like you finds out how ridiculous Tesla's publicized numbers are when it comes to real-world driving.

Look at Edmund's range test chart here:

It is so transparently obvious that pretty much all the other EV manufacturers have the courtesy of treating their customers with some base level of respect when it comes to the published range values. In reality, they all significantly exceed their rated range when driven under unrealistic driving conditions. Meanwhile, the Tesla cars barely squeak through when compared against their rated range in similar conditions.

It bothers me a lot that most of Tesla's ardent fan base is willing to just give them a complete pass for this behavior when every other manufacturer is doing the right thing with being conservative with range numbers so their customers don't have as jarring a reaction as you did when you went on this trip.

Not saying that driving in cold weather and 70mph shouldn't bring down your net range. Just that it shouldn't be as drastic a drop if Tesla was ethical about their range estimates like most other manufacturers.

I rolled my eyes so hard when I saw Elon's tweet about Plaid+ simply not being necessary anymore to cover for their inability to ramp-up 4680 cell production. We are nowhere close to being at the point where more range isn't necessary.

I'll go put on my SpaceX flamesuit on now to shelter me for what's incoming 😄
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,832
1,700
Quebec City, Canada
There's a difference between "I got sold 400 miles and I don't get that" and "Tesla needs to up their game because 400 miles isn't enough". I won't argue for the first one. It might be misleading, better documentation could be done.
On the second one though... as long as there are chargers along the way, and they charge quickly enough, the car doesn't need to go 2000 miles without charging. You will make it to your destination fast enough. In many parts of the US, there are plenty of chargers.
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,832
1,700
Quebec City, Canada
And did someone post long lines at gas stations on public holidays, or when there are price cuts? I've seen ridiculous lines at Costco gas stations.

I'm not saying you can instantly get to your destination, that will be teleportation. I'm saying people put more emphasis on having a huge battery so they never have to stop than they really need to. At the very least, I'm saying it's a different topic than "i was tricked and sold something that doesn't perform as advertised".
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,116
9,207
Visalia, CA
And did someone post long lines at gas stations on public holidays, or when there are price cuts? I've seen ridiculous lines at Costco gas stations.

I'm not saying you can instantly get to your destination, that will be teleportation. I'm saying people put more emphasis on having a huge battery so they never have to stop than they really need to. At the very least, I'm saying it's a different topic than "i was tricked and sold something that doesn't perform as advertised".

My point is: Long range is not just about breaks but it's about convenience. People have been driving with very short range with Nissan Leaf for years but it's not convenient.

When the range is longer, drivers have more options. They don't have to be forced to wait in line to charge in a crowded station, they can drive further to the next county or more to charge. If they need to drive 200 miles (400-mile round trip) to somewhere that doesn't have a destination charger, they can go back home and charge while they sleep at home without stopping to charge at all.
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,832
1,700
Quebec City, Canada
Oh, I know, I bought the long range model 3, not the SR+ :) And you seem to understand so you were not my target audience. There's a point at which I think a bigger battery becomes a problem. Batteries are heavy so there's a point where huge batteries eventually reduce your range (by augmenting consumption). They are costly and we want car makers to make affordable cars. There's a good amount of pollution created to build them, and not enough recycling at the moment to offset it. Heck, we can't build them fast enough to sell all the cars we want to sell so putting more cells per car further reduces that capacity. I would also prefer to never stop anywhere for charging, but I think that's not reasonable.
 
I saw a video a while back, motor trend, maybe? Not sure but they ran a plaid on 22s in chill mode till it ran out of juice, and it provided the exact mile tesla said it would. What’s interesting is that the video/review was not at all complimentary towards the S plaid. In 75 degree weather round trip to Vegas and back in chill mode, I found the range to be very close to advertised if the stereo isn’t loud and AC is on low. This round trip also has a large change in elevation. 100 percent before leaving calabasas, 4 large passengers and luggage, stopped in yermo For a charge, took 10 minutes from 25 to 80, Mac it to the Wynn with 16. Recharged at the wynn to 90. Stopped in baker charged to 85 and arrived back to calabasas with 14.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,693
14,975
California
There's a point at which I think a bigger battery becomes a problem. Batteries are heavy so there's a point where huge batteries eventually reduce your range (by augmenting consumption). They are costly and we want car makers to make affordable cars. There's a good amount of pollution created to build them, and not enough recycling at the moment to offset it.
Exactly this. Carrying around an extra 600 pounds of battery for the 1% of trips you might need it for is foolish and wasteful.

As for the Tejon Ranch video above, 56 additional chargers have been installed directly across the street since that video. That's the correct solution - not saddling every car on the road with hundreds of pounds of extra lithium. Conflating the two problems is disingenuous.
 

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