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General Range Advice

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by zer0cool, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. zer0cool

    zer0cool Member

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    dI just wanted to make a thread to give some general advice to those who may be new to Tesla or EV. Hopefully this will help you determine which version of the Model 3 to buy and also set the right expectations.

    Importantly I will focus this discussion on the use of the Model 3 on road trips, where range is an important consideration. Unless your daily commute is well over 100 miles or if you can't charge at home, range is only an issue on road trips.

    Overall, here are the main points:
    • You don't really charge to 100% on a road trip, except when you leave home.
    • Your travel speed, especially when above 70mph, significantly reduces range.
    • Cold temperature significantly reduces range.
    • Rain significantly reduces range.
    (1)
    You can't really think about the 100% range since you will rarely ever charge to 100%. This is because it takes about the same amount of time to SC from 80-100% as it does from 0-80%. Unless you are willing and must wait for 40 additional minutes to get to 100%, it's just not worth it and will add so much time to your travel time. Moreover, you probably don't want to arrive at your destination with 0% either... most people probably want a 10% buffer. So assuming you charge to 80% at SCs, you really only have 70% range to work with. Or 80% range if you charge to 90%.

    Also you ll likely lose 5-10 miles of range in the first year of ownership of the car due to regular battery degradation. Let's just say 5 miles, and say 80% of range on your road trip, we have 215*0.8 = 172 miles.

    (2)
    The above assumes you travel between 65-70 mph on pretty flat land... if you want to travel at 75mph, probably need to take 10% range off, and more if you want to go even faster.

    (3)
    Alright, cold weather REALLY reduces range, like super significantly. I live in the South so temp is rarely ever at or below freezing. In the spring-fall months, I average 260's to 270's power usage on my daily commute (20 miles each way). On the few days a year where it's close to freezing (30'sF or <5C), I see above 400 power usage because of the need to use heat... that's almost 50% more power usage per mile, with corresponding range decrease.

    Of course commuting is different from road tripping since being in traffic in cold weather is ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE for range, since you are not moving that many miles but using tons of power to heat the car. Regardless, when it's below 50F, your range starts to decrease and significantly so as it gets colder.

    Basically in winter months, to feel somewhat comfortable, you need to have a LOT more rated range than where you are trying to go... and if you run into traffic, good luck... Of course you can just wear your winter jacket and shoes and just use the heated seats. Power usage will still be higher than in the summer but significantly better than having the heat on.

    (4)
    Rule of thumb is that rain decreases range by about 10%. It's probably a little better or worse depending on how heavy the rain is.

    So if you have a 220 range Model 3, your reasonable max road trip range between SCs is actually around 172 miles, assuming you are going at 65-70mph, pretty smooth driving (not much stop and go), flat land, great weather, no rain, definitely not cold.

    If it's 40F and raining... I would start to feel uncomfortable if the distance between SCs is more than 130 miles...
     
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  2. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    Except that you will always charge to 100% before leaving home (or a destination charger) when on a road trip. This affects how far you go before stopping at the first supercharger. And since you generally will only stop at one or two superchargers in a day, that makes a difference.
     
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  3. Hamilton C

    Hamilton C Member

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    Thank you for this thorough tutorial on factors impacting the range with specific percentages of reduction for specific conditions.
    Living in upstate NY where we go a month or ore without going above freezing, it is important to learn the actual mileage impact of both running the heater and simply driving in cold weather. This was a real eye-opener. This makes is certain that I will pay the additional $9,000 for the larger battery and perhaps just plan on not using the Model 3 for cold weather road trips. And I would never have suspected that rain would further reduce mileage, imagine the impact of driving in a snow storm of several inches, a common occurrence in upstate NY. Your post was extremely important and illuminating.
     
  4. Justmurr

    Justmurr Member

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    I am going to be a newbie....hardly have even ridden much less driven EV yet.

    I mean I had already decided to get the bigger battery and I've seen similar information.

    Now what I could use is a similar set of realistic advice with the enhanced auto-pilot EAP.
    At $5k more over the must-have battery cost... can you have a Tesla without EAP?
     
  5. lirandy

    lirandy New Member

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    Thanks for the tip. I've owned two short range EV's but never driven any of them for a long trip that requires me to charge at the DC fast charger. This info is useful for me after I get my TM3 and plans for a long trip.
     
  6. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

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    It isn't much of a road trip unless you are visiting three to five Supercharger Stations per day! Four or five per day is the most common number for my (many) trips.
     
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  7. shrspeedblade

    shrspeedblade Member

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    If possible, schedule a test drive at your nearest Tesla store in a Model S and experience it for yourself- it really is something to experience but not for everyone either! If you opt not to get it at purchase you still get the safety features, can drive it like a normal car, and can always add it down the road.
     
  8. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Awwww ... man!!!
    I have to put my shoes on !?!

    kidding aside,
    "If it's 40F and raining... I would start to feel uncomfortable if the distance between SCs is more than 130 miles..."
    matches up pretty well with distances between SCs on level ground, doesn't it ?
     
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  9. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

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    Except around Twin Falls ID: the speed limit is 80 mph, it isn't flat eastbound, and I can't go anywhere near the speed limit and make it to Tremonton UT — ~147 miles — with a 95% charge, even in mild weather. In rain or snow? Forget it. (However, Tesla plans infill Supercharger Stations around Twin Falls, so this is likely a temporary situation).
     
  10. C141medic

    C141medic Member

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    I had a 2013 Leaf and agree winter weather was terrible on range. I noticed about a 20-30% reduction in range when the temps went below 40 and more of a reduction as it got colder. Summer was no issue even with rain. And with around 80-90 miles of usable range winter commutes were next to impossible. That's why I'm getting the LR version.
     
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  11. chronopc

    chronopc Member

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    Since you are deciding to go with the bigger battery, I will assume that you plan on doing some long trips. If so, the EAP will be a big help. It will greatly reduce driver fatigue not having to have your feet on the pedal and letting the car stay within the lane and regulate the speed. The good thing about EAP is that you can unlock it after purchase. However, doing this will cost an extra $1k based on how the prices are for the Model S and X.
     
  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    I realize that holes in the SC network exist (though surprisingly few, and closing fast.)

    I was pointing out that the network is planned to let low 200 mile range cars navigate it successfully. Certainly not as convenient as a longer range car allows, or as fast. For someone like me where truly long range driving is a rare event, I don't care about a little inconvenience.

    My longish drive that is pretty frequent is ~ 250 miles each way and will require a 10 minute stop at a SC that is 5 miles total out of the way. That is just awesome.
     
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  13. chronopc

    chronopc Member

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    The frequent long drive I plan on doing is on the SC path and I still want the Long Range so I only have to stop when I want to. First world problems lol.
     
  14. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    It partly depends where you live and where you will be driving. We live in Northern California (North of Sac) where Superchargers are spaced far apart and driving distances are long. For example in our 90D MX (rated range 257, now at 236-244, depending on temp.), it is very difficult and sometimes impossible for us to get to Superchargers on coast or in the mountains with 100% charge... and almost all of our trips are to the coast and mountains. So for us a long range M3 is a necessity. However, if you live in a highly populated area with closely spaced Superchargers and most of your trips are on major corridors, the standard range M3 would work fine for you.
     
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  15. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    At the speeds you want to drive. I'll presume that a lower speed would allow the drive.
     
  16. WileyTheMan

    WileyTheMan Member

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    Great information, thank you.
     
  17. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

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    My "longish" trips are 1000+ miles each way. In the seventeen months I've had my car, I'll be making my fifth such trip next week for the eclipse — my sister's house in central Oregon is in the path of totality. That doesn't count the other, shorter, trips of 350-500 miles each way. For me, the ability to go to just one (electric) car, and still do road trips, was the whole point of the Tesla purchase.

    As I've said elsewhere, I live in "Supercharger Heaven," with six Supercharger Stations within Tesla range of my house: Grand Junction CO, Farmington NM, Moab UT, Blanding UT, Glenwood Springs CO, and Green River UT (and a seventh, Poncha Springs CO, coming soon). Getting on the Supercharger network for road trips is really easy here.
     
  18. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    Be prepared for long Supercharging lines in Oregon during the eclipse mania.... it seems like every other Californian is heading up there, can you imagine the mayhem? :eek:
     
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  19. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    I used to live in Idaho, the winds can be intense, I can imagine starting out a trip thinking you have the range and then... wham, you've got a 50 mph headwind and you are in the middle of the desert wishing you had a gas can.... I mean spare battery.
     
  20. chronopc

    chronopc Member

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    Funny you mention that. I'm a Californian and I"m planning on doing a road trip that will take me to Oregon once I get my Model 3.
     

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