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Low Mileage Drivers - Seeking Input

I'm now seriously considering an EV car (Tesla, Leaf) or EV/Hybrid (I3, Volt). My daily commute is quite short, about 10 miles, and on the weekends maybe 20-30 miles a day if I keep activities local. The Tesla seems to be complete overkill for this type of short commuting, but I'm curious if there are others who have short commutes and drive a Tesla Model S. What are your experiences with the Tesla with only shorter daily drives and do you have any issues/complaints about how the Tesla has worked for you in that situation?

I'm doing a test drive of a Model S this weekend, so I'll at least have some seat time to more seriously consider the car.



(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
Denise has a commute like yours. The only reason that she's driving a Leaf rather than a CPO Tesla is that she wanted a smaller car. The Leaf is annoying to drive after driving the Model S. Just going to the airport to pick someone up or drop someone off requires a charge away from home. The many buttons make it seem as if it were a cellphone before the iPhone (features just aren't usable without going through the two thick manuals every time you want to use them), and the screen and camera are a joke.
I have the same commute as yours and I really enjoy my Tesla 70D every day (unless my wife manages to wring it out of my hands... :)). It is such a joy to drive Tesla, with all the technology whiz bans it carries. And that is the main reason for me. However, there are two more cases for it:
1. Even though my 70D has a range of 240 miles, it is drastically reduced in real life due to practical issues (charge to 90% only, higher energy consumption, battery degradation etc.). So it brings you ease of mind without constantly worrying about running out of juice. This ruled out i3 and Leaf for me.
2. Pure EV such as Tesla has a much simpler mechanical setup, which theoretically brings better reliability. But what makes it even better is the silence when you drive (and accelerate), without a loud ICE kicking in. This ruled out Volt. In this vain, I almost feel sorry every time I hear a brand new BMW starts the engine with a clear "thunk" when it starts moving.
So, IMHO, Tesla is the only choice if you want to go the EV route.
I don't commute at all. I walk to work 20 minutes every day.

But in my garage there is a Model S and I enjoy it every weekend. :smile:

Why did I buy it? For the weekends and roadtrips in the summer.
Is there a cheaper way? Yes. You can always take a train (here in Europe).

If we all acted rationally, it would be a sad world.


One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Mar 24, 2013
In addition to the above answers, an important feature to consider is that, after the Model X, the Model S is the second-safest automobile in the world; far safer than whatever is next in line. Your 5,000 yearly commuting miles and 2,500-odd weekend miles add up to a considerable amount of time exposed to tens of thousands of poor drivers - nothing else comes close to providing you the assurance of safety during those many hours.
I drive less than 1k miles a month, however I do take occasional road trips. It is nice having the ability to run 200 miles around town when necessary. I had a LEAF which was a great low mile car but on days when I needed to make multiple trips the car became useless to me because of the limited range. if you really don't need a lot of range the 70 is the car for you.
I consider myself a fairly low mileage driver. I've put 2100 miles on my Tesla since 8/17 - so 25 miles or so per day. The Tesla is awesome for this. Every minute i enjoy it, I never drop below about 65% charge so I never think about that at all. Driving it around town is a joy because of it's quickness, ease of use. I couldn't go back to a "normal" car.
I also have a fairly short commute to and from work. I'm probably about 25 miles per day on average, less than 1000 miles per month so far. I will take road trips with it in the future so that was part of my decision making process. My previous car (truck) was a full size SUV that got 13mpg on a good day. I had a much harder time justifying the fuel/environmental cost of commuting with that kind of gas mileage vs the Tesla. So from that standpoint it makes all the sense in the world. That's before the rest of my massive list of reasons why I love, love, love my Tesla. Now I only wish my commute was longer!

- - - Updated - - -

I'm doing a test drive of a Model S this weekend, so I'll at least have some seat time to more seriously consider the car.


BTW once you test drive you might as well consider it a done deal. No turning back from that.


Apr 8, 2015
My commute is 30 miles roundtrip. But we drive A LOT on the weekends. 4+ months, 11k miles so far.

During my commute? No issues with the Tesla, every morning you wake up to a fully charged car. You wont be saving much on gas, since you drive so little. But it's also the safest car on the road (still? I think?), it's sporty, etc.


Well-Known Member
Do a Model S test drive. Spend time sitting in the car and exploring the interface. Understand how even the smallest battery size Model S (60 or 70) can function well as your primary vehicle and every other EV is a compromise.
You live in California so there are lots of Supercharger stations and more on the way.
If you can afford a Tesla, buy it. You won't regret it. 97% customer satisfaction rating according to Consumer Reports


Moderator - Model S & X forums
I assume you drive on longer trips to see family or for vacations or other activities? What will you drive for that? What do you drive now? I think there are two ways to look at this...
1)Do you want a replacement vehicle for one of your current cars? If so, then a Model S makes sense as it can serve that function for almost all your needs.
2)Do you just want a commuter vehicle for your work and local driving and will keep your current vehicle(s)? If so, then a leaf or a used iMEV (very economical right now) make sense. I still toy with this option for my 16 year old newly driving kids.

It boils down to the above questions, your finances, etc. But look at it like this...did you ever consider your gas car that can go 300 miles on a fill up as "overkill"? Then why would you consider a Tesla or any other EV with long range overkill?
Great replies everyone. I have two other vehicles (personal and company car) and these are staying. I get about 14 mpg around town with my SUV and usually only use that to carry bikes, or if I have to transport something larger or more than 4 people. The company car is free, including gas, so we often use that to go places as a family.

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