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Blog Model 3: Is The Long Range Battery Worth It?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Patrick0101, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Patrick0101

    Patrick0101 Member

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    At $9,000 US, one of the pricier options for Model 3 is range. The Standard Range (SR) vehicle comes with 220 miles of EPA-rated range and a Long Range (LR) car has 310 miles. Is the long-range upgrade worth $9,000 for 90 more miles? Today, we’ll explore this question. You need to understand your personal...
    READ FULL ARTICLE
     
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  2. Pollux

    Pollux Active Member

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    Thank you for your thoughtful post, particularly the cost per EPA mile analysis.

    Personally, unless the cost is absolutely impossible to meet, I'd always advocate for the long-range battery. I currently have a P100D @ 315 miles EPA range and appreciate the flexibility around (1) forgetting to charge and/or (2) increasing the number of reachable recharging stations on a long-distance trip.

    Alan
     
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  3. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    One reason I went for the largest (85 kWh) pack with my Model S back when I ordered in 2012 was to account for the expected (and realized) degradation that occurs over time and with miles driven. When new, my S gave me 265 miles at a 100% charge (exactly the EPA rated number). Now after 4.5 years and 90,000 miles I see about 240 miles.(218 miles at 90%, used to be around 240)

    Another thing to consider is that Tesla does not like you charging above 90% on a daily basis. In fact, if you do charge above 90% more than a couple of times in a row, the car will start throwing up warning messages.You need to consider whether 90% of the rated range is enough for you as well. I believe, but am not 100% sure, that other EV makers hold a bit of battery capacity in reserve and don't balk about charging to 100% daily (i.e. they hide a bit at the top so you really aren't charging the battery all the way up).
     
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  4. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    I don’t think that’s true in the only other long range EV, the Bolt. If you charge the Bolt to 100% then regen braking does not work, so that leads me to conclude that 100% is a full battery. The Bolt does not appear to warn you about charging to 100% however...
     
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  5. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    Right and the Bolt has a "hilltop" charge mode where it limits the charge to 90% if charging at the top of a hill/mountain so that you will have regen on the way down the next morning.

    The BMW i3 has no regen when charged to 100% so, to me, that means it is at (or very close to) 100% when fully charged.

    I prefer the Tesla method.
     
  6. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Thanks for the nice write up, @Patrick0101.

    Range-wise, I had started with an S60 in early-2013 and experienced just a touch of range anxiety on long road trips (and before Tesla added a lot more Supercharger sites in Calif.) before moving on to the P85D in late-2014; have been a lot happier range-wise.

    With the 3, my wife and I intend to keep it for a long, long time just as with the S so, the additional $9k will be amortized over that period. And, as @mknox said, any range degradation will be tolerable. Yeah, $9k is a lot but, in our situation, it seems worth it...
     
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  7. Phrixotrichus

    Phrixotrichus Member

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    The LR upgrade is the only "extra" that`s worth its money (for me) atm.
     
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  8. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Me too, and good information on the other BEVs. I guess my point was that you need to consider your daily needs based on 90% of the rated number minus a bit for degradation and allowing a factor for things like cold/winter driving if that is an issue for you. My S has met my needs very well over the 4.5 years I've had it, but there are those cold, winter days when I've needed every kWh the car can give me!
     
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  9. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Actually I believe hilltop reserve is 85%, but whatever.

    Btw, the reason EV manufacturers are so coy about charging/not charging to 100% is the way the EPA reports mileage estimates. If the manufacturer recommends that people only charge to 90%, then the EPA will say, alrighty then, your range is 90% of your battery size. That’s why GM calls it “hilltop reserve” even though it should be a daily recommended charging value. Most Bolt owners do not realize this and charge to 100%. Thanks EPA for hastening the degradation of batteries!
     
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  10. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    During my test drive of Bolts, it seemed there was some regen at 100% charge, but not full 70kW regen at first. 70kW of regen in a 3500lb car is fairly assertive.
    Since it uses blended brakes, it's not a huge issue. Or if you don't drive aggressively, the regen works with normal braking effort. So there is some top buffer even at an indicated 100% charge.
     
  11. wjhepworth

    wjhepworth Member

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    This was a great article. I like the way that miles are calculated.. as part of the car and the driving experience. It doesn't matter what the cost per mile is for the battery because I don't drive the battery. I drive the car. These things are always best viewed from the lens of the driver and not the economist. I have an MS 70D and, while I absolutely love the car, truly wish I opted to pay more and get the 90D so that I could skip some of the SC visits. Not that I mind the SC visits, mind you, but I could certainly do with fewer :)
     
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  12. kvandivo

    kvandivo Member

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    Another (significant) factor when using superchargers is that the 'high speed charging' window is larger with the bigger battery. If the supercharger's sweet spot is the 0-75% range (let's hypothesize.. I don't have a car so I'm guessing) that means that on the SR that gets you the fastest charging for 165 miles (if you were empty), and then it slows down. On the LR, that would get you 232.5 miles before slowing. Being able to charge that extra ~67 miles at the fastest rate is huuuuge.

    Range anxiety? Nope.
    Wanting to rebuild each mile of charge at the fastest possible rate? Yes, please.
     
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  13. Rountad

    Rountad Member

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    I think that the 0.5 s 0-60mph improvement is a nice bonus, too.
     
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  14. Big-T

    Big-T Member

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    Let me be the one dissenting opinion here, at least for my particular situation. Which I bet speaks for a few thousand people anyway and can be summed up as follows:

    1) 90% of the time I drive less than 20 miles per day. / 95% of the time I drive under 50 miles a day
    2) I will be charging at home
    3) I don't have unlimited finances

    No judgment to the rest of you guys on how you want to blow your own 50k, this being the most expensive car I've ever owned I'd prefer to get the interior upgrade package and AP, much more than the long range which might be advantageous 1-2 weeks per year max. Not even necessary mind you, just a nice to have if I decide to take it on an out of state road trip.
     
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  15. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    Good point. Don't underestimate the advantage of quicker charging to 200 miles. That is a key positive aspect of going LR
     
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  16. grashelm

    grashelm Member

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    ^^^^ Same boat here!
     
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  17. UCIBtheG

    UCIBtheG Member

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    This article should have mentioned the .5 second 0-60 improvement (as mentioned by someone else) as well as the better warranty for the LR battery.
     
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  18. voip-ninja

    voip-ninja Member

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    Three things I think your article missed that would have been easy to include are;

    1. Expected degradation of the battery over time. 80% of a 310 mile battery in 8 years is very different than 80% of a 230 mile battery.
    2. To prolong battery life Tesla does not recommend routinely charging the car to 100%, generally most users will daily charge to 70-80% unless they are planning a trip.
    3. Range goes down dramatically when driving at highway speeds in lower temperatures, with the cabin heat on. A 30% penalty to range is not unreasonable if one were driving 75 mph on the highway at 20F and had the cabin heater operating.

    When you take the three items above into account the LR looks like it future proofs the vehicle more.

    Let's look hypothetically at two people who live in cooler climates, one buys the LR and one buys the SR. The cars are 5 years old and have 90% pack life remaining.

    Both owners have to make an unplanned trip which will require them to drive about 100+ miles after leaving home with 80% charge.

    SR owner has optimal range when leaving home of 230 miles * .9 (batt degradation) * .8 (charges to 80% daily) * = 165 miles. That range is now reduced to about 115 miles of highway range at 75 mph when driving in cold temps. That is leaving no safety margin. So they can make their trip maybe, maybe there is a super charger on route, maybe not. Maybe they will drive their car in 75-80mph traffic at 55 mph without the heater on to extend the range. Sounds like no fun to me but to each their own.

    LR owner has optimal range when leaving home fo 310 miles * .9 (batt degradation) * .8 (charges to 80% daily) = 223 miles. That range is reduced to 156 miles highway range in our hypothetical scenario.
     
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  19. THXULTRA

    THXULTRA Member

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    I agree 100% with the above I also think you will gain higher resale value. Keep in mind that batteries deteriorate over time also so the 210mile battery may be closer to 190 after a few years of use. I think it is worth it for those three reasons (better warranty, faster 0-60, and better resale value).
     
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  20. THXULTRA

    THXULTRA Member

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    Cold temperatures are my biggest concern. I don't drive far but it isn't uncommon in the winter to be stuck in traffic for a few hours in a snow storm. I'm concerned about cold weather performance of the battery and running the heat on top of that...
     
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