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Model 3 LR/P - 170 mile commute suitability

truckie6606

New Member
Aug 4, 2021
4
3
Arkansas
Later this year the wife will potentially be taking a new job role which will involve a roughly 170 mile round trip daily commute. 95% of that would be on freeways/interstates with 75% of that on rural interstates with a 75mph speed limit. I immediately thought that a Model 3 would be perfect for this given the Autopilot/FSD benefits alone, not to mention the fuel and maintenance cost saving. We test drove a 2021 M3P last week and the wife loved it (as expected).

So my dilemma is this....after running a number of typical scenarios on ABRP for weather and expected travel speeds, the end of day SOC seems much too close for comfort....especially given the wife's range anxiety even in ICE vehicles. Location is in AR, so we see wild swings of high 90's during the summer to low 30's for highs in the winter (sometimes even that kind of swing in the same day). That combined with winds/precip and expected speeds of 75-80 over the bulk of the trip (driving below the speed limit would be a safety hazard), I'm starting to second guess things. ABRP is projecting start of day at 90% SOC with arrival back home at between 5-10%. There are only 3 L2 chargers in the city she'll be commuting to which are all at hotels and note 'patrons only' in Plug Share. No plugs/chargers are currently at the proposed work site and installation at work may be a stretch. No SC's or other DCFC's are on the commute route other than one SC 2 miles from home. It's possible one may be built at some point in the future as a city (Conway) about 1/3 of the way between home and work is one of the more frequently mentioned spots along I-40 in AR where a SC would be desired.

So, from the TWC brain trust, is this commute truly doable on a daily basis in all weather conditions without having to resort to creeping along at an unsafe speed? Home charging will be no issue as we are already set with 2 60amp circuits in the garage ready for future charger use. The wife's current car is a BMW 3 series, so we're leaning towards M3P over a M3LR purely due to aesthetics/performance given that the LR only has a marginal range increase over the P based on the EPA ratings. I'm worried that given typical conditions, it may just be cutting it too close....and that's before the expected 5-10% battery degradation over time. Are their concerns doing such a heavy battery cycle (85% of capacity) 5 days a week 50 weeks a year?
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,873
12,594
Riverside Co. CA
If I was in a place with weather that goes "down to freezing", had a 170 mile daily commute (170 real miles) and wanted to drive 75-80MPH because thats the flow of traffic, I would not buy a model 3 (any version). The only tesla that I would feel comfortable about making that drive under any conditions, daily, 50 weeks a year in, would be a brand new model S long range.
 

JimBob 909

Little Red Raven
Sep 16, 2019
165
130
Southern California
The trouble is the Model S is almost twice as expensive as the M3. The M3 LR has 50 more miles than the performance Model 3. In that commute that's a lot of distance. I would talk to the employer about some sort of deal on a level 2 charger at the work site. A lot cheaper to reimburse the employer for electrons than buying gas daily. Just oil changes will be quarterly at over 100 bucks each.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,873
12,594
Riverside Co. CA
The trouble is the Model S is almost twice as expensive as the M3. The M3 LR has 50 more miles than the performance Model 3. In that commute that's a lot of distance. I would talk to the employer about some sort of deal on a level 2 charger at the work site. A lot cheaper to reimburse the employer for electrons than buying gas daily. Just oil changes will be quarterly at over 100 bucks each.

The difference in "rated" range between the model 3 LR and Performance is basically all weather vs sticky summer tires. Given same tires, the cars will achieve the same rated range if driven the same way. The issue is rated range is "real" range.

the TL ; DR summary is, the car will not achieve rated range (no where near it, at those speeds) and the car is not driven from 0-100 but from 90% to roughly 20% for comfort. The 90% - 20% total is the actual "rated range", then subtract for weather, etc.

It would be doable, but close, and during the winter definitely would be days of "white knuckling it" possibly.
 

Sandor

Member
Dec 12, 2019
58
90
SoCal
I have a even longer commute in my M3LRAWD with also mostly highway driving (IE to North County SD). And here 80 mph is considered speed of traffic (except in Temecula grr). But this is SoCal where 50 deg is freaking cold. After almost 2 years I know I am fine even without recharging at work, but I do have that option. Maybe she can use even a 5-20 outlet at work, that should give her 40-50 extra miles; that'd be plenty margin. Not sure about M3P and I think the only way to make it remotely possible is 18" Aero caps and LRAWD. But the winter is the big unknown.... Not exactly lot of personal experience with that :)

My average Wh/m is somewhere around 245 driving I215/15/CA78 (for jjrandorin, he has to know the local conditions)
 

JLUNDY

Member
Aug 2, 2021
41
13
Reno, Nevada
I was just thinking about a similar range situation. I was hoping to use the M3P every other week to visit family 90ish miles away (180 round trip) but also a rural hwy and the speed limit is 80mph and if you're going 80mph you're getting passed by trucks towing campers. Weather is similar as well, 100 in the summer and freezing in the inter. I'd also be using for a short daily commute (maybe 10 miles round trip) as well but I really don't want the family trip miles or fuel price on my truck. My main reason for the purchase was for the performance aspect of the vehicle and not necessarily the fuel savings but was hoping to use it for more than just go fast features. Guess I got some things to consider.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,918
13,698
San Diego
I'm worried that given typical conditions, it may just be cutting it too close....and that's before the expected 5-10% battery degradation over time. Are their concerns doing such a heavy battery cycle (85% of capacity) 5 days a week 50 weeks a year?

We don’t know how much capacity loss the new 82kWh batteries have over time. We have zero data. So far they have looked good with a few huge outliers (battery failures). They typically start for the Performance at about 80-81kWh.

Assume 10% loss, takes you to 73kWh including buffer.

Usable 100% to 0% without buffer is then 69.6kWh.

If you wanted to do 90-10%, that would be 55.7kWh.

55.7kWh/170mi = 327Wh/mi (324Wh/mi indicated in the vehicle.). This is after 10% capacity loss.

I actually think this is doable even with modestly bad weather in a Performance (they really aren’t that bad for range - the relative delta at 80mph vs an LR is much lower than you would expect since aero losses start to dominate unlike in the EPA test). In conditions of snow, extreme cold, etc., you’d want to be careful - charge to 100%, preheat vehicle, slow down and follow traffic, etc. (100% to 5% would give you a 410Wh/mi budget.) Do you have an ICE vehicle to use as backup in rare extreme situations where there may be an issue? Even 120V charging at work would be fine and make this absolutely no problem, no worries.

In winter, for temperature below 40 degrees, you will have to get winter wheels anyway and you can be careful to get 18” wheels designed for EVs (aero) along with CrossClimate or similar tires which are probably a bit more efficient than the original wheels and tires. These combinations are now readily available for Model 3 Performance and clear the calipers. Anyway that efficiency improvement if the correct purchase is made will offset the extra losses from weather - to an extent - definitely not completely.

The only issue would be if you experience much more capacity loss than most (this is possible, but 15-20% is unlikely over 3 years, assuming these packs do better than earlier packs). With that cycling and mileage of 40k miles a year, there is definitely increased risk of higher than average loss over time, but it is a lottery.

Note you will need to be sure to turn off Sentry Mode and overheat protection with AC at the destination to avoid feature drain. And minimal side trips will be possible.

Assuming $3/gal premium at 33mpg vs. 350Wh/mi (AC!) at 12 cents per kWh (check your rates and savings though), it is 9 cents per mi vs. 4 cents per mile so that will definitely add up.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,873
12,594
Riverside Co. CA
I have a even longer commute in my M3LRAWD with also mostly highway driving (IE to North County SD). And here 80 mph is considered speed of traffic (except in Temecula grr). But this is SoCal where 50 deg is freaking cold. After almost 2 years I know I am fine even without recharging at work, but I do have that option. Maybe she can use even a 5-20 outlet at work, that should give her 40-50 extra miles; that'd be plenty margin. Not sure about M3P and I think the only way to make it remotely possible is 18" Aero caps and LRAWD. But the winter is the big unknown.... Not exactly lot of personal experience with that :)

My average Wh/m is somewhere around 245 driving I215/15/CA78 (for jjrandorin, he has to know the local conditions)

You are doing the same drive I do when I go into the office, just from farther away than I am, it sounds like. I go temecula to oceanside. If you are coming from the 215 you are likely coming from murrieta / lake elsinore or further away.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,097
6,650
Austin, TX
Any chance of a 120v outlet at work? Bonus points for 20a.

Personally I’m not as worried about the drive, I think that’s doable. But I would be worried about the range loss when sitting at work. Either from overheat protection or the cold.
 
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ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
2,412
1,580
DFW
Later this year the wife will potentially be taking a new job role which will involve a roughly 170 mile round trip daily commute. 95% of that would be on freeways/interstates with 75% of that on rural interstates with a 75mph speed limit. I immediately thought that a Model 3 would be perfect for this given the Autopilot/FSD benefits alone, not to mention the fuel and maintenance cost saving. We test drove a 2021 M3P last week and the wife loved it (as expected).

So my dilemma is this....after running a number of typical scenarios on ABRP for weather and expected travel speeds, the end of day SOC seems much too close for comfort....especially given the wife's range anxiety even in ICE vehicles. Location is in AR, so we see wild swings of high 90's during the summer to low 30's for highs in the winter (sometimes even that kind of swing in the same day). That combined with winds/precip and expected speeds of 75-80 over the bulk of the trip (driving below the speed limit would be a safety hazard), I'm starting to second guess things. ABRP is projecting start of day at 90% SOC with arrival back home at between 5-10%. There are only 3 L2 chargers in the city she'll be commuting to which are all at hotels and note 'patrons only' in Plug Share. No plugs/chargers are currently at the proposed work site and installation at work may be a stretch. No SC's or other DCFC's are on the commute route other than one SC 2 miles from home. It's possible one may be built at some point in the future as a city (Conway) about 1/3 of the way between home and work is one of the more frequently mentioned spots along I-40 in AR where a SC would be desired.

So, from the TWC brain trust, is this commute truly doable on a daily basis in all weather conditions without having to resort to creeping along at an unsafe speed? Home charging will be no issue as we are already set with 2 60amp circuits in the garage ready for future charger use. The wife's current car is a BMW 3 series, so we're leaning towards M3P over a M3LR purely due to aesthetics/performance given that the LR only has a marginal range increase over the P based on the EPA ratings. I'm worried that given typical conditions, it may just be cutting it too close....and that's before the expected 5-10% battery degradation over time. Are their concerns doing such a heavy battery cycle (85% of capacity) 5 days a week 50 weeks a year?
Suitable.
 

Frank99

April 2018 Model 3 LR RWD, EAP, FSD
Apr 7, 2016
352
475
Arizona
Rent a model 3 LR off Turo, and drive the route. It’s summer, so you won’t get worst case, but you’ll get a feel for how it works.

Second suggestion is go slower. I’ve found that my opinion of “the speed of traffic” is heavily influenced by the fact that my lane choice is biased to the left. I’ve found that when I’m on AP, I’m perfectly happy moving a bit more right and slowing down 5-10 mph, and I find that there’s a “speed of traffic” there also.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,918
13,698
San Diego
Another way to look at this is that at 300Wh/mi, which should be possible in typical conditions (I have a Performance and suspect with traffic you will do slightly better, as low as 290Wh/mi in ideal conditions if speed is kept below 80mph) , when the car is new, you will use:

51kWh.

That is 66% of the 76.9kWh usable.
So starting at 90% she’ll arrive home at 24%. 100% means 34%.

That is your margin for capacity loss, weather, etc.

Seems like plenty to me since the vehicle has a heat pump and you’re not in the frozen north.

It WILL get tighter over time. Budget and expect 15% capacity loss. But even with that you arrive around 20% starting at 100%, in good conditions. A little tight, certainly, but only in certain conditions when an ICE might be necessary - or a desperation charge somewhere at the destination.
 
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truckie6606

New Member
Aug 4, 2021
4
3
Arkansas
Appreciate all of the quick responses. Seems to validate my concerns that this route is on the fringe of a bullet proof use case. Arkansas is in a bit of a Tesla desert having only started getting SC's about 18 months ago and Dallas being the closest galleries. Tulsa and Memphis are the nearest service centers. We do have my ICE SUV as a backup for extreme days which will likely get replaced with a R1T once Rivian get's its act together. Turo isn't an option, at least locally, however we could potentially leverage that option (or an overnight test drive if Tesla starts those again) out of Dallas on a similar route as a sanity check in the future.

We still have a few months to make a final vehicle choice and with the floodgates of Federal dollars about to (hopefully) open up for EV charging infrastructure, it may be an entirely different situation in 6 months.
 

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
2,412
1,580
DFW
We still have a few months to make a final vehicle choice and with the floodgates of Federal dollars about to (hopefully) open up for EV charging infrastructure, it may be an entirely different situation in 6 months.
Don't count on it being implemented that quickly even if it's approved.
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,918
13,698
San Diego
We still have a few months to make a final vehicle choice and with the floodgates of Federal dollars about to (hopefully) open up for EV charging infrastructure, it may be an entirely different situation in 6 months.

If you do decide to purchase, be sure to check the projected 100% charge on the vehicle before signing for it, and ensure it's charged to over 80% before taking delivery and doing this extrapolation. Check the capacity BEFORE signing.

For the Model 3 Performance, since the degradation threshold is 80.6kWh, it's actually going to be a pretty good indicator. If you use the energy screen method and project to 80kWh or 81kWh using that method with an SOC over 80%, then I think that bodes well.

I personally wouldn't accept a vehicle that projected to 79kWh and I'd check an 80kWh vehicle carefully (would look at the extrapolated miles carefully - really want to see 315 miles, not 312 projected or whatever - there's obviously rounding error, but I'd be careful).

There are vehicles which start at 79.5kWh or so and eventually the BMS re-estimates to 80+kWh, but I just wouldn't want to risk it. May as well start with a really juicy pack if you're paying ~$70k for a car, and an 81kWh BMS estimate result would make that very likely.
 

cybergates

Member
Feb 14, 2017
550
240
So Cal
why the performance version? as a commuting car or even for leisure the M3LRAWD is plenty fast already. Always use the car's trip planner - put in the destination and swipe down to see arrival and round trip percentage for battery - it's pretty accurate. Speed makes a huge difference. 70mph vs. 80 even. The idea of renting as above or borrowing a friends model 3 and seeing what it says for the round trip seems like a good idea. I wish more places start installing work chargers - even slow chargers would be so awesome.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,918
13,698
San Diego
why the performance version?
It really makes very little difference to range at highway speed (the 353/315 difference is all wheel aero and tire differences, at a much lower speed where these differences have much more impact %-wise (which is what matters)). Some impact, of course - I’d expect about 5% or so (15Wh/mi)? And for the most problematic times (winter) he is going to be equipping winter tires (of some form) anyway (and with correctly chosen aero wheels the range of the LR and Performance can be essentially identical under those conditions).

So, I just don’t see the LR helping that much - it will help, for sure. But considering winter conditions with the same tires on each vehicle - won’t be that much different.

To the OP: keep in mind rain will also hurt the range. I haven’t had enough experience on long highway trips with rain to get a good feel for the impact, but maybe expect an additional 30Wh/mi. Depends on the rain, of course!
 

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
2,412
1,580
DFW
It really makes very little difference to range at highway speed (the 353/315 difference is all wheel aero and tire differences, at a much lower speed where these differences have much more impact %-wise (which is what matters)). Some impact, of course - I’d expect about 5% or so (15Wh/mi)? And for the most problematic times (winter) he is going to be equipping winter tires (of some form) anyway (and with correctly chosen aero wheels the range of the LR and Performance can be essentially identical under those conditions).

So, I just don’t see the LR helping that much - it will help, for sure. But considering winter conditions with the same tires on each vehicle - won’t be that much different.

To the OP: keep in mind rain will also hurt the range. I haven’t had enough experience on long highway trips with rain to get a good feel for the impact, but maybe expect an additional 30Wh/mi. Depends on the rain, of course!
In my experience 20% reduction in range isn’t out of the question.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,873
12,594
Riverside Co. CA
It really makes very little difference to range at highway speed (the 353/315 difference is all wheel aero and tire differences, at a much lower speed where these differences have much more impact %-wise (which is what matters)). Some impact, of course - I’d expect about 5% or so (15Wh/mi)? And for the most problematic times (winter) he is going to be equipping winter tires (of some form) anyway (and with correctly chosen aero wheels the range of the LR and Performance can be essentially identical under those conditions).

So, I just don’t see the LR helping that much - it will help, for sure. But considering winter conditions with the same tires on each vehicle - won’t be that much different.

To the OP: keep in mind rain will also hurt the range. I haven’t had enough experience on long highway trips with rain to get a good feel for the impact, but maybe expect an additional 30Wh/mi. Depends on the rain, of course!

In my southern california commute to work, which is 79-80 "real world" miles, driven at the same speeds, the same route, the same way, for over 2 years now, I can say that it takes between 88 to 135 "tesla miles" for my car to complete that drive. The highest "tesla miles" trips to work and back are always when it rains, and thats the only time I see usage of 120-135 "tesla miles".

This is for a model 3 performance, with a lifetime wh/mi number showing in the car of something like 269/270 wh/mi. I only mention that to show that I am, in general, pretty darn gentle on the pedal (with a few exceptions but mostly drive very moderately). I also know I am talking in miles and potential miles not energy numbers, but the TL ; DR version is rain, where we are, is a huge huge impact.

Given all the stuff this OP laid out (in Arkansas, not CA where charging is plentiful, no real charging on the way, no work charging, 170 real miles round trip, 50 weeks a year), I wouldnt do it in a model 3, unless perhaps I was leasing it (or work was paying for it) and work was going to let me charge there, even if it was on 120v while sitting there.
 
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