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Model 3 LR vs SR

Rough numbers.....
100% full charge starting point
-20% off the top to get to 80% normalized range SR=176, LR=248
-10% off the bottom as most people don't like getting to their destination with nothing left = 70%
-10/20% to speed/heat penalty depending on your lead foot or driving conditions. = 50-60%
So as a daily drive range, not occasional one off trips, about 132 miles for SR, 186 for LR
Obviously charging along the way, range charging, destination charging all change those numbers.

Once your right foot has been trained and your experience improves you'll be able to easily manage your drive and battery to maximize range and those numbers improve.

I plan on getting LR just to suit my needs.
That's a good realistic rule of thumb, and what I experienced in my Model S 60D. My commutes are medium (<1 hour on average) and my trips medium (<6 hours on average), but some people have very short commutes (<20 minutes) or very long commutes (>2 hours), including many of my coworkers. I found that I had to fully charge every night to make it to work and back, in a 60 (EPA ~211); the LR model 3 with EPA 310 should be around 150 realistic, and that's about 30 more than I need per day, whereas my 60 was about 100 realistic, which was always pushing the envelope, and if it were not for the lack of a safety buffer at the top (since I had a SW limited 75), would have been impossible; I commonly arrived home with almost no battery for my medium commute.

I don't think I can afford the LR, but I don't know if I have a choice. I drive up a winding hill in the cold every morning, and rush to beat traffic, to go to where there is work (my entire county where I live is zoned for no income producing businesses). There's nothing cheap about the driving conditions in my commute.

I base it upon your financial means and your use of the car. If you have a short commute and rare long trips, SR is fine for those of you with limited financial means. LR is better if your commute is long or you take frequent long trips. The "average" person takes "average" commutes and "average" long trips, so that's kind of a wobbler. Only you can tell what your needs are. Keep in mind, "weather" anywhere but California means your range is a lot shorter in winter, and that's one additional factor not even mentioned in the above rules of thumb; you could easily get 25% range in extreme weather conditions (cold, headwind, etc.).

If you already live very close to work and are of low financial means, you probably already own a Nissan Leaf. If you consider yourself a "short distance commuter" and do not already currently own a Leaf, then that means you probably are the Tesla Short Range target market. Otherwise, get a Tesla Long Range.
Last edited:


REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
New Mexico
If you already live very close to work and are of low financial means, you probably already own a Nissan Leaf. If you consider yourself a "short distance commuter" and do not already currently own a Leaf, then that means you probably are the Tesla Short Range target market. Otherwise, get a Tesla Long Range.

Or drive a little slower once in a while. Leave for work a little earlier.

First of all, @Mod3l 3 , I'm super impressed by your analysis - well done.

Second, I think it's a bit silly to say "the vast majority of people will ... regret they got SR". Obviously with unlimited funds, if it were free, we'd all want the LR. But it's not. LR is the most expensive Model 3 option. And I think you're wiser than most trying to avoid debt (our eyes are too big in North America - we generally buy way more stuff than we need - most NA cars can't even fit on many European or Asian roads for example).

My feedback is that you'll be OK if you can put up with NOT driving 80 mph on the 5% of days that are extra cold or with a strong headwind (wouldn't your consumption be equally better on the return trip anyway, assuming the wind would be helping your consumption in the opposite direction?). In other words, far from being out of your hands, you can manage to accommodate the SR to meet your needs while saving you a 26% premium on the base car, if you compromise a bit. And also, like you point out, if you plugged in at work on those 5% of days, it would be a non-issue and you could speed home all you want.

My $0.02 worth.

Good luck!
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Posted this on reddit. Thought I’d get some feedback from here as well.

Long time lurker here. I’ve been struggling with going with the SR or splurging and getting the LR. Thought I’d ask the question here to get some of your thoughts.

I’m a day one reservation holder and will definitely get the full tax credit if I opt for the LR and hope to get it even if I get the SR. I’m assuming getting the full credit for the SR will depend heavily on a successful ramp but what any input would be appreciated. To add purchasing the SR is not really dependent on me getting the tax credit but my timing will differ based on eligibility (if I’m not eligible then I plan on waiting for them to iron out the bugs before purchasing). Will be getting PUP either way.

I currently drive 130 miles (door to door) daily for work. Now my question is if I do go for the SR is the range enough? Some numbers I’ve been using:

220 miles - 8% battery degradation = 202 miles Daily charge to 90% (of 202) = 182 miles Speed penalty 10% (@80mph) = 164 miles

So far, no issues. Now I live in the gulf coast area and we usually only get about 1-2 weeks of cold weather (>25F and below 40F) a year. For the rest of the winter time the temperature usually ranges between 40F and 60F. Also to add the extreme cold is usually at night at which time the car will be charging (+ precondition when I leave in the AM). At work the car is parked in the open (for about 9-10 hours).

I do not have an option to charge at work, although I might ask the question down the line. If I really had to I could probably plug into a 110V right before I leave to help precondition the better but I’m not sure how beneficial this would be.

Now based on that do you think it is safe to go with the SR? I do not want to run into the issue of being stranded as there are no superchargers along my route.

Also what cold penalty would you apply? I do not usually use the heater in my car as the hot air bothers me. I might turn it on for the first 5-10 min of the trip then turn off AC and just bring in the outside air at min fan speed. Same for the seat warmers. I’ve been using 20% as the worst case, which leaves me with 131 miles (very close). If I charge to 100% on the few days the temperature drops this low plus drive conservatively (~65-70mph) would this offset the cold penalty?

I would prefer to get the SR at his point in my life. Having no car payment right now has been great to me from a cash flow perspective and has helped me get ahead of my savings goal. I could get the SR in cash but with the interest rates being low I plan on paying it off in ~3 years while investing the the excess. While the LR won’t really stretch my budget, I’m having a hard time justifying the additional expense as I know with my mileage the depreciation hit will be huge.

To existing Tesla, what are your thoughts? Are my assumptions on range penalties close or do I need to make any changes?
Go with the LR. You can’t go wrong. And it will give you flexibility for trips other than just back and forth to work!

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