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Percent or miles/kilometers - only percent makes sense

hgmichna

Member
Jun 17, 2020
327
261
Germany
I have driven my Model 3 SR+ for over half a year now and was convinced by one of these discussions that the percent display has no meaning because of the varying battery capacity and that I therefore should use kilometers, which I did.

However, what I see now is that kilometers or miles are at least as meaningless. My car has a nominal range of 409 kilometers and initially showed a maximum value, the one I see when I load to 100%, near that. But now I observe that the max kilometers (partly after a recent long drive of around 2,500 km) is only 358 km, which looks like a battery degradation of 12.5%. This is unlikely to be true. ABRP reads and calculates a degradation of 1.2%, which is more believable. I usually charge slowly to 60% and go higher only for the occasional long-distance drive. Even there I usually do not exceed 90%. This means that I go very soft on the battery and that it should not have degraded much. Actual driving data does not indicate any discernible degradation.

This means, until somebody explains to me what the kilometer display actually means, I'd be much better off with the more stable percent display.

What I glean from similar discussions here and in other Tesla forums is that nobody has the faintest clue of what those displayed kilometers actually mean. Am I wrong? Does anybody really know? If you do, where does your knowledge come from?
 

Hawnboy

Member
Nov 15, 2018
258
149
Aiea, HI.
For me, I keep my M3P on the percentage setting. I view it as my electron fuel gauge. Much like the gas gauge on an ICE automobile. If it's at 75%, I've got 3/4 tank of fuel/electrons. If I need to go on a long trip, just like an ICE car, I'll fill it up to "F", or 100% in EV language.

I don't worry about my battery or SOC. I charge at home with the assistance of my solar roof panels normally to 80% and "think about" a recharge when it reaches 30%.

Just drive and enjoy!!!
 

pilotSteve

Active Member
Jul 14, 2012
1,496
1,423
Prescott Az
I second the "use percent" as the range display. Over the years I've had Model-S (starting from 2013) the range estimates of the nav system (and 3rd party tools such as A Better Route Planner) have gotten much more predictable and precise.

So, for "can I make it" purposes, I find it useful and stress reducing to rely on the trip planning to tell me where/where/if charging is needed, and use the battery % as an "energy gauge" to give me comfort (or worry) about how "much" energy I have onboard.

Hope this perspective is helpful and not confusing.
 

BattIncd

New Member
Oct 25, 2020
4
0
Denver
I hope my comment isn't in the wrong thread ... I've had my X for 3.5 years and racked up 72k miles in road trips all over the county. I use the remaining battery percent and find it's the most useful gauge by far.

When I'm at a supercharger (or any charger for that matter) I put in the destination to my next charge point. Rather than leave at the recommended 15-20%, I depart from the charger when the percent in the turn-by-turn list reaches 5% (sometimes a bit more if there are strong winds). I never have range anxiety and have never run out the battery.

I'm a lead foot. Usually drive 75-85mph. I look at the remaining % every now and then and make sure it hasn't dropped below 5%. If it has, I'll chill out my driving to eek it back up to 5. As long as I keep an eye on that and adjust accordingly: (speed, long range mode, passing, HVAC when desperate) I reliably arrive with the 5%. And of course the closer you get to the destination, that 5 percent has more value relative to the remaining distance.

I also keep an eye on the percent-round-trip. If I haven't traveled at least half the distance by the round trip half-way point, I know I have to turn back (but I've never had to). Using the % lets me leave the charger sooner and not leave 15-20% unused at the destination.

I've found that the percent distance does take into consideration the variability of inclines (that can be shown in the energy use graph) so the % is very actuate (unless strong headwinds).

Adjust your drive to keep the % where you're comfortable and you're set. The miles remaining gauge is useless.

I might have missed this discussion elsewhere so I apologize but wanted to share a useful observation.
 

Blackbart

Member
Jan 7, 2020
40
31
Columbus
I have driven my Model 3 SR+ for over half a year now and was convinced by one of these discussions that the percent display has no meaning because of the varying battery capacity and that I therefore should use kilometers, which I did.

However, what I see now is that kilometers or miles are at least as meaningless. My car has a nominal range of 409 kilometers and initially showed a maximum value, the one I see when I load to 100%, near that. But now I observe that the max kilometers (partly after a recent long drive of around 2,500 km) is only 358 km, which looks like a battery degradation of 12.5%. This is unlikely to be true. ABRP reads and calculates a degradation of 1.2%, which is more believable. I usually charge slowly to 60% and go higher only for the occasional long-distance drive. Even there I usually do not exceed 90%. This means that I go very soft on the battery and that it should not have degraded much. Actual driving data does not indicate any discernible degradation.

This means, until somebody explains to me what the kilometer display actually means, I'd be much better off with the more stable percent display.

What I glean from similar discussions here and in other Tesla forums is that nobody has the faintest clue of what those displayed kilometers actually mean. Am I wrong? Does anybody really know? If you do, where does your knowledge come from?
It's funny because my evolution has been the exact opposite of what you describe... and per your request here has been my experience. For context I would offer - most of my driving is within the city (not long road trips) and both my wife and I have Tesla's but there is only one charger at the house. Anyhow - to me all I want to know is "am I going to need to charge or do I have enough charge as is." And I measure travel in miles. So while it is admittedly an inaccurate measure... I know I am going to drive about 40 miles today... does the car have 40 miles of range available. So I look at the gauge and it says 65 miles... I am good. 48 miles... maybe not. 40 miles... definitely need to charge. To me - a percentage just adds a step (you look at the percentage... translate that to miles and then do what I am doing). OR... I suppose you could train yourself to think it terms of "what percentage of charge will it take to get from here to there" but man, that seems goofy. As the threads suggest - there is no one answer but that is my logic. I explain it this way - if your ICE vehicle has a traditional graphic gas gauge (1/8, 1/4, 1/2 etc.) and one that shows miles remaining on the tank.... and you can only view one (understanding the "miles" version is a rough approximation NOT a promise) - which one is more useful. So I pick the miles remaining. I know I have to take into account the outside temperature and how fast I am driving etc. - but the behaviors are pretty easy to learn and pretty predictable. In other words - the miles / kilometers don't translate exactly to real world distances (although they are related) - but they are more meaningful than a percentage of battery life which unless I convert it to miles means even less. Tomato / Tomato
 
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hgmichna

Member
Jun 17, 2020
327
261
Germany
Perhaps I should mention that, contrary to what I thought and wrote when I started this thread, I have switched back to kilometers.

One argument is that kilometers or miles are comparable between different cars, like between my Model 3 SR+ and a long-range Tesla. A percent value would have a different meaning from car to car. And kilometers or miles relate to what we really want to know, namely how far we can still drive.

I would still like to know what the kilometer figure really means. I believe it is the range I can drive at a certain speed somewhere between 100 km/h = 62 mph and 110 km/h = 68 mph. Under normal circumstances I can be sure to reach the displayed distance if I drive no faster than 100 km/h. That is useful information.

I don't think this is very important. Everybody can use whatever is preferred. And we also have the energy display.
 

BattIncd

New Member
Oct 25, 2020
4
0
Denver
I agree with your method for in-town or short trips, the miles-to-amount-of-charge is best. But for longer trips I only care if my SOC when I arrive.

Not to be argumentative but I've found that the miles-to-miles method is risky on longer road trips and a waste of time at superchargers. I'll use a 260 mile trip as an example. My X will charge to 280 miles of charge. Am I comfortable attempting the trip with a full charge or do I need to stop to charge enroute. I only have a 20 mile buffer.

By default the car's nav system will have you charge until it estimates you'll have 20% SOC when you arrive at the destination. The nav system displays that that destination charge estimate at the bottom of the turn-by-turn list along with the halfway point. In this example, a 20% destination allowance is a buffer of close to 60 miles. If I'm comfortable arriving at the destination with less that 60 miles buffer I could leave earlier (and depending on the charger it could be a lot sooner). I don't care about how many miles of buffer I have. That distance is fixed and I can't control terrain. Personally I care about how much % charge I'll have when I arrive because that's a variable I can control and improve if needed. I've found that leaving a charger with 5% works well for me.

I leave with 5% estimated-at-destination. Not unlike any EV or ICE driver does, I glance at that now and then. As long as the percent stays at my comfort level, I know the estimate was good and/or my driving efficiency was good. However if that % drops I need to lower my speed (I'm a lead foot) or close windows. If things get drastic, I may need to shut off the HVAC or drop to even lower speeds. At the nav's half way estimate I have a decision: was the estimate good and the efficiency decent or do I need to give in and turn back to charge.

I have about 130k miles on my X and I'd guess that 90% of that is road trips. Twice I've had to take extreme measure when the remaining destination % estimate dropped to 1% or 2%. But even then it meant dropping to <50mph. This method may not be for everyone but just my experience and thought I'd share.

But your method is what I use for local trips.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,801
8,411
Boise, ID
I know I am going to drive about 40 miles today... does the car have 40 miles of range available. So I look at the gauge and it says 65 miles... I am good. 48 miles... maybe not. 40 miles... definitely need to charge. To me - a percentage just adds a step (you look at the percentage... translate that to miles and then do what I am doing).
Exactly. I sometimes go to visit my friend in Twin Falls, ID. I already know that's 125 miles without having to go into the car to enter it into Navigation. I can just look at it, and immediately see if it's 129 or 130, no, that's too tight. But if it's 180 or 200, sure, I'm good.

One argument is that kilometers or miles are comparable between different cars, like between my Model 3 SR+ and a long-range Tesla. A percent value would have a different meaning from car to car. And kilometers or miles relate to what we really want to know, namely how far we can still drive.
And that's the other one. % is just a "fullness" measurement, so the amount of energy that really represents moves around and shifts over time and from vehicle to vehicle, so it's not consistently really anything.

What I glean from similar discussions here and in other Tesla forums is that nobody has the faintest clue of what those displayed kilometers actually mean. Am I wrong? Does anybody really know? If you do, where does your knowledge come from?
Bull$#it. It's the amount of energy divided by the efficiency constant calculated from the EPA testing procedure. Most people don't drive like the granny style of EPA testing, which is why it's always a bit higher than your real miles, but it is at least consistent.

I get it--that seeing a number that looks like it's something similar to miles, but isn't always matching the real miles they drove is a mental conflict that makes some people angry, so they would rather just switch to %, so they don't have to see that and be bothered by it. But % isn't more real or more informative.
 
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Gizmo35

Member
Aug 4, 2019
149
160
San Diego, CA
Percent works best for me. If they change the miles from the rated range to the range estimate based on the last 30 miles driven, then I would probably switch. I didnt like seeing 50 miles disappear when I only drove 25. I do know how far 10% of battery should get me though and that has been very useful to me.
 
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Rottenapplr

Active Member
Apr 6, 2019
1,015
536
LOS ANGELES
I hope my comment isn't in the wrong thread ... I've had my X for 3.5 years and racked up 72k miles in road trips all over the county. I use the remaining battery percent and find it's the most useful gauge by far.

When I'm at a supercharger (or any charger for that matter) I put in the destination to my next charge point. Rather than leave at the recommended 15-20%, I depart from the charger when the percent in the turn-by-turn list reaches 5% (sometimes a bit more if there are strong winds). I never have range anxiety and have never run out the battery.

I'm a lead foot. Usually drive 75-85mph. I look at the remaining % every now and then and make sure it hasn't dropped below 5%. If it has, I'll chill out my driving to eek it back up to 5. As long as I keep an eye on that and adjust accordingly: (speed, long range mode, passing, HVAC when desperate) I reliably arrive with the 5%. And of course the closer you get to the destination, that 5 percent has more value relative to the remaining distance.

I also keep an eye on the percent-round-trip. If I haven't traveled at least half the distance by the round trip half-way point, I know I have to turn back (but I've never had to). Using the % lets me leave the charger sooner and not leave 15-20% unused at the destination.

I've found that the percent distance does take into consideration the variability of inclines (that can be shown in the energy use graph) so the % is very actuate (unless strong headwinds).

Adjust your drive to keep the % where you're comfortable and you're set. The miles remaining gauge is useless.

I might have missed this discussion elsewhere so I apologize but wanted to share a useful observation.
I second that. I am a moderate to chill driver so when Tesla range says I’ll arrive with 5% when I leave a supercharger on a road trip recharge, I usually arrive with 13% or more. So now I try to leave when it says my arrival percentage is 8% to give me buffer.
 

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,318
1,791
QLD, Australia
I have driven my Model 3 SR+ for over half a year now and was convinced by one of these discussions that the percent display has no meaning because of the varying battery capacity and that I therefore should use kilometers, which I did.

However, what I see now is that kilometers or miles are at least as meaningless. My car has a nominal range of 409 kilometers and initially showed a maximum value, the one I see when I load to 100%, near that. But now I observe that the max kilometers (partly after a recent long drive of around 2,500 km) is only 358 km, which looks like a battery degradation of 12.5%. This is unlikely to be true. ABRP reads and calculates a degradation of 1.2%, which is more believable. I usually charge slowly to 60% and go higher only for the occasional long-distance drive. Even there I usually do not exceed 90%. This means that I go very soft on the battery and that it should not have degraded much. Actual driving data does not indicate any discernible degradation.

This means, until somebody explains to me what the kilometer display actually means, I'd be much better off with the more stable percent display.

What I glean from similar discussions here and in other Tesla forums is that nobody has the faintest clue of what those displayed kilometers actually mean. Am I wrong? Does anybody really know? If you do, where does your knowledge come from?


you are wrong. i have mine in % most of the time but in Australia chargers are VERY far apart and you sometimes have to move between AC, slow DC and fast DC charging and often "skim" on a low % charge all the way down to 1% when you reach chargers (coz whats the point waiting an hour on AC to get 10% when you could reach the ultrafast DC charger with 1% and charge to 80% in just 25min)

km allows you to visualize the rangedrop of the rated range vs the actual distance to destination so you can modify your driving behaviour if it shrinks to rapidly.
 
Last edited:

Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,168
968
Holbrook, MA
It is absolutely a matter of opinion.

I only use distance. I don't have navigation so I cannot get a projected SOC for a trip. The map will tell me how far away something is. My driving usually closely matches range, and sometimes even beats it.

My battery is not doing well since late October and I'm waiting on service scheduling. My 100% on the app slider shows 203 at most, and sometimes 187. Before then it was ~245, which I thought was ok for a 7+ year old 85. There are no warnings at this time. My point is: If you only use %, how would you know if you're range has been reduced?
 
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Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,318
1,791
QLD, Australia
It is absolutely a matter of opinion.

I only use distance. I don't have navigation so I cannot get a projected SOC for a trip. The map will tell me how far away something is. My driving usually closely matches range, and sometimes even beats it.

My battery is not doing well since late October and I'm waiting on service scheduling. My 100% on the app slider shows 203 at most, and sometimes 187. Before then it was ~245, which I thought was ok for a 7+ year old 85. There are no warnings at this time. My point is: If you only use %, how would you know if you're range has been reduced?
how come you dont have navigation?
 

TMThree

Active Member
Mar 28, 2019
1,118
1,776
USA
There is no "miles". Only thing the battery has is voltage. And the car knows the min and max voltage.
 

Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,168
968
Holbrook, MA
how come you dont have navigation?
It was originally part of the optional Tech Package. IIRC: nav, driver profiles, lighted door handles, home link, power lift gate, auto dimming mirrors, heated side view mirrors, turning lights, and chrome rear diffuser & front parking light housings. The package changed a few times, then everything eventually became standard equipment.

Actually I like it without nav. I use the voice command "where is" and it shows me. Sometimes I just want to know where something is, not drive there; and the huge map makes it easy to choose a route if I do.
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,801
8,411
Boise, ID
Oh, @Brass Guy you've got a green 2013! I was so stuck between choosing the green or the dark blue, and I went with the dark blue and regretted it. I was also considering not choosing the tech package, but my wife kind of talked me into it, like, "This is the first really nice car you are getting. You're going to keep it for a long time. And you know how features work their way down in the car world. Things are in the high end cars first, and then they work their way down, so after several years you may be frustrated when even the new little econobox cars have them standard, so you should probably go ahead and get it with those things to have it the way you like it."
 

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,318
1,791
QLD, Australia
It was originally part of the optional Tech Package. IIRC: nav, driver profiles, lighted door handles, home link, power lift gate, auto dimming mirrors, heated side view mirrors, turning lights, and chrome rear diffuser & front parking light housings. The package changed a few times, then everything eventually became standard equipment.

Actually I like it without nav. I use the voice command "where is" and it shows me. Sometimes I just want to know where something is, not drive there; and the huge map makes it easy to choose a route if I do.

oh i remember that. but i thought it still sort of navigates there?
 

Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,168
968
Holbrook, MA
oh i remember that. but i thought it still sort of navigates there?
It has GPS so it knows where it is. The nav is a separate system with its own set of maps while the screen display map is Google.

@Rocky_H - green was my initial choice. I almost switched to the blue, and I'm so glad I simply decided to go with my first instinct. The only thing I thought I wanted from the tech package was the nav, but couldn't justify the price. I later found out how disappointed people were in the nav. No route choices, no way points, no successive destinations. In over 7 years I only could have used a power lift gate maybe 3 times, otherwise I find them annoying. Profiles and home link would have been convenient, and I've added the door handle lights to my front handles. Zero regrets on my choices, and still use the huge front trunk often.

I just remembered, auto lock and unlock/present handles were part of that package. I don't wake my car up just walking by it, but it could have been handy coming out of the store with an armload.
 
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