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Range question - how does traffic effect range when travelling long distances?

jplanaux

Member
Aug 13, 2019
22
20
Destrehan, Louisiana
I am taking my first trip (New Orleans -> Colorado - and back) in my newish M3 (a few months old). I just came back from NOLA -> Austin, TX in an ICE vehicle. We got in bumper to bumper traffic through Houston. It added 2.5 hours to the journey. How would that have effected the range? Would it have caused an additional stop for recharging?
 

go2realize

Member
May 23, 2019
52
39
Michigan
Based on this, a 2019 LR AWD 18" Aero hubcap is rated at 417 miles when driven at a constant 55mph. So the slower you drive (due to traffic), the higher will be your range. Though as suggested above, AC will eat up your range the longer you use it. Use the energy graph while driving to get a sense of the 'estimated range'. My first long drive from CO to MI was a good learning experience.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,282
11,722
California
Driving at slow constant speed is efficient, however stop and go will eat more energy.
EVs are generally MORE efficient in stop/start city driving due to regen. Steady state highway cruising with zero regen opportunity is close to worst case for consumption.

Time in traffic is almost always going to increase your range in an EV (excepting extremes like temps way below freezing where the cost of running the heat keeps your consumption floor quite high).
 

ran349

Member
Jun 28, 2016
431
279
SoCal
EVs are generally MORE efficient in stop/start city driving due to regen. Steady state highway cruising with zero regen opportunity is close to worst case for consumption.

Time in traffic is almost always going to increase your range in an EV (excepting extremes like temps way below freezing where the cost of running the heat keeps your consumption floor quite high).
My car is definitely an exception to that rule. I get much better efficiency on steady state highway driving than my stop/start local driving.
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
737
US
I am taking my first trip (New Orleans -> Colorado - and back) in my newish M3 (a few months old). I just came back from NOLA -> Austin, TX in an ICE vehicle. We got in bumper to bumper traffic through Houston. It added 2.5 hours to the journey. How would that have effected the range? Would it have caused an additional stop for recharging?

You will increase the efficiency of the motor, but you will spend more time in the car using heat or a/c, so depends heavily on your environment and climate control settings (ie. is it 110 degrees out).
 
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jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,565
21,936
Texas
Totally depends. If you have to stop and start a lot, it can decrease range, however if you can keep a steady, but slow, speed it can improve range. A/C doesn't matter much, heater does.
 

animorph

Active Member
Apr 1, 2016
2,132
1,527
Scottsdale, AZ
One of my longer drives was through L.A. traffic. I was able to skip a Supercharger stop because of the energy savings of going slow. And that was a hot summer day with A/C. Stop and go is not particularly great, but constant slow traffic will increase range a lot. Traffic is not something I worry about when planning a trip.
 

Rottenapplr

Member
Apr 6, 2019
989
474
LOS ANGELES
I am taking my first trip (New Orleans -> Colorado - and back) in my newish M3 (a few months old). I just came back from NOLA -> Austin, TX in an ICE vehicle. We got in bumper to bumper traffic through Houston. It added 2.5 hours to the journey. How would that have effected the range? Would it have caused an additional stop for recharging?
My first weekend with the tesla I got stuck on a road trip to the kettleman city charger. Traffic was about an hr, middle of summer, hot weather. I lost 1% of battery. Slow driving. Lot of It wasn’t an issue at all and no range anxiety.
 

N54TT

Member
Aug 14, 2018
899
675
NY
This is my first EV. But my experience for the past 13months is that stop and go traffic and cruising at high speeds (70+ mph) are not optimal for long distance efficiency. If the traffic results in cruising at lower but constant speeds aka 40-55/60mph....that’s the best for long distance efficiency.
 

joebruin77

Member
Dec 23, 2018
992
855
Encino, CA
There seems to be some disagreement over how efficient one can be driving in stop and go traffic. Living and driving in LA, I have frequent experience. I would add these two points to the discussion:

1) It depends on how much of your traffic is stop and how much is go. What I mean is, if you are moving at a slow pace and occasionally have to stop for a short amount of time, you will not notice that much effect on the battery. However, if you are barely moving and spending more time stopped than going, then this will have a more negative impact on battery. Recently, I left the Forum after a Panic! At the Disco concert, and it too a long time to get out of the parking lot and to the 405 freeway. I used about 600 or 700 wh/mile.

2) It also depends on whether you are going uphill or downhill. If it is stop and go and you are mostly going downhill, then of course your range will not be as negatively affected.

Because there are so many factors and so many differences, I suggest you study your own driving habits. I often drive with the wh/mile reading up on the display so I get a sense of how much energy I use. The other way to get data on your own driving would be get an app like Stats For Tesla. I have Stats for Tesla and have learned so much about my energy use and driving efficiency.
 

TimothyHW3

Member
Jun 2, 2019
970
529
Germany
Totally depends. If you have to stop and start a lot, it can decrease range, however if you can keep a steady, but slow, speed it can improve range. A/C doesn't matter much, heater does.
Actually, this is partially true. In low temperatures the car will work more to achieve the goal so that will increase the HVAC consumption in the long run, but the A/C does pull a lot of juice too, not just heater.

You can easily test it yourself as I did in this video. Plug in the charging cable, turn off charging and check the consumption of the HVAC. It goes over 4kW even though the temperatures were mild/warm 22C.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE5QPjUdHGY


The problem with this thread is that there are a lot of variables - there is stop and go traffic and there is stop and go traffic. There is warm weather and warm weather. You also don't know how long the car has been driving before that and how the HVAC was preconditioned.

General speaking - the faster you go, the more drag. But since you will travel more distance for shorter time, the HVAC consumption will be lower relative to the distance (4kW in 1 hour is 4kWh. 4kW in 30 minutes is just 2kWh consumed. If you travel the same distance for 30 mintues instead of 1 hour your consumption will be sign. lower)

HVAC and wind resistance play a very, very big role in EVs actually and especially on a Model 3 (S and X are way better) without a heat pump and a very, very inefficient HVAC which can pull anywhere between 1kW (low end) to 6kW on the high end.

Now depending on the stop and go and the outside temperature and how preconditioned the car was or how long you were driving before that, if the car pulls 6kW on a stop and go that takes 30 minutes, the HVAC alone will consume 3kWh.

So it is hard to tell.
But as a rule of thumbg, if you turn off HVAC (just use the passive cooling/heating without pressing "A/C") in a stop and go traffic you will barely consume anything. And if the HVAC is somewhat at steady temperature already, it will also not affect the range much.
 

TimothyHW3

Member
Jun 2, 2019
970
529
Germany
Totally depends. If you have to stop and start a lot, it can decrease range, however if you can keep a steady, but slow, speed it can improve range. A/C doesn't matter much, heater does.
Actually, this is partially true. In low temperatures the car will work more to achieve the goal so that will increase the HVAC consumption in the long run, but the A/C does pull a lot of juice too, not just heater.

You can easily test it yourself as I did in this video. Plug in the charging cable, turn off charging and check the consumption of the HVAC. It goes over 4kW even though the temperatures were mild/warm 22C.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE5QPjUdHGY


The problem with this thread is that there are a lot of variables - there is stop and go traffic and there is stop and go traffic. There is warm weather and warm weather. So everybody is reporting things, but nobody is reporting the whole picture:
You also don't know how long the car has been driving before that and how the HVAC was preconditioned.

General speaking - the faster you go, the more drag. But since you will travel more distance for shorter time, the HVAC consumption will be lower relative to the distance (4kW in 1 hour is 4kWh. 4kW in 30 minutes is just 2kWh consumed. If you travel the same distance for 10 mintues instead of 1 hour your consumption will still be lower)

HVAC and wind resistance play a very, very big role in EVs actually and especially on a Model 3 (S and X are way better) without a heat pump and a very, very inefficient HVAC which can pull anywhere between 1kW (low end) to 6kW on the high end.

Now depending on the stop and go and the outside temperature and how preconditioned the car was or how long you were driving before that, if the car pulls 6kW on a stop and go that takes 30 minutes, the HVAC alone will consume 3kWh.

So it is hard to tell.
But as a rule of thumbg, if you turn off HVAC (just use the passive cooling/heating without pressing "A/C") in a stop and go traffic you will barely consume anything. And if the HVAC is somewhat at steady temperature already, it will also not affect the range much.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,238
11,035
San Diego
You can easily test it yourself as I did in this video. Plug in the charging cable, turn off charging and check the consumption of the HVAC. It goes over 4kW even though the temperatures were mild/warm 22C.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE5QPjUdHGY

You were limited to 3kW in this video due to the plug limits. And in general when operating in auto mode it would go between 1-2kW. This is about a factor of 2- 4 lower than typical Heat use. I think that's all @jerry33 was saying - heat really can hurt.

In addition, the car itself contributes about [email protected] when the screen is on, so you have to subtract that from your numbers.

To convert these rough derived numbers using this method (which is a good one if you have the patience for it) to actual the adder to your consumption as measured on the trip meter, assuming a steady state condition:

(V*A - 480W) * 0.85 / Average Speed

So as an example, at 40mph, if you are at a condition that gives 3kW displayed with the described method:

(3kW - 480W) * 0.85 / 40mph = 54Wh/mi (the 0.85 accounts for charging loss, and the trip meter reading vs. energy added to the battery)
 
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TimothyHW3

Member
Jun 2, 2019
970
529
Germany
You were limited to 3kW in this video due to the plug limits. And in general when operating in auto mode it would go between 1-2kW. This is about a factor of 2- 4 lower than typical Heat use. I think that's all @jerry33 was saying - heat really can hurt.

In addition, the car itself contributes about [email protected] when the screen is on, so you have to subtract that from your numbers.

Well, I actually mentioned that in the Video, that I was limited by the slow charger. This is why I didn't test full blow out. I redid the test with 11kW off camera and it peaked well above 6kW, I think even 7-8kW at max max heating.
This was also confirmed by Bjørn Nyland's latest Video.


I also showed what the car uses without HVAC. I am definitely not substracting 25-50Watts from 4-6 or 8kW. This is not even a rounding error. The screen does not use 480Watt

So in effect, heat or cold, as long as the HVAC is on A/C enabled, it will pull some kWh and on a slow trip this will affect the consumption. Turn off A/C and leave HVAC on blowing and even in the deadest Winter or Summer heat can you drive with 180-190Wh/mile in stop and go city traffic
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,238
11,035
San Diego
25-50Watt

It is close to 480W. (Between 360W and 600W)

You can check it yourself with charging stopped and the screen on. It will ramp down to 2A @ 240V and stay there until the HPWC/UMC relay opens (then it will show 0A @ 1-2V).

It's not an unreasonable number - we know Summon Standby, which is supposedly optimized and doesn't even use the screen, uses 146W referenced to the trip meter. So that's 170W from the wall. (Sentry is probably higher.) Add a screen to it and remove power optimizations, and it's not hard to believe 360W-600W from the wall (300W-500W from the battery). Also you can see it on the screen.

Another piece of data is that we know the charging speed behavior fits well to charging overhead of 250W - that's with the screen off.

My point is that if you turn off HVAC and it says 2A @ 240V, and you turn HVAC on and it says 9A @ 240V, the HVAC is using [email protected] There shouldn't be any debate about that, right?
 
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