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Talk me into or out of Model 3 Purchase (mostly range anxiety)

Which car is best for me

  • Model 3 SR+

    Votes: 25 37.3%
  • Wait for a Model 3 LR

    Votes: 38 56.7%
  • Kia Niro EV

    Votes: 3 4.5%
  • Wait a year and pay off the Acura first! EV pricing will go when rebates expire.

    Votes: 1 1.5%

  • Total voters
    67

mreynolds767

Member
Jul 11, 2019
728
392
Boston
I would like to think a car rated at 240 miles range could make a drive of 125 miles in every condition now and in 5 years but reading into it more, maybe that is not a safe assumption?

I have been wanting to go All Electric for a little while and love the look of the Model 3.
Was one of those that paid a $1000 deposit awhile back but then cancelled it as the wait extended and my financial situation added more bills so I was not ready for a car change.
I now do plan on getting a new car in less than 1 year's time and did test drive one recently.
The new ordering options leave me in a bit of bind though, I think I would be content as far as options, performance, price on the SR+ model but fear the range will be a problem for me.
The next step up range wise may more car than I really need or can afford at this time in the LR AWD ; it also does not quality for the EV rebate in the state of MA ; which the lesser model 3's would so makes the price difference more pronounced.

I did not think they would remove the mid-range and long range RWD options, but they did.
I also am not very happy they removed EAP and replaced with AP but then very expensive to add the features EAP had.
One thing I wanted as far as that goes is the lane change ability paired with adaptive cruise control for highway driving so not happy with that change. Based on the current option I would pay for AP (no choice anyway) but not the extra for Self Drive capability.

Prefer the 18" wheels and was going to get a new set of rims and Winter Tires. Using the Aero rims on the winter tires for best range then and then the nicer looking rims on the all seasons rest of the year.

In MA, we pay quite high rates for electricity so my savings will be less than in other parts of the US and our provider Eversource does not offer any discounted off peak hour rates. I did call them to confirm that ; despite this I still think I can get my monthly gas expenses in half compared to my current premium gas SUV.

Range concern:
I drive a few days a week a 125 mile R/T commute. Involves dropping my daughter off at one location, then driving into the office and later back home. Not every day do I need it but frequently I do. I cannot charge at work where the car would sit outside in a parking lot. I would get Level 2 Charging and 240 Volt at home and charge nightly inside my garage.

There is a Super Charger location about 5 miles from my house but in the opposite direction so could be a fallback if I have a home power outage situation or other emergency but does not help with the above commute I mentioned.

There are not any Tesla Super Chargers on my route ; but a couple are around if I went out of the way 15 miles or so.
Needing to stop at one of these to make it to work would defeat the purpose of me switching my ICE car for an Electric one though. If something I needed to do twice a year that might be OK.

As a family we own another car, SUV ICE which my wife drives don't realty require the Model 3 to do more than the commute.

The range for my commute scares me though, no plans on changing homes or jobs so have to be confident the car can always make the 125 mile trip when new and 5 years down the line as well. The drive is 90% highway.
With only a 50 / 52 or 54 size battery (depending on who you believe) I am not sure I can be.
We do get days of cold and winter weather, the snow tires may get worse range as would my use of heat in the car.

I normally drive reasonably fast, 78 - 80 MPH which is common highway speed here for much of the drive.
I think I could be fine lowering that to 70 with the aid of the Adaptive Cruise Control but don't wish to become a drive on the highway at 55 to save money type of guy ever.

The MA rebate is ending Sept 2019 so would need to order a SR+ soon to take advantage of them plus would get the Federal $1875 credit.
My current car (Acura SUV / premium gas) is a loan which is at a breakeven value at next payment/month of what I owe and what Tesla will give me for the car. I suspect I couldget a couple of thousand extra if I successfully sold it privately but don't think I want to go down that route.

So, anyway if I buy next month it would be a SR+ and would take out a new car loan with as little down as the bank allows me to and still get a reasonable interest rate ; hopefully nothing other than the $2500 I would pay to start the process.

My monthly payments would be about the same, I would save on gas and would cost less than my now off warranty Acura does to maintain. Can use the MA rebate to pay for the home charger and wiring install and then federal credit to cover the cost of the winter tires and extra rims.

The alternative would be to lose out on the MA rebate, wait until late Q4. Hope Tesla either offers incentives then or brings back one of the longer range RWD models by that time. If not go with the Dual Motor AWD LR current option but by that time my trade in will have some positive trade in value which I can use toward a deposit on top of my $2500.
Puts me in a less comfortable financial position though in terms of monthly payment and there is mentally just a big difference between buying a $40ishK car and one over $50K ; not sure why but feels like a barrier and one my wife will not be happy about either. It does give me more range though so I don't have to worry about that concern.
I prefer most the LR RWD model with the 325 mile range for $4K less than AWD personally.

My last option is to go with a car I like less but given the Federal $7500 credit may be a better value for my situation in the Kia Niro EV ; while the stated EPA range is similar to the SR+ ; the battery is much larger and with a separate heat pump ; I think that vehicle can handle the 125 mile round trip without the same fear.
If I went that route before Sept cutoff I could get both MA $1500 and Federal $7500.00
I don't like the look of any other Electric Car under $50K so it is between the Tesla 3 and the Kia Niro EV at this time.
While I like the way that car looks and drives, I don't love it; it is no Tesla and the electronics inside are a world apart
 

notAnExpert

Member
Aug 11, 2018
466
696
Palo Alto, CA
[...]
I did not think they would remove the mid-range and long range RWD options, but they did.
I also am not very happy they removed EAP and replaced with AP but then very expensive to add the features EAP had.
One thing I wanted as far as that goes is the lane change ability paired with adaptive cruise control for highway driving so not happy with that change. Based on the current option I would pay for AP (no choice anyway) but not the extra for Self Drive capability.
[...]

I think you will be fine with lower range, however I saw another thread that someone was able to go to a Tesla store and order an LR RWD just a couple of days ago. If the price differential is OK, why not have the peace of mind of having more range?

You are right about FSD.
 
Apr 16, 2019
13
24
Campbell, Ca
I think you're safe in the assumption that you can make it 125 miles. AAA did a study where they evaluated a mix of cars across many manufacturers and found that the drivetrain will reduce capacity by 12% without cabin heaters. When cabin heaters are used the range could drop 40%. Doing some quick math gets you to a 144 mile range assuming you're using the cabin heaters in 20 degree F weather.
 

mreynolds767

Member
Jul 11, 2019
728
392
Boston
I just emailed the sales rep I have chatted with at Tesla about ordering an off menu RWD LR. Will post back when I get his response.
If they can get it probably cannot make it time for the MA rebate but still something I would consider.
 

RFernatt

Solar/EV Owner/Enthusiast
Oct 13, 2016
645
3,363
Eastern Panhandle, West Virginia
I think you'd be alright. And, it sounds like you have enough backup options with the SCs that aren't terribly inconvenient on the rare occasion when you might need it. However, I would also vote for the off menu LR RWD if you can swing it. No one ever complained about having too much range.
 

apsen

Member
Nov 15, 2018
189
111
somewhere
Another thought is that even SR+ range should be enough for you on a vast majority of the days and you could also check if there're any non-tesla charging stations around your route as you could also use those on those rare days where you may run too close to the range limit.
 

kwest2

Member
Apr 28, 2017
254
252
Boston, MA
TBH, I'd be nervous about SR+ for a 125 trip. Starting at 100% daily in the winter isn't great.

I saw my winter consumption increase from ~225 wh/mi to ~285 wh/mi. And I frequently used very limited heat, and that was mostly city driving (more efficient). At 80 mph, in deep cold with heat, I'd expect at least ~300 wh/mi, or a 30% reduction. So from 240 to 168. Frankly, probably worse than that.

Additionally, if you intend to use Sentry Mode at work, that's a loss of 1 mile per hour, so down to 158 or so.

Add in normal battery degradation of up to 5%, and we're down to ~150 assuming only the 30% haircut in the cold with the heat running.

It's tight. You probably can do it if you slow down a bit and use less heat.
 
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al503

Member
Jan 11, 2019
162
74
Portland
I think the general consensus is that you should try to keep the battery between ~20% and 80% for battery health/longevity. I think the range you're looking at is doable but I always recommend buying the most range you can. I noticed losing about a third of stated range in the winter months. If you want to keep the battery between 20% and say 90%, you're going to cut it close.

You'll be fine in the summer but In the winter months, you're looking at ~168 miles minus roughly 30% for the weather/heater/etc., and you're already down to ~117 miles of range. If you run errands or have to go out of the way for some reason, you'll definitely dip into the battery range high and/or low that you don't want to on a regular, basis. JMO. Hope all that made sense.
 

StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,492
1,340
Pacific
If you plan to drive 70 mph or more you're not going to get nearly the max. possible range of the car. The range falls off rapidly as your speed goes past 70 mph. If you also use heat in winter and it's cold outside you'll get even less range on top of the speed issue. With the SR+ (240 mile range) you can probably make the trip without having to worry much as long as it's not 20 below zero or some other insane weather. If things start looking tight on your trip just slow down and turn the heat down. Definitely get the 18" wheels with aero caps. They do help. I think you'd be disappointed with Niro. It's a small vehicle in real life and doesn't have nearly the performance of M3.
 
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Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,217
7,007
Delaware
I think you're safe in the assumption that you can make it 125 miles. AAA did a study where they evaluated a mix of cars across many manufacturers and found that the drivetrain will reduce capacity by 12% without cabin heaters. When cabin heaters are used the range could drop 40%. Doing some quick math gets you to a 144 mile range assuming you're using the cabin heaters in 20 degree F weather.

The linked article didn't say anything about a crucial variable, trip length - the only one I saw was the user quote of doubling consumption for a fifteen mile trip.

Heating the cabin and pack is expensive - as much energy sitting still as the car uses at 60 mph, and then more energy to move the car. Doubling wouldn't surprise me at all for that.

Since the study said up to and didn't mention length, I'm assuming they took a short trip to shock the audience better.

But we're talking about ~50 mile legs here. Once the cabin and pack are warm, the extra energy usage drops off, and it's only maybe 10% more energy per mile.

I wouldn't hesitate to get a ~240 mile car for a 125 mile rind trip winter commute.
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
8,971
9,626
SF Bay Area
If the funds are there or you feel comfortable stretching payments out a bit longer, I would opt for the LR if you can. The cold in particular being a factor. But owners of the smaller batteries make it work okay just whether you want more convenience of a larger battery. My husband has a MS 75D and while it has served our driving needs well, even with road trips, he would still love the range of my AWD Model 3 if it had been available at the time. I suppose to some degree a factor is how often you will routinely plug in. Let us know what you end up doing but you can never go wrong going larger battery.
 
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apsen

Member
Nov 15, 2018
189
111
somewhere
TBH, I'd be nervous about SR+ for a 125 trip. Starting at 100% daily in the winter isn't great.

I saw my winter consumption increase from ~225 wh/mi to ~285 wh/mi. And I frequently used very limited heat, and that was mostly city driving (more efficient). At 80 mph, in deep cold with heat, I'd expect at least ~300 wh/mi, or a 30% reduction. So from 240 to 168. Frankly, probably worse than that.

Additionally, if you intend to use Sentry Mode at work, that's a loss of 1 mile per hour, so down to 158 or so.

Add in normal battery degradation of up to 5%, and we're down to ~150 assuming only the 30% haircut in the cold with the heat running.

It's tight. You probably can do it if you slow down a bit and use less heat.

Personally I would still go with 90% charge: 240 * .9(90% charge) * .7(cold weather range loss) *.95 (degradation) = 144. Let's round it down to 140 for extra cushion - that still leaves 15 miles buffer over 125 miles.

And the range loss should be less than 30% with a trip that long.

If you run into extra range loss you could try mitigating with slowing down/lowering heat/using non-tesla chargers to add a few miles.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,433
1,499
Richland, WA
I'm sort of in the same boat as you. I've got a lease ending next month, the Washington state sales tax credit ($2500) comes back next month, and there is still the $1875 fed credit. Everything is pointing to buying a Tesla right now (I certainly want to go full electric after being in a Volt for 3 years). However, that SR+ range is just getting me a little worried. I don't have the weekly trip that you'll take, but I do like to do a 200 mile road trip three or four times a year and this will be the primary car in the household and the newest one by 7+ years, so certainly the trusted one for road trips. I figure in the summer I'm fine with a 15 to 20 minute SuperCharger stop, however, I'm worried in the winter about range loss. We often get 20 to 40 degree temps (depending which side of the state you're on, this road trip crosses it) and highway would be 70 to 75mph. If I have to do two supercharger stops that are each 20+ minutes then I'm going to catch a lot of crap from family members for adding 40 plus minutes to a trip that is usually just about 3 hours with traffic. I'm very curious about the off menu long range rear wheel drive. Please post letting us know if that's still an off menu option and what the price is/was of it! I'm also really curious on how that car might be shipping... would it ship as a long range AWD with one motor disabled (possible software upgrade later?) or would they specifically custom build a car with the long range battery but the SR+ motor and trim?

You might want to check out A Better Route Planner and put in your route. It's probably not perfect, but it works to model the trip in more detail than our guessing or Tesla's stated range. You can adjust the speed, the outside temp, etc and it'll do it's best based on real feed back from other Model 3 cars (sadly most the long range ones right now since that's the largest data set, but I figure they would actually use more energy to go a given distance than the SR models) and let you know if you'll have to reduce your speed or charge in between etc.
 

mreynolds767

Member
Jul 11, 2019
728
392
Boston
I did check and there are multiple Charging Stations along the drive (like one every 10 miles or so) ; non are Telsa ; but one is a Telsa showroom where they have super chargers ; I imagine I can pay to use them like any other Tesla Super Charging station.

Would not need Sentry mode active at work or at home.
 

Kognos

Member
May 20, 2019
230
242
Portland, OR
200 mile range was my "sweet spot". I took my general daily driving distance and multiplied it by 2 for emergencies. Exceptions do not define the rule - but you don't want an emergency to hit you without some range. You describe a work commute of 125m which is slightly more, but a totally comfortable route I would assume. So that's different than "wandering out into the woods" kind of range.

A 240 rated battery with a 125m commute on a highway road should be pretty good. Remember you're leaving with full, roughly 210 miles at 90%. Heated seats are great for warmth vs cabin heat depending on what you think is "cold" -- this can be subjective.

The flipside is that it's harder to rationalize 10k for the mileage. Honestly the trips you described do not really put me in too much of a panic, and I tend to be pretty conservative.

AP on the highway will change your life.
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,433
1,499
Richland, WA
The linked article didn't say anything about a crucial variable, trip length - the only one I saw was the user quote of doubling consumption for a fifteen mile trip.

Heating the cabin and pack is expensive - as much energy sitting still as the car uses at 60 mph, and then more energy to move the car. Doubling wouldn't surprise me at all for that.

Since the study said up to and didn't mention length, I'm assuming they took a short trip to shock the audience better.

But we're talking about ~50 mile legs here. Once the cabin and pack are warm, the extra energy usage drops off, and it's only maybe 10% more energy per mile.

I wouldn't hesitate to get a ~240 mile car for a 125 mile rind trip winter commute.


I keep hearing this too, and I do (probably) agree with this a lot, but I wish there was some real world testing with hard numbers. If you could precondition the car at home on a level 2 charger and still leave with ~100% charge it would be really interesting to see the energy usage while maintaining a cabin temp of 72 or something at 60, 65, 70, 75 mph. Also, how powerful of a charger would you need at home to precondition the car and still be fully charged? Would a ~6kW charger (240v 24amp) be enough to keep the battery full and still run the heat for 20 minutes or something? Does precondition just warm the air in the cabin, or will it also bring the battery up to temp? Having a battery warm is a lot of mass and will take a while to cool down, especially if you're then drawing energy out of the pack while you go. If it's just warming the cabin air space up, then that will help some, but might cool down pretty quick in cold weather (20 to 30 degrees)
 

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