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Tesla range anxiety

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Boatguy, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    I've been driving a BMW i3 for the last 18 months as a more or less "local" car for trips within about a 30 miles radius of home. Early on we were quite nervous about the range, but became comfortable arriving home with 5-10 miles of range remaining. But of course we were coming home to a known charger.

    In the many threads I've read on charging and touring, a lot of Tesla owners seem very nervous about arriving with 30miles of range, which we would consider a luxury with the BMW. I'm assuming they know something I don't which is why they are nervous. So what is it?

    Does 30 miles of rated range quickly become 10miles under the wrong conditions? Or is it simply that the power meter is reading low double digits? In other words is this all relative to "full" range or is there some real danger in ending up with 10 miles of rated range in an MS?
     
  2. Dwdnjck

    Dwdnjck Member

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  3. Tdriver

    Tdriver Member

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    Driving locally is different than being on the open road. Several thing can cut into your range, to include; wind, rain, cold, hills and mountains, detours, speed, etc.
     
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  4. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    Maybe I'm more adventurous than most, but 30 miles seems like a lot to me, so I never get concerned when I get that low. Arriving with 30 miles is plenty. I guess it is about perspective. I think about it in terms of: 30 miles is nearly San Francisco to Palo Alto, so that is quite a bit of driving. I always find it funny when I start thinking "I'm getting low" when the range hits 60 or 70 miles then I realize that is basically a full charge in any non-Tesla EV. I guess it seems lowish compared to normal driving when you always start the day with 235 miles, and finish your daily driving with >180 miles.
     
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  5. Burt Court

    Burt Court Member

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    I accidentally ran low due to high speed, hills and unexpected wind. Made it to Barstow with 0 (zero). That was EXTREME range anxiety, a terrible sickness. From the stop light to the supercharger I was a real balloon foot.
     
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  6. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    I think it's relative to 'full range.' When I first got my car, I always wanted it 'full' which meant about 70%+ or about 180-200 miles. I think now that's because I was hyperaware of the "no gas station" thing, even though my home, where I charge 90% of the time, was always within 20 miles of me. Once I became more aware of where I went and all the charging options available to me - Superchargers, destination chargers, kindly gentlefolk, etc - I became much more complacent and now don't even think about it. I used to worry about being at 50%, but once I realized that would get me from SD to Anaheim with no problem, I didn't think about it anymore.

    There is always electricity somewhere - and I now love riding in with 10% or so knowing she will soon be sucking hard on electrons all night long...road trips with AP make me wish airplanes had never been invented. Well, she can't float yet, I guess. :p
     
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  7. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I agree it seems to be a relative thing.

    As some posters mentioned, it's like having 1/8 tank of fuel left in a diesel pickup that holds 50 gallons. We're trained to think of 1/8 as "low", despite the fact it'll still get us up to 100 miles. :)
     
  8. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    You're not alone, I never understood the mentality here.

    SpC to SpC I plan on getting there with 15-25miles of buffer. If I arrive with more than ~5RM, I'm happy.
     
  9. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    That is the difference! Most existing Model S owners seem to use them for long trips, often as the only car. I regularly drive 1500 mile trips with mine. I also have experience with i3, though I do not own one. Even with Rex I am range constrained, and the car itself is not really designed to be a long-range cruiser anyway. Many Tesla buyers are anxious for the first few months but then cease to be concerned. I am no exception.

    As for range there is the old saying that applies to me for range:

    -Some is good;
    -More is better;
    -Only too much is enough.
     
  10. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    Tesla rated miles remaining combined with energy trip graph is a ton more accurate and trustworthy than any other EV I've driven. There's no reason for anxiety at 30 miles as long as there's charger within 25.

    I don't know i3 but my eGolf remaining miles calculation is very biased towards most recent terrain. Uphill drive home can yield a much lower than accurate number.

    Buy it already, boatguy!
     
  11. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    No, definitely not. In order for 30 to become 10, you'd have to be going extremely fast into heavy headwinds, running the heat at full blast.. etc. The trip planner takes elevation into account and so long as you use that as a guide, you are fine. In general on trips, I will supercharge to +12% or so (estimated 12% remaining) and then drive with the trip energy graph up. If I see that I'm underperforming the estimate for a while, I'll slow down. That's usually all it takes.

    Keeping your speed reasonable at the start of each leg is the best way to manage your range anxiety. Speeding 10-15mph over is the worst.
     
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  12. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    On the west coast.

    Speeding 10-15miles over on the north east gets me pretty close to predictions (speed limits 55-65mph typical)
     
  13. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Thanks.. yes, our speed limits are usually 65-70. Going 75-80 will kill your range. I should have been more specific - appreciate the correction.
     
  14. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    #14 BertL, Mar 23, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
    Range Anxiety was one of the top things I needed to get over before placing an order for my MS. I spent a lot of quality time playing with EV Trip Planner -- various regular routes I take, occasional road trips, and a few desired future trips to understand what MPH and elevation does against range and where intermediate charging may be required. I put my Range Anxiety concerns into three buckets. I've eliminated (or dealt with) 2 of them completely, and still working on longer road trips as I travel to new distant locations and experience for myself what weather can do to range, and what charging availability is like. Here's some thoughts and what I've done to reduce my personal concerns:

    ERRANDS, DAILY COMMUTES & SHORT TRIPS (no intermediate daily charging)
    Range Anxiety for S90s and above IMHO basically becomes nonexistent after a few days of use. With your BEV experience, this won't be a concern ... you'll just want to understand how far a "short trip on a single charge" can be and what the levers impacting range may be -- see "road trips" next. ;) I assume of course you don't become addicted to Ludicrous Mode, where all bets are off with what impact that may have on each of your charges.

    ROAD TRIPS (intermediate charging required before arriving at your destination)
    • It's important to not unexpectedly go nuts with MPH out on the open highway beyond whatever you estimated you were going to do, or your planning will be way off. No matter how much I read about speed being the range killer, until I purposely played with it for myself on longer trips, I didn't have as good of an appreciation. My old cruising speed rules-of-thumb with my former Hybrids, ICE and their sweet spots are NOT the same with my MS.
    • MS Energy Monitor and the 17" Trip Graph does a good job showing estimated remaining range at your destination. Put in your next stop (destination or charger location) to the Nav; Keep it visible on the lower part of your 17" and you'll be good to go. It is the BEST thing MS does to eliminate my Range Anxiety concerns; Seems to be pretty dang close; and is far better than watching Rated Range or other alternative estimates MS provides as a substitute for an ICE fuel gauge.
    • Unlike my Hybrid/ICE days where I could plan and pretty much count on an ETA within a few minutes most of the time, I think a lot about BEV charging time impact with my MS, and what if an SpC is down or all stalls are full when I get there. Another SpC just isn't across the street like gas stations are for an ICE most of the time. A little more flexibility on the arrival time is now necessary, and long-trip duration IS increased (even if it may be easier on the soul, taking more and longer breaks with a BEV than I'm used to.) Again, EV Trip Planner will help provide an ETA, but you must remember to add in your own estimate for the time it takes for charging at each intermediate stop.
    • If traveling to a new destination, I use ChargePoint to identify possible charging locations on the route I'm likely going to travel. This allows me to possibly alter routes ahead of time so I have faster/better charging options available if needed -- especially if there is possibility of inclement weather.
    • Elevation changes impacts range more than you may expect or have seen with relatively short trips in your i3. EV Trip Planner does a great job handling this in it's estimates, but my point is, you can't as easily guess the 1-2 MPG impact as I once did on certain trips. There is a new paradigm to become accustomed to with how significant elevation climbs can impact range on your MS (and this compounds at higher MPH).
    • Impacts of unexpected weather -- rain, wind (especially heading into and cross-winds), snow/hail, cold temps are considerations that can rather dramatically reduce range beyond what the same trip will consume in beautiful weather conditions. There are many other threads on this with rules-of-thumb estimates (could be a total of 10%-30% impact +/-), but it basically comes down to your risk tolerance in what range impact these things may have and what you want to plan for. In the winter or if storms are in the forecast, I think about this more (I never did in my Hybrid/ICE days other than if I should take my AWD SUV or more fun RWD convertible), and plan for longer charging sessions when estimating destination arrival time.
    • If you're going to leave your MS for a longer period of time at your destination and it can't be plugged-in, you do need to think about daily vampire loss a bit, as your battery will loose range every day for a number of reasons. There are other threads on this, but best case I loose 1-3 miles/day, and it goes up from there if e.g. you don't turn the MS energy options on (like I keep on by default), park in extreme cold or hot climates where MS may turn your heat or aircon on to protect the battery, or you forget to circumvent the "USB Phantom Playing" bug. This isn't a big deal to me now, but was until I learned what the considerations were and what levers I had to protect range.
    After all that, I'm fine taking a road trip in my MS -- it's a joy; but I do a lot more thinking about it than I used to in my Hybrid/ICE days, and will likely always be that way far more than others here are. It's my nature being a generally risk adverse sorta guy.

    HOME EMERGENCIES
    An important question I think is, "Is MS your only vehicle, or do you have easy alternative transportation if an emergency arises and you need to GO while you're at home but may not have sufficient charge in your MS?"

    Many MS owners here don't note if they have another vehicle in their stable, that perhaps may still be an ICE -- which provides them great comfort in such a scenario. Me? I consolidated from owing both a Hybrid and ICE, now down to only my MS. I have remote (elderly) family that could call and I need to GO. The same sort of issue could be if a trip to an emergency room or vet came up for anyone. E.g. my closest SpC is 21 miles one-way in the wrong direction if the family call were to come in, so I always want to maintain 50+ RR if I can to get where I need to go. I use my home 80A circuit and HPWC to reduce my range anxiety in this situation given the speed it could charge my depleted battery I needed it.​

    NORMAL CHARGING METHOD
    If I don't have a planned errand the rest of the day, I always plug my MS into my home 80A HPWC each time I park. MS maintains my charge at 90% (or within 8-10 rated range miles of that if parked and not driven for multiple days), starts charging at midnight when my TOU rates kick-in, and because of my dual charges, can theoretically complete a full charge within the 5 hours I have lowest rates available to me year-round.​

    THE NET
    ...so the NET of all that for me?
    • I keep my MS "at the ready" with a 90% charge in my garage most of the time, and don't think about range most of the time. My S90D does exactly what I wanted, and why I would never consider any other BEV as my single vehicle -- eliminating the need for me to worry about the battery most of the time.
    • For longer trips, I prefer planning to have 20% remaining Rated Range where my next charge will come from, but will let it be even lower if arriving at home where I know I can get an immediate charge if need be. If there is inclement weather possibilities, I add something over 10% contingency to that depending on the circumstances.
     
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  15. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    ^^^ very, very well done @BertL

    Good info for all!
     
  16. AndreSF

    AndreSF Member

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    BMW i3 BEV is a truly city only car IMO. I've been driving Volt for last 3 years, and just took delivery of MS70 last Saturday. While obviously Volt is a EV with Rex, I'm very familiar with EV range limitations on longer trips (my Volt was over 90% EV however).
    I did a 200+ mile trip on Tue in MS, used SC, and I tell you that is the "magic sauce"! Absolutely cool freeing feeling and zero range anxiety. Trip planner takes care of watching over the proper number of SC stops you would need to get to you destination, but I think 30 miles of rated range will easily become 15 real miles with a heavy foot cruising down 101 in Marin county with all those hills :)
     
  17. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Bert - I was asking a narrower question, but good information none the less. In my research PlugShare seems to have a more up to date and comprehensive list of charge stations than ChargePoint, but there is no harm in using both when off the SC highway.

    It is also reassuring to read the other replies which basically tell me that just like the i3, there is no issue with arriving home with 10-15 miles remaining, subject to Bert's points above. To Bert's point, having a vehicle that is "ready to go" is important, particularly since we'll be a 2 EV no ICE house; that alone suggests the dual chargers are a necessity.

    I'm reminded of the 1979 Loma Prieta earthquake which killed power to my home for 3 days. It would be nice to start that kind of situation with as much charge in the car as possible.
     
  18. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    I completely agree, and it's a fantastic city car, absolutely a joy to drive in SF rather than a larger car. The tight turning radius, abundant torque for SF hills, compact size with automatic parallel parking is just fantastic.

    But it's not a touring car which is what has led me to the MS!
     
  19. AndreSF

    AndreSF Member

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    Love i3 (between wife and I have had 6 bimmers in the last 15 years or so including wife's current 535i) for its efficiency among other things, especially when coupled with included (not sure it's still the case) DCFC access, but nothing comes close to Tesla's SuperCharger network at this time IMO.
     
  20. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    As with so many other things, "it depends" is the answer. When driving in areas with good supercharger coverage or other reliable charging options, 30 miles is an ample buffer. But something that happened to us a few months ago creates the "it depends" scenario.

    We have a house in the Sea Ranch and usually can get there from our home with about 80 or so miles of range left. We had to make a bit of a detour on our last trip (about 25 miles each way on the way to Sea Ranch) but figured that arriving with 30 or so miles range would present no problem.

    As it happened, we had a pretty good coastal storm north of Jenner on Highway 1 and about 10 miles from our house the CHP had to shut down 1 due to some trees that fell across the road, which resulted in a fatal accident. The CHP officer told us it could be many hours before the road was open again and he suggested we head back south on 1 to find a side road that would get as passed the closure area.

    Unfortunately, the Tesla maps/nav didn't have any internet connectivity in this rural area so we had to take a guess as to which of the side roads would lead us around the closure. I was lucky in that I had previously downloaded a map to my phone for use when I'm deer hunting in the area, so I could see some basic road info, but the map package I had (Backcountry Navigator with forest service maps) didn't have the kind of road detail needed to know for sure which roads led where for the area we were in.

    Ultimately, we had to drive 10 miles south, take a side road that led up to to top of the coastal ridge, drive along that road north for about 15 miles and then re-connect with Highway 1 passed where we thought the closure was. That connected us back to Highway 1 about 5 miles from our house. The problem is that we used up a LOT of range driving up what was in essence a one way dirt road and only got a fraction of that range back descending back to Highway 1. We ended up at our house with about 2 miles of range left.

    If we didn't have the saved map on my phone, the odds are that we would have had to drive blindly to find the right side road and we definitely would have run out of range in an area that had no charging, let alone phone service.

    So the short story is, it depends. Our story is something that will likely never happen to most people. But when you are in a rural area, 30 miles of range is, in my mind, not a safe buffer. (By the way, on muddy, steep, dirt trails, the P85D actually is fairly adept as an off road vehicle).
     
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