TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

What is it like living with the Model S?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by bp1000, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. bp1000

    bp1000 Member

    Feb 14, 2015

    I'm considering the model s as my next car and have some questions. Mostly to do with charging and range, I think a classic case of range anxiety.

    What at is it like to live with an electric car? Specifically charging. Is it deemed acceptable to park up and charge and leave the vehicle for a few hours? Can you treat the charge bays like parking bays or do you stay with your vehicle

    I will be making use of the 50kW DC chargers, are these reliable? Are the superchargers reliable too or have you driven to a charger and found them to be broken?

    When tesla report 30min charge times giving 85 miles on DC and 170miles on superchargers how accurate is this, do the charge rates fall?

    I read that the 250 miles US 300 mile UK range (tested) is only achievable on range mode which is a manual on/off switch. Does that mean in normal circumstances (charging up to 90%) will mean the display range might be closer to 220? I also hear you loose up to 30% of range so does this mean actual realistic range is more like 180 miles on a typical charge?

    Have you ever had any other problems charging, apart from reliability such as chargers being broken, have you ever run out of charge or had to wait for a charge point?

    Im from the UK and read that 25% of chargers don't work which worries me greatly! Apparently DC chargers are quite rare, the AC 240v 13amp is loads of places and I think does 7kW/hr, not sure what miles that gives but I think it's low! Anyone know?

    The car really is incredible so I'm just anxious about the range and the downsides of owning an electric car. Im thinking through all scenarios and I simply think it would be a pain if a charger was broke, I had to wait, I had to go back to move it once the car is fully charged as I'd feel guilty taking up the bay. Things like this.

  2. iadbound

    iadbound Member

    Apr 24, 2014
    No. VA
    Most people do not stay with the car when charging at public charging. That said, don't focus too hard on public charging. The typical Tesla owner will set up charging in their home, and then charge overnight. If you live in a spot where you can't charge at home, the picture becomes more complicated. Certainly in most places in the US, not having home charging home charging would be a deal killer, but this may be less of an issue in the UK -- I'll defer to those in the know.

    I can't speak to the 50kW DC chargers, but superchargers are historically reliable.

    Charge rates fall. There are many threads on this forum describing the charging curve. Some searching will get you all the detail you can handle.

    You are mixing and matching concepts. If you charge to 100% your rated range will be in the 250/300 mile range you describe. If you put it in range mode, it may help you achieve the rated range by reducing total energy usage (exactly how it does that in range mode is also detailed in a number of threads). If you charge up to 90% you will have a rated range of something around your 220 mile figure. As for losing range, again, just as with any car, your mileage may vary. If you drive super aggressively you will not achieve the rated range. Likewise, if it's very cold or your driving up hill into a strong headwind, you will not achieve the rated range. On the other hand, I have sometimes hit the rated range on my commute to work driving upwards of 65 MPH on highways. I'll also add that my range loss has rarely hit anything like 30%.

    No. It's not that easy to run out of charge. You really have to try. UK situation on waiting for chargers may be different.

    The great thing about a Model S is that it can go a significant distance between charges. Are you really going to drive 200 miles between charges that often? Probably not. Instead, think about your daily commuting needs. I drive roughly 60 miles a day. The Model S can easily handle that. Indeed, if I forget to charge, even in the extreme cold, I can do another day of commuting with no problem.

    Many here will tell you range anxiety is a myth of sorts. I won't go that far as it really depends on your circumstances, but as long as you have ready access to overnight charging, you have nothing to worry about.
  3. WeazL

    WeazL Moderator - Hawaii

    Aug 18, 2013
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Aloha bp1000,

    Here are my thoughts on your questions as an MS owner:

    Living with an electric car is splendid! Charging is simple and straight-forward. Yes, it is acceptable to park, plug-in and leave your vehicle in most cases. However, you should return and relocate your vehicle when it is done charging to free up the charger for others to use. Also, IMHO, since we MS owners have such a large battery pack compared to most any other electric vehicle, we should exercise courtesy and only tie up the public chargers when it is deemed necessary, or if there are other chargers free, then topping off would be OK. Some less fortunate EV owners have a much shorter range and are more dependant on use of public chargers to get around. That's not to say that a MS isn't deserving, but good judgement benefits other EV owners and could benefit yourself if you were low on power.

    Public chargers as a whole are very reliable. There are times when a station may be out of service, but most function without issue. If the MS detects any irregularities, it safeguards itself and reduces the charge rate or halts charging completely to protect itself. The Tesla supercharger network is extremely reliable and ever growing!

    I have found the estimates to be fairly accurate. However, the amount of car the vehicle actually receives from a PUBLIC charger has not always been what it is supposed to as perhaps the property owner has reduced the charge rate, but this would not be Tesla's fault. We do not have a Supercharger in Hawaii so I cannot attest to SC charging speeds but they are fast from what I've seen!

    I charge to 90% nightly and I have a range between 232-237 miles with an S85. Don't know where you've heard a 30% drop in range. I have not experienced that nor has any other members in our club that I am aware.

    I think it's safe to assume that as a daily driver, there's nothing more convenient than an MS. Drive all day to work and errands, go home, plug-in and the next day it's like starting with a full-tank all over again. Except you never have to go to the gas station again! No lines, no queuing, no payment, no spills, no germs. The cost per mile savings with electricity versus gas is huge! I have seen broken public chargers, but they are usually fixed fairly quick. Plus, we have a dense population of them, so there's usually another not too far away. Plus, some EV apps let you notify other users of the status of charging stations, so you can avoid non-functioning ones completely.

    I can't comment on this as I don't know.

    Get it--you won't regret it. Utilize the home charging unit that comes with the vehicle. Have an electrician install an appropriate line for you and you can enjoy daily driving worry-free. All you have to plan for is long-distance trips.


  4. David99

    David99 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2014
    Brea, Orange County
    Those are a lot of good questions. Pretty much all of them have been answered in various discussions here. Many of the questions don't have a simple answer. If you read through some of the popular dicussions here you will find very useful info from real world experience.

    For example range. It depends on so many factors it is impossible to give a specific answer. Here in California I get 220 real world, normal driving miles on a 100% charge. Add rain, cold weather, cold battery and you get less. It could be half that if you drive in snow, uphill and nasty temperatures.

    As a rule of thumb: Take off 20-30% of all claims about range and Supercharger speed. You always want to have a buffer when it comes to daily driving. If your daily driving needs matches your car's range you are not going to be happy. You want your EV to have at least 30% more range than you need.

    Regarding charging: You need to make sure you have charging at home. Everything else is really optional. Public chargers might or might not work, they might or might not be free or taken, they might be convenient or not. All you really need is a home charger. Only when you drive more than 200 miles a day you need to start looking into charging outside of home. For everything below, don't worry about charging anywhere else. Driving gas cars our entire lives we still think we need to have plenty of charging stations. No we don't! Home charging is all an EV needs unless you go on a long road trip.
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    I have 40K miles on my Model S over two years:

    1. I would never willing drive an ICE vehicle again.

    2. I've had more range anxiety in an ICE car.

    3. Most charging happens at home, only on trips do I charge elsewhere, either at Superchargers, RV parks, or PlugShare from kind Tesla owners.

    4. Superchargers are very reliable. RV parks are reliable but you often have to turn down the amps a bit so that you don't trip the breaker. Tesla owners HPWC are also reliable. Can't answer your question about the reliability of public chargers, as I've never had to use one.

    5. Losing up to 30% happens if it's -30 outside, so it's a consideration if you live in Winnipeg or some similar locale. Preheating from the App reduces the effect of cold weather. Range mode helps mostly for short in town trips with many stops, for long trips it doesn't matter much because once the cabin is warmed up it doesn't take much to keep it warm. On a trip I like to plan my stops about 150 miles apart (when I'd have to stop anyway), that leaves me with plenty of reserve if there are traffic or weather problems. However, I've done many 220 mile legs and a few 250 mile ones, I just make sure that the weather is not going to be a factor. Of course, if you make every start a rocket launch, you'll get less range :)

    6. The main disadvantages to an electric car are: Allowing extra time to answer folk's questions when you go someplace. (If you like to talk to people, you may not consider this a disadvantage.) If you have an S.O. and only one electric car, you might not get to drive it all that much. (This typically results in having two electric cars.)
  6. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

    Feb 21, 2014
    Hong Kong/Australia
    I think the replies above are accurate.

    For my money, charging is a non event, if you can do it at home. If not it is likely you will find a routine that works for you with the 50kW chargers. Superchargers are great. If you are the only one on that charger at the time you charge you will get a very good charge rate, as Tesla specifies. If someone else is charging next to you ( they work in pairs) its a little lower, but it still FAST!

    Charging to 100% is acceptable regularly if you have to, just don't leave it sitting at 100% for long. 90% is fine and is what tesla recommends.

    You can easily get the range Tesla quote if you are not a lead foot! Like an ICE, you will "burn more fuel" if you like to accelerate and drive fast.

    I am positive you will be very happy with your new purchase.
  7. paulkva

    paulkva Member

    Jul 22, 2013
    Falls Church, VA
    You've gotten a lot of good answers already, and there's tons of info throughout these forums, but I'll see if I can help a bit further.

    I think I've read the same posts that you have, and I've been left with the impression that the DC chargers there are unreliable. So this begs the question (which others have noted as well) -- will you have the ability to charge at home? If so, it's one of the key advantages of an electric car (for me at least) -- plug in at night, and your battery is as full as you'd like it to be every morning. No range anxiety whatsoever for daily driving.

    If you can't have charging at home, then yes, you need to put some more thought into it, and it depends on where specifically you live. If you're in or near London, for example, there are quite a few supercharger locations, and my understanding is that Tesla placed them there precisely because they expect many owners in London won't have home charging available. If there's no supercharger near you currently, and you'll need to rely on public AC or DC charging, then it becomes a question of how reliable are the specific chargers that are most convenient for your typical driving habits. The best source I've found for that info is -- not perfect by any means, but worth a close look.

    Also, the rule of thumb I use for charge speed is 3x, that is, 1kW ~= 3mph, 10kW ~= 30mph, so 7kW ~= 21mph. Most L2 public chargers I've used in the US give me 6kW ~= 18mph. Fine to top off for an hour or two, and great for overnight (or a full day at the office if your workplace has L2 charging), but not so great as a primary means of charging if it's not a convenient place to leave your car frequently.

    DC charging is fastest when your battery is close to empty; you'll almost certainly see those rates if you start out with 0-20% charge. Once you have >50%, the superchargers slow down noticeably, although even at 80% it's still far faster than L2 (AC). My rule of thumb when on a road trip down the east coast of the US this summer was that in most cases, a 15-20 minute snack/bathroom break gave me enough additional charge to make it to the next supercharger.

    To me at least (and likely to most people on these forums), the benefits of EV ownership far outweigh any problems/concerns/inconveniences. If there's a way to make charging easy on a regular basis, whether at home or at public chargers, you'll absolutely love it.
  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

    Apr 1, 2014
    Southern New Jersey
    It's funny how much range anxiety people have (myself included) BEFORE they take ownership. Once you own the car for a couple of days, it goes away.
  9. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Active Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    I've owned mine for 2 months and have charged it outside of my own garage exactly once, and even that wasn't really necessary. Unless you drive over 200 miles a day, don't even worry about charging stations. Plug it in a night and forget that you're driving an electric car.
  10. mrhonest

    mrhonest New Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    United States
    i am also looking at getting into a model s the P85D specifically, if I drive at steady 80mph on all interstate, mostly flat roads, how far will I get before needing a supercharger? I do a 350 mile one way trip about once a month, can this be done with only one stop at supercharging station, assuming this is an option? Currently I drive a 2013 BMW M5, and I stop once for gas and potty break, would like to keep this same routine.

    thanks for any help
  11. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

    Dec 17, 2012
    Cary, NC
    MRhonest - temperature matters. You are fine in "normal" temperature but you also have to have a way of charging at your destination - supercharger or otherwise. And you need a supercharger close to the middle of your 350 miles.

    At 80 mph, you are in the 200ish range. So you need that supercharger pretty close to the middle.

    For once a month travel, it takes some flexibility. You are probably saving $100 a trip.
  12. fadkar

    fadkar Member

    Feb 18, 2015
    Orange County, California
    You can totally pull it off with only one stop. On Tesla's website there is a graph that shows the approximate range that you'll get a various speeds. The slower you go, the more range you'll get. So 80mph will hurt your range compared to 65mph. However you should still get a little over 200 miles of range with the P85D. I can't confirm this from personal experience though because our P85D was just ordered earlier this week!
  13. iadbound

    iadbound Member

    Apr 24, 2014
    No. VA
  14. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

    Apr 27, 2012
    Wexford, PA
    That's not range anxiety, *this* is range anxiety!


    I'm at the end of my tether!
  15. GreenPenguin

    GreenPenguin Member

    Sep 15, 2012
    Los Angeles, California, United States
    Got a slightly different but related question to this topic.

    For those that went from say a $20-$30K or $50K-$60K previous car to now a ~$100K Model S car how has your behavior change?

    1) Since it's an expensive car are you constantly worrying about where you park it? Where you leave it?
    2) Concern about safety and being a target for robbery (ie: you drive a nice car, you must have money)?
    3) Do you find yourself cleaning it more often then your older car?
    4) Less likely to let friends/relatives/even loved ones borrow the car?
    5) Do you get more ewws and ahhhs from onlookers, making you feel a bit subconscious?
    6) Other behavior changes/how you think from your last car to the model S?

    In some ways I feel it's similar to having a fancy Wolf/Viking range vs a plain GE range, where with the Wolf/Viking with it's fancy stainless steel and colored ovens ends, you end up spending more time polishing then actually cooking!!! :(...
  16. bpoday

    bpoday S60 owner in San Diego, C

    Jul 7, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I was in the same boat...had a $20k VW TDI before I got my S60 and had the same concerns before I got it...

    1) parking - its a wider/nicer car, so you do have to give it a little more thought...
    2) safety concerns - none personally
    3) cleaning - yes, but its nice taking pride in a car for once
    4) borrowing - a bit at first, but now I encourage anyone I know (and trust) to ride in it, drive it and ask questions...
    5) attention - absolutely, much more good than bad...getting a few stares and a random thumbs up everyday is good for you though
    6) access to HOV lanes is a huge perk, becomes a topic for discussion and almost always positive feedback and cool factor

    overall, I highly recommend the car/company and give anyone who shows interest the sales pitch on the tech and total cost of ownership (Tesla Model S Cost of Ownership vs. Honda Odyssey, etc)...
  17. Canuck

    Canuck Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2013
    South Surrey, BC
    #17 Canuck, Feb 21, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    I posted a similar question here before I got my car. I have a cabin 300 km from my house, over two mountain passes:

    The Crowsnest Highway... has several significant ascents in this stretch between Hope and Princeton. The first is the steep climb to the Hope Slide, followed later by the remainder of the climb up to Allison Pass at an elevation of 1,342m (4,473 ft). After the summit of Allison Pass, where the Crowsnest crosses from the Fraser Valley Regional District into the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the road descends for 40 km (25 mi) before beginning another long climb up Sunday Summit (1,284m, 4,280 ft). Soon after Sunday Summit is the descent into Princeton, where Highway 5A begins.

    From Princeton, it's about 35 km to my cabin. I never thought I could make it on one charge from about 7,500 AA batteries (my ignorance at the time). People here told me to charge in Hope (before it had a Supercharger but it had a 70 amp EVSE) so I did the first time to my cabin. Then when I did the calculations, I realized I didn't need it. I drove home and had 122 km left. When I drive to the cabin, I have about 60 km left (because of the gain in elevation). Then Tesla built a Supercharger in Hope, so no more range charges are needed, if I only stop for 10 minutes or so.

    I've never had range anxiety around town, and only use public chargers to get the best parking space (with a note on my dashboard with cell phone number in case someone else, like a Leaf owner, needs it more than me).

    Take the plunge, you'll be glad you did! The car is even better than expected.
  18. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    1) I've always parked with an eye to avoid dents. Not much change on this one.

    2) Not really concerned about robbery. 99% of thieves break in to steal the DVDs or obvious goods.

    3) Yes, I clean it more often, but that's more because I go to a lot of car shows (car shows are a new behaviour).

    4) No one borrows any of my cars--ever. (Sad experiences in my youth.)

    5) This happens, but not often. However, my car is silver so it's not particularly showy. I suspect most folks who don't know about Tesla just think I'm driving a Jag or something. Red would be a different story.

    6) The main one is that we go out more frequently since it's practically free to get there. This has not helped my waistline any :)

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.