first impression - range anxiety

first impression - range anxiety

I normally drive 40 miles r/t a day to work. Maybe another 30 miles some days with lunch or shopping excursions. After an admittedly atypical weekend of driving my new Model S I'm feeling a little more range anxiety than I expected. Full charge in normal mode is 240 miles, driving spiritedly drives that down to somewhere in the 190s. And it will probably be a while before I get comfortable pushing my available range down in the the 30s and below.

I thought I would be fine with charging at 208v/16a at home and catching up over a few days or topping up at work when I was using the car more than average. But it turns out the SEMAcharge station at work is only delivering 208v/15a as well. And at about 8 miles of range (and $1.25) per hour I'm just not feeling the love. My family is spread out around the state and I found myself trying to do the math about what routes I should take and who I'd be able to visit on the same day. That kind of planning exercise is not something I want to have to do on a regular basis, which is why we went with the 85kwh battery. Now I'm finding myself checking to see how much range the car has every time I stop and start. Again, not where I wanted to be with this car. I'm sure a lot of the initial range anxiety I'm feeling will go away as I get used to the car, but I do feel a little option limited by this slow rate of charge.

So I'm thinking I'm going to have to go ahead and spend a couple grand to upgrade the power situation in my rental house. Yeah, it's only 2% of the purchase price of my Sig, but it still hurts. Especially as I'm facing another $2400 outlay for the service plan (Tesla wasn't able to roll it into the initial purchase agreement so it could be financed).

Docrob | 8 oktober 2012

I'm struggling to see the issue, for example you say you drive 40 miles to work but the EV charger at work provides 8 miles per hour charging. assuming you mean 40 miles each way this means that after starting the day with a full charge after arriving at work it would take the SEMAcharge station 5 hours or less then a work day to top your vehicle back to full. So yo leave for work and depart from work with a full battery? Can't possibly see where the range anxiety comes into it?

Runar | 8 oktober 2012

(sorry for my spelling mistakes.. Im norwgeian and wrote this rather quickly)

You get 8miles an hour, you park the car at home say, 7-8pm? And drive off in the morning at 6-7am? You should then be able to add between 10 and 12 hours charging minimum, 80-106 miles?

This will, if you drive 2x40 miles and with an average of 10miles extra a day during the week (90 miles in average?), get you back up at full charge in the morning, wont it?

If you then are able to charge at work, you'll have a 30-40miles margin, and should always be at full charge in the morning.

Why on earth do you look at the remaning range whenever you stop?
If you drive 90miles a day, you should never ever get close to run empty during the day? :-)

But then , I do recognize the feeling you get with a new car when you are still unacustomed to the capabilites of the vehicle.

I spent 3-4 months getting used to our iMiev, and did keep a close look at the remaining charge during the day. Now however, it is second nature. I know that if the car i fully charged, I can drive normal without worry. If I plan a larger trip, I know where and when I need to stop to recharge to be able to get back home without a worry.;-)

And.. you will soon get acces to superchargers in USA, so I really dont see what the problem is.:-) You can drive wherever you want, whenever you want.. you will quickly get used to the capabilities of the car, and know how to plan the trip with recharging. It will be no different from stoppin gat the gass station to refill ordinary fuel.

MandL | 8 oktober 2012

If I drive a bunch on the weekend and plug in at 11PM on Sunday night with, say, 50 miles of range left, I'll head out to work with just about 100 miles of range. Assuming there is no Leaf plugged in at work I could plug in there and bring it up to 160 miles or so (again, at $1.25/hr, which isn't a big deal, but costs more than gas at 15 amps), or if I have no plans to do any unusual amount of driving I can plug in at home again and catch up to a full normal charge in a night or two. But my point is I would have to plan, and especially while the car is new I'm going to be the one driving when we go out to lunch from work, I may want to take a spin to visit other friends, I may want to drive like a maniac and get even worse range than would normally be expected.

My admittedly very brief experience leads me to better understand the strong urging by the Tesla folks to install a NEMA 14-50 in my garage so I can top up fairly quickly and just never (well, less frequently) have to worry about the available range.

Peter7 | 8 oktober 2012

Hey MandL,

I'm outside of Rockville and I totally feel you issues. First things first, are you sure that the office 1772 can only supply 15A? I've heard about a few issues with the adapters that cause them to limit at 17A if they are not working correctly even if the station can supply more.
That said, I'm already planning to have a high current charge setup at my place. It's too often that I end up with a Frederick and Baltimore day not to.


MandL | 8 oktober 2012

And of course, if I drive all day Saturday, I'm not going to be able to do so Sunday with the current setup.

MandL | 8 oktober 2012

Peter7: I have plugged into SEMAcharge stations in two places now and both maxed out at 15 amps. I used a ChargePoint station and got 24 amps. I'm assuming the SEMA stations were installed on the cheap to get some tax rebate and/or green "cred"

Runar | 8 oktober 2012

MandL, If you need to be able to drive alot in the weekend, of course an option will be to increase the capability of you home charging.

It is either this, or you need to do some planning if you want to drive a lot AND save the 2 grand. If you want the luxury of not having to think about running out of power, and do not want to do any planning, then the answer is obvious

This is hardly anything new, and something we all have known for a long time.:-) Hardly anything to complain about IMO.

Runar | 8 oktober 2012

Btw. the difference between 208v/16a and 208v/15a should be very minimal?

No charger/EV car I know about is capable of drawing the complete (theoretical) limit of the circuit..

Borth iMiev and Leaf draw less than the 16a ther charges say they can handle. (somwhere around 12-14a or so if I am not mistaken?)

drripps | 8 oktober 2012

I understand your anxiety. It's not easy to plan to park your car someplace with a charging station that will add enough miles in a short amount of time for trips. We had the 14-50 plug installed and now feel better knowing it will be fully charged in the morning, even after a lot of driving the day before. I think most of my newbie range anxiety comes from adjusting to a new way of thinking but also factor in the fact that the rated range estimate and range estimate based on previous 30 mile reading is often quite a bit different! Nobody wants to know there remaining trip to home is 40 miles and range estimate is 50. Highway driving eats that up too quickly. @MandL, I think I'll be able to relax as I get used to this fabulous car and learn what to expect. The 14-50 plug is working out well so far though and as long as I can start the day off fully charged, I probably won't be too limited.

MandL | 8 oktober 2012

Just to be clear - I'm not complaining about my car (though I am complaining about the low power charging stations). My point in this thread was to share observations as a complete EV newbie coming from a life of readily available 2 minute fill-ups.

Summary of my first paid charging session:
Start Time: 5:23 AM
End Time: 9:22 AM
Duration: 3 hrs 59 mins
Energy: 13.37 kWh
Cost: $4.98
Approximate range added: 40.12 to 53.49 miles of range.

Definitely more expensive than gas.

Sudre_ | 8 oktober 2012

Good subject. I've been thinking people have been way underestimating their charging needs. At home the minimum charge should be with a 14-50 plug. That would include any place you would consider 'home' like a house at the lake or other vacation home. I have read a few threads where people were thinking they would plug into a 120 volt wall socket.

When I bought my electric drier I did not try to run in on a 16 amp circiut by justing turning the dry cycle down to low.

I even took a 300 mile trip in my ICE and stopped at public chargers to see how annoying the trip would be in a BEV. All the chargers were low amperage. It is written on the charger if you look for the fine print.

Until the SC are all out across the US the Tesla is an around the town car which many here don't like to hear. I am not waiting 5 hours at a RV campground to drive 3 hours.

mrspaghetti | 8 oktober 2012

I totally agree with Sudre_

A 240v/40a circuit is a must-have if you own a Model S. I'm surprised to hear someone took delivery without one.

kishdude | 8 oktober 2012

I think your biggest problem is the 208v/16a in your rental house. Just get a NEMA 14-50 and all will be fine. I should be getting my Model S in November and installed NEMA 14-50s at my main house and a vacation property that is 130 miles away. At the main house (with a short run from the circuit breaker box) I had a professional install this and I paid about $400. At my second home (with a longer run), I did the job myself for less than $250. Here in Arizona, we have peak and off-peak electricity charges. The off peak time is from 9PM to 9AM and the rates for off peak is 3.7 cents per KWh. So I'm assuming that a complete charge of the car would consume 85 KW so the total price for a full charge would be around $3.15.

David M. | 8 oktober 2012

MandL - Thank you for sharing your experiences. With the 85kWh battery, you should virtually never have to experience range anxiety. However, you really need to get a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed at your home, so you can begin every day with 250 to 300 miles of range. My 14-50 install cost less than $150 as a DIY project (I have experience). Although my outlet is only 6 ft from the panel box.

With your investment in a 14-50 outlet at home, you won't even need to bother charging at work.

Keep sharing your experiences, it's much appreciated.

mrspaghetti | 8 oktober 2012

Correction - turns out I don't totally agree with Sudre_

Specifically, not with this statement:
Until the SC are all out across the US the Tesla is an around the town car which many here don't like to hear. I am not waiting 5 hours at a RV campground to drive 3 hours.

Model S is not an "around the town" car (unless you get the 40kwh battery). It is perfectly suitable for many long trips as long as you plan ahead to stay at hotels with appropriate chargers. I concede that not all conceivable trips are convenient or even feasible without supercharging, but that doesn't relegate it to being an "around the town" car.

sergiyz | 8 oktober 2012

Is there a list of high current chargers and hotels where you could plug in per state ?

mrspaghetti | 8 oktober 2012

There's not one comprehensive list that I know of, so you just have to peruse the various websites that try to track available chargers. Here are the ones I can think of off the top of my head:


Also, if you plan a route on google maps and then type in "ev charging stations" it will show all of them along the route. You can also search "hotels" on your route map, then see where hotels are close to chargers. In some locales it's hard to find a hotel that operates one, but often you can find a hotel that is literally right next door to a restaurant or something with a charging station where you could park overnight.

kalikgod | 8 oktober 2012


$5 for 40 miles range is not actually more expensive than gas. That is about $3.75 a gallon at 30 mpg. Model S competitors probably do not acheive a real world 30 mpg.

$0.35 per kWh is a steep price to pay, but that is the price for public charging convienence.

Get the electrical work done, buy the cheap night electrons and more importantly rid yourself of the needless headache.

viao44 | 9 oktober 2012

What about the value of time?

Jason S | 9 oktober 2012

Since I live in the middle of California and all of my longer trips (200 miles+) are around the state, I too had a similar form of range anxiety. I want the same two things: fast and cheap charging.

Fortunately the superchargers handle most of it. For the rest, I got a Chargepoint account, the iPhone apps (Plugshare is my favorite so far), and I'm getting a NEMA 14-50 installed at one endpoint.

I don't have the car yet. I don't have the HPWC yet either. I'll charge off a 10A circuit at home until the HPWC is available, but the local trips are very minimal so the slow charging from the 120v wall socket is perfectly fine.

Advice: I have none. MandL's situation is entirely understandable. I have done the math on how to get around the state and stored the trip plans in an email to myself. The plans include a 30-50A plug at the range endpoints or at least a stay of 12 hours or more.

The charging infrastructure isn't making it super easy right now, but the number of Tesla chargers is pretty nice in California. So my trips depend on the supercharger locations and the random Tesla plugs already available.

mrspaghetti | 9 oktober 2012

@Jason S

Why wouldn't you just install a 14-50 at home? I really don't understand why people would do that to themselves. The whole point of a car like this is you shouldn't have to plan every move you make, just get the 240v outlet and have a full charge every single time you leave the house. Done.

DouglasR | 9 oktober 2012

I was recently driving around in Northern California (in my ICE car) and started checking out the ReCargo app to find charge stations for my eventual use of the Model S. I saw a number of stations marked "Tesla," which I assume refers to the Roadster. Is there an adapter out yet to permit these stations to be used for the Model S, and what charging rates to they support?

EcLectric | 9 oktober 2012


You said:

Cost: $4.98

Approximate range added: 40.12 to 53.49 miles of range.

That's cheap! I paid $4.95 for a gallon of gas yesterday (guess where I live... yep CA). My (slower than Model S) car gets about 17 miles per gallon. So gas is at least 2.36 times more expensive here. The range of my current ICE car is about 250 miles before I get nervous and fill up.

I'm getting the 240v system installed.

Soflauthor | 9 oktober 2012

@Mandl: Apologies for OT but I seem to recall that you indicated that your car was delivered with a cubby. Is that true or am I imagining it?

I get mine tomorrow, but sans cubby.

Superliner | 9 oktober 2012

@ kishdude.

Peak / Off Peak Not available everywhere in AZ. I'm in Arizona also and pay the same rate 24/7 which is $.12 per kwh currently.

MandL | 10 oktober 2012

Yes, it has a cubby and rear reading lights.

Brian H | 10 oktober 2012

So the line is getting some of the upgrades. Gud nuz.

vouteb | 10 oktober 2012

Why are we so worried about the different electricity rates when one is paying between $80k to 100k for the car itself?

Surely the daytime/nighttime rate differential is marginal compared to the costs of the car itself?

mrspaghetti | 10 oktober 2012

@vouteb +1 - Good point

bsimoes | 10 oktober 2012

I think part of the problem for MandL is that it's a rental situation. First, he would need to deal with the landlord, who would probably be fine with an upgrade if not having to fork over the cash himself, but also, a rental is not a permenant situation, and MandL would be investing in property that he does not own. I would be hesitant, too.
I don't rent, but it is my intention to contact my electric company to see if there are any "breaks" on installing a unit for charging an electric car. I remember some talking about this being the case for the Roadster. Perhaps, he will find out some good news; it can't hurt to ask.

Docrob | 10 oktober 2012

Getting a 14-50 installed is a couple hundred bucks max to make his EV driving experience light years more convenient. Don't think of it as investing in the rental property think of it as investing in convenience and peace if mind. I think we just need to maintain some perspective here that we are talking about installing a dryer socket not an extension to the house.

MandL | 12 oktober 2012

Docrob: In the case of the house I rent getting a 14-50 installed is going to cost North of $2K. I've explained the reasons previously.

kevincwelch | 12 oktober 2012

Installation of a NEMA 14-50 with 40 amps continuous draw is absolutely the minimum power supply/plug you should have installed in your house if you are going to own a Model S and drive more than 40 miles per day. The charging rates on a standard 110V plug are not going to be sufficient for the vast majority of people and you will be required to plan and look for other charging stations as you are doing now.

This is one of those "cost of ownership" things that is more or less de-emphasized by Tesla reps. They basically recommend you install it like it is just a simple plug that you install. The range of installation costs is very variable, and I had to have a subpanel installed along with a 40 foot underground conduit for my detached garage. It certainly wasn't a "just install it" situation, and it cost me $2700 (we had some other electrical work done as well).

But, you really need to do this. Otherwise, you're going to be living with range anxiety for the life of owning your car.

archibaldcrane | 12 oktober 2012

Yeah MandL, the rental situation sucks - but you're going to drive yourself crazy with this car until you get that 14-50 installed at home. Think of it this way - you won't have to pay for a sub-standard charger at work anymore!

Epley | 12 oktober 2012

I'm curious about the Roadster charging stations, too! Is there an adapter?

Also, for additional charging stations.

murraypetera | 12 oktober 2012

Tesla Store in Westchester has an adapter on their charger.

Equest | 13 oktober 2012

I have been driving my Tesla S for 1-1/2 weeks, and I am amazed at the capabilities and quality of the vehicle. Definitely feel Elon has hit his mark. However, now that I have been driving around locally...still haven't gotten to less than a 150 Miles on my "reserve" tank. I have begun thinking about some of the longer trips that I would like to make. Unfortunately, I am in New Jersey far away from the awesome new supercharging stations. In some of my longer trip scenarios, I am going to friends or family that are 150 to 200 miles away which is fine to get there but coming back requires more juice. Not having a dryer outlet near their garages or driveways, I am stuck with plugging into a std outlet. Unfortunately for my friends and family that may mean an extended stay to juice up for my return trip home. Has anyone discussed the option of using a Y-Adpater to feed 2 120V 15Amp separate outlet circuits into the car to provide 120V 25Amps instead of 120V 12Amps? That would give a charge rate of twice that of a std outlet.

Any thoughts?

bfudge | 13 oktober 2012

I understand the Range Anxiety issue. I currently drive a Nissan Leaf that gives me about 80 miles of range. When we first got the car it was a little disconcerting. After a year of driving the Leaf daily, I no longer feel the anxiety. I am comfortable with the range and have never failed to get home. Looking forward to my S with 300 mile range. If you can't get over the anxiety get in touch with me. I am thinking of buying a 2nd Model S for the wife.

mrspaghetti | 13 oktober 2012


It's not that simple. If I were you I'd look into staying at hotels with J1772 chargers rather than trying to fill up with 120v outlets.

jerry3 | 13 oktober 2012


Depending upon where your family is, look into an RV park. They typically have 50 amp chargers which will charge at 30 miles per hour. You can leave it there for the day and be fully charged while you do things with your family. Less expensive than a hotel room (assuming that you were staying with your relatives). There may also be a friendly Model S owner in the area with an HPWC (60 mph).

Brian H | 13 oktober 2012

Or even a Roadster owner (if you have an adapter).

DouglasR | 13 oktober 2012

Question: I see several charging stations listed as "Tesla" in my iPhone apps. I assume that these are Roadster stations. Does it make sense to get an adapter in order to use these, i.e., are there many? Would I need dual chargers in my Model S in order to make the most of these stations?

jerry3 | 15 oktober 2012


Yes, you'd need twin chargers to get the full 70 amp charging. A single charger is limited to 40 amps (basically an RV 14-50 plug).

asblik | 17 oktober 2012

You shouldn't buy 85kWh Model S w/out 240V Charger..

Seriously anyone thinking about 85kWh on 110V is not full taking advantage of their battery.

As for buying a $100K Model S and hurting to buy $2K charger, maybe you should have settled for something more modest like Volt lease at $300/mo, no disrespect, just saying.

MandL | 17 oktober 2012

H8toW8 - I feel no disrespect. In fact, as I zoom around town in my Model S, I feel nothing towards you but pity. :-)

Still working on getting the NEMA 14-50 installed. In the mean time, I get about 2-3 miles of range an hour from 110v/20amp circuit. This covers 90% of my daily use during the week. When I want more (did a 180 mile road trip on Sunday) I can charge at 240/30 at the city garage a few blocks from home. $3 all day for parking and free electricity.

Interestingly, normal charge to full stops around 240 miles of range. range mode stops at 273. But this may have been discusses elsewhere.

mrspaghetti | 17 oktober 2012


Have you checked whether there are any incentives that might help you get your 14-50 installed at home? I've heard about something called the EV Project that will do home charger installs for free, but haven't looked into the details. It might not cover your circumstance, but it doesn't hurt to check.

Peter Spirgel | 9 november 2012

I've had my Model S for 5 days and I love it. Typically I drive less than 25 miles a day so range anxiety is not usually an issue. Today, however, I took my first long trip from southern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. - approximately 160 miles. With a range of around 265 miles with the car fully charged on the max range setting, this should not be a problem other than arranging in advance to charge in D.C. for the return trip.

Each morning my car, fully charged, has shown a rated range of approx 260 miles and a projected range (based on my last 30 miles of driving) of 170! That's a big difference - especially since my driving is all local at speeds averaging around 35 mph.

So I left for D.C. with some trepidation as my projected range was 170 and my rated range was 265. I figured if my projected range based on local driving was 170, my range at highway speeds would be worse! Trusting that this was just a quirk in the software that calculates the projected range, I set off for D.C. expecting to charge at Tesla' s store in D.C. Well, I made it with 80 miles to spare.

I'll be interested if the accuracy of the projected range estimate improves with time.

Brian H | 9 november 2012

Are you using brakes at low speed, or entirely regen?

Peter Spirgel | 10 november 2012

@Brian H. Both as regen typically does not bring the car to a complete stop. I find I use regen almost exclusively on the highway and in city driving I rely on regen to slow the car down; but often need to use the brake to come to a complete stop.

STEVEZ | 10 november 2012

Peter, reading between the lines it sounds like you're using Range mode for your daily charge: you wouldn't be seeing 260+ miles of rated range after a Standard charge. If so, I recommend you stop using Range mode unless you really need the last 10% of range, since frequent use of Range mode will cause premature degradation of the battery pack.