Model S Image

Model S Image

I see many posts about getting the best distance out of your battery by driving slow speeds on highways with maximum speed limits of 70 or more.

The "don't use cruise control it's to inefficient"
I'll let you know right now in Missouri if you coast up hill at speeds below 60 (actually in most cases under 70 outside the city) then coast down the next one at whatever speed the car will go, you will get run off the road by drivers going up the hill and you will get ticketed going down the hill when speeding. There were 3 cops on hwy 44 on my way back from a road trip last week. I did not get a ticket (I let the cruise do it's job) but they were ALL on the downhill stretch. The highway has two lanes of traffic each way. If you are in the slow lane you are behind a large truck going slow all the way up the hill, no advantage. So even ICE drivers who play this game to conserve fuel use the fast lane to coast up hill. That even annoys me.

Driving the perfect speed for distance:
Few people are going to get excited about buying a Model S for the price it sells at when they see them on the highways with posted speed limits of 70 MPH or more and the car is going 55-60 to conserve battery. The car will get classified as a overpriced large Yugo with good looks.

Driving around in hot weather with the A/C off, windows up or down, is a joke. Again no one is going to want a car for over $70k when they can't use the A/C on road trips.

Don't shoot me. I am just the messenger.

MandL | 18. September 2012

+1 Sudre

I was always thinking if I were going to travel in the Model S 85 it would be in 150 mile increments. Drive two hours, charge 45 min. I'm not going 55 on the interstate. Death wish. If I have a reason to go further than 200 miles in one shot, I'm flying.

I absolutely appreciate others doing max-range road trips aka but that's a purpose-specific adventure. Not for me and definitely not for my weekend trip to the beach.

stevenmaifert | 18. September 2012

A robust TM Supercharger network will make the issue... well, less of an issue.

Schlermie | 18. September 2012

With the right regen settings, you might be able to coast downhill while balancing a reasonable speed vs. regenerative braking.

Theresa | 18. September 2012

I have driven slower than 70 mph on major highways many times. I watch my mirror very closely for any appearances of annoyed drivers. Since I used to drive a big rig I also never make them slow down if they have no way to pass me. I have never gotten so much as a single horn blown at me in my three years of driving as such. And as far as getting tickets at the bottom of a hill that is highly unlikely as, if you are driving the way I describe, you won't be at speed at the top of the hill and getting to such a high speed at the bottom to get a ticket

Now I have been to the west cost to visit and I realize that if I lived there my style of driving would never work. And I realize if I did try to do that along the coast I would most likely get shot at or forced off the road. So everyone will need to decide if they need the range and if they can safely drive in the manner that I do.

Living in the Midwest does have the advantage that I can drive like this to maximize my range but it also has the disadvantage that I do not have as many choices about where to refuel so I am somewhat forced to drive this way in order to not have to take forever to get to a destination. If I were on the coast and had several places to choose from to recharge then I would not worry about my range as much.

Volker.Berlin | 18. September 2012

Sudre_, I think you summarized pretty well why many of us think that this article isn't doing the Model S (its perception in the public) any favor at all, all while it pretends to exactly that:

ManuVince | 18. September 2012

+1 guys

I was hoping to have some real driving data from those people doing the cross country, but got disappointed too. And don't get me started on the motor trend idiotic stunt...

Electric Machete | 18. September 2012

I have no intention of driving 55 on a highway. I think it would just crush my driving spirit. I drive almost exclusively in the left lane unless someone is really hauling ass, then I move over to let them pass. If the max range is greater than 200 miles shown on the graph for 70 MPH driving, then I'll take a car that burns gas. I'm not ready to make my Tesla or any EV my only vehicle. I think 70 MPH is my lower limit threshold for driving any significant distance on the highway without being totally annoyed with the distance limitation.

Disney is about 220 miles from my house, so I might make an exception and drive 60, but honestly, I'll probably just take the Highlander. This car will get me around South Florida just fine and make my 27 mile commute to work very enjoyable. I'm all for changing the world, but I just can't drive at 55 MPH.

olanmills | 18. September 2012

Yeah, this "EV hypermiling" stuff should be left for the one off attempts and range records ands stuff.

Otherwise, just drive the car and enjoy it. You're going to be spending way less on electricity than you did on gas anyways. If you have to make long trips, plan to charge. I don't see why you would want to get a nice car and then kill the joy of using it.

EdG | 18. September 2012

Have more fun on the uphills than going down. It'll be a while before anyone is looking for speeders going uphill. Just taper off the speed before getting to the top.

Tomas | 18. September 2012

Interesting topic, but it seems a bit odd to me. Are Model S buyers really thinking of driving their car such a long, range-challenging distances? To me, the Model S is a perfect commuter car that will be happiest in a two car family. For long trips take the gas car. If you love driving all over the place, then a Tesla is probably not a good fit… it’s simply not worth the stress of worrying about the range. For the rest of the millions of people who drive a predictable and reasonable amount within the range, it is the perfect car.
In my case, I’ll be a two Tesla family— One Model S and one Roadster. I hate driving and I hate “road trips (isn’t that why the invented airplanes?), but if I have to drive any place approaching the range, I can rent a car. Problem solved… and in the mean time I’ll love driving my Model S around town as fast as I can with the A/C blasting away.

Sudre: I really wouldn't expect to see many Model S's putt-putting around. You (ops, sorry, your message)are buying into the whole range limitation issue (myth?) that is a impeding progress. The vast majority of drivers drive less than 100 miles a day. An eletric car is perfect for them. And, as people do in many other parts of the world where they commute using public transportion and have no car, they simply rent one on the rare occasion that they need one.

Moving the country to electric cars is more than simply changing how we power our personal vehicle, its about changing how we think about transportion as a whole. Ride a bike,take a train, drive electric, rent a gas car if you simply must. It's a whole package--paradigm shift-- that Tesla is on the cutting edge of.
Go Electric! Go Tesla!

Brian H | 18. September 2012

You mean you want to pass up the thrill of getting airborne at the crest? Bummer! >:P

mrspaghetti | 18. September 2012

Whatever you're driving and however you drive, you always have to be aware of how much range you're capable of and plan accordingly. Those of us who've ever found ourselves walking on the side of the road with a gas can will realize nothing has changed in that regard.

jerry3 | 18. September 2012


1. The main reason for getting the Model S is because it can do road trips.

2. If I never get in another airplane again it will be too soon. I used to fly almost weekly. It holds all the excitement for me of a bus ride, and with all the new regulations any trip under 2000 miles is faster by car--and certainly more pleasant.

3. Renting a car is one of the things I hated about flying.

4. Trains would be fine--except that there aren't any. Ideally, you would drive your electric car onto a train and drive it off fully charged when you reached your destination. Never going to happen though.

5. Range is not a myth. The silly EVs that the other companies are putting out will hardly do a normal commute when new--now that's what's impeding progress.

Volker.Berlin | 18. September 2012

I'm all for changing the world, but I just can't drive at 55 MPH.

This is a remarkable statement. ;-)

Brian H | 19. September 2012

Volker.Berlin | September 18, 2012 new

I'm all for changing the world, but I just can't drive at 55 MPH.

This is a remarkable statement. ;-)

Boredom is one of the less tolerable agonies, especially when the cure is immediately to hand!

helmut.treiber | 19. September 2012

i am so looking foward to a first test if i get my car in germany:
pedal to the metal on an empty "Autobahn", what would be the range?
My budget allows only the 40 KWH model, but this would not keep me away from having fun!
I want to burn rubber not fuel..
..and hope the traktion control can be completely deactivated..

Timo | 19. September 2012

I'm guessing somewhere around 80 miles for max speed. Might be even less than that.

Volker.Berlin | 19. September 2012

Helmut, you may be interested in this thread:

There was another thread discussing range at high speeds, but unfortunately I cannot retrieve it right now. Maybe someone else remembers and can post a link?

However, you will not be happy in any case. As we all know, for any increase of speed, air resistance increases by the square. That's why fuel consumption surges at high speeds, and that's no different for the Model S.

There's a reason why the Range vs. Speed graph for the Model S is truncated at 80 mph (130 km/h). It gets really frustrating from there on:

Timo | 19. September 2012

Oops, didn't notice that the battery was only 40kWh, in that case halve my estimation. 80 miles was for 85kWh model.

Sudre_ | 19. September 2012

If you don't think people are going to be driving slow to increase range on cross country trips then I think you have not read the few blogs that are out. I think it is great right now that there are a few people out pushing the limits of the battery but I think that will continue on as more and more drivers get behind the wheel with no superchargers on the roads.

I've been following one driver and they are doing a great job updating their trip. I think it's a good blog to learn from. I made the mistake of posting it to my facebook page so other friends could follow the trip too. My friends are no longer interested in purchasing a Model S or in test driving. They claim for that price they can get close enough to the S power in an ICE and not have to sit 8 hours at an RV park waiting to hit the road at 55 mph in a 70. Timo, that is my point about just being the messenger. I am still excited to buy even with the maintainence package that takes away most of the gas savings. (I drive about 6000-8000 miles a year).

Whity Whiteman | 19. September 2012

everyone who is considering to buy the S should be fair. Think about the following:
If a german ICE, for example an 6 zyl. BMW-5 series uses 10 Liters/100KM... than it's the same unrealistic EPA-Shit as with the S. In real life the BMW takes 13-15 litres...if You are a "driver".This is important to compare the different models.
I drive an BMW 8-Zyl, but I do it on liquid gas, so the costs are more or less 50% of the gasoline costs...
I always feel, that I'm driving so cheap... I always put the pedal to the metal, when on highway...
the effect in the S will be much more extreme... 100 KM-of driving will cost 3-4 Euro...
so, I will nail the car on the road as much as I want to... it's a fast car and it should make fun to drive it.
The question is, how far does it goes under sporty fire... I think, a realistic scenario is more or less 160-180 Miles on the 85-pack... for me ----absolutely enough!

Whity Whiteman | 19. September 2012

and let me add this:
have you ever seen a tesla roadster driving on the truck lane and going 55MPH?
I always saw them rushing loudness...

Whity Whiteman | 19. September 2012

sorry, loudless.... thanks to autocorrection..

mrspaghetti | 19. September 2012

And the blog you're referring to - I assume those folks are out for adventure in very out-of-the-way places. There are plenty of hotels that have ev chargers, so spending nights at RV parks is really unnecessary. The supercharger network will make it even more so.

This whole topic is much ado about nothing, in my opinion. Model S is so awesome in part because it is so well suited to road trips if you're into that.

Michael23 | 19. September 2012

My current car gets 12 mpg so I'm going to floor it always :) Can't do worse than my ICE car! (can it?)

Teoatawki | 19. September 2012

It's nice to say there are plenty of hotels with chargers, but they thin out very quickly once you leave the coast. I hardly think traveling the major interstates like I-15 and I-80 constitute adventure in very out-of-the-way places. Along those routes your best bets are going to be RV parks. Even if you manage to find an EV friendly hotel near where you want to stop for the night, unless you are content to limit yourself to under 300 miles per day you will need to stop and charge up during the day sometime. Unless you find an EV friendly restaurant or other attraction (once again, much rarer after leaving the coast), you'll probably need to use an RV park.

Until we know the priorities and schedule for supercharger rollout, we can't really say how long it will be before the east-west major routes and central north-south routes have coverage.

In the meantime, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow Model S and X owners (and eventually other long range EVers) to let businesses, hotels, attractions, restaurants, and other tourist traps we visit know we would be happy to spend more time and money more often if they provided EV charging on site.

mrspaghetti | 20. September 2012

How many people want to drive 300 miles per day? Not most. If you're one of them, the model s is probably not for you. For the other 99.9%, if they don't get one it will be for other reasons.

MandL | 20. September 2012

While I don't really WANT to drive 300 miles in a day, I often will. I doubt I'm that unusual either. It's just about exactly 300 miles from my home in Baltimore to my Dad's in Connecticut. The drive takes me anywhere from 4.5-7 hours depending on the traffic and such. (In-laws are near Charlotte ~400 mi, 6.5-7.5 hours). If I'm going to visit for a long weekend I don't want to have to take even more time off so I can stay over night at some lovely motel along the interstate (or campground Dog forbid). Flying doesn't save much if any time over driving and can cost a lot more, especially if I have to rent a car at the destination (rather than disrupt my hosts' lives even more).

Timo | 20. September 2012

@MandL While I don't really WANT to drive 300 miles in a day, I often will. I doubt I'm that unusual either. It's just about exactly 300 miles from my home in Baltimore to my Dad's in Connecticut.

In fact the rare need for that long ride makes it more important to get that extra kWh from some charging place. If you drive it often you can buy other car for that, but it doesn't make sense to buy it for just couple of trips every now and then. You could always rent a car, but that's nowhere near as convenient or fun than do that drive in your own BEV and in here it costs insane amount if you go for good car and not SmartForTwo.

For example three week rental of BMW 3-series costs about 1500EUR. MB E-class goes over 2000EUR. OTOH everything related to cars in some way costs insane amounts here, so no surprises there. Stupid government and their taxes. Not that that class of car is cheap in US either (based on fast google).

@Teoatawki Until we know the priorities and schedule for supercharger rollout, we can't really say how long it will be before the east-west major routes and central north-south routes have coverage.

I believe that will be high priority for Tesla. Connecting far-away dots is the goal, so I expect that they do far away first and then fill the gaps in shorter, but still long trips.

Teoatawki | 20. September 2012


We know sc #1 is Harris Ranch, ~200 miles from LA and SF. That suggests to me the initial priority may well be key locations that make 300-500 mile trips between major cities more practical. I'll just wait and see what we learn on Monday.

Brian H | 20. September 2012

I am severely and sincerely puzzled by those policies. Usually a targetted tax like that is intended to discourage some thing, in favour of an approved alternative. What is the alternative? Public transport? Shank's mare (walking)? Minimizing travel/movement?

Or is the road network especially difficult to maintain, and "long per capita"?

The other major possibility is that the gubmin sees autos as an "inelastic" target that people are going to buy regardless, making them a reliable source of revenue.

Brian H | 20. September 2012

Edit: gubmin = gubmint (= governing mint?)

mrspaghetti | 21. September 2012

"MandL | SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
While I don't really WANT to drive 300 miles in a day, I often will. I doubt I'm that unusual either."

Don't doubt it, you are unusual. If you don't think so, I'm guessing you must know a lot of truckers or something.

Brian H | 21. September 2012

Or Travelling Salesmen. ;)

BYT | 21. September 2012

Or Nomads, Gypsies and Mad Max??

jerry3 | 23. September 2012

mrspaghet -- How many people want to drive 300 miles per day

I'm not sure where you reside, but 300 miles in Texas will hardly get you out of town. I avoid driving more than 700 miles per day, so I try to make a day's driving 600 to 750 miles.

Jason S | 23. September 2012

My wife is wanting to go to Disneyland within a few days of getting the Model S. For us this is a hop of roughly 200 miles then over a significant hill and down into the LA basin with 255 miles. So 200 miles, find a recharge port, then 120 miles to Bakersfield and charge at a Nissan or Mitsubishi dealership (HA!) or an RV park. Then 140 miles including the significant climb and then coast into the LA basin.

The 200 mile hop is to stop by my parents place on the way down. Otherwise I'd plan on a stop by Harris Ranch and have lunch then continue down the road (roughly same difference) to an RV plug near Bakersfield.

Going 55 mph vs 70 mph makes zero difference to these plans. ZERO. I'm only going 200 miles at a hop, not 270 miles.

It is all in the planning. If I was driving my ICE (Jetta TDI) then I'd go the 200 miles, get some diesel, then go over the hill and look for a refill near LA. The main difference for the Model S is worrying about getting over the hill without waiting on a 120V charge. Charging off a J1772 or NEMA 14-50 is the 120 mile recharge point and that's a couple hours just to get ~60 miles of charge for the climb.

mrspaghetti | 23. September 2012

@Jerry3: I'm in TX too, and I stand by my prior comments. The driving patterns you are describing are unusual.

@Jason S: "it is all in the planning" - Couldn't have said it better myself.

Jason S | 23. September 2012

As it turns out, one of the new supercharge stations is at Laval Rd and I-5... so that's my Bakersfield stop. SWEET!!

I can stop there for lunch and make it easily all the way to Anahiem from there.