What range 85KWh in 'normal' motorway driving?

What range 85KWh in 'normal' motorway driving?

I've seen plenty of journalists testing the range of the car by driving at 55, with no aircon and scared to touch the accelerator, but I've yet to see a test where a blunt just drives the car as normal, maybe pushing the speed limit a bit, having a bit of fun with the acceleration at the lights and generally enjoying such a wonderful car. So I'm still in the dark as to what kind of range I'd expect for my long drives.

I regularly drive from Liverpool to London, a 225 one way trip 95% on the motorway, speed limit here in the UK is 70MPH. I do a return in a day sometimes, but realise that the S will need a full recharge should I want to do this. What I would like to know is has anyone done a long 230+ mile drive on motorways (or highways you'd call them) on a single charge without any compromise to their normal driving style?

Electron | 30. März 2013

Well, here's my experience after 2000 miles:

Most of the time with normal driving in 55-65F weather I am getting about
342 Wh/mi, with my driving patterns (between 5-10 mi over the limit on
the highway, i.e. 70-80 mph). This is with mostly flat terrain, or climbs of
< 1000 ft. with recovery on downslope.

With a standard charge (guessing that a standard charge is about 72 kW/h), that
works out to a maximum range of 211 miles.

With a range charge (again, guessing that a range charge is about 81 kW/h), that
would be 236 miles.

So, if you drive like me, and do a range charge, and like to take your chances, you
*might* make it driving normally, but there are LOTS of other factors that could
run you into trouble: different temperature, passenger load, headwinds, unexpected
detours, etc.

Honestly, I think it's just outside the capabilities of the car if you aren't willing to slow down.

scoops | 30. März 2013

Thanks for your info Electron, very helpful. Seems it's very much on the edge of the range, and like you said, there's no room for unexpected events.

I'm thinking that if it's just too tight I'd just give myself an extra hour and stop for a meal on the way and get a little top up juice. Or maybe by the time they arrive in the UK (early or Spring 2014) the UK might have a SuperCharger on the main trunk roads.

Either way, not quite the 300 mile range that's been touted around, then again no car on sale in the UK achieves the MPG the manufacturers claim.

I very much doubt I'd get the chance to try the 225 mile route on a test drive!

DouglasR | 30. März 2013

TM's range calculator -- -- is pretty accurate. If you drive 65 mph with outside temperature at 50F and the heat on, your range is 232 miles. With outside temperature at 90F and AC on, your range is 247. Adding 5 mph would reduce your range by 15-20 miles. Note that to get this range, you would need to do a range charge (not good for the health of the battery if done on a regular basis), and you would be cutting it very close (not good for your emotional health).

On the other hand, if you are willing to slow down slightly or take a brief break to charge, this is a pretty reasonable trip in a Model S. I recently drove from sea level to 5400 feet and back, a distance of 242 miles, on a single charge, arriving with 18 rated miles to spare. I drove the speed limit the entire time, except when traffic prevented it. That limit was 65 mph on the freeways, but considerably slower on mountain roads. Outside temperatures were anywhere from the upper 30s to the upper 50s, but not much climate control was required. I was totally comfortable. I also knew I had the option to stop and charge once I had driven halfway home. I drove the way I wanted to drive, never once worried about range, and the trip was thoroughly enjoyable.

Brian H | 30. März 2013

I doubt you will see that without "any compromise to their normal driving style". You may be forced to use a certain amount of intelligent energy conservation to trade off for the fun bits. Draft a few score miles 5 car lengths behind a lorry, or SLT. ;)

Sudre_ | 30. März 2013

I would say Electron's estimates sound pretty good for all highway driving. I have found that if I keep my foot off the floor and heat off I can drive the watt/mile down to 310 or under. Still probably best to plan a one hour stop for lunch or something.

Colder (30-40F 0-5C) weather I see a 380-400 watt/mile on my highway drives. Something to keep in mind. That is just normal (maybe a little aggressive) driving, heat on keeping my wife's feet warm at 74F and both heated seats on.

shilo_js | 30. März 2013

70mph highway driving is going to get you roughly 80% of your rated mileage range (when you get in the car). This assumes normal temperatures, no heating/AC, no steep hills, etc.

jkirkebo | 31. März 2013

Scoops: If you can source a 22kW charge point (3x32A 400V) on your route, you will extend your range by approx. 10% for every 30 minutes you stay there. So 30 minutes should be plenty for having a safe reserve.

But you need to order the twin chargers for that. Otherwise it's 10% per hour.

An easier to find 32A single phase (7.4kW) charge point will give you approx. 8% extra range per hour.

gasnomo | 31. März 2013

I live in NY city area, i have about 2000 miles on my car. Since receiving the car i have average 374 watts/mile. I keep climate control at 68. On highways, going average 65, I average around 330-340 watts/mile, although the other day, I drove into NYC and back (70 miles round trip) and average 313, 287 down and 326 back. As Douglas pointed out above, the TM calculator is pretty accurate, and depicts the impact of cold weather and using the heater. I am assuming my watts/m will get better during the warmer months.

lolachampcar | 31. März 2013

Take MS on a 100 mile leg on the M6 and I believe you will find a way to make the trip work. The car is an absolute dream and will leave you highly motivated to find a way to make it work.

wraithnot | 31. März 2013

On weekend road trips when I drive with the flow of traffic on California Freeways (about 75 mph), I find I reproducibly get 80% of the rated range. The daily commute is more like 90% of rated range because the weekday traffic keeps me from going as fast as I would like. But superchargers are fantastic so if they install one of these on your route then you will be in good shape.

EVTripPlanner | 31. März 2013

See my charts/spreadsheet at - I put together tables with estimated real-world range at various speeds. For trip planning, we're working on the "Route Energy Calculator" at - it accounts for hills, speed, HVAC and, in a while, weather (outside temp/wind).

jat | 31. März 2013

@shilo_js - I disagree. I have been on three long trips in my car so far (no superchargers here near Atlanta), and setting cruise on 74mph I can get 220mi consistently, which is 83% of rated range. This is with moderate heating or AC, and with moderate elevation variation. If you set it on 70mph, I would expect more like 230-240mi depending on terrain and HVAC usage, and you should get the full rated range at a constant 65mph.

jat | 31. März 2013

@scoops - the 300mi range very clearly says a constant 55mph on flat ground with no HVAC. From what I have seen, it would be easy to achieve that if you are willing to drive that slow. I'm not, which means I treat the car's range as 220mi, and 240mi in a pinch by driving 65-70.

That is also on a range charge, and you don't want to have to do that every day. Also, consider that the battery will degrade some over time, so you shouldn't count on getting the max range if you plan on keeping the car for a long time.

cerjor | 31. März 2013

I took a 180 mile trip today in 90 degree weather. Had the A/C on full blast. Averaged 287 W/mi at 63 mph. I found hills consumed more energy than A/C, even slight rises were noticeable. Started with 268 miles range. Arrived home with about 90 miles left.