Amazed by the range

Amazed by the range

I got my 60kWh about 5 weeks back. In city driving, I have been getting exactly the same range as rated range. I live in Colorado and drive into mountains often. I expected to see worse range when driving into mountains. I have been delighted to find out I am still getting the rated range when driving through the mountains with elevation going up and down by up to 4000 feet. This is when not babying the car at all, running A/C the whole time and pushing the go pedal hard often (very hard not to). But then today's drive topped even that experience. I drove 170 miles today through the mountains going up and down in elevation with elevation ranging from 4950 feet to 9700 feet and outside temp ranging from 73 Deg F to 86 Deg F. For the 170 miles of actual driving, car consumed 143 miles of rated range! Any range anxiety I had while driving in the mountains before is pretty much gone now :)

mikefa | 07. Juli 2013

Whatever energy you used going up the mountain, you gain it all back when going down the mountain.

gill_sans | 07. Juli 2013

@azizkhan, thanks for posting your experience. That's awesome! And useful information.

Bob W | 07. Juli 2013

@mikefa wrote:

"Whatever energy you used going up the mountain, you gain it all back when going down the mountain."

That would only be true if the motor and charger were 100% energy efficient, but they're only about 80% energy efficient, with the rest lost as heat.

The rule of thumb seems to be that you get about half of your battery energy back by regen. if you go straight uphill and then straight downhill the same amount. For more details, see

See also the "Green Race" EV Trip plannert at, which takes elevation changes into account, including regen.

(Too bad it uses only metric units, and the results are a bit difficult to interpret).

cwmenne | 07. Juli 2013

At the higher elevations, you also get some aerodynamic savings as the air is less dense as you get higher. By the time you get to 8-10,000ft, it should become noticeable for sure.

tobi_ger | 07. Juli 2013

Did you drive the same route uphill and downhill? The extra energy could be a result of a longer downhill route compared to uphill.

Brian H | 07. Juli 2013

Some have anecdotally reported getting the full 80% back. May require the right hill, though!

hikerockies | 07. Juli 2013

@tobi_ger: no, it was not the same route uphill and downhill. Downhill part might have been longer than uphill part by 2-3 miles.

shop | 07. Juli 2013

Less drag at high altitudes is a real effect. I wonder if anyone has done the math on it?

Captain_Zap | 07. Juli 2013

Congrats! Just be aware that once the roads get wet, the wind starts to blow and the chill sets in next fall you'll have to adjust your expectations a bit.

That said, I have to say that the range surprises me all the time because I am in a mountainous area as well. I got my car in November. As the weather warmed up and the roads dried off I became even more impressed with the range. | 07. Juli 2013

I get close to ideal range here in Southern California

hikerockies | 08. Juli 2013

@Captain_Zap: Agreed. mpg in my gasoline cars starts dropping in November. There is no reason for Model S to behave much different in winter. Instead of gasoline burning inefficiently, it will be battery being used inefficiently as temperature drops.

LionPowered | 07. August 2013

I did my first mountain driving this week in Colorado. Wow! The MS is an awesome mountain road driving machine! It doesn't care how steep the road is or how little oxygen there is. Descending is so beautiful. No risk of burning brake pads or clutch plates. Regenerative braking and mountains are a fantastic match :-)

svoelpel2 | 08. August 2013

At almost 3000 miles in-town and non-interstate highway driving in rural NC, I am beating ideal range with a current avg Wh/mile of 265. With local electricity cost of 10cents/kw, I am driving for 2.65 cents per mile. Could not be more pleased with range and efficiency.

Brian H | 08. August 2013

Yeah, there's a great tagline. "Model S, the mountain goat sedan!"

Hodas | 08. August 2013

Wow. I am trying to figure out why I have averaged 375-380 Wh/mi over my first 1600 miles in my (non-P) 85 when you guys are getting 265-300...

lolachampcar | 08. August 2013

Stop and go kills average. Lift early to coast to, or even avoid, a stop really helps.

6500 miles on P85(+) with a lifetime of 315. Of course, it is flat and warm in Florida.

DTsea | 08. August 2013

It wont do as well in the winter. My 60 in hilly Seattle likewise is about 300 (sometimes less) Wh/mile now, when it is 75 degrees out, but was more like 330 in the winter at 38 degrees.

KWTESLA | 08. August 2013

Try a run to Yosemite up HWY 140 that is a fun drive. Down hill is a real blast as you regenerate all the way down the hill. MS is as Miser on energy usage.