Looking for actual highway mileage results

Looking for actual highway mileage results

I haven't picked a battery capacity yet.

Does anyone have actual observed mileage when traveling on the highway under realistic conditions.

For me, realistic conditions are:
70 - 75 MPH.
A/C running.
Radio on.
Outside temps between 70 - 95 degrees (I live in Florida).

I need to go 130 miles a day (65 to work, 65 back home). Work charging is an option, but I'd prefer to just charge @ night.

Will the 60kWh work for me? I'd like to save my cash and avoid the 85 if possible.

I'm looking for numbers on both the 60kWh and 85kWh batteries.


Brant | 05. Februar 2013

I have the 85kWh
Drove 135 miles to Sacramento from San Jose days after receiving the car in December
Freeway speed (70-80mph) and temp was probably in the 40's
1000ft climb out of silicon valley
Left with a standard charge (240 rated miles) and had 40 rated miles left when I got there.

Brant | 05. Februar 2013

Oh yeah
Radio was on
Heater was on
2 kids in car seats in the back | 05. Februar 2013

@Brant, thanks!

In Brant's case, he spent 200 rated miles and achieved 135 actual miles

135/200 = .675

Using this ratio here's what my guess as to what to expect from the other battery sizes for highway driving. (NOTE: i have no idea what the rated miles are for the other batteries, I just took 240/300 to come up with .8

battery advertised rated miles actual miles
size on (.8 * advertised) (.675 * rated miles)
85 300 240 162
60 230 184 124.2
40 160 128 86.4

Does that look about right? if so, it looks like i'm headed toward the 85kWh club

bradslee | 05. Februar 2013

I drove from Sunnyvale to Napa Valley via Highway 101-Highway 80-Highway 29 with my 85kWh car. Round trip took 195 miles. Freeway speed was in average 65 mph to 75 mph. Highlights, radio and navigate map were on and climate control was set at 72. Including myself, two adults were in the car. My car actually consumed 235 rated miles. Left home with 231 rated miles and in Napa used J1772 charger spent two hours to charge 45 rated miles. Got back home with 41rated miles remaining. | 05. Februar 2013

Thanks @bradslee Your trip yielded a better rated/actual mileage ratio of .829

Based on your results the table changes to:

kWh advertised rated actual
85 300 240 198.96
60 230 184 152.53
40 160 128 106.11

SD Supercharger | 05. Februar 2013

"I drove from Sunnyvale to Napa Valley via Highway 101-Highway 80-Highway 29 with my 85kWh car. Round trip took 195 miles. Freeway speed was in average 65 mph to 75 mph. Highlights, radio and navigate map were on and climate control was set at 72. Including myself, two adults were in the car. My car actually consumed 235 rated miles. Left home with 231 rated miles and in Napa used J1772 charger spent two hours to charge 45 rated miles. Got back home with 41rated miles remaining."

If you use these data points its 195/235 = .83


These numbers are from a standard charge--which you would use for commuting. Obviously a max range charge would be higher. When in doubt--go with the 85, and if you are an adrenaline junkie---go with the p85.

lph | 05. Februar 2013

Also don't forget that the battery will loose some capacity over the years.

noel.smyth | 05. Februar 2013

trip from philly to NY and back 120 miles each way. 45 degrees. range mode set to on. climate set to 72.
left with 240 rated miles arrived in the Bronx with 101 Miles. speed was 67 MPH
added range by charging at the Botanical Gardens and left the Bronx with 153 rated miles.
Drove 62 MPH until I was about 45 miles from home them upped to 67 MPH. 22 Rated miles upon return. return trip was dark out.
hope this helps!

EVTripPlanner | 05. Februar 2013

my experience going LA to Vegas was 350-360 Wh/mile in my P85 (60 is a little more efficient). While there are some climbs, I find that the car is very good about recovering perhaps 90% of the climb energy on the way back down (so you just need to look at the net altitude change from start to charging location). To be safe, what I do is derate the "rated range" by 20%. I posted spreadsheet calculations and reference charts at

LazMan | 05. Februar 2013

I'm sure everyone knows that wind resistance increase by the square of speed making speed the biggest predictor of range.

EVTripPlanner | 05. Februar 2013

Good point - a 10mph head or tailwind makes a big difference. We need airspeed indicator in addition to groundspeed!

deaton52 | 05. Februar 2013

There is a simple way to get this information. Model S provides a running analysis of watt hrs/mile of energy use. . I've got a little over 4000 miles on my Model S Signature. Most of it in lousy traffic with quite a few hills and everything running. My average energy use is 375 watt hrs/mi. So if you divide the amount of energy in your battery by this number it will give you the miles you can go. So for my 85kw battery, I can go on average 226 miles on a FULL charge to 100% empty-- which you don't want to do. However, I've checked it for highway driving at ~70 mph on reasonably level terrain and it is about 315 watt hrs/ mi (with lights, radio etc all on). That would give me a realistic range of 250 miles leaving 5 kW in the battery, for highway driving . So if you used on ave 320 watt hrs mi, and used 55 kW in your 60 kW battery you could go about 175 miles. However, if you charge to only 80% (48 kW), which is what you want to do routinely, you really will only have about 135-140 miles of range if you leave a few kW in the battery (which you want to do). . Charging it to full capacity on a daily basis is not recommended and will severely shorten the lifespan of the battery, or so we've been told. Pardon the typos, done on an iPhone.

GeekEV | 05. Februar 2013

You guys have seen Tesla's range calculator, right? Of course, it doesn't go past 65...

GeekEV | 05. Februar 2013

I guess the question is "is it accurate" if you stick within the parameters they provide? I don't have my car yet so I can't say... Anyone tried matching it up with the real world?

Timo | 05. Februar 2013

It depends quite a bit how you drive and what kind of traffic you are facing. From the net I could assume it is quite good average, but there are obviously quite a bit exceptions to the rule (main one seems to be that no-one buying this car can drive it in sane manner, nearly everyone is driving like they stole it for first few weeks at least: it's just too fun)

Brian H | 05. Februar 2013

lose loose

One thing obvious from all the accounts is the flexibility of wh/mi usage. By manipulating speed and frequency of acceleration, etc., trade-offs between distance and fun can be quite extensively managed.

nickjhowe | 05. Februar 2013

@Deanhuff - you are using 240 when you should be using 265: 240 is a regular charge; 265 is a range charge - the equivalent of a 300 mile charge. Spoke to an MS owner the other day who did a real world 230 mile run on a range charge, and arrived with about 20 miles to spare.

This blog post shows the S range at c.450 miles at 25 mph. The real world number achieved at the end of last year was 423. The graph also shows 225 miles at 75 mph, and over a 20 mile run that's about what I was getting on the freeway in FL.

Based on limited data it looks like the graph is pretty accurate, and may even under predict range at higher speeds.

Note that this is very dependent on weight. Rolling resistance is proportional to weight and dominates over aero drag below 60 mph, so adding three or four passengers and luggage will add c.15% to the weight of the car, and hence decrease real world range.

djl | 05. Februar 2013

Agree with Deaton52. I seem to average around 315-325 watts/mile in typical 70-74 MPH highway conditions (typical implying radio and A/C on).

Cattledog | 05. Februar 2013

I just drove 400 miles roundtrip from San Antonio to Houston.

SA to Houston = 321 Wh/mile. Downhill 700 feet, crosswind, 72 MPH cruise control for 3/4 trip.

Houston to SA = 341 Wh/mile. Uphill 700 feet, 5 mph headwind for half the drive, 72 MPH cruise control for 3/4 trip.

AC on low both ways, radio too. No lights. 75 degrees. Max charged both, started with 266 range, ended with 42 miles available after SA to Houston, 22 or so (forget) coming back.

Get 85 for peace of mind. | 06. Februar 2013

@nickjhowe - I wanted to avoid range mode in my assumptions since I don't intend on using range mode during my daily commute. Thanks for the link to the blog post...very informative.

@Cattledog - agreed...85kWh is for me.

jat | 06. Februar 2013

Driving constant 75mph with heater and radio, I should get about 215mi on a range charge.

I think if you get the 60kWh you should plan to charge at work or drive slower.

dtesla | 06. Februar 2013

An older blog about driving a Model S cross country. They have a link to a spreadsheet with good data along with elevations for the trip.

Access via then click Datalog.

Flex | 06. Februar 2013

I have the 85 and just did a trip from Calabasas to Morro Bay. Did a range charge and drove 215 miles there an had about 37 projected range left. If I remember correctly used about 315 kw/m. Coming back we did 193 miles and also had 37 projected range. Usage was 344 kw/m. Not sure why the higher usage, tried to keep cruise control on as much as possible set at 72mph. I think elevation change net was about 800 feet. Also came back early in morning so temperature was about 15 degrees cooler.

DouglasR | 06. Februar 2013

Take a look at the comprehensive post here:

He has a chart toward the bottom of the post where he details the energy consumption and conditions on a 3,000 mile trip from Redmond, WA to Death Valley and back.

Mhcoalson | 06. Februar 2013

I have a P85 and I drive 18.6 miles each way (37.2 round trip) to work each day. A combination of about 50/50 surface and highway driving. Running speed with traffic (45 to 75 mph) with the radio and lights I have been using only an average of 280 watts / mile. In cold weather, (<20 F) the heat uses considerable more energy increasing consumption to 380 - 400 watts / mile.

eadolphe | 06. Februar 2013

I am seeing between 22% to 35% off of my "rated" range. So if I am traveling from point A to B and the distance is 100 miles, I will need between 122 and 135 miles of rated range to make it safely. I kept a fairly detailed spreadsheet using Google Earth to look at changes in elevation and also map out my speed. The cold weather also seemed to be play a big role.

Pungoteague_Dave | 06. Februar 2013

Range anxiety comes with the EV territory.

Today I drove my 85 non-performance Model S 240 miles in range mode, 42 degrees F, zero traffic, perfectly flat land on DelMarVa. Route was from Arnold, MD to Rock Hall, MD, to Pungoteague, VA via the Whitehaven Ferry. I had to include the ferry shortcut, as going the typical route around Salisbury, MD would have exceeded range potential and there are NO charge points on the Eastern Shore yet, except one Nissan dealer. I had only 4 miles range left when pulling into my garage. Way too close for comfort, and didn't make a couple stops I would have in a regular car, such as to pick up groceries. Never went over 55, used cruise control most of the time, started with max range charge, babied the accelerator, used almost no brakes, radio on, all exterior lights off.

I can't imagine how to get 300 miles or anywhere close to that, or even the 265 rated. I could not have driven more gently or in more ideal conditions than today. In hindsight, using the TM real world range calculator at 32 degrees (won't let me put in 42) shows a range of 249, only five more than I got today counting the 4 miles I had to "spare". Definitely some compromises and range anxiety with these cars. Took me about an hour longer than normal for this trip due to driving slow, and spent the whole drive worried about the car and what I would do if it couldn't make it, with no bail-out option, all the while passing dozens of gas stations. I love the Model S, but it is not a real substitute for the freedom offered by more conventional cars.

nickjhowe | 06. Februar 2013

Hopefully a SuperCharger will ease your worries.

tcunning | 06. Februar 2013

I have been keeping a driving log. Here is my google doc that has information such as miles, range start, range end, outside temperature, approx freeway speed when appropriate, ...

I haven't been keeping track of inside car temperature, but I tend to run with the heat set at 75 deg.

This is for a P85.

MarkV | 06. Februar 2013

Speed and temperature make big differences. With ~5000 miles my cumulative average is 303 Wh/mile which equates to 280 miles/85kW charge or 198 miles/60kW charge.
I agree with cattledog, get the 85 and don't look back. You will not have any regrets.

bradslee | 06. Februar 2013

To deal with the range anxiety, I would say that we MS owners must plan ahead and know in your normal driving the limit of actual miles vs. rated range. In my experience, my 85 MS has only 231 to 242 rated range when MS is fully charged every evening. In the Bay area freeway/local situation, 231-242 rated range can only reach the maximum of 200 actual miles. If you plan a trip beyond 200 miles without knowing where you can find a charger, even if with a 85 MS, your range anxiety will definitely reach a very high level.

Brian H | 06. Februar 2013

Eastwood: "A man's gotta know his car's limitations." Or SLT.

Hogfighter | 07. Februar 2013

Deanhuff, I think (based on my driving experience with the S) that although it is certainly possible to commute 130 miles of highway driving with the 60kw will undoubtedly suffer from range anxiety. If you can swing it, go 85kw.

Brian H | 07. Februar 2013

Or firm up the work charging setup. That is some commute. You must really like both home locale and job to put up with that. | 07. Februar 2013

Thank you all for the great information....

I've resolved to get the 85. My plan is to drive it for as many years as possible. In a few years, If the battery loses too much capacity to make the work round trip, I'll charge daily at work.

I've got another question.

Are there any numbers on battery degradation over time? Is there a dramatic difference between battery age and cycles?

TheAustin | 07. Februar 2013

I tested this recently in my 85P, on a trip from the Hamptons to New York City and back...The drive is almost exactly 100 miles each way, and used 130 rated miles both times.
I drove at 65 miles for the majority or the trip (on cruise control). Charge was full normal (not range), and driving mode was set to normal (not range). The route is flat, no hills whatsoever.
The temperature was cold, in the 30's, and it was moderately windy (although I don't recall which direction the wind was blowing.) I had the heating set to 70, and my seat warmer on for some of the time.
Had I charged in range mode, and set driving most to Range, I could have made it back and forth on a single charge...In theory! The numbers would have been so close it might have prompted a certain condition that causes anxiousness due to the uncertaintiy of the the ability to travel the projected distance that I needed to travel (Oh, if only there was some clever phrase to describe this condition... :p ). So, instead of worrying, I found a parking garage with a ChargePoint charger that was three blocks from where I was going...And, three and a half hours later, I had added about 70 miles or rated range, and was on my way home with not a worry in the world :)

tsx_5 | 07. Februar 2013

Brian H,

Deanhuff's commute is almost the same distance as mine... And while I don't like either THAT much, the combo does allow me to buy a Model S. Plus, I would lose the cost of my Model S by selling my house (yes, I am that far under water).

BTW: I did go with the 85K as I plan on keeping this for a while.

lolachampcar | 07. Februar 2013

Dania to West Palm Beach 70 mph yssterday with the AC on and I was running under rated power consumption (over rated range).

nickjhowe | 07. Februar 2013

@lola - cool. I saw similar on the last run I did on I-95. Guess air density makes a big difference. Who'd a thunk it?