4 Miles Left of Rated Range... Did I Go Too Low?

4 Miles Left of Rated Range... Did I Go Too Low?

I am neurotic when it comes to battery health and longevity. Keep the Model S plugged in at the office and while home and am always between 40% - 70% charged. Never max ranged it. Today I got caught unexpectedly in a situation (will spare you the details) where I ran the battery down to 4 rated miles before getting to a charging place. While too low for comfort, do you think I caused any "damage" by running it that low? Any way to tell or to monitor?

PapaSmurf | 10. Oktober 2013

Yes. You broke it. It will never be the same. You are a VERY VERY bad person.

(does that help your neurosis?)

ir | 10. Oktober 2013

Battery is fine. The system would have stopped you before you could do real damage. As long as you charged it back to normal.

If you did a Broder and then left it parked for a year without charging you might brick the battery.

mrspaghetti | 10. Oktober 2013

Your story is a good argument for just charging to 90% every day instead of constantly screwing around with it.

But I doubt you have done any damage as there is a buffer built in. Nothing that could be detected without sophisticated and sensitive equipment, at any rate.

Mathew98 | 10. Oktober 2013

@JK - Your car will be ok. You didn't drive 20 miles past 0 and drained the battery completely. You did more damage to your psyche than the battery with your episode.

Just keep your car plugged in and charge to 90% for daily usage and you'll be fine. There hasn't been any proofs that charging the battery to any specific % would increase battery life.

However, prolonged 0% or 100% charge will chip away at the battery life.

Jesse K | 10. Oktober 2013

@ mrspaghetti / Matthew98 / ir
Thanks! Appreciate the feedback. I agree, 10% more charge would have made all the difference in the world! Not the least of which is not having aged about 10 years due to worry.

Thomas N. | 10. Oktober 2013

Don't stress about running out of charge. I'm a private pilot and have been for the past 20 years. I've had a couple of very close calls with fuel management (mismanagement?). Nothing like being 4000ft up over the Los Angeles basin running on fumes.

Tesla Model S range anxiety? Whatever. It runs out and I call a flatbed and have a good laugh at my stupidity.

It's all relative.

MacDaddyDude | 10. Oktober 2013

@ Thomas N - great, now instead of "range anxiety" we're all going to have "Thomas flying on fumes over L.A. anxiety!"

For once, I'm glad I live in TX. :)

Thomas N. | 10. Oktober 2013

Hah hah! In my defense I was younger and dumber back then!

(I know dumber isn't a word, Brian H. It just rhymed and I liked it!)

J.T. | 10. Oktober 2013

Brian H will be more upset that you think dumber isn't a word. Good luck.

simplesolarinc | 10. Oktober 2013

I've done a couple times at 0 miles left. Don't worry about it

jbunn | 10. Oktober 2013

+1 mrspaghetti

This is a clean, quiet, and fun to drive car that can haul lumber, seat small crowds, and turn heads. We do ourselves a disservice obsessing over under charging, and potentially getting ourselves stalled.

portia | 10. Oktober 2013

I thought dumber IS a word! definitely fit for flying on fumes, glad that was in the past :)

Thomas N. | 10. Oktober 2013

Hard to be a pilot for 24 years and not have an incident.........

Bighorn | 10. Oktober 2013

I would say this was the "dumbest" thing I've read, but I guess that's not a word either.

jat | 10. Oktober 2013

I've been down to 1 mile below 0 with no noticeable ill effects.

Tâm | 10. Oktober 2013


Longest longevity is to keep charge around 50%.

However, If you compare with 90% charge, then the difference is negligible. You can prolong your well kept battery for a few more miles which is not worth all the worries.

So let go of a few miles of premature degradation and be happy.

Official instructions relayed by AmpedRealtor:

Car t man | 11. Oktober 2013

You need to understand that you do not really have good control over battery life since if you keep a low charge, you will discharge deeply on unplanned events, etc.. Since you are not masters of universe, it is best to keep charged to 90%. Even 100% is OK but nor really often and for long times.

But 90 or 80% is optimal. Do not overthink it. If you try to protect your
car too much, you will not focus properly on other issues and you are more
likely to crash that car of yours during your non optimal responses in such
stressful situations than kill the battery in all those years.

Just stop meddling, drive and enjoy the car. You didn't buy it to worry about it. If you do, your car owns you.. Better to sell it then..

Bighorn | 11. Oktober 2013

@Car t man
There's always Xanax.

wbrown01 | 11. Oktober 2013

I drove with zero miles indicated for maybe a mile before I charged up. No problem, just some warning on dash.

redacted | 11. Oktober 2013

In the interest of linguistic pedantry, dumber is a real word according to the free dictionary.

Hmm. How about DEAD BAT for a vanity plate?

robgoodin | 11. Oktober 2013

I only charge my Tesla at the free charging station at work. So after a long weekend of no charging I take my brother to MIA airport before work. Once I drop him off dash says 20 miles range and it is 25 mile to work. So I drive like an old lady doing the speed limit. So strange doing speed limit since i've been know to do 170 in my ZO6. I reach 0 miles range and it was still over 1 mile to work. The model S went into a kw limiting mode I made it to my parking spot with sweat beading on my forehead. Plug her in and when I left that day fully charged with no issues. That was 2 months ago.

Brian H | 11. Oktober 2013

Technically, dumb means unable to speak. In its colloquial use as "stupid", it has a comparitive "dumber". If you want to cover all bases, you can try the most dumbest option "more dumber". That way there'll be no doubt (that you are. >;p )

nickjhowe | 11. Oktober 2013

Official Tesla statement from the manual is that if you run down to 0 you risk damaging the battery. At zero rated miles you still have 15 miles before the car stops, then the battery has a further 5% to protect itself against bricking. So, no, 4 rated miles shouldn't have caused any problems.

Larry Chanin | 12. Oktober 2013


I've driven down to 4 rated mile once a few months ago and have not experienced any problems whatsoever.

The way to tell if you have experienced battery degradation, and we all will eventually experience this regardless of how well we pamper the battery, is to periodically do maximum charges and compare the value with a maximum charge done while the car was new.

I know that if you have a battery neurosis you won't ever follow this advice to do a maximum charge, but charging to a percent of a full battery will introduce variations that have nothing to do with battery degradation.


ollie | 12. Oktober 2013

Jesse - it's ruined, don't let them tell you otherwise. Best to go ahead and sell it now and buy a new one. Just kidding.

Seriously though, I don't think micromanaging is necessary. Why? Battery energy density is increasing at about 8% per year, and costs will decrease as total production ramps up. So in 6-10 years you're probably going to want to bolt on a new one for about 50% of today's kWh/dollar price.

Being OCD might get you a few extra miles vs just following Tesla user manual near the end, but this is definitely an activity of diminishing marginal utility.