What is the range of a Model S, 85kw, when driven at 70 - 80 mph?

What is the range of a Model S, 85kw, when driven at 70 - 80 mph?

I am a reservation holder. I am a bit concerned that I have not seen a range on either battery with what I would term "real " highway speeds. The 285 mile estimate on the 85 kw battery was calculated at 55 - 65mph, correct? What sort of range can I expect at highway speeds in New England (summertime :) )? I am a b it worried that with the AC on at 75mph my range will drop considerably. Do any of the Model S owners that have taken delivery have any real world data at these speeds? Thanks in advance for your answers. Can't wait to get delivery of mine!

mpatel | 07. Juli 2013

I have the P85+, be very careful. Driving normal highway speed in a performance vehicle will only yield about 200miles per charge. Also charging the last 30 miles of the 300 miles takes ages... u can wait 5 min and see only 1 mile charge.

Overall this is a great vehicle but the range needs to be better explained by Elon. I think they need to put a few extra batteries and bring up the range to 400-450mph then you can comfortably get 300miles range which is more in line with other cars.

I am trying to take my Tesla to Fresno and it requires hours of planning. There are no super chargers anywhere close by. There are none on highway 99. There are none by Stockton which is a major transit hub for bay area and northern ca, central valley and southern CA.

Hopefully someone is listening at Tesla.

If you go from Folsom to SF, you would be pushing it to get back at normal highway speeds. You can drive at 55mph and have all the guys honk at you but I do not understand why someone would buy a performance vehicle to go 55mph.

Lets get more super chargers in bay area, stockton and Fresno area then we will be good for local travel. If possible you should try to let others open the super chargers and pay them from the 2500 we paid.

ml1211 | 07. Juli 2013

Thanks for your experience! I was afraid that the range would be diminished but I wasn't sure how much. I'd love to hear from other with a P85 and compare their experiences. Thanks again.

hbadawi71 | 07. Juli 2013

I too own the P85+ and I just drove it hfrom North Dallas to Austin, which the nav said was going to be 231 miles. I got home with 9 miles left. Had 4 people (2 adults and 2 small children) in the car, with AC on all the way. Cruise control was set to 70 the whole time, unless traffic slowed which it did a couple of times. Fully charged the car showed a range of 274 miles. So effectively, i lost 34 miles out of 274 or 12.4%. I would say that until we get the superchargers in place, the performance aspect of the car is limited to the city, which is a shame cause this thing can haul.

cwmenne | 07. Juli 2013

Am I the only one that thinks it is inevitable that someone (Tesla or aftermarket) will come out with a battery pack for the frunk to extend the range? An 85kwh with an extra 15 or 20kwh added to the frunk would be awesome to add some additional range flexibility.

negarholger | 07. Juli 2013

It depends on many factors - weight, speed, wind, road surface, temperature, terrain, etc...
Lifetime (4000+ miles) I have used 333 W / miles with my P85.. Standard charge (90%) minus 7 kWh reserve (=20 miles) and you have 70 kWh useable battery. 70 kWh / 0.33 kW / m = 212 miles usable. Slow down and it goes up, add head wind or rain and it goes down. One stretch of highway I am traveling all the time I can't go below 360 W/m, then the road surface changes and I am down at 320 W/m... same speed.
It all depends very much on the roads you travel...

CAdreamin | 07. Juli 2013

I don't own a MS yet, but as I understand it, having the air conditioning on does not decrease range as much as having it off with the windows open ie drag. Would owners here agree with that?

negarholger | 07. Juli 2013

@cwmenne - much too complicated, just put it in the main battery. 120-140 kWh main battery would be the perfect size for me.

JaneW | 07. Juli 2013

I made a 200 mile round trip with some 75 miles at highway speeds of 75, 75 miles at roughly 60, mixed traffic speeds for the rest, all in fairly hilly country. And the last 10 miles were up a 2000 foot climb. Four people in the car.

So, I reckon that 200 miles is a reasonable expectation in varying conditions.

Hope that helps.

negarholger | 07. Juli 2013

@CAdreamin - a standard window air conditoner for your house (5000 btu) uses about 500 W, the MS traveling at highway speed uses 25 kW... open the windows and add e.g. an extra 20% drag and you are useing an extra 5 kW to move forward.

Brian H | 07. Juli 2013

Many speculations on an Al-air frunk battery before the last "reveal" (battery swapping). Use to search for them.

SCCRENDO | 07. Juli 2013

I have done over 6000 miles in less than 3 months and the most I have done in a day in 130 miles and he lowest rated range I have seen left is 80 miles. I enjoy my car and drive normally. When I plan a road trip I may have to make some adjustments until the superchargers are built out. In fact I am driving up from Orange County Ca next weekend to Heldsburg to do a half ironman. While I should easily make it up there unless some jerks are blocking the superchargers I am potentially concerned about getting enough charge to get back to Gilroy without hanging out at some campground for endless hours. So I have decided to ICE it for peace of mind. But this is an occasional issue and as the supercharger network expands it will not be a problem. Frankly if I was not under time constraints I would have definitely gone for my Tesla adventure over an ICE vehicle. Be a pioneer and order your Tesla.

kjin7117 | 07. Juli 2013

I have a p85. I drive nearly all freeway miles at 80mph. My round trip is 80 miles and it is costing me 100 rated miles. That works out to a little over 200 mile range w a full charge.

AlMc | 07. Juli 2013

Report from Brian W who attended a 'Tesla Coffee' was that the 'microwave' area at first was intended for a battery but that it can NOT be used for one now because there is no way to set up the battery cooling system properly in that space.

S4WRXTTCS | 08. Juli 2013

I find it really funny that Tesla can't add another 10-20mph to their range estimator. Are they worried that people are going to freak out when they see only 200miles out of a 85KW at 75mph?

Why do they stop at 65mph? There are plenty of places where the speed limit is 70mph

pebell | 08. Juli 2013

@S4WRXTTCS: +1 on the range estimator. I can see why, from a marketing point of view, TM would be afraid that the "Broders" of this world would take the worst number they could get from the estimator, and use that in their reports and articles as the "official" range for a MS. But at the same time, there are potential customers that need to make a purchasing decision based on this information. Especially now that the MS is being sold in countries where the legal speed limit is 80mph or even higher, it really is relevant information.

But, luckily we have these forums and many Tesla's on the road and owners willing to share their experiences. Kudo's to the real pioneers that ordered this car without any real data like that to go on..

hamer | 08. Juli 2013

I have a plain vanilla MS 85. I have taken it on several long trips, the longest of which was about 550 miles from Chapel Hill NC to Tinton Falls, NJ and about 550 miles back. I have my mileage set on "Rated Range."

I have taken several shorter trips on the range of 115 to 160 miles each way.

Most of these are on limited access freeways, most often Interstates.

It has been my general experience that if I drive 55 mph using cruise control, I get at least the number of actual miles as the rated miles with which I start. But once I get up above 55, even modestly to 60 or so, the mileage perceptibly drops and I do worse than rated. Seems I do about 10% worse at speeds of 60-65. Even on cruise control.

For the long trip from NC to NJ, charging at an RV park for 6 hours was a royal pain in the butt. When is Tesla going to put in the Supercharger which allegedly was going to be around Richmond June 1?

Bubba2000 | 08. Juli 2013

Until the 500 mile battery that according to Elon may be me offered "soon", I think Model S will have to depend on the supercharger network. SC without solar panels cost $150k and with solar panels cost $300k... each with about 6 chargers. If Tesla wanted to go overboard, they could install 250 SCs without solar panels at a cost of $37.5M. Add the solar panels later.

They could the same for the EU and Greater China + Japan, adding a total of another 250 SCs. Total worldwide SCs 500 at at cost of $75M. It will be great advertisement and eliminate range anxiety for the majority of the folks.

Then Tesla needs to partner with hotels, restaurants, malls in the cities and have pay per service 100A/240 chargers.

Just a matter of time. Elon is not going to drop the ball. He has skin in the game.

AmpedRealtor | 08. Juli 2013

Tesla's Gen 3 - called "Bluestar" according to various Internet sources - is expected to have a 200 mile range battery. That is their goal for Gen 3, so I wouldn't hold my breath for a 500 mile battery. Just my take.

Mathew98 | 08. Juli 2013

@S4WRXTTCS - The MS can go for another 15-20 miles after it hits zero. This is the reserve amount that is not shown on the gauge. This is the safety margin so people do make some bonehead move and drive it to empty and complain about needing a tow truck for running out of juice.

Realistically, if you need to take a long trip, it is wise to plan ahead for alternative charging (RV park, SC, other public charging stations). It's the inconvenience of early adoption until more SC come on line folks...

I just took a long trip with my midsize hybrid this weekend and it is the loudest, rudest engine roar that I've heard in a long time.
It's the same vehicle that was deemed as the most quiet car in the same segment two years ago.

Once you drive an MS, you can't go back to the filthy ICE...

wcalvin | 08. Juli 2013

The AC is a minor player in this (except when nearly out of electrons).

The answer to your question is that the full-tank range, sticking to 60mph, is 285 miles. It is only 215 if you drive at 75mph, as Tesla's curve shows. So there is a 70 mile penalty for doing 75mph.

It's one of the slides in my EV talk (PDF file 7mb).

MichaelN | 08. Juli 2013

My experience is similar - if I drive 55-60 with air on I only lose 10 miles or so - at 75-80 with AC my S yields 200+/- miles out of a standard charge of 240 expected - thanx Mathew - didn't know about the extra 20 miles, do you think that impacts battery longevity? -

Brian H | 08. Juli 2013

before there was any hardware on the roads, except the Roadster, the MS was dubbed the "White Star", and the GenIII the "Blue Star". They were placeholder names of convenience, nothing more.

AmpedRealtor | 08. Juli 2013

Let me also remind folks who may be wandering into this thread… the only other viable EVs out there have usable range under 70 miles. So even at 200 miles, a Model S is in a completely different league.

c.bussert67 | 08. Juli 2013

I have found better efficiency on hotter days with A/C on auto, than on cooler days with the heater. I was averaging around 305-310 Wh/mi, in the winter months. But now in the summer time I just put the A/C on auto and run it around 74-76 deg, and have now dropped my average to 295 for the last 1500 miles.
Also the thing I don't like about the whole 55 mph on flat road with no wind calculation, is for the most part, if I'm on the freeway, I'm not alone. I just find a pack of cars and pull caboose on them to have them move the air in front of me. So I'm cruising a ground speed of 70-75, but the actual airspeed is lower since it is already moving in my direction.
I just recently drove my S to the service center for some work and TRIED to get crazy mileage, just to see if the techs would notice. Pulling drafts on packs of cars doing 70-75 with outside temps in the 90's, A/C on auto set to 76, I cruised 65 miles and pulled into Tesla with a Wh/mi avg of 254!
But generally speaking, as for me, I avg under 300 for the life of the car. I don't drive slow, I drive the speed of the traffic and I like the #2 lane.

TikiMan | 08. Juli 2013

I am getting an estimated 238-242 'Rated' miles on a 90% charge with my P85, at speeds of 70-80 MPH and a/c, driving 140 miles a day, five days a week.

Mathew98 | 09. Juli 2013

@MichaelN - The reserved 15-20 miles are for emergency only. Let's try not to drain the battery pack completely. It will deplete the 12V battery as well. It's bad business to drain both batteries.

I overheard an owner who ran out of juice (completely depleted the reserve) and required a tow truck to jump start the 12v battery and then tow the MS to a nearby gas station to charge it in a 110 outlet.

If you're driving an EV, make sure you charge it regularly and don't drain the battery. Drive sensibly and charge responsibly to keep your MS in tiptop shape.

olanmills | 09. Juli 2013

I have standard 85, but the range is not much different unless you mash the pedal a lot on your P85. The 21" wheels get a little less range too, but for the most part, you can compare 85 and P85 for a given scenario, such as driving on a flat road at 70-80 miles.

Anyway, I find that the difference in instantaneous power draw is pretty dramatic between driving 50, 60, 70, and 80 mph on a flat road.

At 50-55 mph, I can easily keep it under 15kW, maybe even under 10 kW. That will easily beat the rated range.

At 65 mph, I think it's usually drawing between 15 and 20 kW.

At 70 mph, it's definitely hard for me to keep it under 20 kW. It will be more like 25 kW, which is now below rated range. I would say by at least 10%.

At 80 mph, I know it's significantly worse still, but I'm not that sure because I've never really driven at 80 for more than a couple seconds. I have only done that to pass.

In fact, I actually am mostly kind of guesstimating because one problem I have is that I hardly have any flat and straight roads around here, even on the highway.

AaronL | 09. Juli 2013

60 kw battery 19" wheels air suspension and my first big trip. Read the blogs the night before, felt bad that my car has never had to go in for service and was convinced that the windshield would crack at the first bump or stone and that additional camber when the suspension sank to low would bald the tires in the first 100 miles. I live in LA and have a place in Palm Springs 117 miles door to door. I have a 240v charger at home and a 115v in PS. Charged to max I had a rated range of 205 miles. I have averaged 356watts per mile to date. Great drive averaging 70-80 mph and the outside temp was 112. Arrived in PS with 81 miles left, averaging 291 wpm. The last 20 miles the car only lost 6 miles. Now it gets interesting, plug the car into the 115v plug and checked it on my IPhone charging at 3 mph! Called Tesla because I thought the car would charge at 8 mph ( anyone else remember reading that a few years back) learned the hard facts and realized I wouldn't have enough time to charge up for the trip back. Super helpful guy at Tesla gave me the locations of public charging stations, one was 3 blocks away problem solved, and will be installing a 240 outlet. Left PS with 185 miles rated range outside temp 114, the battery cooling system roaring and going 70 mph. MAJOR range anxiety in 15 miles I used 40 miles of range, averaging 598 wpm, 25 miles out only 125 of range left. Then things got better much better, the wpm kept dropping and we arrived home with 51 miles left and we averaged 312 wpm. The next trip will be worry free.

SCCRENDO | 09. Juli 2013

Live in Southern Cal and commute daily from East Orange County to Redlands. We gain elevation going east. Average around 360-370 wH per mile heading east and around 300 driving back. I live at 700 ft and when I head to the coast I average 300. So it fits with your observation . Around 360-370 west to east and 300 or less east to west depending on how much lead I have in my foot that day.

Brian H | 10. Juli 2013

There's clearly a hill involved. You were going downhill into PS and uphill leaving it.

LarsT | 10. Juli 2013

I am driving a P85 in Europe and have some experiences with the speeds on the Autobahn here: Driven in Switzerland (Highway-Speed is 120 km/h = 75 mp/h) constant, I get around 205 Wh/km (328 Wh/m).

Driven in Germany on the Autobahn at speeds around 150 km/h (94 mph), you can expect to see about 235 Wh/km (375 Wh/m). If driven at speeds around 170-180 kmh (110-115 mph), I average around 265 Wh/km (425 Wh/m).

I have figured out pretty quickly, on what distances I can go fast. For example, I often drive Zurich to Munich (about 320km, 1/3 of it in Switzerland (=120kmh), 2/3 German Autobahn (180 kmh or faster), and I usually arrive in Munich with 40-60 km left.

If I drive from Zurich to Frankfurt (410km), I have to limit myself to about 110 kmh to make it without recharging, which still is awfully slow in Europe (WE NEED SUPERCHARGERS FAST).

I can truly say, that the Model S is a real Long-Distance-Runner even at higher speeds and I feels very comfortable even at speeds beyond 180 kmh.


PS: Top Speed (for anyone that is interested) is 214 kmh (electronically limited).

tobi_ger | 10. Juli 2013

Thanks a lot for the info, much appreciated! Nice to hear real-life data.

wheatcraft | 10. Juli 2013

In answer to the OP's original question, the range of an 85 kWh MS at 80 mph is 200 miles. This is covered very nicely in an article by Elon and JB written on May 9, 2012. The link is here:

There is a graph that shows range versus speed for the 85 kWh MS and the roadster. From this graph, you can see that if you drive 20 mph, you will get the max range, of just over 450 miles.

wildcatzoo | 10. Juli 2013

Putting this in perspective: Range is never going to be a constant. With something like 90% of the energy put into the battery returned to you in an useful form, how you utilize the energy will always impact your range. With an 85kwh battery you would likely only want to use 75kwh, to preserve the battery and add a security buffer on your trip.

So watch the power use meter and adjust your speed to match. If you are 250 miles away from your next charge and are using 40kw to go 70 mph, in one hour you will use more than half your allotment of energy, and you will have traveled only 70 miles. In the Model S the power draw seems to be far less than my other EV car at the same speed, due to the design being geared to highway speeds, rather than in town driving.

Note the EPA rating for the Leaf is higher in the city whereas the Model S rating is higher on the highway.

By watching the power use and making adjustments to it, you will get where you need to go without stopping to charge on the way. If you are drawing 170kw you have only one hour of driving, and you are likely hitting the speed limits of your model in any terrain or have four almost flat tires. So the bare minimum distance would be 125 miles or so. Most drives should double that. So no worries as long as you keep an eye on that energy use and do a little calculating. The in car energy use screens are there to help your calculations which is a good thing. If I had made them they would be on the conservative side. I would dare to believe they are.

wildcatzoo | 10. Juli 2013

OOPs, meant to say if you are using 170kw draw you have half an hour of driving.

ml1211 | 10. Juli 2013

Wow, an amazing range of well done, informative, useful posts to my question! Thanks to everyone for your responses. Can't wait to see you on the road with my Model S.
Thanks again to everyone.

thomas.schlatter | 10. Juli 2013

@LarsT: How comes you drive a P85 in Europe? Are you a Tesla employee?

wcalvin | 10. Juli 2013
Brian H | 10. Juli 2013

I believe one US P85 was snuck/imported into Norway and minimally modified to conform to local regulations. IIRC. :)

wcalvin | 10. Juli 2013

Another slide from my ">talk:

wcalvin | 10. Juli 2013

Oops, wrong image uploaded.

The PDF is here.

RZitrin1 | 10. Juli 2013


That link didn't work. Can you give us another?

Driving first road trip this weekend, SF to San Diego. Only problem should be south of Hawthorne and back, but want to make sure....

I need to decide if I can wait 'til Atascadero to stop. About 217 miles to the SC from my house. How safe am I in my 85 non-P?

SCCRENDO | 10. Juli 2013

@Brian if you are familiar with Southern California its all hills. You do go down towards Palm Springs. In addition there are serious wind issues at times.