60KW v 85kw

60KW v 85kw


I am almost ready to take the plunge and have virtually built my car on the website numerous times. I keep getting hung up at the 60 vs. 80 KW model decision. I live and commute about 75 miles a day in horrible traffic (Metro DC/495 and 270). Apart from the obvious gas savings, I can drive in the HOV lane with a Tesla which literally will give me an extra 90 minutes a day at home.

I can admit that I want the 85 KW model just because it is bigger faster and more expensive...but is the 85 KW model really worth the extra money??? For the record....Even I can't rationalize the 85KW performance package when the average rush-hour speeds I see are accurately measured with a sundial. I also have several other cars for bad weather and long trips so those variables are not that critical in the decision.

Any helpful thoughts or comments would be appreciated.


jordanrichard | March 14, 2014

I too gave this some thought before deciding on the 85. The deciding factor was not near term, but long term. My whole reasoning for getting the car is all about long term benefits. All batteries will over time lose some range capability. So the theory is that in "X" number of years, the range of the 85 will that of a new 60. So this was my thought process for getting the 85. If a 60 would cover my travels, then an 85 would be a bonus of range capability for the number of years it will be before it becomes a "60". Plus my wife gets real nervous when the gas gauge on our ICE gets low, so the 85 helps with any anxiety she would have.

buickguy | March 14, 2014

To compare apples to apples, close anyway, you should consider the value of the Supercharger capability and the Primacy tires. Call those about $3,000+. That means that the 85 KW (there is no 80 KW) costs about $7,000, maybe a little less, over the 60 KW. The effective range difference is about 70 miles. This may mean little for your commute, except in very adverse weather where the 85 could let you go where the 60 would not allow. For me, I need the extra mileage as my S85 will be a replacement car and I occasionally need the distance capability. Besides, I like the AC a lot and I cruise just under 75 (below ticket range). For you ...? But you can now see how the thinking goes.

huzz1970 | March 14, 2014

We opted for the 85 so we can go one stop to Santa Monica and 4 stops to Denver from Phoenix. There is the added cost, but also if you keep the car for a long period, then the range reduction from battery aging becomes more apparent. Also, I do not want to drive 55-60, so to sustain 70 for a long distance one needs the larger battery to cover the miles.
My daily commute is about 18 miles each way- as you noted sometimes it is well below snail velocities- typically about 30 minutes. But when drivers want to restyle their cars, this can stretch to 90 minutes. Again, the large battery will keep the A/C running on high in 115 degree temperatures (at least that is my expectation). Good luck either way! We get our red S85 tomorrow at 10!! Woo Hoo!

amitb00 | March 14, 2014

I was one who finished his car with 60. However I realized that 85 ks the best option and called Tesla to upgrade to. 85. Most people will not need it everyday but they will need it at some time. Having 85 makes car 20 times more usable. Forego all options if you need to , to get 85. It is very very important.

bjm | March 14, 2014

I bought the 60 a year ago and am very happy. There is only one trip that I might have trouble making with the 60 - without stopping for a lengthy charge (Yosemite from the Bay Area).

That being said, if I could comfortably afford the 85 or the p85 I would definitely upgrade. You only live once after all. Get the most car that you can afford. Simple as that. No reason to compromise on a 60 if you can afford either of the other two cars.

akikiki | March 14, 2014

60 is a good choice. (Had one). You won't regret it.
85 is a better choice. Have one now. You will be glad you did.
Think of it this way, if you have the 60 you might wish later you had picked the 85. If you get the 85, you won't think twice again.
And you will become one of us answering this very question for those asking it later. :)

chrisdl | March 14, 2014

My advice is always:
When in doubt, err on the safe side.Take the 85.

demetri | March 15, 2014

I have a 60 and commute is 70m no problems with 99% of my driving. Have many SC's in southwestern CT so if I run low I can always stop. Car only charges to 200 now, but I only charge to 140-160 daily. Usually have between 20-40 miles left at the end of the day. I sometimes drive fast, accelerate quickly, and have ac and heat on full. Drove to FL two weeks ago 1250m no problem would have been easier in 85. Eventually long trips will be an issue but plan to get a bigger battery if it's available for my 60. If you never drive long distances then the 60 will be fine. I have had the car just over a year and 26k miles, will probably have 100k in 5 years or so.
Like everyone says get the 85 if you can afford it, I loaded up my 60, should have gotten less options and got an 85. Actually should have just gotten everything, just did not want to spend close to 100k on car.
You will never regret the purchase!

mikefa | March 15, 2014

Purchase the 60 if it meets your needs and requirements. IF money is not a factor then go for the 85.

As for concerns on future needs, prices on newer and more powerful batteries will certainly drop in the near future because the more affordable Model E to be released in 2015/2016 will have minimum 200 mile range.

Prices on batteries will become more affordable as EVs become more popular just as prices on LCD TVs and cellphones have declined significantly over few short years.

tes-s | March 15, 2014

60 will be fine for your commute. Bigger is better - if money is not a factor, get it. Even though you have other vehicles for trips, you will want to take the MS whenever possible.

kenj | March 15, 2014

You'll be fine in a 60 (with SC). That being said with the cold temps you'll never regret the extra range with an 85. You can make that up if you can juice at work. You won't need to juice but until you find your range comfort zone it may help. On super cold days, juicing to preheat the battery on the way out is helpful too.

Good suggestion earlier - less options for bigger battery. Search for things people feel now they can do without to find key options.

tes-s | March 15, 2014

@mark - 75 miles one way, or each way? If each way, get the 85.

tes-s | March 15, 2014

...75 miles each way, or round trip

Araujor20 | March 15, 2014

85 all the way. I bought mine in October and never looked back.

redacted | March 15, 2014

I don't imagine anybody's ever regretted an 85kW.

Keep in mind that winter takes a real toll on watt-mileage too. If you ever plan on taking trips in the car, some of those superchargers can sure seem to have a long distance between them in the winter.

redacted | March 15, 2014

@Brain, yeah, @kWh. Oops.

mbarontseff | March 15, 2014

I went with the 85 even though range wasn't a factor. The 85 engine has more torque.
Should receive it in a few weeks.

carlk | March 15, 2014

chrisdl has the best answer. You know which one you will not regret later.

Tâm | March 15, 2014


I've never heard any complaint from 85kWh owners that they should have bought less range for their battery.

However, I do hear regrets from 60kWh owners that they should have bought a higher capacity battery pack.

I think longer range is important even when you are sure you don't need it. It's a buffer, it's an insurance. It allows normalcy in cold winter, hot summer, gusty winds, climbing up hills, freeway closures, bad traffic, or speed racers....

You'll be surprised that your car makes you hate driving ICE and you may want to sell off all your ICE in your household.

A longer range battery will help you cut the umbilical cord from the oil much more easily.

I did that for the past 15 months and 34,000 miles as Model S has been my only car and no more ICE for me (I used to drive only 9,000 miles/year with my ICE.)

Bigger battery and performance in slow traffic does have its usefulness: instant response in lane changing.

Don't just plan based on your past, plan for the future and the unexpected.

thranx | March 15, 2014

My commute is about 30 yards, so I'm in a different ballpark than most. I rarely drive more than 30 miles/day...when I do drive. So a 60 is fine for me.

Given how little I use the car compared to many here, by the time the battery has degraded to the point where range is serioiusly impaired, I will either be dead or there will be a fine replacement battery available.

Hoping for the latter.

Roamer@AZ USA | March 15, 2014

The old adage, "What will do a lot will do a little "' applies here. I would stretch and go 85 without a moments hesitation. Life is too short to add range anxiety on top of everything else.

NKYTA | March 15, 2014

I agree, stretch a bit if you can for the 85. That said, SamoSam proved that even in a 60, range anxiety is rare.

SamO | March 15, 2014

I'm the odd duck here in that I'm glad I bought the 60 and an extra $8000 in TSLA shares. ;-). Almost enough for my Model X next year.

slipdrive | March 15, 2014

I'm counting on my 85 being at least a 75 in fifteen years. And without a vast charger network at present, I've used those 60 extra range miles numerous times. Will be different some years from now, but gotta get there first.

PJDoty | March 16, 2014

The 60 has some real merit.
Yesterday I dropped off my 85 at the Rocklin Service Center and they gave us our pick of three MS's. The wife chose the new red 60 (no badge) and we have been driving it under many different conditions. There is ample power for most situations. It definitely feels lighter and more tossable than the 85, but what is really odd is that it actually seems smaller; even though I know it is not.

MLS | March 17, 2014

I love my 60, I hardly ever worry about range. We have driven from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, no problem. I think in most cases the 60 is fine. If you can afford the 85 go for it.

wmmcc | March 21, 2014

One more comment from a satisfied 60 owner.

I travel about 20 miles a day on my commute, and have a second home 60 miles north of Atlanta in the mountains. I looked long and hard and deliberated like everyone else before placing my order.

I had an encounter with my childhood neighbor and nationally syndicated skinflint, Clark Howard, two days before I finally hit the mouse to enter the order on my computer. Clark has a 40 of which he is quite proud, and another 60 on order for his wife since they won't sell him a 40 any longer. He has been very pleased with his 40.

I have had no problems with the range on my 60, and anticipate using it for all my travel as the Supercharger stations begin to open up on the interstate system in the Southeast beyond the I95 corridor in the next year. With 50amp chargers in my downtown Atlanta highrise and my mountain home, I almost never see my charge below 100 miles of range, and I still feel the 85 would be superfluous for me.

I have heard the range angst spoken of often, and it just is not a problem for me. I have heard the pickup in the 85 and P85 are worth the money to some, but my 60's pickup beats everything and everybody I have encountered so far. The upgrade to the 85 in either iteration seems like testosterone and bragging rights. (Although nothing wrong with the testosterone, and I sold my 2002 BMW 540i with a six speed to get the Tesla).

Lastly, I optioned up the 60 with everything I wanted, and have kept $8000 in the bank. With my expected life of the vehicle being about the 10-12 years I got out of my bimmer, I plan on several vacations with the money I saved.

And three months and 4000 miles under my belt, I love the car. Never plan on an ICE again.

simon.macarthur | December 21, 2014

Yet another satisfied 60 owner.

I've cracked 200 mile range in mine (keeping up with traffic, which admittedly was limited by speed cameras to 50 for a big chunk of the journey).

But most of the time my 10 mile each way commute is easily dealt with.

Putting this into perspective, so far I've done 4k miles in 6 months.

I went for leather, tech, and parking sensors. So I could have had a basic 85 for the same sort money.

I figured I'd prefer the car to be a nicer place to be, than the rare occasion I might need the range and figured I'd just use the wife's Q7 for the trip.

The one thing I'm a bit annoyed with is the requirement for SC enablement for CHAdeMO. This hidden cost (the CHAdeMO adapter was mere rumour when I ordered the car), brings the two cars cost much closer, and given the infancy of the rollout here in my part of the UK, would offer very little benefit on the SC side of things.

No doubt I will give in and hand over another £2300 to Tesla, but use a SC only a couple of times throughout the remainder of my planned 3 years of ownership :)

krissu | December 21, 2014

Hi Simon, the policy has changed, it's no more required to have the SC enabled to use CHAdeMO adapter. You just need to get a software upgrade at service station for free. Eventually you need an adapter as well...

Sam_S | December 21, 2014

Right now you say you have other cars for long trips.

I say once you get used to driving the Model S, you will want to do ALL your driving in it, especially long distance.

For resale, the 85 will likely keep it's premium versus the 60, so it's just going to dent your cash flow a modest amount until you sell it someday.

I recommend getting the 85 if you can afford it.

jhw1009 | December 21, 2014

I have a S60 and drove many S85 loaner cars and really couldn't tell the difference in performance. For local travel S60 is just fine. For long distance, what matters are:

1. When I travel long distance on the east coast. Some superchargers are 170+ miles apart so if I charge 80% on my S60, I have 165 miles which is not enough and with possible detours, I have to charge 100% which takes twice as much time.
2. I have to drive 65 mph on highway consistently to be safe and not to use too much energy. Spirited driving will cause some range anxiety.

I can afford the S85 which I wish I bought.

ConFuzion | April 6, 2015

Hi, i am a happy 60kw driver!

I tested its range this week, i got 95 miles single distance (+ back) with it! This was a test, i was driving 55 miles all the time without airco/heating, but had 30 miles left at the end :). For regular driving, 75 miles (+back) can easily be done when fully charged! I think you should take the 85kw when your daily needs exceed 50 miles (+back).

Mathew98 | April 6, 2015

It you were going 55 mph on cruise control you'll more likely get 220 miles on a single charge. I've done in on a 190 miles one way trip on an S60.

Bonlaw | April 6, 2015

I have had my 60 for just under two years. Initially I regretted getting the 60. Shortly thereafter Superchargers started popping up all over. We have taken it for numerous long distance trips with absolutely no problem or range anxiety. Now I feel that for me the 60 is absolutely more than enough. So last week when I ordered another Tesla with all the new upgrades, I again ordered a 60! No need to pay for something that I never use or will likely ever use. If you live in Ca. or other Supercharger saturated locales, a 60 is a great choice.

negarholger | April 6, 2015

The way I explain it to folks that ask...

You want to keep the bottom 15kWh as reserve for bad weather, traffic jam, etc and the top 5kWh you do not want to charge on a daily basis... so you have to deduct 20kWh fron the car capacity to be comfortable to do your daily routine.

60 kWh - 20 kWh = 40 kWh needs to satisfy you daily need
85 kWh - 20 kWh = 65 kWh for the daily needs

A coworker has a 50-55 kWh daily commute and I convinced him that he needs a 85 kWh for his commute. Once they gave him a 60 kWh loaner and then he realized that he had to charge twice each day to make his commute.

Occasional long distance is different, but the daily commute you want to have as convenient as possible.

teslagiddy | April 6, 2015

i also have a 75ish mile commute but ordered the 85 for the super chargers and for the occasion i want to take a trip - once i get my s85 i'm never going back to an ICE car (well except when i have to fly and rent a car... maybe i won't vacation anywhere i cannot drive to)

shivasmith | April 6, 2015

If one can only afford the 60, then having a Tesla is wayyy better than no Tesla. If one knows one will *never* road-trip ever, ok. But then, how can you really know that?

At first I thought I'd go for a 60, but when I got realistic about road trips, cold weather, driving over 70, possible future degradation, not to mention supercharging included in the 85, future resale value, faster performance, etc. it was a no-brainer to upgrade to the 85 and *still* also get the tech package and a few other things.

85 all the way.