Motortrend's Model S Range review

Motortrend's Model S Range review

Located here:

They took it for a 5-hour loop down to San Diego and back up the coast. First, however, they did some track testing and got a 0-60 in 3.9 (with 1-foot rollout), which is better than I've ever seen before.

Anyway, with 4 miles of range remaining they pulled over to a charging station, after having driven 237 miles. Not quite the EPA 5-cycle 265, but pretty close.

Check out the article, what do you think?

nickjhowe | August 27, 2012
archibaldcrane | August 27, 2012

I'm getting an "access denied" on that link. What forum is that in? Did I miss a new thread about it?

Alex K | August 27, 2012

@ archibaldcrane@... | AUGUST 27, 2012: I'm getting an "access denied" on that link. What forum is that in? Did I miss a new thread about it?

That's a private thread open to owner/reservation holders only. If you "qualify", you should send an email to someone at Tesla asking to be granted access to those threads. I had to do that and a whole new world opened up.

archibaldcrane | August 27, 2012

I don't qualify - I'm still debating putting down a deposit (and reading as much as I can, like this article, in the meantime to help inform my decision). Considering the linked thread isn't available to everybody, may as well have a conversation in here if people are so inclined.

MB3 | August 27, 2012
Timo | August 27, 2012

Please put all comments here instead. That thread nickjhowe suggests is for reservation holders only.

238 miles in highway only is a good result. Quartermile looks even better in there than it did in previous road test made by someone else (can't remember which magazine). This one is actually faster than NEDRA Roadster Sport record. Can't wait to see Model S performance do actual drag race.

archibaldcrane | August 27, 2012

Wasn't highway only there was some city in there too from what it looks like. I was a little disappointed with the 238 - if you figure the EPA's 5-cycle is supposed to be "typical", I was hoping to get up there with a no-A/C-or-heater runaround.

As someone looking to reserve a 40 kwh version, I cringe at the idea that I may be looking at a sub-100 mile range 8 years down the line, between up-to-30% battery degradation and below-EPArated range to start. This would be a major purchase for me (I drive a 2003 Nissan Sentra) and I want to feel comfortable I'm making a decision that will serve me and my family well as my everyday car - both as my life changes and the car slowly gets worse.

TikiMan | August 27, 2012

I have a few friends with EV cars (specifically Leaf's), and they say range anxiety goes away fairly quick once you understand how the vehicle uses power, and where you can regen power on hills, etc. With that said, I don't recall ever owning a ICE car that didn't get really crap gas mileage when I drove fast. I believe the artical said they did around 13 full throttle runs, before they started the actual trip. So, the amount of mileage the had left was actually VERY impressive IMHO!

Timo | August 27, 2012

I think EPA underestimates typical city range quite a lot. OTOH EPA might overestimate highway if driving is made mostly at or near 75mph, IIRC EPA highway testing consist mostly speeds around 60mph and some at 80mph with heavy braking and accelerations. If you are constantly near 75mph that might use more than those two combined.

Actually if you look at the chart at you should get only about 220 miles, so this was in fact more than that. Somewhere around 70mph average gives 238.

If you read the comments after the article there is one stating that almost all of the 238 is highway (they charged it after initial accelerations etc. testing).

Speed trumps all other factors in the range figures.

archibaldcrane | August 27, 2012

I thought so too at first Tikiman, but it says they charged it up between the tests and the trip.

You're probably right that you figure out the range quickly and range anxiety doesn't become much of a problem after you get used to it. I just google-maps'd "Electric Vehicle Charging Station" in the greater Los Angeles area and was pretty reassured at how damn many there are all over the place, and it's still only 2012!

archibaldcrane | August 27, 2012

Still wish I could afford a 60 kwh though.

I hope that, like the 60 kwh, it becomes "supercharger eligible" once they actually start producing them. The 60 kwh showed the Supercharger access as an option at first, but now it's standard with all versions of the 60 kwh battery.

Vall | August 28, 2012

The lower range is no different from a car that has an EPA rating of 30 mpg, but while driving it you get 28 for example. EPA rating is mostly for comparison, as it is a standardized test. Range will vary.

wbrown01 | August 28, 2012

What needs to be done is compare 3 ICE cars and all the major (4) EV's on the market. They all take off following each other on the same raod at the same speed until the first car runs down and than compare the how far each is from the EPA rating. Now thats a true test. I think any car will have issues with such a comparison because all are tested under ideal conditions.

jerry3 | August 28, 2012

The Motor Trend people were all new to the car. They drove it as if it was an ICE car and they had headwinds and lots of hills. It also sounded like they were following cars too closely. Given all that, I thought the Model S did rather well.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney | August 28, 2012

Remember that the EPA testing is relatively low speed but involves some heating, some cooling and a fair bit of acceleration. So:
- advantage suburban over urban over highway
- advantage flat over hilly
- advantage warm over cold, mild over extreme, dry over wet
- advantage hypermiler over intelligent driver over leadfoot
So, if you figure out where you sit relative to the EPA you might find your worries eased.

archibaldcrane | August 28, 2012

Welp, I live on a steep hill in Los Angeles (virtually all urban stop-and-go and highway), mild to hot weather, very dry, and I tend to drive fairly aggressively.

So, crap.

But yeah, obviously, your mileage my vary applies :)

If this wasn't coming out in the middle of getting married, honeymoon, kitchen remodel and landscaping/deck building, it would be a much easier call!

Brian H | August 28, 2012

EPA is 50:50 hwy/city. And EPA city mileage is way low, using lots of accel and little regen.

MT was mostly hwy.

IMO, both seriously understate real life range.

In stop/go, with stoplights, you might average 20 mph. Hwy, say 80. So 4x the hours to do in city the same miles as hwy. MT (for 240 miles) would have (120/120 split) needed 6 hrs city and 1½ hrs hwy = 7½ hrs.

Robert22 | August 28, 2012

If they ever want this car to have mass appeal I respectfully suggest a software update that allows for 30 minutes of additional travel at 55 when the range says 0 miles. Let's face it, we all push it from time to time. E doesn't equal empty on ICE cars, so why should it on this one? It's not going to be a problem for any of the people on this board, but for the unwashed masses? If the decision on this is "no action" than I hope their towing service is robust.

lph | August 28, 2012

I think the range is actually better than was stated in the report. If you consider the reported percentage usage of the battery (93% +/-) then the range is 100/93*233.7 which comes to almost 252 miles. It seems that the range estimator was not tottaly accurate. Also, using their data the projected range should be 233.7 + 7.5/ 1.5*4 (remember that there was only 6 miles of range indicated at 7.5 miles out and 4 miles after comlpeting those 7.5 miles) which would calculate to 253.7. Either way this is closer to the 265 EPA and not bad for going against head winds and through hills.

MandL | August 29, 2012

Can you really drain the battery down to 0% though lph? Seems unlikely. If the percent used indicator allows you to go to 100%, then there already is a fudge factor in there Robert22.

archibaldcrane | August 29, 2012

I do wish that they had driven it until it died. They're professionals, get a tow truck, prepare for the expected, and figure out the actual range.

David70 | August 29, 2012

Right. From what I've read, you can drive it until it stops, as long as you don't leave it discharged very long. I wouldn't make a habit of it though.

thxdude | August 29, 2012

Driving conditions will always vary. I think one of the more important points is simply this:

Think about it: We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.'s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that's substantially limited EV sales.

BYT | August 29, 2012

@archibaldcrane who said, "I do wish that they had driven it until it died. They're professionals, get a tow truck, prepare for the expected, and figure out the actual range."

Two problems with that, one, they didn't want to be the ones to have Elon's personal car die on them and have the embarrassment of towing it as they said in the article. But two and most importantly, there are only a handful of tow/flatbed truck drivers certified to hoist the Model S without the risk of bending the aluminum like a cola can.

Michael S | August 29, 2012

I have burned through an extended charge on my Roadster in 160 miles. I also once got 225 miles on an extended charge along 101 between SF and SB. I imagine that I will average at least 250 on an extended charge (85KWH) once I get my SIG (and I won't be racing Ferrari's on PCH anymore, at least not with the sedan) :-)

Timo | August 30, 2012

Michael S, if your SIG is also Performance, then it could be that you change your opinion about not racing. It's faster than Roadster in quartermile. Temptation will be huge.