Model S reserved but am I really belonging to the target market? :'(

Model S reserved but am I really belonging to the target market? :'(

Hi all,

I ordered my Model S in January 2012 and am now waiting for the "time to configure your Model S" mail. It shouldn't take too long now, as I am P#691 (EU).

Now that the decision time (confirm my reservation or not) is approaching, I am wondering whether this car will actually suit my range requirements... I drive about 55.000kms (+- 34.000 miles) a year, by mainly doing a round-trip of 200kms (125 miles) 5 days a week.

Do you think buying a Model S is still conceivable for me when you know that I am :

- mainly driving long highway trips (90% of the 200kms) with no superchargers/chargers at disposal
- having to deal with the temperatures which may sometimes be far below zero (I live in Belgium btw)
- having to recharge the car almost completely at least 4 or 5 times a week
- considering the normal battery life degradation (70% of rated 265 miles = 185 miles)

Thanks for your help,


tsx_5 | 22 February 2013


You left out a couple of critcal pieces of info...

I assume you are getting an 85KW version (Highly suggested). 200Kms = 125 Miles (just so we are all on the same units). How long do you anticipate keeping the car? I assume you mean 0 degrees Celcuis, which equals 32 degrees farenheit. What is the average speed you will be driving?

Throw all that into and see what range it comes out with... Then take 30% off for degredation and that tells you what you should expect at year 8. If the numbers all work, then you are good to go.

Xav1976 | 22 February 2013

Hi tsx_5,

First of all, thanks for your reply!

I will get the 85KW version, indeed! The 40KW will not be available in Europe and the 60KW will not be big enough for me! ;-)

I actually expect to keep this car as long as it can be. So, I am expecting to change the batteries at least one time! Now, with the theoritical charging cycles of the Panasonic batteries, I would like to avoid replacing them too soon (at least after 3 years).

Sorry for the Miles/Kms and Fahrenheit/Celsius confusion! Here in Belgium (but also in lots of European countries), we count in Kms and degrees Celsius ;-)

Now regarding my speed, I will not go too fast. I will only drive faster than 65 miles/hour, if the Model S allows me to do so for my 125 miles round-trip!


hsadler | 22 February 2013

We have the same situation. Car will be for my wife as she also commutes 125 miles 5 days a week with an occasional 200 mile commute, mostly highway. About 30k miles per year.
This car should be perfect for her. She does have an opportunity to use one of the Superchargers (halfway to work) but most likely will not since she wouldn't need to. (and there's an outlet mall right there which will cost us much more than gas)
Our temps only rarely reach the 30s F so won't see much loss of power.
We have no hesitation that this will work for us.

David Trushin | 22 February 2013

I tried this response before but evidently timed out. I will try again.

I have had my car for a few weeks and I have taken it to work about 4 times. I live in Chicago area, so the temps are pretty cold. The round trip is about 70 miles. When the temperature has been above 20 degrees F, no issues whatsover. The cold weather decreases mileage by about 10-15%, which is about the same for my ICE. I start with about 230 miles and get home with about 150-160. I park in an open garage structure. One day I drove there when the temp was about 10 degrees F and wind about 30 mph. I arrvied with 180 miles rated left and lost about 15 miles after sitting in the garage for 3.5 hours. Because the battery was cold, on my return trip I was a little anxious when my estimated miles left went to 57. But after about 10 miles it warmed up and I cruised home with about 130 miles remaining.

Your situation seems reasonable. I would take some steps, such as making sure that the battery is warm when you leave home, charge at your destination if possible. But otherwise, I specifically upgraded to the 85 Kwhr battery so that I could travel 125 with no worries.

As far as the battery life is concerned, there are several more threads on that. I would check them out. You are going to save a lot of money on gas.

Just take a little time to get to know your car and you will be fine.

Carefree | 22 February 2013

Is there any chance you could charge the car at work? That would totally eliminate any doubt. You should talk to your employer - even a 220V regular outlet should help.

jkirkebo | 22 February 2013

There should be no doubt. The 200km should be doable with a standard charge even after battery is down to 70%, with a nice reserve. After seeing what the car can do in Norway (362km in -10degC going over a mountain pass with serious net elevation gain) I'd be confident it can do 400km@65mph on a range charge in 0degC weather.

400*0,9*0,7=252km. Even range is only 350km you are good to go. 350*0,9*0,7=220km.

If you get access to workplace charging, you are good to go down to very low remaining battery state. You only need a standard 16A outlet to regain the 62,5 miles driven to work in 7-8 hours. This would allow you to cycle the battery more shallow (good for cycle life) and save you some fuel expenses if you don't have to pay for the electricity yourself.

You'll probably save over €3000 per year in fuel alone. A prepaid new battery after 8 years might cost €12000 or so after tax, so you still save large amounts of money.

I would not hesitate to get the Model S if I were in your position.

hfcolvin | 22 February 2013

As far as battery degradation, there are threads on the Tesla Motor Club forums. I seem to recall Roadster owners experience about 1% degradation per year. My feeling is the car would work for you, especially if you're able to plug in at work to avoid vampire losses.

Sudre_ | 22 February 2013

You will also need to consider snow if you get any. We had our first good snow in a long time yesterday. My average watt/mile went to 619 driving thru 5" with heavy winds and snow still falling. The roads were not cleared. My car with the 19" wheels drove fine even when I was trying to get stuck on hills in a local park. At times my watt mile went to 950ish.

You will get about 125 miles give or take in that kind of bad weather.

jk2014 | 22 February 2013

Wow... Quality thread, great info

Xav1976 | 22 February 2013

Hi all,

Thanks for all your comments!
It's nice to see so many answers after just a few hours!

I shouldn't apparently worry too much! ;-)
The first years will actually be the scariest ones, as the current number of chargers in Belgium is quite low... As my batteries will degrade, this number should increase and thereby ease my trips!

This makes me think about another concern... Any idea whether daily charging at high speed (3-phase charging with high amps) would impact the batteries life?


Brian H | 23 February 2013

Regard that "70% in 8 yrs" as equivalent to "70% in 100,000 miles." But then realize that engineers actually consider that a worst case, and actually expect double the time (half the degradation), so you should get 16 yrs or 200,000 miles, whichever comes first, before you hit 70%. Maybe better if you're not "pushing" the battery.

Also, since nothing is known about European supercharger locations yet, it is quite likely that one will be available to you by that time, in which case the battery usefulness is extended indefinitely (and degradation gets slower as it ages, not faster/worse).

Your main risk and problem will be the same as every other owner's: the car is just so much damn fun to drive and zip around with that you will use much more charge than you plan!!

Brian H | 23 February 2013

About charging speed: 1C charging is 85kW, by definition. LiIon batteries do fine right up to 4C or more (especially with active cooling like TM's). That's 340kW. So even Superchargers do no harm (despite comments and rumours to the contrary.)

Hills | 23 February 2013

Seriously doubt that you will have problems. There are numerous postings on this forum regarding temperature, speed, hills, and other factors, you can devote a few hours and learn a lot. To me, your requirements should not push the limits of the Model S. I've owne the car since early December. Many people drive faster than you, in colder climates.

First, 265 miles = 426 km, and the standard charge of 240 miles = 386 km. I have a rough rule of thumb, realistic real life range is 80% of rated range. 65 miles per hour is not going to affect my 80% rule. 80% of 386 = 309 km. In demanding situations, such as lots of hills, far below freezing temperature, 75 miles/hour, your range can decrease materially.

Using a conservative 70% of rated range for somewhat difficult real life conditions, you still have 270 km of range. Yes, all of the above assumes a new car, and 30% degradation over the long term will take your real life range below 200 km using the 70% rule rather than 80%. However, Tesla's degradation estimate on the Roadster turned out to be worse than realized degradation (battery performed better than expected), and I don't expect 30% degradation over 100,000 miles for Model S.

Pungoteague_Dave | 23 February 2013

I think you will be fine, and after driving a couple thousand miles, I have very conservative range expectations and guidance. Your daily and annual miles seem just about perfect for maximizing the Model S ownership experience and receiving the greatest cost savings from driving an EV. The 85 is purpose-built for your wife's commute. My drive to the city, at 193 miles, turns out to be beyond reasonable trip planing range for my 85 kw S, so you are right to ask the question. I also asked, but was misled by the marketing hype. TM has since dialed down the online range calculator, but the car still provides misleading range guidance every time I drive it. Notwithstanding my disappointment with range, you are in the sweet spot and will love he car.

inverts | 23 February 2013

I have mine being built, so have committed to it.
I have a 72 miles one way, 144 (with lunch run 150 mile) daily commute. Currently drive a Prius, and it makes financial sense. Recharge with HPWC is 2.5 hours, with NEMA 6-50/14-50 it is under 5 hours. With the 85 kWh pack, even if charged to 80% routine charging (not range) and considering an annual 3% decline in battery capacity, it will still be enough for the commute over 10-12 years. So it makes perfect sense to drive the MS on longer commutes. In 10-12 years, battery technology will be better (e.g., my prius uses NiMH, the MS uses Li tech), so the range will even be better then.

eq1 | 24 February 2013

Just a ... 'heads-up' on the optimism about battery technology being better in 10-12 years, which is likely true, AND being useful to you, which is possibly not true.

I noticed that Tesla said there isn't, or won't be, an option for 40kwh battery owners to upgrade to the larger 60 and 85kwh batteries in the future. I was kind of surprised. Yet, I've been working with a Honda hybrid for a while, studying it, researching the technology (mostly the battery and electric motor system), and it's pretty clear that the size and type of battery a car uses is very integrated into the whole car. Before I got the hybrid I assumed it'd be easy to 'upgrade' the battery, as it was 10 year-old technology and surely there's better batteries out there now. But it's not so easy. I suspect the same is, or will be true, for the Tesla Model S.

Put it this way: If you can't even upgrade from the 40kwh pack to the 60 or 85, how likely will it be that you'll be able to upgrade to an entirely new battery chemistry or what not - whatever the new, better technology is in the future? Maybe you could do it, but it most likely won't be cheap or easy... The software and some of the hardware are designed specifically for the size and type of battery; it's not like you'll ever be able to 'simply' drop in a new, improved, future-technology pack...

So anyway, don't pin any hopes on better packs for your car in the future...

Brian H | 24 February 2013

If there are enough Teslas on the road then, a specific aftermarket solution or solutions may exist, different from the OEM options.

dirk.saenen | 24 February 2013

Hi Xavier,

a compatriot here, in more or less the same situation.
I drive 50.000 km a year, some 180km daily.

I will not hesitate.
Worst case, in wintertime (like today) in sure I will be able to charge at my client's premises.

Tot ziens !

jbunn | 24 February 2013

Xavier, my 60 is good for 188 miles on standard charge. You will be fine. I dont know what electricity costs there, but you will save a lot of money on petrol with your commute.

archibaldcrane | 24 February 2013

Given gas prices in the EU, and the excessive amount you are driving (within very feasible 85kwh range), I'd say you are a pretty solid target market for Tesla.

eq1 | 25 February 2013

Brian H. wrote: "eq1; If there are enough Teslas on the road then, a specific aftermarket solution or solutions may exist, different from the OEM options."

Brian, I would hope that'd be the case - that the aftermarket will take care of upgrading to new, better battery packs in the future. But I fear it will be very difficult, if not impossible, as Tesla holds the intellectual property rights to the software, as well as patents for some hardware, that deal with battery management, the interface between battery and rest of car, etc. If Tesla doesn't make all of this available, doesn't open the 'black box' of battery management and such, developers will be very hard-pressed to make anything happen... Or, if Tesla does make stuff available, there will be a cost, and the cost will likely be high... Basically, any upgrades are not likely to be simple, inexpensive, etc., not like 'just' dropping in a new pack for say $10,000...

Brian H | 25 February 2013

A test of Elon's commitment to promoting EVs in general? Licensing, at reasonable cost, could solve it. A patent, after all, is actually a way to open "black boxes" (with a suitable delay on replication to protect inventor profit/benefit).

Xav1976 | 25 February 2013

Hi all,

Thanks for all your replies!

I feel much more confident now. This seems to be a good choice and certainly when you know the investment I did last year. I installed a big solar tracker (which will produce at least 10000kWh per year) in my garden!

It actually looks like this :

So, it has to be an EV but still considering the upcoming BMW i3 as well...

BTW, any idea how many kWh I will approximately need per year?



nickjhowe | 25 February 2013

34000 miles at c. 330 Wh/mile = 11220 KWh or 11.22MWh, +/- 10%

Brian H | 25 February 2013

So ... Your SunTracker will almost be enough ... Of course, if you get some use of Superchargers, that's even free-er power. Not usable by i3s.

Pungoteague_Dave | 25 February 2013

You have 26 panels. I have 84 panels and produce 'only' 27kw, so doubt you will get 10kw...

Xav1976 | 25 February 2013

Hi Pungoteague_Dave,

I actually have 30 panels with a theoritical power of 330Wc each. So, I get 9990Wc with all of them.

Normally, I should yearly get about 11000kWh (9990Wc x 0.85 (ratio for Belgium) x 1.3 (added-value of the solar tracker)).

Anyway, this is at least 10000kWh I will not have to pay for ;-)


derek | 25 February 2013


The driver that drives the most daily miles without unexpected detours, and within the safe range margin of the care is the BEST target market. You will substitute solar power for more petrol than other Tesla owners. You will reduce carbon the most, and save thousands of Euros -- that's a lot of waffles and Stella Artois, my friend.

I am jealous. I'm buying the S just because it's a great car. My average daily drive is quite low in California. I won't really save that much in petrol. Well, perhaps not so jealous - I don't have to spend my day on the autoroute with nothing to console me except a fine car and my old Jaques Brel MP3s.

Tot ziens.

Xav1976 | 25 February 2013

Hi Derek,

So funny to read your post! ;)
Another Belgian guy now working in the States?
Not too hard to live without the Belgian specialities (beers, chocolates, waffles, and fries (the Belgian ones, not the French ones ;)) ?


Brian H | 25 February 2013

Latitude matters, too. That's pretty good for 50°N! How many months do you get usable sun, though?