What do you do if you run out of charge?

What do you do if you run out of charge?

Ok, it almost never happened to me but if you run out of gas you either walk to a gas station or call the auto club or a significant other (if you are willing to eat some humble pie). How about some suggestions for what to do if you run the limit of the battery. Humorous answers are ok too.

David Trushin | 30 November 2012

I meant humorous. I wish they had a spell checker.

kublai | 30 November 2012

AAA I believe is testing a mobile EV charger. Otherwise you'll need to tow it to a charger. I wonder if Tesla Ranger service will assist?

Timo | 30 November 2012

You can edit the thread starter message if you started it. There is "edit" -link somewhere close to Tesla logo (invisible or almost invisible until you hover your mouse over it).

David Trushin | 30 November 2012

Thanks Timo

Carefree | 30 November 2012

I've been wondering the same thing. One solution might be to have one of those small, portable Honda Generators in the frunk for emergencies. It would take quite some time to add some more miles to the battery pack, but at least you would not get stranded.

Ceilidh | 30 November 2012

Find your local RV park. KOAs, etc are literally EVERYWHERE with 30 and 50 amp hookups. When you get low, divert to the nearest one.

Beaker | 30 November 2012

There are more power outlets than there are gas stations, so you could make a new friend. When you have 10 miles left, stop at the next house and introduce yourself and ask if you can charge from their dryer outlet (assuming you have both adapters). Offer $20 and a ride in the car once charged.

Same would probably work at a gas station or a machine shop.

Sudre_ | 30 November 2012

Flintstones comes to mind.

I don't think I have ever run out of gas.... or at least I have blanked it from my memory if I have. In MO there is a gas station at almost every highway exit so it's really hard to run out of gas.

Same goes for electricity. There is a 120 volt plug (6 mile charge per hour) closer than the nearest gas station. I am looking at one now. The catch is whether someone will let you use it.

If you are prone to forgetting to fill up or tend to run out of cellphone battery I would recommend getting a small generator from Home Depot or at least an extension cord so you can knock on someones door and ask to borrow an outlet for a few hours.

Liz G | 30 November 2012

Sudre are you on TLC?

Liz G | 30 November 2012

Are TMC. Stupid auto correct

Captain_Zap | 30 November 2012

AAA already has EV charging services in the Northwest.

Sudre_ | 30 November 2012

Liz G I have an account there but I barely have time to keep up on this forum.

stevenmaifert | 30 November 2012

If you purchased one of the service plans, you can call their 24 hour roadside assistance.

Velo1 | 30 November 2012

That would be revolting. Well, actually not.

portia | 30 November 2012

well you better not run the battery to empty, ou may permanently damage the battery,
the owner's manual says

"Never allow the Battery to fully discharge

Even when you're not driving the Model S, the Battery discharges very slowly to power the onboard electronics. On average, the Battery discharges at a rate of 1% per day. Situations can arise in which you must leave the Model S unplugged for an extended period of time (for example, at an airport when travelling). In these situations, keep the 1% in mind to ensure that you leave the Battery with a sufficient charge level. For example, over a two-week period (14 days), the Battery discharges by approximately 14%.

Discharging the Battery to 0% may permanently damage the Battery. To protect against a complete discharge, the Model S enters a low-power consumption mode when the charge level drops to 5%. In this mode, the Battery stops supporting the onboard electronics to slow the discharge rate to approximately 4% per month. Once this low-power consumption mode is active, it's important to plug in the Model S within two months to avoid Battery damage.

NOTE: When the low-power consumption mode is active, the auxiliary 12V battery is no longer powered and may go flat within 12 hours. In the unlikely event this occurs, you may need to “jump start” or replace the 12V battery before you can charge. To do so, contact Tesla."

I don't know if you were driving if the car would actually allow you to go empty?
I hope to never find out myself. I did go as low as 16 miles, but I knew I was within the Supercharger reach.

STEVEZ | 1 December 2012

@portia: the car won't let you discharge the battery to 0 SOC by driving. The systems and software are all designed to protect the battery from harm. When you reach zero miles of range, the car stops with some non-zero SOC. The problems would come if you leave it by the side of the road for a few days in that state, as the vampire loads slowly deplete the battery.

DouglasR | 1 December 2012

Does anybody think it would be useful to be able to manually put the car into "low power consumption mode"? In other words, if you knew you would be away for six months, but could not leave the car plugged in, you might want to leave the car fully charged but in low power consumption mode.

I can't see myself ever using this, but it might be worth putting it up for a vote on the "software enhancement list."

Manta | 1 December 2012

@DouglasR - I'm still waiting for my car so I can't say firsthand, but I saw that this came with the latest software update. I think the new Vehicle Sleep feature might be what you're looking for.

DouglasR | 1 December 2012

@paul - It's a good bet. We'll have to see.

robwarnersc | 2 December 2012

Beaker suggests that you can pull up to someones home and hope that they will allow you to hook up to their dryer outlet? My question is how long is the cord that you get for the "S" that would enable you to do this and how many people have "dryer outlets" close enough that would make this possible?

Superliner | 2 December 2012

Same as if you run out of gas "basically" you need to find more gas, or in this case electricity or pay the tow bill.

Kevin Glassman | 2 December 2012

Having run the car to 7% charge, the green indicator charge status turns yellow, and will turn to Red once you get to 5%. I've been told by reliable sources within TMC that there is reserve power in the on-board battery that will keep the car "Alive" even if you run to 0%. Don't want to try this out, but at 7%, no noticeable change in performance, although it does make you look around for a plug anywhere, and think creatively. Turn off the heat, A/C and anything else that will drain energy where you can.

Timo | 2 December 2012

Turn off the heat, A/C and anything else that will drain energy where you can.

Adding to that, Model S range sweet spot is at approx 25mph, so slow down to that if there are no charge points nearby. Speed is the biggest thing that affects the range, moving a two ton lump of metal thru air at highish speed uses a lot of energy.

Volker.Berlin | 3 December 2012

Same as if you run out of gas "basically" you need to find more gas, or in this case electricity or pay the tow bill. (Superliner)

Problem is, you can easily carry 50-100 miles worth of gas in a canister, but you cannot do that with electricity. No as easily, anyway.

Mark22 | 3 December 2012

Hmmm, in 2 1/2 years it has never happened, I'll let you know what I do if it ever does.

Brian H | 3 December 2012

Never in 50 yrs., in my case (though some of those were little or no mileage yrs!)

Timo | 3 December 2012

Same here as Brian. Never run out of gas. Had some other things that have stranded me roadside, but gas was never one of them.

However there was gas station always nearby with fast fill up, with BEV that will not be a case for very long time, so getting low on energy at middle of nowhere would be real problem. You get slow charging everywhere, but when we talk about 8 miles / hour or less you would need to be very patient. For very long time you need to plan your driving ahead of actually making the trip.

mrspaghetti | 3 December 2012

I would smack my forehead and call myself an idiot for my poor planning.

kent | 3 December 2012

AAA Plus option - They will tow you up to 100 miles.

MB3 | 3 December 2012

For a long time I wanted to pull a Kramer and drive my car to empty (with a gallon in a separate canister), just to see how low it can go. I don't see how it is even possible to run out of gas with an ICE. It isn't a sign of poor planning, it's a sign of neglect. Maybe I'll carry a long extension cord and try to run my S out of juice.

Brian H | 3 December 2012

Just drive round the block over and over on low charge, then go to your driveway for the last mile and go back and forth till "dead"! Then, with your curiousity satisfied, you can just push it to your recharge hookup.


JMO | 4 December 2012

There is an app called plugshare for people who want to list their private chargers in case someone needs it. It also lists commercial chargers where you can pay for charge.

I have tow chargers - one at home and one at work - and both are listed as available for free. Just last week someone driving a Nissan Leaf called needing to recharge. He was about to run out of electricity and was able to make it to my work charger. I let him recharge and he was a happy camper.

We are a community so lets share.

BYT | 4 December 2012

I had a nightmare just this morning that I ran out of power in my Model S while driving to my folks house and I keep my twin charger coiled up in my garage at home. The alarm woke me before I had to come up with a solution.

William13 | 4 December 2012

I have a fifty foot 110 extension cord in my car for just in case. Real world only gets you 2.5 miles of charge per hour but it would be very poor planning for an early adopter to run out farther than one mile. Bad bad weather maybe.

This may be a real problem when "normal" people start driving. Lots of youngster run out of gas. This has improved in recent years with low fuel warnings and other idiot lights.

Plugshare and Recargo are my favorite new apps.

Peter Spirgel | 4 December 2012

@william13. The 50 ft 110v extension cord will not work. With 110 volts, an extension cord (especially one of that length) reduces the power to the point below the car's minimum threshold.

Brian H | 4 December 2012

Wait for a thunder storm, raise your lightning rod, and ...

Robert.Boston | 4 December 2012

@Peter Sprigel: that depends entirely on the quality of your extension cord. I have a 50' 10/3-gauge extension cord that is far beefier than standard Romex. It works just fine. (Various suppliers available on Amazon; search for "10/3 extension cord") The 12/3 version should work, too, at about half the cost ($40 for 12/3 vs. $80 for 10/3).

appljd | 4 December 2012

kent... FYI. You can't actually TOW the Tesla... car has to be on a flatbed. Towing will damage the car.
Page 30 of the manual.


Peter Spirgel | 5 December 2012

@RobertBoston. Thanks I guess I need a beefier" cord!

Mark E | 5 December 2012

Things like this make me happy that here in Australia a standard Powerpoint is 230-240v 10A. Worse case plug in for a slow charge at about 10-12 km/h. The downside is that we don't have high current 'dryer' sockets.

TV | 22 January 2013

I'm putting a Segway X2 (detachable handlebar & wheels fold) in Trunk with Golf Clubs in Frunk. If the batteries on the Model S run out of juice, is there a way to trickle the energy in the Segway X2 into the Tesla? Hmmm....

Brian H | 22 January 2013

Just use a rope tow. ;p