85kw model s real life range test

85kw model s real life range test

I decided to take a week of Los Angeles short distance commuting to see how far my model s 85kw performance will go according to true life parameters. I thought this would be helpful to owners out there. I charged it to the recommended 240 miles (to preserve ultimate battery life). Then I drove my typical 10-20 miles a day. I admit I am an aggressive driver, and usually never miss an opportunity to gun it, but for this week I drove "grandmother slow". I averaged 390 Mw/ mile. With aggressive driving I am typically in the 450-500 mW/mile range. I was surprised how fast the range was dropping. When I left the house on the final morning it showed 43 miles easily enough to drive the 15 miles I had to go that day. Well with a bit of anxiety I creeped into my driveway at the end of the day with 11 miles on the range left, no climate control, barely hitting the gas pedal out of fear. So how far did I actually make it?..........132 miles.

Honestly, it takes nothing away from my love of the car. I know I must simply charge it regularly, avoid the hot doggin range testing. I have driven 1100 mile since my delivery December 22, and couldn't be happier!

Jewsh | February 9, 2013

Why didn't you charge it between drives? I don't see how this was as much a range test as one where you tested the vampire drain in between rides.

Glad you like your new Tesla!

jat | February 9, 2013

@Jewsh - exactly - since the range loss from the onboard electronics is 8 mi/day without sleep mode, you are spending nearly as much on that as you are moving the car.

jjaeger | February 9, 2013

Not to mention multiple times of heating the battery et al up to temp. The first 5-10 miles every morning are higher energy use getting everything up to temp. Agree with Jewsh that this is not a range test.

kschwartz | February 9, 2013

However, this is a good test of actual energy use per mile over the course of a week of low mileage driving. If the reality is that in normal city driving we only get 130 - 140 miles out of a 68 kwh charge (80% of 85 kwh), then that significantly changes the economics of owning the car. I too love my car but don't want to be deluded about its real energy efficiency.

Any thoughts on how to minimize the 'vampire drain'? Is 'sleep mode' something above and beyond the normal mode when the car is locked and the key is not nearby?

Velo1 | February 9, 2013

I can add my experience, too. A few days ago I had a business meeting 75 miles from my house with 95% of the drive along Interstate Highway. I have 85 kW battery and left my house with 234 charge/range. I drove fairly aggressive, but nothing dangerous, as my S is my stress-relief therapy. There was a 20-mile stretch of Interstate that is posted 75 mph, which I drove at 90 mph along with the rest of traffic in the fast lane. Temps were 35-40F.

I did not even worry about range as I arrived to my destination with 135 miles left, spent 4-hours in a meeting, and then returned home. I pulled into my garage with 30 miles left and was happy because I ran the car fairly hard and she passed my test with ease.

SD Supercharger | February 9, 2013

Sleep mode reduces the vampire load to zero. It was available in one of the earlier software releases, but apparently it was causing other software issues. Tesla abandoned it in the 4.2 release, but announced plans to re-initiate it at a later date.

noel.smyth | February 9, 2013

that was not a relevant test for the us of an EV. they are meant to be plugged in daily. you did not test a real use case.

teslabruin | February 9, 2013

Well it seems that it wasn't helpful to you owners.....

Tâm | February 9, 2013

Thanks abweiss:

It's a great data for those who don't have a plug at home for the car.

Most people whom I show my car to don't have a house. They live in either apartments or condominiums with no access to an outlet where they park.

I would say that this car is not just for home owners but for renters and those who don't have an electrical outlet.

danielccc | February 9, 2013

I would not buy an EV, any EV, if I could not plug it in at home.

Sleep mode needs to be brought back and surely will be. Then this test can be done again with meaningful results.

lrotondo | February 9, 2013

As Tam says, this is a very helpful test and does address a real use case for those who live in an apartment and for whom it is not convenient to charge every night. As I posted in another thread, I am in a situation where my apartment does not have a charging station, but there are some stations within a few blocks, so I am hoping that I can get away with driving my 10 mile commute for several days before needing to plug in overnight and walk back to my apartment. It is good to know that 132 miles is a realistic number before needing to recharge.

Just one question - over how many days did you drive the 132 miles? 5 days? This is relevant because, as others have mentioned, the vampire drain when parked overnight is a significant factor in the equation. Thanks.

scriptacus | February 9, 2013

@Tam - re: living in an apt/condo; the nice thing about living in SoCal, there are laws stating that your condo HOAs have to allow you to install a charger, and there's a $2k rebate as well. When my wife got her Leaf last October we had a Blink level 2 pedestal charger installed in our underground garage, wired to our meter, at no expense to us. (Would have gotten a wall charger but we were not allowed to drill into the wall because of some waterproofing)

Brian H | February 10, 2013

If you'd recorded rated miles each day when you parked at home and work and when you set out, the vampire and range kWh could have been allocated and analysed. Just not enough info yet.

portia | February 10, 2013

@abweiss you are a really aggressive driver, I average about 350 whm for the car, about 2600 miles now, it should be obvious the heavier your foot is on the Go paddle, the less range you will get. I have seen others report closer to 300 whm. Your mileage may vary applies to EVs too.

Jewsh | February 10, 2013


"Well it seems that it wasn't helpful to you owners....."

I apologize if I came off sounding rude. I merely wanted to point out that range is different from the longevity of a charge. I believe your findings still have merit, just in a different context than range.

jk2014 | February 10, 2013

I think any experiment with regards to driving habits and range is useful. Keep em coming!

MCB | February 11, 2013

I have a question: Lets say i drive up to my winter cabin in Norway in -15C below, and leave the car for a week or two unplugged, can i expect the projected mileage will remain unchanged as when i left it? The car would be in a idle state, exposed to heavy snow and cold temperatures, even humidity due to morning sun melting the ice. Thanks!

jat | February 11, 2013

@MCB - no. Currently, you will lose about 8mi/day just powering the electronics. Much of that loss will go away when they add sleep mode back, but until then you have to plan for it.

Aside from that, you will use significant power just keeping the battery warm at those temperatures. I don't know how much.

If you can plug it in even at 120V you should be fine though.

MCB | February 11, 2013

Thank you. 8 Mi/12,8km per day is not bad really. The carpark is pretty far from the cabin, but with a little planning it will be no problem. Maybe i can install a portable solar-panel on the roof or something :)

jkirkebo | February 11, 2013

Jat: No 120V in Norway, we have 230V and 400V.

-15C should not damage the battery, so there is no reason to keep it warm when parked for a week. The Leaf only turn on it's battery heater at under -20C.

July10Models | February 11, 2013

With a very cold battery at -15C the car won't know the correct SoC of the battery and will display a very limited range untill the battery warms up.

Hi_Tech | July 29, 2013

I've just had mine for about a month now. Drove it for about 1800 miles. Been at a steady average of about 300 Wh/mi. This includes most of the driving in about 80-95 degree F weather. Meaning I've had to have my A/C running. Also, much of my driving has been on highways.

Here is what I've seen:
1. The biggest consumption/impact seems to be going uphill.
2. Now that much of a difference using A/C, versus just the fan running.
3. The lowest energy consumption I've noticed on a 30 mile range is about 235 Wh/mi. (Yeah... and I wasn't driving like a granny!)
4. In the end, I've still managed a rough energy consumption of about 300 Wh/mi.
5. It appears the rated range seems to be based on a usage of about 300 Wh/mi as well... So, I'm running almost perfect to the rated range (with A/C on).
6. Most important part... Have loved driving every mile of it!!! :)

jonlivesay | July 29, 2013

I drove from valley to Tahoe for day. 6000 ft. elevation gain, air on, driving at @ speed limit +or- depending on traffic. Left with 270 rated miles returned with 103. Round trip we travelled 173 miles using @ 295 wh/mi. Car handled the mountains really well, was surprised both by the smaller than expected range loss on way up and the bigger than expected gain on way down. Going up used about 380 wh/mi, coming down about 55 wh/mi. This was a kind if test for our car to see if it would allow for Tahoe travel without charging, which is doable. I still would like supercharger in Truckee instead of Reno, would allow more freedom driving at leisure around lake.

SCCRENDO | July 29, 2013

What was your speed going up? I use over 500 wH/mi going up Cajon in California.

djkim | July 29, 2013

@jonlivesay - What time of year was your drive? I'm on the wait list for a Model X, and I'm wondering how it would handle the drive from Bishop to Mammoth - up the grade, in winter/snow and how that would affect the range. I'm curious where the expected superchargers along 395 will actually be.

NomoDinos | July 29, 2013

Thanks, Teslabruin. I'm guessing we don't have to ask what color your MS is :)

dwnola | August 7, 2013

Got my MS85 a few days ago and took my first business trip yesterday, driving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and back. Before leaving, I did a Max Range charge & started out with 270 miles of range. While in BR, I went to two meetings, took clients to lunch, and then drove home. When I got back to my office in NOLA, I had driven 175 miles, and the car showed 80 miles of range left, so it used 190 miles of range. During the day, I did one rocket launch for the clients, otherwise I drove like I normally would, setting the cruise control at 72-73 mph on I-10. Outside temps were in the mid-90s, so A/C blasted the whole way. VERY happy with those results.

FWIW, I ordered the car on June 16, finalized on June 26 and took delivery on August 4. Like everyone who is on these forums, I knew that parking sensors, etc. were on their way, but I didn't want to wait for them. I also knew that the nearest supercharger (Port St. Lucie)is more than 750 miles away and that the nearest service center (Houston) is 350 miles away. I hope that Tesla makes good on their plans for Superchargers along the Gulf Coast and a service center in New Orleans, but if not I'm going to enjoy this ride anyway for as long as it lasts. My eyes were wide open going into this, so no complaints from this quarter.

Needless to say, the car is a joy in every respect!

detlefo | August 7, 2013

I live in the Sierra foothills between Grass Valley and Auburn. I drove my 85, with three passengers from my home at 1200 feet to Mount Rose Summit at 9000 feet. The remaining 2000 feet of climbing to the peak of Mt Rose were done without the benefit of the Tesla. Total driving distance 190 miles, Total elevation Gain over 10,000 feet. I drove normally at or above the speed limit, occasionally accelerating aggressively to pass. On the return trip the car GOM showed 98 miles remaining in Truckee. I chickened out and we charged at Level II for an hour while eating dinner and gained about 20 miles. Made it home with 85 miles still showing on the GOM. Did not really need the charge for the car though it was really necessary for me to take on fuel. Having driven a LEAF for two years I was really impressed that the Tesla was able to do all that climbing with minimal impact on range.

dvm | August 7, 2013

After nearly 2,000 miles I'm averaging 290 kWh/mile and I'm very close to the rated range. My daily drive is 60 miles round trip, mostly Houston freeway. I use about 18 kWh per day.

I was driving 60 MPH (same as I do in my Excursion) but I've found that driving 65 makes little difference to the range. I took it on two trips that necessitated a charge to Beaumont and Austin. Both trips came in between 275 and 280 kWh/mile.

It is possible to get the rated range but that's assuming little stop-and-go and no rabbit starts...although even with my P85 showing it off around Beaumont and a few max acceleration runs, I still got 280.

Achilz | December 7, 2013

I have an experience almost identical to Velo1 in a February post above. My first trip in the 85 Model S was to a party 75 miles away. Mixed city and highway driving. The trip was from Livingston NJ to Bay Shore Long Island, with a pick up and drop off in Manhattan. The car performed beautifully. I drove quickly in short spurts, to let the kids have fun in the back, and I'm an aggressive driver, but I tried to stay moderate on long stretches, setting cruise control at 65ish. (I did hit the juice, hard, more than a couple times just for fun). Outside temp was 35 and inside about 67. Left Livingston with 234 miles of charge, got to Manhattan (21 miles) with 202. Parked for an hour, then arrived at Bay Shore (54 miles) with 134 miles of range. At the party for about 3 hours. Got back to Manhattan with 70 miles left, then back to Livingston with 38 miles left on the gauge. So, round trip 150 mile trip took 198 miles of range. That's a bit scary but over time I will figure out how to drive in ways that maximize range.

floridatow | May 23, 2015

I'm not a Tesla owner yet. I am shopping for a used Tesla and I ran across this post.
I see that people who already own a Tesla are critical of your test, but I found it interesting.
I'm curious about the cost of charging the car. What's the effect on my electric bill? Is there really a savings that warrants the cost of the car?

murphyS90D | May 23, 2015

What is your electric rate? The absolute maximum that can be put in an S85 is 85 kWh but that will never happen. The car protects the battery so the most you will ever add is around 75 kWh. If your electric rate is 10 cents per kWh then it would cost $7.50 to fill the battery (75 x $0.10 = $7.50).

On a trip use a supercharger and it's free.

Janet_HMB | May 23, 2015

@floridatow -- range depends on a lot of factors. Standard S, versus performance, hills versus flat terrain, external temperatures. If I can imply from you forum name you might be in Florida then some of the best range has been demonstrated there. Also, the above test was done before performance improvements. Finally, as with any car, small trips of 10-20 miles a day (assuming at least if not more than one trip) you would burn through the fuel supply. The best way to see which is the right car for you and your type of driving is to use EVTripPlanner.

Janet_HMB | May 23, 2015

... Forgot the electric rate question- - if your utility company offers time of use plan, you can charge overnight for much less than any petroleum based car costs. My monthly utility costs have gone down and I am saving $120 per month in gas.

SCCRENDO | May 23, 2015

Or get solar panels and you can offset your car charging costs plus your other electricity costs. I drive off sunshine and free superchargers. Occasionally pay for public charging.

PaceyWhitter | May 23, 2015

Also note that this post is two years old and Tesla has done a lot to fix the vampire drain since then.

sorka95032 | May 23, 2015

They have? I lose 6 miles a day and my 12v battery gets discharged and charged 6 times a day. Continuous power drain it's 70 watts.

dpena23 | May 24, 2015

What is the life expectancy of the Model S' battery anyway? Is it just the full 8 years of the warranty?

Tropopause | May 24, 2015

I was told by Show Room Agent 15 year battery life cycle. I can not find this information anywhere in writing. By then, battery technology will be leaps-and-bounds ahead.

Mathew98 | May 24, 2015

Turn on energy saving to cut daily drain down to 1 to 2 miles per day.

Turn on range mode to extend traveling distance. The AC won't be as cold, however.

dpena23 | May 24, 2015

Is 'energy savings' mode just for when the car is left parked? Or does it have an effect on how it drives? What's the downside to having it on all the time then? It won't do software updates automatically?


jordanrichard | May 24, 2015

Energy Save mode limits the heating and cooling functions of the car. It also puts the car into a deep sleep, meaning the computers shutdown completely.

If one selects to have this on all the time, when you get into the car, it may take a moment or two for the screens to come to life. If one selects to not have this on all the time, it does automatically go into Energy save mode between the hours of 10pm and 5 am.

Life expectancy of the battery, that depends on when you think it needs to be replaced. There is a "standard" that has been floated around that when the battery gets down to 70% of original range, the pack needs to be replaced. I look at it differently. Once the battery pack gets down to where I can't make it to the next charger on a road trip, then the pack is done. I am estimating that will take about 800,000 miles.

jallan | May 26, 2015

I commute around LA. Driving normally I'm almost always within +/- 20 kw/m of the 300 kw/m rated.

SnowFlake | May 26, 2015

I have had the projected 999km on my dash and I have the photo. but how should I upload?

vpoz | May 27, 2015

i'm generally getting 400Kw +|- 20. per mile since purchase in December ... Biggest factor affecting energy use apart from launches is outside temp

Brian H | May 27, 2015

300 wh/m. At 300 kwh/m you'd only get a few hundred yards. ;p

vpoz | May 27, 2015

Oops .. yes meant 400wh or indeed 0.4Kwh per mile.

Also presently at 0.004 Gigawatts Marty! total energy usage for 7500 miles in my P85.

Gadfly | May 27, 2015

But but but but but this car HAS no range anxiety! None, dammit!

Brian H | May 27, 2015

533 Wh/mi? You must be having fun!

Brian H | May 27, 2015

Many threads on posting pictures. Host on or other site, reference with <img src="URL" width="500">.