First long trip - charge for max range?

First long trip - charge for max range?

Leaving on my first trip outside of the LA-SD corridor this weekend. Am curious what others think about charging for max range. As the MS manual says: "..this setting charges the Battery to full capacity,
using it frequently reduces Battery life." I have planned my trip to not need max range but the extra would reduce the range anxiety. Thoughts?

KOL2000 | May 20, 2013
bioengr | May 20, 2013

Great article. Thanks!

negarholger | May 20, 2013

My first longer trip I charged in range mode, studied all the escape chargers, etc... that is just the learning. Now I know the capabilities and what to do. Have fun...

riceuguy | May 20, 2013

I Max charged for my first "long" trip (about 110 miles) in my 60 based on everything I've read here. Even though I theoretically had plenty of range, thanks to the Max charge I didn't get all panicky when I got lost twice, or when we decided to detour for dinner. Don't Max charge daily (heck, try not to do it weekly!), don't leave your car sitting with a Max charge, and you'll likley be just fine. And yeah, I got home with 90 miles to spare, but it was nice not sweating it.

shop | May 20, 2013

Yes, max range charge when you'll be out of your comfort zone. The car can handle it just fine.

Brian H | May 21, 2013

Yep, and written in a way that makes the lessons "sticky". Excellent job.

Brian H | May 21, 2013

However: I've seen other estimates that elevation changes of 1000' cost about 7 mi., not 50 km!! 50 km seems way out of line.

Docrob | May 21, 2013

Brian H, I think the 50km loss estimate was for an elevation gain of 1000 metres, it would make sense for a distance in km to have been grouped with a height in metres, and 50km per 1000m corresponds fairly well with 7mi/1000'

Brian H | May 21, 2013

Yeah, units again (though still about double the 7 mi estimate). Even rocket scientists get confused and crash their spacecraft into Mars. ;)

Alex K | May 21, 2013

@ bioengr | MAY 20, 2013: I have planned my trip to not need max range but the extra would reduce the range anxiety. Thoughts?

I do a Max range charge about 2-3 times a month (265mi indicated range). My trip is 200mi with a 4000ft elevation gain (on the way back there is no need for max charge). Average trip speed is 55mph with some slower and some at 68mph. When I arrive, I have about 40mi remaining. I could do a standard charge, but with the elevation gain, I feel more comfortable doing a max range charge. I have about 6000mi on the car and haven't gotten any reduction in range yet.

I would say that you should do the max range charge. If you're planning on doing this trip multiple times, you can keep track of the charge remaining at the end of the trip and then charge accordingly in the future.

Brian H | May 22, 2013

Range Charge causes little or no degradation, and can save your butt.

bioengr | May 22, 2013

Thanks everyone. The MS will be fully range charged.

shs | May 22, 2013

As I posted on another thread, if I think I will need the range, Is do a standard charge overnight, and then switch to range charge about 2 hours before I plan to leave (turn off timed charging). That way the battery sits for a minimum time with the maximum charge, which I understand is the issue that can cause battery degradation. I also think that it is better to range charge this way, when possibly needed, and get home with a few miles of charge left, rather than taking the battery to zero.

Brian H | May 22, 2013

Minimum time measured in minutes or hours seems to be meaningless. Only sitting at Max for months has any effect. Ignore the "degradation" issue, unless you're going to do that.

shs | May 23, 2013


I am confused by your response that having the car sitting a Max Charge is only a problem is it goes on for months at a time. Clearly, most Tesla owners drive their car several times a week, if not every day, and certainly at least once a month.

According to your advice there should be no problem using Max Charge on a routine basis. And yet the Tesla Model S manual clearly says about Max Charge: “Although this setting charges the Battery to full capacity, using it frequently reduces Battery life.”

I am not sure how to reconcile your advice with the statement in the manual.

akikiki | May 23, 2013

@Brian, does your advice regarding battery charging and other things come from your personal experience with your own MS?

shs | May 23, 2013

In the Battery Life Concerns thread (down aways) the no problem using Max charge on a regular basis idea is discussed and Brian's comments seem to be based on “A very experienced owner on TMC, with his 10 Rules of Road Tripping”. The question then is whom do you trust with your battery’s life?

Brian H | May 23, 2013

The (very persuasive) reference is Doug_G's post, mentioned by KOL2000 above. Discuss with him; his b/g and info are 1st hand and deep. His core point is that avoiding very low charge is far more beneficial than the trivial risks associated with high charge.

akikiki | May 23, 2013

@Brian H, So I guess that's your way of saying, No?

jbunn | May 24, 2013

In 5 years once we have thousands of cars on the road, some range charging, and some not we may see patterns in the data.

Given that Tesla covers the battery pack under warranty, I would not be surprised if there is not a counter that increments every time the car is range charged.

Brian H | May 24, 2013

I defer to Doug. He is a founder of TMC and an intense student of the car and its documentation. His point also makes sense. I have had some conversation, also, with an engineer involved with the stress testing of cars in remote locations, using exclusively Supercharging. They find the battery almost unkillable, with no detectable degradation after many, many cycles. He is in awe of what TM has achieved with its design.

akikiki | May 24, 2013

@Brian H, Ahh, that's what I suspected. There's not good reason to be so coy. No, you do not own or have a reservation for a MS.

Jewsh | May 24, 2013

Thanks for the TMC link; great info!

Brian H | May 24, 2013

Doug has been thru the wars. Read a few of his posts over there about his adventures during the winter!

shs | May 25, 2013

There is an interesting thread on the TMC forum about the ideal state of charge for maximum battery life. The thread has been prompted by a new slider feature in the 4.5 firmware that allows the user to select a lower state of charge target based on their daily driving needs.

The gist of the discussion is that in general a lower state of charge, and low temperatures are better for the battery and that higher states or charge and higher temperatures are the most damaging. A series of tests are discussed that show that it is better to run the battery between 50% to 0% than 75% to 25%! In these discussions it is also important to understand that 0 miles range is not 0% state of charge as the MS follows the third law of robotics and protects its own existence by not allowing the battery to discharge to the point of damage.

My original injection into this discussion was based on my discomfort with a general statement that seemed to support a wider use of Max Range charge and that charging to 100% would only damage the battery if left for “months”. Although I have great respect for the owner on whose experience this comment was based, I also felt that Tesla understood its batteries and how to best treat them, and had passed on this knowledge in the manual. Disregarding Tesla’s advice seemed unwise.

The addition of a new feature in the 4.5 firmware to allow the user to lower the target state of charge and the discussion on the thread noted above suggest to me that we should use the Max Range charge when potentially needed, and I do, but no more often than that.

akikiki | June 1, 2013

@Brian H Looks like you are avoiding the question. No car, no personal experience of your own. Just a lot of words. Maybe your strongest suite is being the grammar police. :o)