40 kwh vs. 60 kWh

40 kwh vs. 60 kWh


I've been seriously thinking about reserving a Tesla Model S but I'm having a hard time deciding on what size battery to get. I know range is a complex topic especially given that models with these battery packs are not yet on the road.

I'm in Columbus Ohio and would be purchasing it mainly as a commuter car. So, from the suburbs into the city every day in rush hour traffic 26 miles one way. But, I'd also like to feel comfortable taking it on the occasional trip to northern Ohio to visit relatives (max distance about 150 miles).

From what I've read about the real world range of the 85 kWh battery and extrapolating, the 40kWh would be out of the question for anything but commuting to work and back and then driving around the city. Especially when the temperature starts to drop.

Opinions? Any other Ohio Tesla owners that could speak to what kind of range they get on a full charge?



APU | December 9, 2012

I have a 60kWh Model S reserved which should be delivered by the end of January, I hope. The EPA ratings should be coming out for the 60kWh in January. The 40kWh probably wont come out until March or so. You may want to wait the EPA comes out with their data to get a better idea with range estimates.

mbcaffe | December 9, 2012

EPA rating for 60kWh came out the other day at 208 miles and 95 MPGe
don't forget that the battery will degrade over time. I don't think there is an estimate.
hope that helps in your decision

eAdopter | December 9, 2012

Hi Andy,
     Here's my opinion, wth a little background.
     My family has two cars.  One is a sedan I drive to work, lunches, evenings out with my wife, and use primarily when driving within 30 miles of home.  I never drive it more than 100 miles per day.  I'm replacing the sedan with a Model S, which I ordered today.
     The other car is an SUV.  For many reasons, this is the vehicle we use for long trips.  It holds my family, a couple of friends, and their luggage.  I can also hang a few bikes on the rear class-3 hitch.  It's four-wheel-drive so it's also our snow/beach vehicle.  And I'm not bothered when a drink gets spilled, or mud is tracked onto the carpet.  Comfortable utility.
     When choosing the Model S battery size, I asked myself a simple question:  How often do I drive my sedan more than 100-120 miles.  Answer: I never have.  And if I need to take a longer trip someday, I'll simply choose the SUV and leave the sedan for my wife to drive while I'm away.
     Your situation may be different, but the basic conderations could be similar.  Frankly, I think too many people are spending money to purchase a battery range they'll likely never need.  Just look back at your driving history for the last 3-5 years to determine which battery meets your needs.
     After driving a Model S for the second time today, I hope you can still choose this car.  It's a revolutionary development, not just an upgrade of current offerings or trim levels.


Vawlkus | December 10, 2012

Personally I'd never drop below the 85k just for future proofing, but if you're looking between the 40 and 60, I'd give the nod to the 60 just to have the option of making use of the super charger network. You never know when that might come in handy.

dtesla | December 10, 2012

You might want to go to and either scroll down or click the Road Trips tab to get to the range calculator. Enter you driving habits as settings to see what Tesla estimates your range will be for each battery type.

dtesla | December 10, 2012

Opps... I should have said click the Range tab.

Chris25 | December 11, 2012

If you use a linear math model to predict the EPA mileage for the 40k battery, you end up with 149.8 miles. I realize its not linear but should be a lot closer to Tesla's numbers in terms of percentage than the 85k battery.

lph | December 11, 2012

I think that the bigger the battery, the easier it will be to sell .... if you ever want to.

GreenMachine13 | December 11, 2012

If you need to travel 150 miles then get the 60. The 60 is rated at 208 but your driving habits, environment and time may degrade that performance. Besides, you don't want to just barely make it. There will be a market for 60kwh batteries when you want to sell.


mallynb | December 11, 2012

I analyzed our driving for a year and found only 2 trips longer than
the then published 40kwh S with 160 mile range at 55mph. I planned to keep one of our gas powered cars to use on longer trips, say to visit sons and grandchildren in Virginia and Texas from SE Wisconsin. If information about Supercharger roll-out covers those routes by the time I have to order, I may opt to spend the added $12 grand to upgrade to 60kwh. Otherwise, I will stay with the reservation I have and order a 40 kwh S.

spazthecat | December 11, 2012

Thanks for the replies. The more I think about my driving, 90% of the year is less than 100 miles round trip.

So, I'm heading in the same direction as eAdopter above. We were planning on keeping our SUV anyways so, the 40kwh battery should be just fine.

Plus, I'm thinking (something of a gamble, I know) that battery tech is going to improve enough in the next 5 years to make replacing the battery pack with a higher capacity one feasible.

jshelton | December 11, 2012

I am with spazthecat. If I will receive no utility from a 60 kWh pack, it doesn't make sense to pay for it, especially if Tesla does a rev in a couple of years and makes the low end model the 60 kWh. Anyone who buys the 40 kWh will have "manufactured" the least cost Model S on the market in a few years. If it significantly devalues I will be in the same place as if I had bought the 60 kWh. If it doesn't significantly devalue, I will make out (the only thing us 40s will miss is the 0-60 bump on the 60 kWh).