75D Battery with long commute - 160 miles

75D Battery with long commute - 160 miles

Hi All -

I currently drive 80 miles one way from NJ to PA and am looking to purchase a 75D Model S. I would like to ideally charge at home (will use the supercharger where appropriate).

I'll prob. be averaging 70mph (90% highway driving) and would like to get insight from the folks who own a Model S if I can cover a 160 mile round trip commute without charging (even during the winter and keeping the car for 4-5 years) given the car advertises a 259 mile range.

I'd rather try and avoid spending $20k more for a 100D if I can get away with a 75D for 5 years with the range.

Appreciate any insights!

RedJ | 03/06/2018

@Moh I have a 75D and did a 100mile (one way) commute comfortably for over a year. However, I did have charging available at work. That being said I could make the 200 mile round trip on a single charge but I had to charge to 100% to not have to watch the range and my speed carefully (you will want to avoid charging to 100% on a daily basis to preserve battery life; 90% is what is use). With your 160mile round trip you should make it comfortably. But, I live in a pretty temperate climate in NorCal. Winter weather will affect your range; some of the northeastern forum members could weigh in on this.

Some other considerations are:
- is there a supercharger on your route. Very useful if you forget to charge or have to use additional range during your workday.
- definitely install a 14-50 plug at home for rapid charging. The 110v won’t cut it for you.
- how fast will you be traveling? If your normal speed is 65 mph you will get pretty good range. If you like to go 85mph. Your range will drop off

Bighorn | 03/06/2018

The potential issue I see is having to drive home from work in the winter. You can precondition the plugged in car at home and get close to normal efficiency, but if the battery gets cold soaked while at work, you may see a 20-30% drop in efficiency. I'd also avoid routinely charging over 90% and be aware of back up charging options. I imagine there are days when you'd want to use your car at work which could tax your reserve. It's probably doable with foreseeable compromises such as a winter coat and seat heater vs a toasty cabin.

henley-tesla | 03/06/2018

I can't speak for the middle-of-winter case (because I haven't owned mine that long...), but I can confidently state that 160 miles in spring/summer weather is well within the capabilities of a 75D.

I'm doing a weekly commute which involves 75 miles to work, leave the car there for 3 days, then drive home. I usually arrive home with 50-60 miles remaining (and lose <10 miles to vampire drain over the 3 days). And that's off a 90% charge not a full battery. About 80% highway driving at 70MPH.

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

I drive an S75D, March 2017 build. I live in Southern California where the climate is very temperate year round, and where there's only a few hundred feet of elevation change on my drive to work, which is 142 miles, one way.

I drive pretty aggressively, setting the TACC at a minimum of 80 mph, 85 mph is my preference. Even at that, I still arrive at work with 23% to 25% charge remaining. Further, because I commute to work only once a week, I charge to 100%.

I'm confident that with your more relaxed driving style, you'd make that 160 mile loop with no problem at all, especially when the weather is fine.

I've read reports that in places with particularly brutal winters, like Canada or Michigan or Minnesota, your real world range can drop by as much as 30%, so plan and drive accordingly.

SbMD | 03/06/2018

@mohan - good points above. Also important to consider the effect of winter on efficiency of any vehicle, including EVs. I'm also in the NE and can tell you that worst case scenario weather, cold soaking, high winds, inefficient driving and using the heat can increase the usage to a significant degree (pun intended).

Also expect a small decrement in range over the 4-5 years. It varies, and is small overall, but it will cut into your margin into the winter.

In the end, you could certainly do it, or if you found that you were cutting it too close in the "worse case" scenario above, you could always charge at some point -- even a short one -- during your trip.

In buying a Tesla, the biggest and most important line item you need to consider is the battery/range. All things being equal, go for the biggest battery you can comfortably afford. Just like no one ever says, "My TV is too big," no one ever says "my battery gives me too much range".

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

@Bighorn. In your well-considered opinion, does charging to 100% everyday really degrade the battery that much faster? Wouldn't a more serious problem be charging to 100% and then letting the car sit idle at that full state of charge for a hours?

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

Hear, hear, @SbMD. I wish I had done exactly that when I purchased the S75D. Then again, the car was not originally intended for me, but for my elderly dad whose driving needs didn't include great range.

But definitely had I been buying a Tesla for myself, I would have bought the biggest battery available. In my weekly 284 mile round trip work commute, range is king.

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

Having said the above, I take some small consolation in knowing that even if I had sprung for an MS100D, I still wouldn't be able to make my 284 mile round trip weekly commute on a single charge.

But my visit at a supercharger would be very, very short.

rxlawdude | 03/06/2018

As others mentioned, during temperate or warm weather, you'll be fine for sure. It gets a bit more challenging in sub-freezing temps, but a 75D should get close to 160 miles range in winter. Recognizing "close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

SbMD | 03/06/2018

@avesraggiana - You illustrate another good point: your dad got a car with range that more than met his needs, and sometimes the added cost for the daily use case doesn't make fiscal sense.

My own case in point: I bought an 85D at the time when you could upgrade to the 90D. The cost/kWh and absolute cost made no sense to upgrade in my daily/majority use case. Had the 100D option been available, that would have been another story.

Bighorn | 03/06/2018

The effect of range charging is the $64,000 questions. We know Tesla warns against repeated range charges, but we've seen anecdotal evidence from Tesloop that it didn't matter. Some have argued that sitting at 100% only matters if it's for protracted periods on the order of weeks, but again the data is lacking. Seeing as Tesla puts up a visual screen warning after a few successive charges greater than 90%, the psychic drain of bucking that advice will affect people differently based on temperament. When people like Jeff Dahn say things like 70% is best, they must have their reasons based on unparalleled experience.

mohankprasad | 03/06/2018

Hi everyone, thank you for all your comments/inputs here. I forgot to mention that there seem to be 2-3 super charger stations on the drive there, so in the worst winter conditions it seems like i may be close but will have some options. I guess when it's really that bad outside I'd either work from home or drive the ICE vehicle.

If I want to be worry free seems like the D100 is the way to go, except there will be a $20k premium :/.

Thanks again everyone for being honest and helpful!

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

@Bighorn. Thanks for your reply. I knew you'd have something useful to say.

@mohankprasad. Here's another useful tip - 2% per 10 miles. If your commute is 160 miles, you'll use approximately 80% of your starting battery range. Test it for yourself in all seasons, and see if it holds up.

tes-s | 03/06/2018

100D. Or put in charging at work.

akikiki | 03/06/2018

mohan, I only mention this because no one else did. Maybe you could consider a 1 year old 100D and shave a big part of that $20K price difference off the bottom line.

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

@akikiki. That’s clear and right thinking right there. $20,000 was about what it lost in value when my mum’s X100D was totalled recently, after only five months of ownership and 5400 miles.

Price when brand new before discounts, rebates and tax and license in November 2017 - $119,250.
Payout by USAA insurance before deductible and sales tax - $102,225.

2015P90DI | 03/06/2018

Range anxiety is still what prevents most people from switching to electric. Most people want to simply drive their car, enjoy it and not think about it. Most don't want to compromise driving style, air conditioning or heating. So you have to decide what's important to you.

You're forking out over $80,000 for a car, do you really want to have to think about how you drive every single day?

259 miles in range will quickly drop about 3-5% after a couple of weeks (typical for a Tesla). Then the range is based on an average of about 60 MPH with no AC or Heat and in ideal temperatures.

I have a 90 kWh battery and 160 miles is often pushing it when I drive 75-80 miles per hour and the temperature is below 50 degrees. Me personally, it annoys me that I have to even pay attention to it. And that's only for my rare trips once a month. Certainly wouldn't want to deal with that stress every single day.

If you can afford it, I would go with the 100D and live stress free. Drive how you want, when you want and in comfort and don't give it a second thought. Just enjoy your car. Do you want to make compromises when spending over $80,000 on a car?

If money is an issue, then it's a compromise you'll have to make. You'll probably get used to it. But it may be stressful on a cold day when you're freezing your butt off in the car and an accident on the highway forces a detour off your normal path.

tes-s | 03/06/2018

Might be cheaper to install charging at work than the 75D to 100D upgrade price.

f.smolenski | 03/06/2018

I have a 75D and did a once a week commute from S. NJ to Allentown PA (155+/-) for almost a year now. I took it to full charge the first few times but settled on supercharged to 220 miles and returned with at least 20 miles, usually more, even in winter. Used AP, heat at 60 and/or the seat heater. Never needed Tesla's 50 mile tow but nice to know it's there.

PatientFool | 03/06/2018

I would spring for the 100 in your situation. You'll be glad you did i think and will soon forget about the additional money.

rxlawdude | 03/06/2018

@aves, are you sure about your math (-2% per 10 miles)? That would mean 100% would give 500 miles.

If you're talking "ideal" miles, maybe, my experience is more like 2 miles per 1% in the S70D and 3 miles per 1% in the M3LR.

Smilepak | 03/06/2018

Driving 160 daily isn't an issue. What would be an issue is having plans after the 160. So that requires to plan ahead and charge at work if they have one.

My 70D charging at 90% these days give me 206, but in realistic miles, around 180-190. When I leave in the morning, I'm at 206 and get to the office with 170 and get home with 120 left. Not counting the usage for lunches. So usually if I Lan to do something after work I usually charge at work before I leave.

MarylandS85 | 03/06/2018

Even if you can’t install dedicated charging at work, is there an option to plug in to even a 120v 15A (or, better yet, 20A) regular outlet? That alone might be enough to get you home safely sans Supercharging. In cold weather, you’d probably add 2-3 miles per hour plugged in (an extra 20-ish miles of range). This will also keep your battery from getting quite as cold-soaked while at work.

Another helpful tactic would be to charge to 90% overnight routinely as @Bighorn notes, but in cold weather, you can get in the habit of setting the car to start charging toward 100% as soon as you wake up. Assuming you take 30-45 minutes to get ready, you’ll be at 95-97% full by the time you head out (if you have a NEMA 14-50 or Wall Connector).

The third option would be to simply drive 5 mph slower in really cold weather.

The fourth option is to Supercharge on your way home, even for like 5 or 10 minutes.

I’d do one of the above four before splurging for a 100D if I were you. Either way, I suspect you’re going to love having this car for such a long commute.

Some math: rated range is 259 miles new. After 5% degradation (to be expected in the next few years), you’re at 249 miles at 100% charge. That’s 236 miles at 95% charge. Assuming you get 70% of the rated range in cold weather, real range at 95% state of charge might be 165 miles. That’s cutting it close (only 5 miles of range left after your commute, and don’t forget you’ll lose some range to vampire drain while at work). If you were to be able to plug in at work, you can push that to 25 miles of range left, which is plenty.

avesraggiana | 03/06/2018

@rxlawdude. I'm that outlier Asian who did NOT break the grading curve in any maths subject. In fact my maths is pretty appalling. What you said was exactly what I meant. Thank you.

Darthamerica | 03/06/2018

All Model S versions can handle this. Even in the winter, you should be ok. However you'll need to be sure to charge to 90% every night. The main things you will have to deal with is having limited flexibility for unplanned deviations from your route. Also when you complete the day's commute, you'll need to be ok charging the car for an hour or more before using it again.

If money isn't an issue I'd say get the 100D for the additional margin. But for this commute you "don't have to".

Langhorne | 04/06/2018

I have a S75 (RWD) and drive about 100 miles per day in PA. I have had my car for a year now and have put ~27k miles on it in a year. During good weather, 160 miles is not going to be an issue. I also had some concerns about performance in winter. I typically charge to 80%, but upped it to 90% for the winter. This winter, I typically started off with about 214 or so rated miles and would have somethere between 60-80 miles of range left at the end of the day depending on how much traffic I ran into (heavier traffic=slower speed=less battery used). I drove a bit conservatively for the first few days until I got a feel for the usage, then went back to my typical driving. I did pre heat the cabin/battery half an hour before I leave. I had the heat on as needed to be comfortable and used heated seats and steering wheel.
Since I drive a bit faster than what you say you'd drive, I'd agree with others that you should be able to do a 160 mile round trip even during winter. Its good that you have supercharger on your route and can use that when needed. I don't have that option and have been waiting for the King of Prussia or Plymouth Meeting Superchargers to open since before I bought the car!

TranzNDance | 04/06/2018

When I was deciding between the 75D and 100D, I couldn't justify the latter since I don't drive enough. If I had a long commute, I could have used it as a justification to get the 100D and have no regrets. When I plan road trips, I would wish for a bigger battery.

Rocky_H | 04/06/2018

@mohankprasad, Quote: “Hi everyone, thank you for all your comments/inputs here. I forgot to mention that there seem to be 2-3 super charger stations on the drive there, so in the worst winter conditions it seems like i may be close but will have some options.”

I think that is the main answer to your question. I figured on a route through New Jersey to Pennsylvania there had to be at least one Supercharger along the route somewhere. The 75D should be a fine choice. It will work very easily in most of the warmer time of year, and for winter, you will likely need a 10-15 minute stop to get you that buffer to make it work. That seems like a pretty decent compromise for the $20,000 savings you’re talking about by getting the smaller battery. Just think about whether you would have the patience for that stop every day during the winter. Is there some small kind of task or maybe reading a book for a little bit that could fill 10-15 minutes without you feeling too bored?

But…I am starting to second guess my recommendation from 2015P90Dl and @Gixxxerking’s advice. You drive such a huge amount of miles that there’s a lot to be said for not being on the edge all the time. It’s a minor concern if you look at it as one occurrence in isolation, but having to be aware of it and careful of it every day could get kind of old and annoying. Also, with the massive amount of miles you do, the gas savings is an interesting factor to help ease the thought of getting the 100. You do about 41,600 miles per year in that commute. If you get 30mpg with the Subaru, that’s 1,387 gallons. At $3 per gallon, that’s $4,160 per year in fuel. Electricity would probably cost about a third or fourth of that, so you’re saving maybe $3,000 per year in fuel. In 7 years, there’s your $21,000. But yeah, a used 100D would be a bit cheaper.

2015P90DI | 04/06/2018

Adding to Rocky_H's point, in addition to saving $3,000 per year on fuel (based on his calculations), the resale value of a 100D will also be higher than a 75D. So $20,000 in additional cost up front is not the actual cost if you consider total vehicle cost for the entire time you own it. Meaning, what you pay going in versus what you get going out (when you sell the car). You'll recoup a chunk of that $20,000 cost when you sell it. Figuring a resale value of around 50%, means it really only costs you $10,000. So as long as you can afford the additional monthly payment or cash out of pocket up front and sit on it for the time you own the car, then I personally would take the peace of mind over saving a few bucks, especially since you'll have to deal with it 5 days a week, around 52 weeks a year.

If you really want to get into it, I guess you can also determine what your time is worth. Lets say you have to stop for 15 minutes to charge in the 4 cold winter months. That's 1 hour 15 minutes per week times about 17 weeks is about 21 hours of time spent so you could save $20,000 up front. 5 years, looking at about 100+ hours. Calculates to around $200 per hour. Net is around $100 per hour if you consider the resale value recouped when you sell the car. Of course this is only based on your daily commute. Time will certainly be higher on road trips as you'll have to charge more often on those as well.

Also, keep in mind that it takes longer to add 250 miles of charge to a 75D than it does to a 100D due to tapering as you near 100% charge. In addition, while I don't necessarily agree with it, if you listen to the majority, charging to 100% is worse for the battery in the long run. For those winter months, you'll probably be charging to 100% to be safe. So that's 4 months of potential added degradation to your battery.

tes-s | 04/06/2018

Have you looked into installing a charger at work? That is the only way I would consider a 75D for that commute.

I would get the 100D regardless - for road trips. Life is not all about work. :)

Darthamerica | 04/06/2018

I'll add, I have a P90D and before that a P85+. My average daily mileage is about 60-70 miles. In no way do I "need" anything near my car's range. Even on my recurring by weekly 140 mile drives, it's more than enough. But that's just it. In addition to the performance, I get the peace of mind and flexibility during my drive. Even on days when let's just say... I've enjoyed the night a little too much to charge the car at home... I have enough juice left to use the car the next day or two. I'm not at all recommending that you don't get a 75D! In fact if I did and put the savings into Bitcoins, well you get it... Just saying that because it was within my means, the bigger battery is a better user experience. Just to give an example. I went from Los Angeles to San Diego on memorial day weekend. The 5fwy was a disaster and the car navigation took me the long way on the 15fwy. I had enough to go enjoy the BBQ, drive back and complete an errand without stopping at a Supercharger. With ICE driving family and kids in the car, this was an outstanding convenience! 234 miles round trip, AC on for half the trip and no charging stops. You can't count on that in a 75D. A 100D would do even better! But this is an outlier and even if I was in an old 40kWh car, Superchargers would have enabled me. So my recommendation is to get the battery you can afford, but going with the smaller battery is still an option if that's your decision.

Not Ready for P... | 05/06/2018

I would opt for the larger battery.

160 miles on a single charge in the dead of a NJ/NY winter is a tough call. Most of the time you will make it. However, "most of the time" is not very comforting. And anyone who lives near the NY Metro area knows how any kind of inclimate weather will magnify road congestion (NJ/NY commuters habitually turn the roadways into parking lots with any kind of precipitation). Running the necessary environmentals like the defogger and wipers during bumper to bumper winter weather commutes will definitely reduce your normal range.

Based on actual winter experience for a Grove City, OH to Eastern PA trek...

We attempted to depart from the Grove City Supercharger with a fully charged S85 during a sleeting winter day. Our next stop was the Tridelphia Supercharger, approximately 141 miles away. Due to sleet we had the defogger and wipers going. Approximately 35 miles out a GPS warning pops up and tells us to reduce speed or return to the Grove City Supercharger (Cambridge SC did not exist at the time). We slowed down to 55 MPH and 10 minutes later we get another battery warning advising us to return to the Grove City SC. We wound up turning off the defogger and only turning it back on sparingly. We made it to the Tridelphia SC with only 21 miles to spare.

dr_gko | 05/06/2018

Agree with putting up a charger at work, if at all possible. That way you never need to charge to 100%, change your driving style, stop at a supercharger, or get a bigger battery. You might even get free electricity depending on your setup. I have over 100K miles on my 2013 MS 85. For 3 years I had a 145 mile commute one way, usually once, sometimes twice a week. Sometimes I do a day trip and drive back home the same day. I drive through mountain passes during winter on winter tires with temps as low as 0F. My cruising speed is usually 80mph. I spent $1500 installing a NEMA 14-50 at work and it is well worth it.

dano | 05/06/2018

My suggestion is to use the money to move to PA closer to your office and get back 3 hours per day of your life (and save $$ on gas or electricity).

Jakeuga | 05/06/2018

You'd be just fine with a 75D for that commute in any weather. I've owned one for over 8 months, driven almost 18k miles. My round trip commute is often 130-150 miles. I charge to 90% and have plenty to spare when I return home.

Darthamerica | 05/06/2018

My last charge was on 6/2 to 100%... Have driven ~140 miles, lost ~20 to the vampire and have 81 rated miles left (33%). I have a friend in town and I'm debating going out from LA to Irvine and back. It may seem that the question to ask is what's that 33% look like with a 75D? I'll let you or others do the math. But the answer is really do you need this kind of flexibility? Can you charge at home? How close is the nearest Superchargers? Do the math, answer these questions then pick your car.

Bill_75D | 06/06/2018

My 75D charges to 243 miles at 100%, so 33% is ~ 80 miles.
2016 AP2 with 19,000 miles.

Darthamerica | 06/06/2018


Mine is a 2015 P90D AP1 w/~60,000 miles.

You will see increased degradation after 40K. It will stabilize after 50K. It would be interesting to see your 33% in 2022. Normally not an issue but with a longer commute such as the OPs, it could be an issue for a smaller battery.

dknisely | 06/06/2018

Absolutely no way I would attempt that round trip in winter with my 75. Not enough margin for me... Plus, that assumes you would be charging to 100% every day, which is not advisable.

The only exception would be if there are a couple of SCs along your route as backup.

tes-s | 07/06/2018

"Absolutely no way I would attempt that round trip in winter with my 75. Not enough margin for me... "

"The only exception would be if there are a couple of SCs along your route as backup."

The OP has said there are SCs along the route. The 100D is the right vehicle for this scenario. Sure the 75D would work most of the time. But using it at the limit much of the winter, with little spare range for doing something on the way home/after work is no way to go about life.

The only exception I see would be charging available at work.

porussarah | 07/06/2018

Not possible with 75D.
I have the exact same commute, 164 mile drive daily, 2/3rd of commute on highway at 75 mil/hr. With my 90D, I barely make it with 10 percent battery left during winters.

From personal experience, definitely recommend 100D or model 3 with long range.

redacted | 07/06/2018

WInter just slaughters your range even with preconditioning, and it's worse if it's left out, unplugged all day.

Try to get your workplace to install a charger?

redacted | 07/06/2018

(okay, I know, the charger is in the car. What's a better word?)

Silver2K | 07/06/2018

charging unit?

Silver2K | 07/06/2018

charging station?

SO | 07/06/2018

@dano - it’s possible the cost of living is more. So savings lost.

Darthamerica | 07/06/2018

Also it's not just the cold. You have to consider the elevation change. We don't think about it in an ICE vehicle because it's so easy to find gas. However in an EV with far fewer options, you'll quickly learn that 160 miles as the crow flies can easily consume 200+ miles when terrain, weather, driving style and vampire drain take their toll. Trust me when I say it's not fun to HAVE TO hypermile all the time.
To see if the 75D will work, try EV Trip Planner or EVTO-Tesla to see what kind of energy consumption you'll experience on your route. If you end up with less than 10% after charging to 90%, a 100D is more suitable in my opinion. Remember that in addition to the time penalty, superchargers may not be free for you. Depending on how long you keep the car, the extra money may not be so bad since it will offset battery degradation or maintenance on a longer ranged equivalent ICE vehicle. You can also save a bit with this:

Rocky_H | 07/06/2018

I would tweak/modify what some people are saying about how the 75 won't work. You all are trying to think of making it work without charging. I would basically agree that it would be horrible trying to do that, and it mostly won't work, and it will drive you crazy, and you shouldn't even try that.

But the OP has already said that there are two Superchargers along the route. So for this to even be a realistic possibility is just to expect that during the winter, you WILL need to stop at a Supercharger every single day on either the way in or the way home from work. The 75 will easily work, if you are willing to do that. That is just a different question of whether the savings is worth it to you to put up with that.

TranzNDance | 07/06/2018

I don't know how soon it would become an issue for where you work, but I wouldn't count on workplace charging. We have lots of stations all over campus, but there is still a shortage because there are so many EVs. Some ways they mitigate it is ask that owners with long range vehicles not charge early in the day so that low range vehicles could make sure to get enough charge to go home, waitlists, and EV valets.

Darthamerica | 07/06/2018

@Rocky_H the thing is though, is the SC going to be free in this case? Will it be convenient especially with all the Model 3s showing up?