The Tesla Model S is already the best EV in terms of looks, range and performance. But still, are there ways to get more range?

The Tesla Model S is already the best EV in terms of looks, range and performance. But still, are there ways to get more range?

I was wondering what I consider as the most important variable of an EV. And I have come to the conclusion that that surely has to be the range of an EV. Other people might think differently about this.

For me it is absolutely of less importance that my EV can go from 0 to 100 km/hr within 5 seconds. This would be nice, but not very important. For example, I wouldn't mind to go from 0 to 100 in 12 seconds. So, I wouldn't mind to give up the fantastic performance capabilities of the car, just te get more range in return.

So, therefore I was thinking, would it technically be possible for Tesla Motors to manufacture a Tesla Model S, that will have much less performance capabilities, but on the other hand will have a significant better range (something in the range of 400 miles = 640 km)?

How? Maybe by changing the inverter and the motor (both will have a lower capacity)?

I would like to know what other people think about this. I would appreciate your posts. Thanks and cheers.

jat | March 12, 2013

Since the performance and standard models get the same efficiency when you drive the performance model like a standard one, it doesn't seem like you would gain anything there. If you want to drive 400mi in the Model S, all you have to do is drive 25mph :).

If you want to drive without much acceleration and at low speeds on the interstate, you can do so today without changing out the hardware.

Electron | March 12, 2013

What about a gearing change? Or am I talking throug my hat?

PaceyWhitter | March 12, 2013

Have to agree with Jat. You are coming at the effeciency problem from the prospective of an ICE. ICE's are quite different than EV's.

An ICE running at full throttle has its lowest fuel consumption/unit power produced at the torque peak. The reason that economy (efficiency) maximizes at the torque peak is because this is the place where the engine is inhaling the greatest amount of fuel and air into the cylinder which, when burned, makes the peak amount of cylinder pressure and thus the maximum torque.

What this means is that if you have a large powerful ICE in a car, you are usually wasting the majority of it's power loafing around at low speeds.

With an EV motor there are not these effeciency losses. Placing a smaller electric motor in the MS would only have a deminimus effect on the overall effeciency by decreasing the weight of the car.

The only surefire ways of increasing range would be to decrease the weight of the car (which would mostly involve reducing the weight of the battery pack and is obviously something Tesla and Panasonic are working on), increase teh pack capacity (ditto) or reduce the aerodynamic drag on the car (the MS is already one of the most aerodynamic cars on the road so good luck with that)

Overall more range will come with time and technological improvements in batteries.

dbfish | March 12, 2013

There are a number of things that could be done to the Model S platform to increase range by offering some options. One would be a software option, like the Ford Focus EV and Leaf have, for "Sport" or "Eco" drive modes. This would do as you say, reduce the acceleration rate, completely turn off regen so you can pulse and coast (much more efficient to use your momentum to coast to a stop than to use regen) but those are fairly small tweaks - and you can test them out by acellerating slowly and switching to Neutral to coast to stops. Wayne Gerdes could probably get 500 miles doing that at 30mph (he already made the offer to Elon for a hypermile road trip but never heard back, understandably

The largest power draw by far is pushing the vehicle through the air, and not much can be done to a production car to mod for better aerodynamics-- it already has a pretty good drag coefficient, unless you want to put a giant air dam on the rear end like that guy did with his Civic ( They could offer wheels that had better aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires, but with all that combined you may get 10-20 more miles on a charge, not 100 or 150 like you are asking.

Captain_Zap | March 12, 2013


Tesla already added a selectable mode to extend its range by running the car more efficiently and limiting the heating system via firmware update.

Benz | March 12, 2013

OK, I get the picture.

Thanks for the info.

So, the Tesla Model S does not have a "Eco" drive mode yet?
Can they realise that with a software update?

gregv64 | March 12, 2013

"There are a number of things that could be done to the Model S platform to increase range by offering some options. One would be a software option, like the Ford Focus EV and Leaf have, for "Sport" or "Eco" drive modes. This would do as you say, reduce the acceleration rate, completely turn off regen so you can pulse and coast (much more efficient to use your momentum to coast to a stop than to use regen) but those are fairly small tweaks - and you can test them out by acellerating slowly and switching to Neutral to coast to stops."

You can do more than "test that out". The point is you don't need to have "modes" to do that, one is free to drive that way at any time to increase range. That's the beauty of an electric car. You can drive for range or drive for performance, and freely switch driving styles at any instant. If you want to coast you can do that already (you don't need to switch to neutral, just hold the accelerator at the point where it shows 0 kW). Nobody is forcing you to go 0-60 in < 6 seconds, but I don't see the point in the car preventing me if I want to.

petero | March 12, 2013

As Popeye use to say (still does) - “I am, what I am.” “The MS is, what it is.” Why do you wish to compromise performance for range? Isn’t it enough that the MS has significant range advantage over every other EV, looks to kill, AND performance to dazzle? Enjoy what you have.

P.S. I suppose you could have friends and passengers get out and push you!

Brian H | March 12, 2013

Need a way to charge the air positive in front of the car, then attract it to a negatively charged rear, thereby pushing the car.

Or maybe not. ;)

jat | March 12, 2013

@Benz - there is already a range setting, which affects climate control (@Captain_Zap seems to imply it affects more than that, but I haven't seen any other changes).

Jolinar | March 12, 2013

Last time when I was checking Tesla patents I've found several patents considering lithium-air and metal-air battery combined with standard battery for better performance. That would teoretically increase range, but unfortunatelly decrease performance and prolong charging times significantly :-(

Hans (Amsterdam) | March 12, 2013

Yes, changing the motor can have an impact on range.

Tesla uses an extremely strong 3 phase induction type motor which will give high efficiency at medium /high revs and medium/high output. Unfortunately at lower revs and low output (i.e. driving 30-60 mph) induction motors will give efficiencies of as low as 60-80%. I calculated a motor efficiency of 72% driving at 55 mph (based on 300 miles range). Inverter 90%, mechanical efficiency 90%.

Replacing the Tesla motor for a permanent magnet motor with lower output ( i.e. Nissan Leaf, iMiev) will give higher efficiencies (80-90%) over a wider range of revs and output and will result in more range ( possibly 10%-15%).

But then you would not have the performance.

Captain_Zap | March 12, 2013

@jat & Benz

The firmware release notes that are displayed in my car now mention that the climate control and seat heaters are impacted by driving in "Range Mode".

I've been under the impression that throttle response was also impacted. I may have gotten that impression since "improved throttle response" was mentioned elsewhere in the firmware release notes, but not specifically under the "Range Mode" subheading.

jat | March 12, 2013

@Captain_Zap - I think the improved throttle response is unrelated.

jat | March 12, 2013

@Hans - it isn't clear the permanent magnet motors are more efficient. Given the weight difference between the Model S and the LEAF, the Tesla motor is incredibly efficient -- the EPA rated ranges are just under 300Wh/mi for the LEAF and 308Wh/mi for the Model S.

Theoretically, the AC induction motor is less efficient when operating at high slip angles, which happens at high speed and high load, but that isn't likely to make much difference when driving like the LEAF is capable of driving. | March 12, 2013

@gregv64 "much more efficient to use your momentum to coast to a stop than to use regen".

Am I missing something? With neutral, you fail to capture any kinetic energy as you slow, with regen, you capture some of it and store it in the battery increasing your range. Switching to neutral might help in a ICE, but doesn't make any sense for any EV that has regen.

DouglasR | March 12, 2013

Coasting to every stop would really change your driving. Your average speed in the city would be about 5-10 mph. The reason we have brakes is that we don't want to drive that way, and if we would use brakes, it would be more efficient to use regen.

Benz | March 12, 2013

@ Hans (Amsterdam)

What if we would use a less strong 3 phase induction type motor (instead of the permanent magnet motor)?

alcassfast | March 12, 2013

In Saskatoon in the winter they drive 10 to 15 mph and coast to a stop.

Flaninacupboard | March 13, 2013

Fill the frunk with batteries. It's 150 litres. I estimate the slab below the car to be 2800x1600x150mm, a volume of 672 litres. If you can get 85kwh in 672 litres you can get 18.9kwh in 150 litres. That's an EPA of about 320 miles. If you want to leave the frunk as the only storage and fill the boot with batteries, it is 745 litres, so you could fit 94kwh in the boot. With 179kwh of battery the EPA range should push 500 miles [the car is starting to get heavy...]. Battery upgrade from 60kwh to 85kwh is $10k, if the pricing stayed the same you'd pay an extra ~$40k for this upgrade.

A proper boat tail and sharp nose, with droppable splitters to reduce the clearance to a couple of millimetres would help reduce drag significantly. Cover the rear wheels.

Benz | March 13, 2013

Putting extra batteries in the car is not an option, as it makes the car heavier.

Benz | March 13, 2013

But David Noland has some interesting comments to make about (his) Tesla Model S. Specially in this regard, his comments about regenerative breaking is interesting.

Here is the link:

richarddeanjaco... | March 24, 2014

What about Tesla using safe clean and green cold fusion or LENR (low energy nuclear reaction) or electron capture breakthrough technology for 'on-board' electrical power generation (no need for power stations) .. -R

Conversation started today

Richard Dean Jacob

Richard Dean Jacob


Gov. Martinez .. I'm seeing that some still aren't fully understanding this .. what's before us, and the opportunity that exists for the State of New Mexico, is the chance to tap into a totally revolutionary technological change from TM's lithium-ion batteries to a LENR/electron-capture device that generates electrical power 'on-board' so you don't have to park your Tesla car outside Whole Foods to charge it up .. LENR represents one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time - VIRTUALLY FREE ENERGY .. what Tesla may do is go ahead and set up 'partial plans' for lithium-ion battery manufacturing (as things are now probably in Texas) and create a major Phase Two working plan with LENR Cars SA .. as revealed below Tesla & Co. is now aware of LENR Cars .. (Gov. Perry supports direct manufacturer Tesla sales despite the state not currently allowing it and he is close to Tesla's C-officers) .. as things stand New Mexico, I believe, is going to lose out .. I also believe that it is ONLY by our very quickly creating a solid relationship with LENR Cars through myself and Dr Storms and forming workable groundwork (a potential LENR industry in NM) right now that the new Tesla plant will be captured .. we must get on and move this .. please let's further this discussion .. -Richard

Dear Mr Jacob,

Thank you for your interest in our LENR activity. I am in contact with Tesla Motors. Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, is fully aware of LENR and he is following the recent progresses with interest. JB Strubel, Tesla's CTO, is also aware of our developments. Besides LENR Cars we have founded LENR Invest SA, a holding based in Switzerland dedicated to investment in LENR technology.

However, with the new FATCA regulations, it is complex to have investments from US citizens in this holding. Therefore we are in the process of forming LENR Invest LLC. The company will be based in Michigan, USA. LENR Invest LLC will manage a VC fund dedicated to investment in companies developing LENR and in companies holding LENR patents. We have received proposals for investment from several US based LENR companies. If you are interested in investing money in LENR technology, I would suggest that you wait until we have completed the forming of LENR Invest LLC and of the Fund. We expect to be ready in about two weeks. In the mean time, you can also contact my US partners in LENR Invest LLC and LENR Invest SA: - Micheal Halem: - Tyler van Houwelingen:

You will find more details on them here:

Best regards, Nicolas Chauvin

Nicolas Chauvin CEO LENR Cars SA Chemin des Champs-Courbes 1 1024 Ecublens, Switzerland

Direct: +41 21 558 5061 Mobile: +41 76 389 1804 Web:


sent to Jon Barela/NM Economic Development Secretary: I'm working a funding base and pool for LENR investment in our state pronto .. with just a little more work this will show Tesla that NM has even more to offer than competitive financial incentives .. you are right: Tesla is an amazing, forward-looking company .. and as my above reveals they are now aware of late-breaking LENR developments that has stupendous implications for them and the entire auto industry ('on-board' electrical power generation) .. so while what I'm doing can be the 'ultimate trump card' in landing Tesla here it can, at the same, time create one of the nation's and world's foremost LENR technology corridors to commercially capitalize upon LENR as a whole .. (remember LENR is radiation free, has no toxic by-products, and is inexhaustible - it can produce more energy on a tabletop than a wind farm or solar/PV array) .. I can set you up to personally speak with LENR authority Dr Edmund Storms (formerly of LANL), and I'm open to advancing further details .. please note this site as well as my PDF .. thank you .. -Richard | March 24, 2014

@richarddeanjaco - Great if LERN (Cold Fusion) happens, but it looks like it may be quite away from commercialization. I'm sure if it's ever proven to be a viable source of electricity, all the electric car companies will jump all over it.

MitchP85D | March 24, 2014

In Houston, you most certainly would not want to compromise performance. So often when driving in the left lane and you need to get over to the right, some so-'n-so in the right lane will speed up to prevent you from getting over. Just one little punch of the Tesla accelerator pedal solves that problem! The MS60 is plenty. The P85 is overkill!

Brian H | March 24, 2014

It's BS. Have you seen the prototype 1 MW plant? It's the size of a large warehouse, full of racks of the supposed cold fusors. A MW isn't enough for a small neighborhood, much less a factory. And no one has their hands on a real unit to disassemble and do good before&after chemistry.

Fusion my flatulent fanny.

Roamer@AZ USA | March 24, 2014

ICE Think dies slowly. With an ICE you get power by increasing the cubic inches of motor displacement. So if you have a 400 cubic inch motor it is sucking 400 cubic inches of air every other revolution of the motor. Even when you don't need the power the motor is sized for power. If you don't increase the fuel supply you use a little less fuel but you are still pumping a lot of engine mechanical inefficiently.

With an electric motor a larger motor is not significantly less efficient when it is delivering less power. Power is produced when needed by pushing more amps to the motor.

So with electric motor size is some what irrelevant. You can run a 400 horse motor like a 100 horse by just sending it fewer amps. With a 400 cubic inch motor you are moving air thru the motor at all times and lose efficiency under low power needs. That's the reason a super light dodge viper with a big motor gets crap mileage no matter how carefully you drive it. Lots of cubic inches pumping wether you need them or not.

Turning a Tesla into a gutless small cubic inch type economy car would have almost no impact on range. It would just take longer to drive the range.

Brian H | March 25, 2014

whether. A wether is a goat.

In an EV, you get more range with more power or fewer losses, most of which are air resistance. Until it gets a more efficient battery, TM has done a fine job of optimizing both.