60 vs. 85

60 vs. 85

Hello from just outside of Boston! We are just beginning our research and consideration of the TMS. Apologies if this topic has been covered. The one thing I am stuck on is whether its worth the extra $ for the larger battery. To yield the largest cost savings we plan to use the TMS as our primary family car and minimize the use of our gas guzzling SUV. Everything we typically drive to is within a 30 mile radius. The overall daily commute would be a 20 mile round trip with the option to charge the car at a free chargepoint station in the garage while at work each day. The longest trips we'd take would be weekend trips to the Cape (about 150 miles round trip with some light driving while there and the option to plug in if needed). Most other trips usually require airline tickets. Aside from the range, I understand the car still moves pretty well with the smaller battery - opinions? If you can't tell, I'm trying to talk myself into thinking the smaller battery would be more than fine... Curious to hear your opinions. Thx

cwmenne | 31 juillet 2013

I got the 60kWh 2 weeks ago and I drive over 20,000 miles a year with many destinations 30-40 miles away and while I don't think there will be many cases where I will be short of range, I am kicking myself a little for not getting the 85kWh battery. Partly for the extra performance and partly for the range. I did get the supercharging option, so the difference would have been $8k, which is a lot of money for 57 additional rated miles that I likely won't use, I would have gotten a little more HP and a little less range anxiety. So far however, I have driven very normal, haven't paid much attention to my usage or economy and I am consistently getting better than EPA range and have not been worried about running out of battery at all yet and I usually only charge to about 164 miles (about 80%) and have gotten down as low as 30 miles remaining. If I were to do it over, I'd get the bigger battery, but I know I'll be completely fine with the 60kWh battery. Hope this helps you decide.

Dripps | 31 juillet 2013

My husband has the 85kWh Model S. Now it's my turn and I was trying to settle for 60kWh because they had a car available at our local store which was perfect in color/options....except it had 60 battery. After walking away and thinking about it I decided to go for the larger battery and factory order. After already experiencing a winter with the Model S I know how much the extreme cold had on our range. Also, for the future, I am thinking about losing a bit of range and how that would limit my ability to have those days when I might need more range before charging.

ir | 31 juillet 2013

I second @cwmenne, buy what you can afford. 60kWh is fine, but an 85kWh offers more flexibility in case you move or change jobs that is farther away.

GeekEV | 31 juillet 2013

Yes, the S60 is no slouch. But it's no P85 either... If the range doesn't matter to you, the question is do you want the performance model? If so, there is no P60 so you have no choice... But, aside for the $8k premium for the performance package (more if you want P+) there's also the $10k premium for the 85kWh battery. You've got to ask yourself is the performance package worth $18k more? For me, the answer was NO. I'd love it if they offered a P60!

eAdopter | 31 juillet 2013

Go for the 60. It's all you'll want or need most of the time. Drive the ICE for longer trips, and to park at the airport.

The Cape is no place to take the Model S. Salt spray and sand are not friendly to any car, and are especially hard on electrical components, paint, and chrome. Older SUVs and beaches are a good match.

Colasec | 31 juillet 2013

I decided on the 60 over the 85 because I'm keeping my ICE. I'm sure I'll regret it from time to time, but I couldn't justify the extra $10K (I didn't get Supercharging) for those three or four times a year. Even if it's five times a year for ten years, that's still >$100 per trip that I'm saving ($200 less gas plus charging, etc).

Tâm | 31 juillet 2013


I am a single guy and my commute is under 10 miles one way. BUT 85kWh is not enough for me. (That's because my driving habit changed, I stopped flying and now enjoy frequent 400 mile/way road trips.)

If you want to replace an ICE, you'd better get a longest range EV you can get, not a lesser one!

How would you figure that 60kWh be your "family" car and an SUV replacement?

If you could afford, (that may mean you have to cut some expenses in your budget) you should get a highest capacity battery. Pay once, then dirt cheap after that for your peace of mind!

S4WRXTTCS | 31 juillet 2013

I've been debating this endlessly. In fact I was so stubborn about it that I kept asking Tesla to let me test drive the 60KW, and eventually they let me.

Pro's of the 60KW
Performance on par with the 85KW (at least what I'd consider to be negligible difference).
It weights less (I believe its around 180 pounds give or take a few).
Is actually more efficient than the 85KW, but not by a whole lot (in terms of averages).
Supercharging locations are selected for the 60's range.
I think we have to accept that the Tesla is kind of a bet on a company. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd prefer to risk as little as possible. At least given my own financials.

Con's of the 60KW
Less powerful when you've weighed it down (the 85KW will handle extra weight better).
From what I can tell the range is consistently about 50miles less than the 85KW in comparable situations.
Supercharging speed is limited to I believe 200 miles/hour which is quite a bit less than the 85KW
At least locally (in the Seattle Area) you can't go roadtrip to Portland, OR or Vancouver BC from a supercharger location. You have to charge in the city because the supercharger location is around 100 miles from the city. The 85KW can do it without charging in the city assuming you've charged for max range, and there isn't some ridiculous head wind.

In my own use case I've decided to go with the 85KW despite the fact that I really had my heart set on a 60KW. 50 miles might not seem like a lot, but it allows that buffer to drive fast or for the unexpected.

The 60KW is darn good though, and I'd get that if I drove less often to Portland.

Tâm | 31 juillet 2013

You need to know what you pay for so I don't think there is a wrong choice.

Mine is standard 85kWh and drove 60kWh for a day and I did feel the difference.

60kWh is not as responsive with accelerate acceleration (got to adjust driving habit when passing cars to change lane.)

I can really hear its high pitched whine each time I accelerate hard. Even with normal driving, the whine is definitely noticeable.

I sold my Prius immediately even though its range was great. I routinely refueled it every 450 miles.

My first choice of an EV is range, not power.

But of course, if I could starve myself a little bit more for the car, I don't mind to pay for both range AND power.

Eknight47 | 1 août 2013

Wow, 9 responses in less than 12 hours. That's awesome, thanks. Keep 'em coming.

@Tam - I think you misunderstood my post. We are currently replacing a family SUV, but we're keeping our OTHER family SUV (yes, we own two pigs) for utility purposes (hauling, beach, ski trips). We won't be trading in our airline tickets for long road trips anytime soon (being single, I am guessing you don't travel with a 3 and 5 year old like we do!?).

My guess is that the test drive will be in an I won't have the oppty to feel what a 60 is like. My wife is a stickler for warranties too...maybe that will push us over the edge to go bigger....

Mathew98 | 1 août 2013

@Eknight47 - I drive 50 round trip on a daily basis with my MS60. I've been driving an MS85 loaner for a couple of days. I noticed a very slight acceleration time for the MS85.

For my daily commuting purpose the MS60 is more power than I need to bolt and pass pretty much every other car on the road. I haven't seen another MS on the road yet and I suspect only the other MS85 will outrun my base model.

If money is no object then go for a fully loaded P85+. Otherwise, an MS60 will suit your purpose just fine. The base MS60 can travel up to 212 on a max range charge. Perhaps add 2k for the super charger option and you're all set to go on trips over 200 miles.

jman | 1 août 2013


I am in the same boat as you and live in central mass.

Looking to use MS for daily driver and road trips. With a 5 year old I am looking forward to road trips. From what I understand the superchargers are to be around 100 miles apart. That appears enough for a 60 to handle, but with my wife's anxiety and NEED for AC on those hot days and the ability to go faster than 65, we might have to go with the 85.
I joined the Tesla Motor Club even though I actually don't have the car yet!!! That site gives good info too.
Thanks for the post !!! | 1 août 2013

Remember that Supercharging is a $2K option on the S60 and included on the S85 so that closes the price delta a bit.


Eknight47 | 1 août 2013

Thanks again for all of the opinions and for sharing your experiences. Again, keep 'em coming.

Changing modes a bit....

@omarsultan - I saw on another post that you financed through USAA. I think that would be our plan as well. Good experience? Good rate?

kafahsholtz | 1 août 2013

I had the same questions. We went with the 85. If you can afford it, get the most range as possible.

We financed through PenFed, 1.49% rate (basically free money). Helped with the upgrade, 0 problems getting the loan.

kafahsholtz | 1 août 2013

I haven't read all the responses. Our main passenger vehicle prior to the MS was a '03 Suburban. While we still have it (we sold the Honda minivan), our gas bill dropped $550 a month. Electric bill went up $80 (Seattle has cheap electricity). The 'burban sits in the garage, now only used for short trips or when we need to take the dogs somewhere.

thranx | 1 août 2013

I don't drive hardly any long trips at all, so a 60 is fine for me. If you don't need the slight extra performance, I'd take the 60 with the supercharging option. Best of both worlds.

For a really long trip currently (i.e., before the sc network is built out), I'd just rent a nice ICE once in a while and save the eight grand.

Tom A | 1 août 2013

As I understand it, the S60 can swap for an 85, so depending on where the swap stations end up, and where you live with respect to them, you can buy the 60, +$2k for the supercharger option, and on that occasion where you might drive a long distance with your MS, then swap for an 85, then swap back when you return. It'll only cost you the swap fee each time...the huge (as yet unspecified) upgrade fee is only when you decide to keep the 85...

pebell | 1 août 2013

@Tom A: I think many, many owners would be very pissed off at Tesla if they put down $10,000 for just those few times a year that they need the additional miles (on the explicit advice from Tesla to buy the battery that fits your current and future needs, and not hope to be able to upgrade later), only to find that a year later, they should've kept those $10,000 in their pockets and could have done a 90 second, $100 swap a few times per year instead..

Not saying it won't happen. But the consensus seems to be that a 60 can only swap for a 60. Perhaps just wishful thinking :-D

RedShift | 1 août 2013


"60's charging speed is limited to 200 mph"

Nope. I saw consistently 226 mph within a few minutes of starting to charge at many superchargers.

In fact, the car had enough charge to get to the next supercharger usually by 35 minutes on my SF-LA round trip.

jonesxander | 1 août 2013

This probably won't help, but I would love to have either one!

jamestily | 1 août 2013

I have been driving my 60kw car for 5 1/2 months and 13500 miles.
I did get supercharger option and have used it several times, it works fine.
For only $8000 more I would get 85 if I had it to do again, because the supercharger will gain 50% charge in 20 minutes, that is 50% of the battery capacity due to controls to protect the battery. So, 60 takes a longer stop for enough miles to reach next supercharger, and has a smaller safety margin. For my normal driving, the 60 is more than enough range as I typically go 80 to 100 miles per day total. Hope this helps.

CoreyM | 1 août 2013

+1 pebell

I would certainly not base my decision on the battery swap demo. It was a proof of concept and while it has many down-the-road possibilities, the reality is that so far, they've only said it would be placed at one location and any sort of rollout would be be based on demand. Anything beyond that is speculation--and my speculation is that they'll focus on building out (and upgrading) the Supercharger network for the next few years before really implementing mass availability of battery swapping (if ever).

I also think it could be a mistake to try and guess at what the price will be to upgrade batteries down the road...Yes, battery prices will go down over time. But know one here truly knows what the price will be for permanent battery swaps and as pebell mentioned, Tesla recommends ordering the battery you anticipate will fit your current and future needs.

What was helpful for me in making my decision to order the 85 kWh over the 60 kWh was better understanding what people are seeing in terms of real range, not just rated range. You can use to find posts on this if you have not already.

@jamestily brings up a very good point, too. At least for me, since my longer trips will involve two toddlers and an impatient wife, the less time spent charging, the smoother it will go. | 1 août 2013


Never had a bad experience with USAA--the whole thing was painless. The original rate they offered was a a qtr point or so higher than what other folks were getting based on forum posts, but a quick phone call resolved that and they matched.


Jimsav1998 | 1 août 2013

I ordered the 60 (3 days ago)in blue with only the tech package. The primary reason was to save some money, but my commute also is only 20 miles round trip. My longer weekend trips are to the mountains and the Tesla wouldn't survive the dirt roads (nor would most sedans- I am keeping my hybrid SUV for those trips).

As I live on Long Island, I often laugh at seeing Ferraris and Lambos stuck in traffic and the same goes for the P85. I assume the Boston area is similar. The 60 still performs better than most ICE alternates, so make this choice wisely.

Finally with the guaranteed value after 3 yrs (by financing through Tesla) I can easily upgrade later.

I was happy that the order to delivery time frame was less than 30 days. Either way, a great choice!

cmaso | 1 août 2013

Very similar to my driving. ~20 miles to and from work... three kids so the typical after work stuff. Went with the 60, installed a 50 amp in my garage and it's usually back to a full charge before I go to bed at night. I also didn't get the twin charger and have not had any issues. You have an SUV if you need something that can take you a long way.

I think you will be just fine with the 60...

BTW, filled up my wife's MDX ($70)... did a little math (I think I did it right...) and determined that I would have to drive 2,039 miles to spend $70.

Colasec | 1 août 2013

>>Finally with the guaranteed value after 3 yrs (by financing through Tesla) I can easily upgrade later.

Ditto for me. I figured I'd buy the 60 now, then save up over these three years and buy a loaded P85 (not +) that will be my "for-keeps" car, with the benefit of everything that Tesla will learn between now and then. I'm crossing my fingers that the Model S will still be in production at that point.

Eknight47 | 5 août 2013

Just ordered my S85. Psyched!!! Thanks for the help, everyone. | 5 août 2013


ThomasK | 5 août 2013

EKnight47, I own the 60, and if I had to do it again, I might do what you did - the extra battery capacity is just good peace of mind, even if you never need it (I haven't). If you have the dough, why not? If you don't want to spend the money the 60 is plenty good, plenty fast. Have fun!

mikefa | 5 août 2013

Go with the 60kWh battery because it is more than you need for daily commute - the $10,000 you save from the 80kWh battery can be used to buy the 125jWh battery with 500 mile range that is already in the works.

Brian H | 6 août 2013

Eknight47 | August 5, 2013
Just ordered my S85. Psyched!!! Thanks for the help, everyone.

Biological definition of the brain: the organ responsible for generating means and justifications for doing and getting what we want.

So everyone here was feeding your brain! ;)

thranx | 6 août 2013

How many times/day do you plan on driving more than 200 miles? Per week? At all? How many long trips without recharging?

ThomasK | 6 août 2013

Good point thranx, and that's the thinking I had when I got my 60; however, there is the counter-argument - how many times do you plan on using your airbags...

jamestily | 6 août 2013

I noticed recently that if you buy the 85 you get $1000 michilin Primacy tires upgrade included. Considering this and the supercharger option, 85 is only $7000 more than the 60 now. I do not know if you are locked in at old prices without the tire upgrade, however.
I think you made a good choice. Hope you will be able to make long trips as often as you want.

thranx | 6 août 2013

"Only" $7000 more.
We're all Tesla enthusiasts here, but we plainly don't all live on the same planet.

Eknight47 | 6 août 2013

I can appreciate that the 60 would have served us just fine, but the extra mileage will be nice when we head to the Cape for the weekend and don't have to worry as much about plugging in. It was actually my wife that said we should just get as much range as possible and like my dad always told me, "just nod your head and say 'yes, dear' and your life will be that much easier". So far decided on:

cyclone 19's
Air Suspension
Fog Lights (wife wanted them?)
3rd Row

Test drive Saturday and hope to finalize and send the order to Cali so long as my wife enjoys the ride!

Colasec | 7 août 2013

Nice config. I suggest that you add the parking sensors. Given that you're getting the tech package, and that the sensors won't be particularly noticeable on a dark-colored car, they seem like a good decision for just $500. Many, many current owners would love to have them. They'll help at resale, and very likely help you avoid some dings (or at least be faster at parallel parking) in the meantime.

I actually don't see any reason not to get them unless either the external dots will really bug you or you really like parking without assistance. :)

f-tal | 7 août 2013

Good luck on your test drive. There are several Boston area owners that are active on TeslaMotorsClub, if you are interested.

Eknight47 | 10 août 2013

Order confirmed! My bride loved it. Swapped to 21" silver turbines (will order standard 19s w/snows) and added parking sensors (thanks for the heads up)

Brian H | 10 août 2013

Did she get to drive it, or were you doing all the hard work?

Eknight47 | 11 août 2013

She drove it most of the test will be "her car", actually!