Real life battery capacity of Tesla battery

Real life battery capacity of Tesla battery

It is said that the base battery will be enough for 215 miles range. Of course this wil be influenced by things like temperature and average speed.

My Outlander PHEV battery always keeps a reserve of 10-15% of its capacity to prevent a complete battery drain. So in real life I'm lucky to get two thirth of the maximum capacity advertised, and I'd better not drive to much on the highway. Can current Tesla owners comment on their experience with the battery capacity of their car.

I would be interested to know how much miles or kilometers you can drive at 70 mi/h (110km/h) with an outside temperature of say 50F/10C before you need to find a place to charge. Are there any statistics available?

jordanrichard | 10 avril 2016

It has been said that Tesla did the same thing for the battery packs.

As for energy usage under the scenario you asked about, someone from the Midwest would be the only ones who could answer that. There are really very few states where you can drive a consistent 70 mph for 265 miles on perfectly level roads. You are really sweating the small stuff. With the ever increasing density of superchargers, range concerns become non existent. I am on the East coast and between NH and FL, the greatest distance between chargers presently is 150 miles. So a M≡ will have no problem.

kaffine | 10 avril 2016

I'm hoping they offer a larger battery pack. I have a 180 mile daily commute. Charging at work is not likely an option, that may change but I'm not counting on it. Most is done between 80 and 85mph. During summer the AC will be on full the entire time as well. Not sure how the 215 mile range would work with it.

jordanrichard | 10 avril 2016

kaffine, slow down.

PBEndo | 10 avril 2016

Tesla has a range calculator here -

scroll close to the bottom of the page. Though the Model≡ is not listed yet, you can see the range of the other models and how speed/temp affects range.

PBEndo | 10 avril 2016

Based on experience with the Model S, a 180 mile round trip at 85 mph in a car only rated at 215 miles is not advisable.

nscheepers | 10 avril 2016

Thanks for the link. This is very helpfull!

Tropopause | 10 avril 2016


Either a bigger battery option will be needed for your needs or a Supercharger stop.

kaffine | 10 avril 2016

Thanks. I was afraid that it would be the case. I just have to hope for a larger battery option or install a Powerwall or 2 in the trunk to recharge at work. Currently the only supercharger I know of is near my house so not much use on the trip. Although in 2 years they should have more superchargers. Not sure work might setup charge stations we have them for company cars but no personal cars are allowed to use them. I don't see that policy changing. May need to find a house closer to work if a larger battery is not offered.

They really need to up the max speed on the calculator. There are some roads with speed limits higher than that. Now I am wondering how fast can you set the speed when using advanced cruise control (AP)?

Ross1 | 10 avril 2016

I am interested if the batteries deteriorate if the car goes into storage for a couple of years.
Like if one sat on the lot, or if you went overseas. Or died

croman | 10 avril 2016

@Ross -- like any advanced LiON battery, it will try to condition itself actively but I believe it should be used occasionally to ensure balance and maintain charge.

Tropopause | 10 avril 2016


I suspect Model 3 will have some battery capacity offerings that'll take its range north of 300 miles. Remember Elon said 215 is the minimum they anticipate so even the entry level Model 3 may have more range.

You will be fine. Tesla will make a Model 3 to suit your needs.

yongliangzhu68 | 11 avril 2016

@Tropopause: I can't see Tesla making a M3 option with a higher range than the flagship MS 90D. Maybe if the rumored MS has an update to a 100KwH pack. But that will still leave it just south of 300.

mos6507 | 11 avril 2016

"I have a 180 mile daily commute."

You might want to dedicate your effort to adjust your lifestyle rather than trying to somehow engineer a viable EV solution to this kind of commute.

Hi_Tech | 11 avril 2016

Just took my 3 year old Model S85 from north-east MA to southern NJ (near Trenton) and back yesterday. Total of about 560 miles round trip, with the temps between 40-50 degrees F. There are plenty of hills in this path and most of this was highway driving @ 70-80mph.

Basically, a very typical/"real life" driving condition.

Notes from this drive:
1. There are roughly 10 SuperCharger stations in this path of about 260 miles (though some are for one way traffic only - i.e. Cranbury, NJ is for I-95 Southbound only). This is more than enough to give you freedom on determining where and when you want to stop even with the smaller battery backs.
2. Though at 100% charged state, my MS shows a range of 250-255miles (after 64k miles driven), I usually start with full charge and go about 200 miles. Then only do about a 80-90% charge at SuperCharger locations, as the final 10-20% take a bit longer (tapers off). That means I'd feel comfortable driving about 150 miles easily.
3. The whole trip took me 3 stops at SC locations. Not once was I remotely close to running out of energy.

This basically boils down to following driving habit: drive for 2-3 hours, then take a half hour break to charge the car and stretch your legs.

Hope this helps. | 11 avril 2016

@Hitesh: valuable advice. Under ideal conditions the Model S attains maximum overall average trip speed by driving about 75 mph between SCs at about 150 mile intervals. Helps to range charge at home before starting. 50-55 mph is possible. That suggests that your trip was accomplished with about 11 hours of driving. M≡ should do about the same. It will burn considerably less energy due to lower rolling friction and air friction but will have a lower energy capacity battery pack.

Anyone who has a 180 mile daily commute might think about moving closer to work or changing jobs. Just a thought.

Bluesday Afternoon | 11 avril 2016

Use EV Trip Planner for a realistic estimate of energy use on a specific route. This tool takes into account terrain while the Tesla range calculator doesn't.

I use it whenever I travel. Just completed a 1200 mile trip around the southern Sierra/Nevada range and it was incredibly accurate. Play with the EV Trip Planner using different scenarios for speed, temp, and weight. Set it up for the Model S60 and see how your 180 mile route is on energy.

jordanrichard | 11 avril 2016

HiteshBhatt, there is a North bound supercharger on the NJ pike, but I forget the name of the rest area. It is North of the South bound one in Cranbury.

Hi_Tech | 11 avril 2016

@JordanRichard - You are right, but I was giving that as an example. I used the northbound to charge yesterday.
I was just saying that those would be counted as 2 stations in my "10" count between southern NJ and MA. | 11 avril 2016

@Ross "I am interested if the batteries deteriorate if the car goes into storage for a couple of years."

Yes, but very little. I expect far less than 1% per year. One note, the main battery will not last 2 years without any charging. It's designed to keep a charge for months as various systems remain powered in the car, but not years without charging. When it gets down to 0 % range, it has a low power mode that protects the main battery for about 2 more months without charging. It's likely the 12V battery will be drained, but the main battery is protected. Once the 12V battery is drained, you'd need a jump start to get the car going again (and possibly a new 12V battery).

Not sure why you'd want buy a car to put it into storage for years. Sounds like a real waste of money! At least you don't have to worry about the gas/oil going bad.

jordanrichard | 11 avril 2016

Oh, ok.

I am in CT and know the superchargers on the East coast very well. On my most recent trip to NC, I only stopped at Greenwich (95 miles) to use the bathroom. As soon as I got back to the car, I unplugged and pressed on. The nav system said I could press on all the way to DE, but knowing/being familiar with Hamilton NJ, I planned on stopping there. As I was traveling down the NJ pike, I noticed the red dot for Cranbury. I had forgotten that they added that location, since I last made a trip South. Stopping there, was much easier than Hamilton because Cranbury is literally right off the pike. Hamilton is a bit off the highway, adding time.

Tropopause | 11 avril 2016


Good point. Maybe the Gigafactory will produce some battery tech advancements by the time Model 3 comes out, that can be enjoyed by the entire Tesla line of vehicles.

PhillyGal | 11 avril 2016

Side note but if you are currently driving 180 miles per day in a gasoline powered car, might a certified pre-owned (CPO) Model S85 save you money over your existing car? Consider gas as well as oil changes.

Ross1 | 11 avril 2016

@ Tesla Tap:
Thanks for that.

"Not sure why you'd want buy a car to put it into storage for years. Sounds like a real waste of money! At least you don't have to worry about the gas/oil going bad."

There looked like a chance to buy unused stock EV here, but seems to have disappeared overnight. It raised the further question, of use it or lose it, for me.

Ross1 | 11 avril 2016

Think about those 'barn finds' of the future too.
I read once about an unused T Model Ford found in a barn. The owner had bought 2, used one and kept the other for when it wore out. Obviously, he wore out first.
Just a nice story to brighten the day. | 11 avril 2016

I knew a guy who bought a small farm in Chester, NJ only to find a Bugatti from the mid-1930s under a dusty tarp. He sold it and retired on the proceeds. The battery was dead, though. :-))

If you want to store some Teslas in a barn, I recommend keeping them plugged in. That way the battery pack should last for a long time, more than a decade for sure. It would probably degrade eventually to a point of limited usefulness but Tesla could pop a new pack in and a new 12 volt battery and the car would electrically be as good as new,

Tropopause | 11 avril 2016

If you store Lithium batteries at the proper charge and in cool temps, they last forever!

Ross1 | 12 avril 2016


FREE ENERGY | 12 avril 2016

527 km after 11 month, 85D

FREE ENERGY | 12 avril 2016

Charging habbit....btw 70 to 80% > a daily maximum level. Longdistance 100% :-)

yongliangzhu68 | 12 avril 2016

Ideally keep your batteries between about 50% and 70% all the time and they will probably give you about 2x as many usable cycles as you would get if you run down to below 10% and do a full charge every time. this is why phone batters only last a couple of years before they usually lose about ½ of their storage capacity.

Tropopause | 12 avril 2016

Also phone batteries are cheap quality lithium battery design for low cost, not long life. Nobody needs a cell phone battery to last 15 years, let alone pay for that high quality battery. Cars are a different story.

Tropopause | 12 avril 2016
jordanrichard | 12 avril 2016

wj, keeping the battery between those 2 SOC points nets you nothing for range. Using a MS 85, you are suggesting that one keep the rated miles between 132 and 185 miles......?

Tesla considers 90% SOC as being "Daily" and anything higher as being for Trips. The battery stays green all the way down to 20% and then turns red when you get down to 10%. Red universally mean bad. So keep the charge between 20% and 90%. There is no harm going above and below these 2 points occasionally.

yongliangzhu68 | 12 avril 2016

@jordanrichard: Not referencing range. I referring to battery cycles (life). Lit-ion battery prefer to reman at a near constant charge in the 60% to 75% range. This forms the fewest crystals and crystals kill Lit-ion capacity. This makes them the most stable and last longer. All Lit-ion's have a limited number of life cycles. A cycle is defined as going from 100% to 0%. So if you go from 75% to 25% two times that equals one cycle. By keeping your battery in the 'sweet' spot more often you will increases the number of cycles it will complete before degrading.

jordanrichard | 12 avril 2016

Oh. A while back there was a formula posted on how to calculate the number of cycles one has used. It was # of miles on the car x .avg kwh (lifetime)/battery size. So using my car that looks like this. 44,460 x .328/85 = 171.56.

Of course if indeed that is the correct way to calculate it, what is still unknown is what is the "life" in cycles, of the battery?

yongliangzhu68 | 12 avril 2016

@ jordanrichard: In general Lit-ion start to significantly show a drop in capacity (15% to 25%) after about 500 to 1000 cycles. If you maintain the battery by keeping it in the 'sweet' spot more often you will get closer to 1000 cycles. If you use it like a phone (Full to Dead) you will only get about 500 cycles. This is why most cell phones have a noticeably shortened battery charge after 2 years.

jordanrichard | 12 avril 2016

Now, does that apply to all make ups of Li-ion batteries? Does it apply to batteries that are thermally controlled? Using your numbers, I could lose 40% capacity and still use the car for road trips. Meaning, I can go down to 150 miles of range and the car/battery will still be usable.

kaffine | 12 avril 2016

Thanks for the suggestions. Even if I move it will still be a 120 mile daily commute. Job is fun and pays is good. If I get a different job it will actually increase my commute by another 60 miles a day. Commute really isn't that bad as most of it is on the highway with little to no traffic.

I have thought about getting a Model S however at current fuel I would only save a few dollars at most a week. Last fill up I got 41.9MPG and was disappointed that it dropped below 42mpg running the AC really hurts fuel mileage. If I could afford a Model S I would get one just not in the budget at this point. I have though of cashing in my 401k but can't justify it just for a car.

mos6507 | 13 avril 2016

"Now, does that apply to all make ups of Li-ion batteries? Does it apply to batteries that are thermally controlled?"

No. There are lots of different lithium chemistries now and some have very long lifespans. Lithium titanate in particular. Tesla is still using lithium-cobalt because it has the highest energy density and is available at the best commodity prices, but it also has the lowest lifespan as well as the thermal runaway risks (hence Tesla's patented BMS meant to minimize these).

jordanrichard | 13 avril 2016

I believe Tesla is now using silicone in their batteries. Perhaps that is just in the 90kWh packs.

kaffine, I am not looking to get you to raid your 401, but there are more reasons to buy a MS than gas savings. There is the larger range, more space, more features, etc.

Also, if everyone bought cars based purely from a financial sense no one would/should buy a new car. Everyone would be driving old cars and fixing them up along the way. Even if you drove a car that got 18 MPG, buying a Prius that gets 50 MPG doesn't make sense because it would take you forever to recoup just the initial cost of the Prius, never mind the maintenance, specialized tires, etc.

jackhub | 13 avril 2016

My "mileage" experience at about 50 degrees F. :

70 mph, 310 watts/mile
60 mph, 245 watts/mile
55 mph, 225 watts/mile

all measured over a distance of 30 miles according to Tesla power consumption display. I haven't run the meter down to near zero and filled up.

jackhub | 13 avril 2016

BTW, since I pay 7.2 cents per KWH, that's $.072 x 310/1000 x 100=
$2.23/100 miles @70 MPH.
or $22.30 per 1,000 miles.

A nice bonus since I bought the car for it's appearance and performance!

jordanrichard | 13 avril 2016

7.2 cents!!!!! I need to move to where you are. I am paying 20 cents.