40 kWh reservationists.....we're out here!!

40 kWh reservationists.....we're out here!!

After reading several weeks of Model S threads, I just wanted to voice that I'm probably one of the many silent "foot soldiers" out there who are ready, willing, and able to plunk down our dough for the "low" end 40 kWh battery (with a minimum of options). I see many comments about I'm a "sig this" and "performance that", and "red exterior", and "tech package", and "have been on the waiting list for 2 years with a low reservation number", etc., etc. That's all terrific. I wish I could count myself among you. But we 40 kWh'ers are out there too; waiting at the bottom of the barrel until the winter of 2013-14 or longer, if necessary, for our awesome Model S (at least I am). Actually I'm just funnin'. This forum is fantastic and I love reading everyone's comments and have gotten a lot of great information (this is my 1st posting), but I also wanted to add the "worker's voice" that we're out here too and "we are with you my sig performance brothers/sisters"!! Dan P#6687 (and damn proud of it).

Mycroft | 3 février 2012

Welcome Dan! I've said it before, if you only spend $50k on the base 40kWh Model S, you're gonna have a very fine commuter car!

You're still going to have a ton of storage space, no need to stop at a gas station, nearly twice the range of a Leaf, better acceleration than a Leaf, a very nice stereo system with HD radio, and a very stunning looking car!

stephen.kamichik | 3 février 2012

I am also a (most probably) a 40 kWh reservationist. The only option that I am ordering is the leather interior (for the leather, colour choice, heated seats and lumbar support).

I am considering the parcel shelf. I want to see exactly what my $250 will get me because the parcel shelf comes standard in all other cars.

I am considering the 60 kWh battery for technical reasons only.

The model S will cost me more than double what I have ever spent on a car. My last new car was a 1994 VW Jetta.

brianman | 3 février 2012

"because the parcel shelf comes standard in all other cars"

Wasn't standard in my ICE-UV.

Also wasn't standard in my convertible. ;)

Mycroft | 3 février 2012

Stephen, frankly, I wouldn't buy the parcel cover. If you have anything that you don't want people to see, you can always store it in the frunk.

I'm getting the cover with my Sig, but if history is any guide, I'll be removing it and stashing it somewhere in the garage like I've done with the last three cars. We frequently drop the back seats to transport stuff and the parcel cover was just in the way.

I would recommend upgrading to the 60kWh. For range, speed of charging, and improved acceleration, it's the best upgrade for the car. But if you never intend driving the car very far, then skip the $10k upgrade.

clea | 3 février 2012

what i usually carry that i want hidden are my golf clubs. I am hoping that they fit nicely in the frunk but if not then i may consider getting the shelf other than that i see no reason to get it.

Mycroft | 3 février 2012

Ah, good point clea! Whether the clubs fit in the frunk or not probably depends on the radius of your bag. Once the production RC models are in the stores, you'll be able to measure and know whether you'll need the cover or not.

Of course, if you ever carry two sets of clubs, then you'll have to buy the cover.

clea | 3 février 2012

i was thinking that they might fit into the small insert section of the frunk (possibly with the driver removed) but will check all of that out when we do the test drive (i will go with clubs in tow ;~). as for carrying more that one set; that is when i will be going with a group and it will only be moving from the house(s) to the course so needing to hide the clubs should not be an issue.

stephen.kamichik | 3 février 2012

Mycroft....Good point about the frunk. You may have just saved me $250. Your points about the 60 kWh battery are why I am considering it. In addition, when the 40kWh battery pack degrades 30% it would not satisfy my needs. When the 60kWh battery pack degrades 30% my needs are still satisfied.

mwu | 3 février 2012

I will be getting the Model S that I can afford and (the important part) get my wife's buy-in on when they call my #. That'll be anywhere from the 40kWh battery all the way up to the 85kWh Performance which is what I really want, but have to convince the wife of. I'm writing some mobile apps on the side to try to help the situation.

harryjsommer | 3 février 2012

I started out wanting the 40kwh battery too. But in reading the threads, I'm a bit afraid that the practical range with a full blast of ac (I live in south Florida) at highway speeds and a bit of degradation only gets me to about 80 miles. That's tight even for a commuter car. Using the same math on the 60kwh gets me 115 miles which is more than I ever use. Also will help with resale value.

The rest of the options (tech package, performance, etc.) are nice toys. Something to consider if you have lots of extra cash, but on a practical basis I don't think matter too much. Of course, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

gjunky | 3 février 2012

Welcome Dan. A great topic starter!

I am in for a 40Kwh version as well for the simple reason it is all I can afford and as mentioned before, will already be about twice as much as I have spent on a car until now.

@Mycroft: I'll pay you $50+shipping for your parcel cover :)

@harryjsommer: I am in Arizona and the high speed freeway driving with the AC on 11 makes me worried too. This is why I cancelled my Leaf reservation. The estimated 65-70 mile range in those conditions for the leaf just didn't work for me. I have high hopes the Model S will make it to 100 miles.

As to the use of the 40Kwh version; It will cover 330 days of my needs. I am still very unhappy about not having the Supercharger option (mentioned on other treads already).
There will be no 60Kwh or 85Kwh version anywhere in my future as they are simply to expensive (for me). The lack of supercharging might kill my final purchase decision.

brianman | 3 février 2012

@clea - "possibly with the driver removed"
The car is a lot less fun with the driver removed. ;)

clea | 3 février 2012

;~) you are right and i guess we are getting a bit OT because a driverless discussion should be in the tech package thread ...

ThomasN | 3 février 2012


I measured the frunk at the oct event, with this in mind. 42 in if I remember correctly. If you take out the drivers ( maybe fairway woods too) and lay them on top diagonally, you might get two bags in the frunk. A Sunday bag of wedges would be no problem.

clea | 3 février 2012

perfect, thanks.

JoeFee | 3 février 2012

Dear Dan:

I started out as a 40 kWh guy and after 2 1/2 years I am now on the Sig wait list ….

Yours Truly,

Joe (ATA -- Admitted Tesla Addict)

Leofingal | 3 février 2012

I'm a vocal 40kWh advocate, but I live in an area where 99% of my needs are met by this range, and can use my wife's car for the other 1%.

Brian H | 4 février 2012

For your financial calcs, visit, and figure your 5 & 10-yr costs. You might be surprised at how it nets out.

Brian H | 4 février 2012

P.S. Dan;
"reservationists" sure sounds funny. Unless you're Native Indian. Maybe "reservers"?

Robert.Boston | 4 février 2012

Fashionable Tesla prospect: "reservationista"
Militant Tesla prospect: "reservist"
Native American Tesla prospect: "reservation reserver"
Committed Tesla prospect: "no-reservations reserver"

vouteb | 4 février 2012

Does anybody have a guess what full AC and zippy driving does to the range?

Kallisman | 4 février 2012

Reduces it.

Leofingal | 4 février 2012

@vouteb - short answer: it depends on the speed and the cooling load.

These are going to be roughly a fixed power draw, so at low speeds it will impact the range more than at higher speeds. This is due to the draw being fixed energy use per unit of time, whereas the power usage per mile is a function of speed, not time. Also, the power draw will probably depend on the cooling load, which should be a function of the solar gain and outside temperature. The cabin is not overly large, so I would think the cooling system should be relatively low power draw compared to the vehicle propulsion.

How big an A/C unit would be required to cool the cabin of the Model S? Any experts?

ddruz | 4 février 2012

@Dan P
I'm with you for the 40KWH battery and basic configuration. It will cover all my driving with room to spare even as the battery degrades over time.

For what it's worth: I currently drive a Leaf which has the following characteristics. Full AC reduces driving range 10 - 15%. Zippy driving is harder to quantify but might equate to the difference between Drive gear (super zippy!) and Eco gear (which most people probably use most of the time and is plenty fast). Drive gear drops your range about 10%. So a Leaf in zippy Drive gear with AC on might lose 20 - 25% range from its baseline ideal 100 miles per charge.

Also to be considered is the amount of range you lose from increased speed and going up hills. The speed is very important because the wind resistance goes up approximately as the square of the velocity. You can control the speed on your route but not the hills. All in all I estimate you could lose about 30% of your range in a Leaf if you don't pay much attention to what you are doing. That's possibly where they come up with 70 miles per charge for the average driver. Personally, I get much more than that.

I have done a 92 mile commute a couple times with over 8 miles to spare driving sensibly at the speed limit, half of my trip on highways, going over four 1000 foot mountains, without AC. Based on this experience with the Leaf's 24 KWH battery I have no doubt the Model S will get 160 miles per charge with a 40 KWH battery driving sensibly. Driving without thinking might bring that down to about 110 miles per charge if the Leaf is a valid reference. If a fair amount of your driving is less than 55 mph, my Leaf experience suggests that the 40 KWH Model S will go well OVER 160 miles per charge.

It would be interesting if some Roaster owners would share their range experiences. That might be a good topic for another thread if it has not already been done.

vouteb | 4 février 2012
Thanks, that is what I was looking for(even from a Leaf driver!)

Kallisman: Take a hike with your 40kWh battery!

petero | 4 février 2012

I too planned on a 40Kwh battery, however, I am leaning towards the 60Kwh. My friend, Mycroft, pointed out with 80% charging and driving at 70-75 mph, using AC, etc. the “real” range of the 40Kwh is 110 miles (+ -). Consider future battery degradation of perhaps 20%. The '40' fulfills most of my needs now, but with 20% less available range over the years I have concerns.

Perhaps the deciding factor for me will be “WHEN.” I am in the middle of the P reservations and if a '60' delivery date is considerably sooner than a 40Kwh it may be the final push I need. In the mean time, I shall keep on buying those Lotto tickets...

David70 | 4 février 2012


Although I've never driven an electric I agree with you wholeheartedly.

People have complained about not being able to get the advertised mileage with a Prius, but sensible driving makes it easy to do so. Of course, on something as efficient as an electric, things like wind conditions can make a big difference.

jhw1009 | 4 février 2012

I am a 40KW holder as well and this is the most expensive car I'll ever purchase since cars depreciate quite a bit over the years unlike a house, in most cases. I am thinking of upgrade to 60KW due to the better range and the supercharging capability although TSLA is saying the 60KW supercharging is TBD so I'm not sure what it means? At any rate, my final decision to purchase the Model S relies on how good the interior design (center console and all) is if I need to spend that kind of money.

Brian H | 4 février 2012

As I suggested to Dan, check out TeslaRumors. Their TCO calcs include depreciation.

Heh; judging from comments by many Roadster owners, your appreciation for the car will more than offset the depreciation.

breading | 4 février 2012


I am a 40 kWh reserver as well. 110-160 miles will more than meet my daily needs of a 30 mile commute along with short trips in and around town. We are a two car family and our Highlander Hybrid will be used for longer trips. It seems from reading other threads the Highlander Hybrid might be a relatively common second vehicle for Model S reservation holders.

I also considered the Volt and the Leaf and while they would both meet my commuting needs they would not meet my 'wants.'

Beaker | 4 février 2012

@Breading, We also will have out Highlander Hybrid as our second car, however my wife's got range anxiety and wants the big battery, so the Highlander will be the winter long distance driver (4wd), and the S will wind up as the go just about everywhere vehicle.

sunnysailor | 5 février 2012



The 40 kWh car is a great car!

I started out with the thought that I would get the 40 kWh. After reviewing and figuring 5 & 10-yr costs, longer driving range, potential resale value, and having the ability use the commercial fast charging stations I am now leaning towards the 60 kWh battery. That said, I have not made a final decision yet. The most I have spent on a car is 24K.

I do firmly think that Tesla should have the fast charging option for the 40kWh cars. By not allowing supercharging it is forcing people to the larger batter pack--which is no doubt better for Tesla's margins and at this stage of their business model the company does need the margins. That said, there is a risk of losing a pool of potential buyers.

Mycroft | 5 février 2012

I truly believe the reason they're disallowing the supercharging for the 40kWh packs is not due to low margins.

What if, due to the reduced number of battery cells, it would damage the pack to use the supercharger?

Then, of course, you say, "all they need to do is dial down the delivery from the supercharger to the point that it would be safe to use".

If, after dialing it down, the amperage is the same as the HPC, then it would be wasteful to use the supercharger when an HPC can do the job.

Perhaps they will be installing HPCs at every supercharger location to take care of the 40kWh packs.

Sudre_ | 5 février 2012

I am looking at the 60kWh battery simply because it has the supercharging option. The 85Kwh is just too much money for what you are getting and the extra money by not buying it could be used to fly to long distance locations which is mostly what I do now anyway.

I will also be considering the extra cost that will go into the supercharging options for the 60kWh battery. If it is more than $1000 I will downgrade to the 40kWh battery. An extra cost of $1000 to make two trips a year would be too costly. I could rent a car for that extra dough each time for the next 10 years and still come out ahead.

I have one 80 miles trip (one way)I make a few times a year and I can charge at the destination but I don't want to risk getting there and not having power since it's a country location. I imagine once I get the car and start driving it the range anxiety will go away.

In short I am getting the 60kWh battery but leaning towards the 40kWh battery. I can afford the 85kWh battery but I didn't get to that kind of financial stability by spending my money on things that were technically not worth the cost for me.

EdG | 5 février 2012

My guess is that the smaller battery pack has fewer "laptop battery" components and therefore less ability to absorb increased overall current, so no fast charging is available. If the top speed per "laptop battery" is achieved in the smaller battery option and the larger battery option, then the option with more "laptop batteries" can handle higher total current; there are more cells to charge, and each is limited in charge speed.

So you have to charge at the lower speed with the 40kWh battery. Not really a big deal unless you want to charge while you're on the road and you are developing range anxiety. Solutions include having an alternative vehicle for longer trips and opting for the bigger pack.

I'm going to spend a bundle because I want to have the freedom to drive 3 hours away and return home on a single charge, done at home. I'd rather be showing off to those distant visitees than to need to plug in while I'm visiting. Save yourself enough to go on two or more nice vacations and use a different car for the long trips!

Robert.Boston | 5 février 2012

What's great about Tesla's approach is that each of us has a good range of options on range, and that that decision is largely independent of anything else in the car.* The 40kWh is a great car, and it can be configured to be almost identical to a much more costly 85kWh car. For my personal driving needs, the 85kWh is the clear winner, but ten years ago my driving patterns were such that a 40kWh would have been more than adequate. Yea, choice!

*Admittedly, the smaller packs yield slightly lower acceleration, but that follows directly from cell count and chemistry. And then there's the supercharging issue, which may also follow directly from cell count and chemistry. Still, it's not like you need to upgrade the battery to buy the pano roof or leather. | 6 février 2012

Hi Dan. Great post. My initial thought too was to go for the 40kWh battery. In fact, the calculations I made for were what helped me ultimately get there. I normally don't travel more than 20-40 miles in a day, but there are occasions where I need to travel 100-120 miles. Since I don't normally need the extra range, I felt like I was buying extra energy that I'll end up hauling around that in turn will ultimately depreciate. My thinking has always been that my wife will gladly swap our her Infinity M35 with me for the days I need a greater range while she drives my Tesla Model S; and while we're on long range vacations, we'll leave the Model S at home. But frankly, I'm on the fence. I think too, that as battery technology evolves, I'll feel a lot better swapping out a 160 mile battery for something that offers better range than I will swapping out a 230 mile battery that cost me an additional $10k. However, I'll make my final decision when I am contacted. For now Dan, I'm right there with you.

Max Mindel

americantoys | 6 février 2012

I haven't had a chance to get back to this posting until now and I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your comments. Just a little more information. I work at home so I have no commute. I've also mapped out the typical visits I make to relatives, toy auctions (I sell antique toys), Sunday drives, etc. using radii of 60, 70, and 80 miles. This takes into consideration the return trip without having to recharge. These destinations are all within 75 miles from my home. I've made a couple of long distance trips to Indiana, Pittsburgh, upstate NY and other places to attend toy auctions. I'd love to use my own car, but it's a sacrifice I'll gladly make. Any acute emergency situation beyond 75 miles I can use my wife's car, or rent a car.

I currently drive a 2009 Porsche Boxster. In the 2+ years I've owned it I've put on only 15,500+ miles on it which is really minimal. I absolutely love the car, but I can only afford one at a time and have decided that the Tesla Model S is the wave of the future. Besides I'm a "technophile" at heart. I'm also sticking away some extra dough so maybe I can afford to upgrade, but at least I won't have to count on it.

The other thing is I plan on leasing the car. I haven't owned a vehicle in 25 years. I just prefer to get a new car every couple years and I write it off on my business. I'm not sure what the residual or rate will be, or even if it makes sense with this type of car, nor what effect this will mean with the $7500 tax incentive, but right now it's what I have in mind. I also don't know if that means I'll have to start all over and wait in line again for the next Tesla. But I'm not worried. I figure that between reading your kind comments and my sales guy I'm sure I'll have it straightened out in my mind before my number comes up.

I do have to say though that my wife was a wee bit surprised when I told her that I put a $5000 deposit down on car I've never seen! That took some explaining. However I was able to rationalize the whole thing based on everyone's forum comments and the Tesla website information.

So I'll be watching and reading everything I can. Including the upcoming unveiling of the Model X. It's all so exciting I sort of feel like the guys who bought cars in the early 1900's when there were no roadways or gas stations. It's the pioneer feeling that I love! Many thanks again.....Dan

Robert.Boston | 6 février 2012

@americantoys: You should be aware that Tesla has stated that it has no plans to offer a lease program at this time in the US. That may have changed by the time you take delivery in early 2013; in the alternative, you can find a private leasing company to manage the lease (although there are some potential snags with the $7500 tax credit that would need to get worked out).

dondennis | 6 février 2012

Terriffic thread.

I too see myself as one of the "foot soldiers" in the movement towards EV's; and planned on the 40KWh battery (not *too* much of a financial strech). However, as others have pointed out, the TBD option to supercharge is a very enticing reason to scrimp together the funds for the 60KWh battery.

Specifically, in my case, I think the battery warrantee is the deciding factor causing me to rethink 40 vs 60. The car I'm replacing with the S is now 8 years old with 124,000 miles; so given my driving habits I think I'd better go for the mid-pack.

GoTeslaChicago | 6 février 2012

Regarding the lack of supercharging for the 40 kWh battery I think nearly everyone is overlooking the most obvious reason for leaving out the supercharging. It's not the battery chemistry, nor Tesla wanting a higher profit per car.

It's that it won't be practical for trips.

Imagine a 40 kWh battery receiving a 60 % charge (is that the right number?) in 30 minutes. For the sake of argument, 60 % of 160 miles is 96 miles, at 55 mph. Driving at highway speeds of 70 to 80 mph you might only get 75-80 miles between charges. Would it be practical to make a long trip if you had to stop and recharge every 75 miles? What if the supercharging stations are to be placed every 125 miles apart?

The Tesla Model S with a 40 KWh battery will be a fantastic car, just not for trips.

For myself, I originally envisioned getting the 40 KWh battery, because of cost, but will probably get the 85 KWh for among other reasons the ability to make the 200 mile roundtrip to visit my mom without the need for a charging stop, or overnight stay.

petero | 7 février 2012

Ddruz. An interesting and informative response. When you recharge, do you recharge your Leaf to the 80 or 100% level? What does Nissan recommend?


ddruz | 7 février 2012

Nissan says the Leaf's battery life will be extended if it is usually recharged to the 80% level but does not actively discourage recharging to 100%. In fact the info about 80% charge extending battery life is buried in the instruction manual and is not greatly emphasized. In my personal case I generally charge to the 80% except when I anticipate a longer commute or possible side errands the next day. Then I charge to 100% the night before.

In my 40 KWH model S I anticipate I'll almost never need to charge to 100% given my driving requirements. The Leaf has been a good trainer for learning to maximize miles per charge when needed. Once I went over 100 miles per charge including four sea level to 1000 foot peaks and back en route, no AC, so I'm very confident I will be able to get at least 160 miles per charge in the model S 40 KWH whenever I want to. I am not a hyper-miler either, just a common sense driver. Hope this was helpful.

pbrulott | 7 février 2012

I also reserved a TMS having the 40KWh in mind. The rationale was to use it as a second car (around 15,000 km per year). However, with the lack of supercharging and the many threads I read talking about 80% charging, battery degradation, the zippy driving, and accessories (heating, A/C) impact on range I decided to build a business case for the 60KWh.

Over 10 years, with gas and electricity increasing 3% a year, 20 000 km I ended up with a $2K discounted cash flow difference between the two options. TMS160 being a winner.

It doesn't take into account range anxiety, better acceleration, supercharger access and better warranty of the TMS 230.

Still puzzled. I have 10 months to think about it. By that time, the first Sig reservation holders will have provided feedback on the overall performance of the battery and the car.

petero | 7 février 2012

ddruz. Thank you for your response... very interesting.

Tom A | 16 février 2012

@RB on 2/4: hilarious!

For anyone living in a major metropolitan area (like DC in my case, with Baltimore, Annapolis and various thriving burbs all around), the 40kWh pack should do just fine, even in summer with AC running and the inevitable traffic jams.

160 miles @ 55mph is really good, considering that drag starts becoming huge once you get up over 35-40mph.

I've been able to beat EPA numbers by over 10% for an automatic (1996 Dodge Intrepid), a manual (2004 Scion xA) and a hybrid (2010 Mariner hybrid). I like to think that I could get as much as 180 miles or more on a 40kWh Model S in a single charge, if I needed to, in urban and suburban driving with 25% or less of the total travel being at highway speeds and without tapping any emergency reserve features.

I'd have to do the math and check out, but the up-front costs are daunting (the $7,500 is a tax credit, not a rebate, so you are still paying sales tax on the sale price plus financing more). The Model S is pushing me, even the 40kWh pack with only a few efficiency upgrades ($4,500 for aero wheels, leather (for light color, tan, and heated seats) and twin chargers). I would have to finance about $50k, and that makes for some steep monthly payments, even with my excellent credit.

So, I have no reservation as yet. I did snag some stock right after the market reacted so strongly to Rawlinson leaving. That is growing quite nicely so far for an eventual reservation fee. Eventually, I will own a Tesla. Not sure which model and when, but it will happen. They are the best so far, though I have not had a chance to drive a Leaf or i-MiEV. Tesla has real, workable ranges.

Tom A | 16 février 2012

@ddruz - from what I've read, Tesla recommends keeping the car plugged in and charged up whenever possible. Perhaps the charge states and such are as much a function of programming as particular cell limitations? Also, Tesla uses automotive versions of the standard 18650 form-factor cells. The Leaf and others use elaborate cell structures, laminated, etc. Perhaps the geometry + chemistry + electrode issues affect an ideal state of charge or operating range?

BYT | 16 février 2012

@Tom A, "Tesla recommends keeping the car plugged in and charged up whenever possible" if that is the case, I wish they would come up with a mini speed bump charger unit that I can keep in my garage to charge the car by just pulling the car "onto" it and then head on up to bed after a long day at work (to help may my Model S payments)... ;)