Real life mileage question

Real life mileage question

I am about to decide whether to go ahead with my purchase of a Tesla Model S with the 85kW battery, but I need to know if I can make it from St. Petersburg or Tampa to Naples and back on one charge. It is about 130 miles each way, and I do not want to drive 55 in a rocket car like this. Telsa assures me it can be done, but I want to know if any real owners have done this or not. The purchase depends on the answers.

edcalis | 12 marzo 2013

You already have the answer. "I do not want to drive 55 in a rocket car like this." Pick a shorter route to do that.

jat | 12 marzo 2013

I get about 200-220mi range at 78mph on a max-range charge (the lower end is at night, cold, and rainy). If you can't charge at your destination, you will need 260mi or more on a charge, and that is going to require you to drive 65mph or below, and in the extremes of temperature that may not be enough as you will use more for climate control.

The EPA rated range assumes 308Wh/mi and is 265mi. It is mix of city and highway driving, but you won't achieve that if you drive fast on the interstate. Another thing to consider is that over time, the battery's capacity will degrade - estimates vary between 15 and 30% loss after 8 years. Also, you don't want to have to do max-range charges frequently, or that will accelerate the battery degradation.

So, I would suggest you need to plan on charging at your destination. If it is an overnight trip, even 120V will be plenty to be able to make it. If no, you will probably need at least a L2 J1772 charger, which should be pretty plentiful. Eventually, you might expect a Supercharger along that path, but there is no guarantee exactly where they will be or when it will get built.

DFibRL8R | 12 marzo 2013

Don't they have electrical outlets in Naples? Even a standard 120 volt wall plug will get you some charge especially if you have an 8 hour meeting or something. Better yet, see if there is a J 1772 charger on Chargepoint near your destination or at a midpoint to stop for a bite to eat.

mdherbst | 12 marzo 2013

Thanks to you three fast responders, very much. I will hold off deciding for now and see if anyone has actually made this trip and if they had to charge along the way and if so, for how long. A supercharging station on I-75 would make this decision easier. There are a couple of car dealership chargig stations a few miles from the interstate along the way, but not superchargers. And if they are 110 volt, what do I get, 1 mile per 5 minutes? Even 1 mile per minute would require a 40-60 minute pitstop just to make it home.

jat | 12 marzo 2013

You will get about 3mi/hr at 120V. A 30A J1772 connection will get you about 16mi/hr, and an RV plug will get you about 23mi/hr (all rated miles, so slightly less if you drive 78mph).

L2 charging doesn't work unless you are there for several hours -- so if you drive in the morning, put the car on the charger, and then drive home in the afternoon that would be plenty. L1 charging (120V) is basically only useful for overnight, and even then you aren't going to fully charge.

EVTripPlanner | 12 marzo 2013

I have some range-vs-speed/conditions charts posted at

I also have an "Route ENergy Calculator" that is in early testing - still planning to integrate weather (wind/temp) and tune calculations a bit, but you can plug in your route with either the 60kWh or 85kWh car and different speeds/conditions. It is at

Brant | 12 marzo 2013

130 miles at freeway speed usually costs me 170 rated miles

NKYTA | 12 marzo 2013

+1 Cliff

nickjhowe | 12 marzo 2013

@Cliff - looks good - but I had to use Safari - on Chrome the fields won't accept any input.

noel.smyth | 13 marzo 2013

Thats too close for comfort, you should plan on charging at your destination to make that work daily.

Cattledog | 13 marzo 2013

Went San Antonio to Houston last month, 201 miles. Max charged to 266 and had 42 miles of range left on arrival. 72 MPH on cruise, no wind, 75 degrees, AC on low, 50 miles consciously drafting to see effects (15% gain at 2 seconds behind big rig), 700 foot elevation loss.

Coming back, had 22 miles left after max charge at 266, small headwind, 700 foot elevation gain, all else similar. Charged overnight at Blink charger, 18-19 miles range/hr.

Only frustration is this car wants to be driven! 72 MPH is OK, but less fun. You can do it, and still have fun, if you charge at the destination for a few hours at a 220v charger of some sort.

mdherbst | 13 marzo 2013

Thanks, all of you. I will probably hold off buying one until I see a supercharging station in the region near Fort Myers or Naples. That way, I could make the round trip and not spend too much time topping off for the return. Even better, I would also like to see one on the Tampa side of Orlando. Then, the full electric car would fit my needs. I will lease a hybrid for a couple or three years while I wait.

DouglasR | 13 marzo 2013

@cliff - I used Chrome, and it accepted the input fine. However, it did not appear to calculate the elevations properly (I tried to route the Mt. Evans climb, and it gave me an elevation gain of under 700 feet). I left you a comment on the site.

DouglasR | 13 marzo 2013

@cliff - I see that you fixed it. Good work! Are you planning to add a parameter for number of people in the car (or weight)?

mdherbst | 26 marzo 2013

Holding off on my decision until I hear what Mr. Musk has to say on April 2nd. Almost ready to get a Panamera Hybrid S for a couple of years, unless they promise a couple of superchargers North and South of St. Petersburg, FL.

kent | 26 marzo 2013

Wait for the announcement you will regret it if you choose beforehand. The announcement could very well include a detailed announcement for Superchargers in your area.

mdherbst | 28 marzo 2013

If this company responds to their potential buyers in such a positive way--like putting chargers in their travel paths--they deserve my business!

inverts | 28 marzo 2013

I am commuting form Northern Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, a 144 mile roundtrip with some steep clines. I am driving CHP-safe at 68 m/h with cruise control, on the way back with heat and lights on, and am about 6-9 m short of rated range in a MS85. Gives me a few more minutes of listening to music in awesome sound system, and my Wa is intact upon arrival.

Objective1 | 28 marzo 2013

@mdherbst: buy whatever you like, but if you remain interested in a Model S please explain: why can't you plug in at your destination?

Do you plan to drive Tampa to Naples and then turn around and drive right back?

If you plan to spend a few hours at your destination, if you can plug in to 220V there, you'll be fine.

Brian H | 28 marzo 2013

Settle for 66 mph, and you'll maybe make up those miles.

mcx-sea | 28 marzo 2013

Made that round trip once in an ICE. Recall only elevation change was that big beautiful bridge over the harbor entrance.

mdherbst | 1 aprile 2013

@Objective1: I just found out that there is a 220V plugin in the laundry room that I can get to from my parents' garage. But, I sometimes make the 2 hr drive for a 2 hr visit, followed by a 2 hr drive back. I was trying to avoid spending any of that short visit time moving their car out, plugging in, unplugging, moving my car out, and moving their car back in. My parents say I should buy the Tesla so I would be forced to spent more time there...

mdherbst | 3 aprile 2013

Thanks everyone! I put in my Model S order today. Yahoo!

arieljoshua | 3 aprile 2013

I think you will be very happy with this move. If you are visiting for 2 hours, you should get a good 25-35 rated miles off a charge during your visit which will likely solve your issue at least until a supercharger is installed. Good luck.

nickjhowe | 3 aprile 2013

@mdherbst - congrats! Welcome to the soon-to-be-amped club.

ericallyn | 4 aprile 2013

MDHerbst - I just received my Model S....most of my time is spent in upstate NY, but we will one day (5 years?) be moving down to Naples...hope to bring the Model S with me then...but add me to the list of people wanting a SuperCharger off I-75! Lots of people on Gulf Coast would go for the Model S if there was a SuperCharger...

EVTripPlanner | 4 aprile 2013

@inverts - I plugged your approximate route into my Route Energy Calculator - you can see it at

I am assuming you have an 85S with 19" (not 21") wheels.

How close are the estimates? (send to - thanks)

Ezappia | 4 aprile 2013

Nothing to think about. Get the 85 and be done with it. Better range, better warranty, includes $2000 supercharging option, so a lot more for only $8000 more at that price range.

mdherbst | 6 agosto 2013

On my first trip out of town with my Tesla Model S from St. Petersburg to Naples, the car perfomed beautifully. I showed it off to guests at the wedding I attended and that evening I plugged it into a 240v dryer outlet to charge. But, the car did not charge. Service engineers at Tesla were courteous and competent. They determined that the charging cable was bad and informed me I would have to arrange for other transport home. The next morning, I rented a car at the airport and drove it home. Meanwhile, Tesla sent a flatbed truck to my parents' house in Naples and picked up my car, drove it to my house in St. Petersburg that night, complete with a new (working) charging cable. They also agreed to pay for my rental car, and I just got the check in the mail. I am completely satisfied with service I received, and impressed with the responsiveness of the service people who fixed the situation quickly and efficiently. As you might have guessed, I quickly bought a spare charging cable which I carry in the car in case his happens again.

Since then, my trip to Naples has become much simpler. There is a Supercharger in Ft. Myers about 12 miles North of my parents' exit off I-75. I pulled in there and got about 100 miles of range after 30 minutes. Interestingly, the charge rate was faster at the beginning of the half hour than at the end. I was going to browse the huge mall here, but someone pulled up to ask about the car as soon as I got there, and while I was showing him, a young couple pulled up and wanted to see it, too. So, in no time, I was charged and out of there. Next time, I want to see the mall.

Brian H | 6 agosto 2013

Charging slows as you "fill up".