What's your motivation for getting a larger battery?

What's your motivation for getting a larger battery?

Looking at Model 3 Tracker's data, almost 70% of people are looking to upgrade to the larger battery packs. Based on the Model S, the larger battery packs only provide an additional 19% or 54 miles increased range for a 20% or $13k increase in cost over the 70D base battery price. If I apply similar percentages to the Model 3 base (not really scientific but a ballpark guess), $7k cost would net me 40 additional miles. For the few times a year we would drive longer than 215 miles in a stretch between returning home/work to charge, it doesn't seem like a good value for the dollar.

With 70% of people looking to upgrade, I know I must be missing something very obvious. If you are looking to get the bigger battery pack, what is your reasoning for it being a good dollar value? Also is cold weather driving part of the concern? TIA for helping a girl not miss out!

tommyalexandersb | 3 juni 2016

I want the biggest battery because I want ludacrous mode! I'm stoked on the extended range too.

Sparky | 3 juni 2016

A larger capacity battery pack allows you to charge optimally between 20-80% of max charge, thereby reducing battery degradation over time. And when you do need max range, it's available.

adias.angel | 3 juni 2016

@Sparky: Has battery degradation over time been a large concern with previous Tesla models? While I know this is true of other Li batteries, from what I have read Tesla's software does a good job charging effectively to avoid degradation as much a possible.

SV Az | 3 juni 2016

@ Sparky +1 . Also, I expect the superchargers to be super crowded, so its better to have more juice so that you have more options to choose between different supercharger on your route.

@ adias.angel -

sp_tesla | 3 juni 2016

None since M3 will only use for local driving, for long distance will use luxury car.

Cesg12290 | 3 juni 2016

Bigger Battery FTW!

adias.angel | 3 juni 2016

@S.V. Az: Thank you for the link. I think I will need to do some more research about the battery degradation.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 3 juni 2016

Battery degradation hasn't been much of a problem generally (at least in Teslas, don't get me started on Leafs), but there will be some loss of range over time, so starting with more than you need means extending the useful life of the vehicle.

Additionally, for long distance travel, extra range not only gives more flexibility (i.e. can manage longer legs between chargers), but also means slightly reduced SuperCharging time. If a 70 and a 90 car start SuperCharging at the same charge percentage at the same time, both on primary stalls (i.e. not eating another car's leftovers), and they stop charging at the same time, they'll both have equal ending % charge levels. But the 90 pack will have absorbed more kWh, i.e. more miles of range. So if a 70 and a 90 both pull in with 40 miles of range and need to get to 160 miles for the next leg, the 90 pack will reach 160 miles sooner.

Between the three advantages (vehicle longevity, longer legs, faster SuperCharging), I'm planning to stuff as much capacity into my Model 3 battery as Tesla will let me. It's going to be an awesome car in base form, but that doesn't mean the upgrades aren't worth it!

Hi_Tech | 3 juni 2016

I'm hoping the assumption of 20% increase in range is flawed. :)
Hoping that the larger battery pack will give 300+ mile range.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 3 juni 2016

Oh, and the taper also means that a larger pack spends more of its charge time in the fast part of the charge, so the SuperCharge time difference should be better than linear. A 70D going from 40 to 160 miles of range is about 32 minutes of charging, while a 90D does it in about 23 minutes.

Sparky | 3 juni 2016

Yes, and for those who live in areas prone to severe weather or who deal with significant elevation changes the larger capacity battery will give a lot more capability and will be well worth the money.

dsvick | 3 juni 2016

I don't need the extra range from the larger battery, but I'd get it if it was part of the AWD option, and it would be even more enticing if SC was also part of it. On the other hand I'll need to compare all the options and packages to the most bang for my buck, since they aren't unlimited.

adias.angel | 3 juni 2016

@dsvick: That is pretty much where I am at. I have a limit on what I am willing to spend for all the extra features so I want to get the most value for my dollar.

adias.angel | 3 juni 2016

@Sparky: I know cold weather does effect the pack until it warms up but is it really that big an effect?

I live in Michigan and I drive 120 miles RT but park in a uncovered lot from 8-5 in freezing or below weather. When I play with the MS configuration, in cold weather it looks like I would lose about 15% but I don't think this takes into account parking the car outside in the snow during work. Are there any number for parking unplugged in the cold?

nelscharli1970 | 3 juni 2016

I plan on using the base size battery and save the money for an upgraded battery at a later time. I can get by with the stock battery for now. Battery tech will improve every year with the Gigafactory getting more efficient.

If and when I wear out the original battery, my money will go further to buy a more energy dense battery at a lower cost 5-10 years after I purchase my Model 3.

KP in NPT | 3 juni 2016

Because my commute is 185 miles one way. Totally doable with one SC stop on the way with my 70D - but I wouldn't want less range than I have now if there is the option.

Octagondd | 3 juni 2016

If you have already owned an EV and are in the mass majority of Americans that commute 40 miles or less a day, you will quickly learn the larger battery pack is not necessary for 90% of your driving. What it is necessary for is huge acceleration, slightly quicker charging/mile of range, range anxiety control and resale value anxiety control for those who have never owned an EV as a daily driver.

There are many people who have longer commutes and they need the extra range, but the masses just don't need it.

bj | 3 juni 2016

I'll be getting a bigger battery because the Model 3 will replace my second ICE and make me totally EV. Hence I need a car that has ICE-like distance capability, even though I only drive long distances a few times per year.

I already own a Leaf as my city commute car.

JeffreyR | 3 juni 2016

Folks +1
Summary of why to get the biggest battery pack you can afford:
- Quicker charge times (especially from 0-150 miles)
- Quicker acceleration; more power = more pop (required for P/L)
- 20%-80% charging gets you more useful range
- Longer useful battery pack life
- Better resale value
- More buffer for adverse conditions: cold, wind, elevation, high speeds
- Flexibility when you charge (skip a day to charge your other EV or maybe skip a SC if busy)
- Everybody else is doing it :)

Why get AWD?
- Better traction in slippery conditions: rain, snow, sleet
- Better acceleration (required for P/L)
- Better handling (some vector steering, not 100%)
- Redundant motor if something goes wrong

CraigW | 3 juni 2016

There are reasons for getting a bigger battery, but if you are trying to justify long-distance travel, don't bother. As a former S60 owner I can tell you there are very few places you cannot go. Superchargers are almost everywhere and charging outside the supercharger grid takes planning, but isn't unpleasant. If you need to get there quickly, then fly, don't try to drive.

Badbot | 4 juni 2016

Tesla batteries have very low degradation because they are cooled while charging. Over heating from fast charging is hard on batteries. the number of cycles in the life of a battery goes down as well.

I want the large battery so I can have fewer cycles. I can make weeks of trips before I drop to 20%. Then I charge it up to 80%, 1 cycle, repeat.
the large battery lets me do what I need longer. If my needs are 40Kw and my battery is 80Kw then it can degrade to 50% and still do what I need.

Ross1 | 4 juni 2016

It would be constructive to hear more 'argument' for smaller battery capacity.

Drdpharris | 4 juni 2016

@Ross --
Less battery:
-- less expensive
-- less weight = more efficient
It may be that the lesser battery pack has empty room and can be upgraded. Alternately, it is possible that the smaller pack may be software limited, and so allow over the air upgrade.

In general, one will have to see what packages are available and then make a rational choice for which is best in one's situation.

noleaf4me | 4 juni 2016

Larger battery means longer useful life for the 5 years 200 miles range will seem very small....

CraigW | 4 juni 2016

For most people, their day-to-day use will not require the larger battery. Now we get to ego and battery life. Since most people don't keep their car 10 yrs and don't drive 25,000 miles/yr, all this discussion about having a larger battery because it will last longer is not relevant.

Finally, for those who can easily afford it, the larger battery will be their choice. For the rest of us who are stretching to buy the car or just don't see the need to buy things we don't need, there is a choice. People who are asking this question are in the latter group.

You don't need the larger battery unless your driving patterns dictate over 180 miles/day usage or you are frequently driving in very cold weather. Being able to charge faster for the first 50 range miles on a supercharger when you are below 50 RM on your battery would seem to be pretty far down the list. The only other relevant factor would be that you live far enough from any supercharger to require a larger battery to reach one - this should become less a problem within the next 1.5 years.

Chargedmr2 | 4 juni 2016

My primary reason for battery upgrade would not be better charging times, resale, etc., but simply more range.

I live ~80 miles from large city.
Need to make round trip to city, preferably without charging, plus some driving around city: ~170 miles round trip
Due to HOT climate AC is nearly always running, most of the year.
Due to crazy drivers, freeway speed is ~80mph most of the trip

Model S 70 EPA Range = 234 miles
S70 at 70mph, 90 degrees F, AC on drops to 213 miles
S70 at 80mph, 90 degrees F, AC on drops to 182 miles

Model S 70 would be cutting it close, even with 234 miles EPA range. Factor in the crazy rain we get, and Model S 70 would probably run out of energy.

Given this, I don't think Model 3 will do the job, without the larger battery option.

pmonkelban | 4 juni 2016

I've got a 140 mile round trip commute. Factor in starting from an 80-90% charge, cold weather for a significant portion of the year, highway speeds well in excess of 55 MPH, etc. and the 215 EPA estimate range starts getting too tight for my comfort. There are charging options along the way, but I'd really like to avoid having to stop if possible.

Frank99 | 4 juni 2016

I keep cars until they die - and out here in the SW, they last a long time. I drive about 70 miles a day now, and have an ICE for when the family wants to drive 350 miles to visit family, so the smaller pack would do me just fine - but I'd like to still have 150 mile range 10 years from now. I haven't made a decision yet between the small pack and the large pack - mostly because I don't know what the small pack or large pack is, what the cost difference is, what other features come with the large pack, etc. But it's still a decision point for me.

moorelin | 4 juni 2016


Not a cold state resident myself, but plenty of reports on the Model S forum of way more than 15% decrease in very cold weather. Particularly if your garage is not well heated and your 120 miles is at >65 mph, a 215 mile battery may not be able get you there and back on the coldest days.

But maybe the base will be 250...

george210 | 4 juni 2016

Maximum battery capacity for greatest range if i need it. Getting good range at 80% battery charge so I won't have to stress the battery to get good utility out of the car, and I'd get out of the supercharger more quickly so the next person can use the supercharger sooner.

SUN 2 DRV | 4 juni 2016

There are several factors that will result in less actual range than 215 Mi. Driving 75 mph, 10 mph head wind, cold temps all take a BIG toll. And if you charge to 90% daily, you still want sufficient back up range for that unexpected trip to pick someone up at the airport on the far side of town without having to make a special trip to a Supercharger first.

Consider not only your average daily usage but the peak daily usage that you want to accommodate before needing to charge again.

Ross1 | 4 juni 2016

It might be cheaper to get a hire car for those times when your trip is too big for the small battery.

You can get a lot of hire cars for 10 grand (or 20)

topher | 5 juni 2016

"I want the large battery so I can have fewer cycles. I can make weeks of trips before I drop to 20%. Then I charge it up to 80%, 1 cycle, repeat."

Are you sure that this is the best thing for the batteries? Depth of cycle could well be more important and number of cycles.

Thank you kindly.

tommyalexandersb | 5 juni 2016

In the video about charging on the tesla site, it says the best way to prevent battery degradation is to charge often. Keep your car plugged in when you're at home. It's been a couple months since I watched it, but am I missing something about that?

BumblebeEV | 5 juni 2016

I'll just take the base one.

I do 25 km to go to work and 100 km to the country house.
Trip to Quebec City has an intermediate supercharger now so even in winter, no need for any upgraded battery pack

donaldmeacham1 | 5 juni 2016

Larger battery more range and travel options. Better cold weather range. Those of us in Arkansas don't have fast charging options.

chuhouse2003 | 5 juni 2016

The distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is more than 260 miles. So I want to at least go to Vegas without stopping for charging.

Haggy | 5 juni 2016

I have an S85. The longest trips I've taken were under 1000 miles round trip. It's hard to say whether I would have ever needed an extra stop at a supercharger if I had a smaller battery. There were a few times when I would have needed to have stayed at charging stations a bit longer, where I got to my destination with under 250 miles of range. In those cases, my trip would have taken longer. But if I had enough records to go over and figure out how much extra time it might have taken, I'd be surprised if it came out to an extra two hours a year. My car was 10K more than an S60 at the time, and that included supercharging. At the time I had no familiarity with EVs and there was less choice. These days, the Model S 70D gives good performance and range.

I had a guest over yesterday whose daughter goes to school about 400 miles from my house. I showed him the navigator and brought up the route to her address. The car wasn't fully charged and had perhaps a bit over 200 miles of range. It showed two 25 minute stops. I told him that more realistically if one was a stop for a meal, the other wouldn't need to be longer than for a restroom break. The fact that I didn't have a full charge to start with wasn't an obstacle. The number of miles of range added at each stop might have been similar with a smaller battery, given similar times, unless I needed to charge above 80-90%. But I don't think I would have.

The issue doesn't seem to be for long trips, but moderately long ones. On a 400 mile trip, it's likely that you'd want to stop to eat. If your entire trip is 190 miles, a stop to charge might make sense, but a break might not be a natural part of the trip with an ICE. If you take a lot of trips like that, a larger battery and a destination charger would be ideal.

I won't know what I'll do until Tesla says what they will offer. My gut feel is that for any long trip, I'd likely use the S, and it's questionable whether I'd ever use supercharging with the 3. But there will be other issues such as performance or whether supercharging is bundled with other options or packages or battery sizes. I think that for a person who has never had an EV with over 200 miles of range, it's easy to overestimate how much range is needed. But if you do overestimate, you will have more flexibility.

Captain_Zap | 6 juni 2016

+1 GDnomoreleaf

That is why I got the P85 over 3.5 years ago.

redacted | 6 juni 2016

For those in colder climes (Chicago, in my case), keep in mind that winter means as much as a 50% increase in energy use per mile. The big battery helps then.

PhillyGal | 6 juni 2016

Duh, to get the car sooner.

That is, just in case Tesla decides to give priority to higher priced builds.

SamO | 6 juni 2016

Rule of Thumb: Get the biggest battery you can afford so you never have to wonder "what if" and start a thread about it.

I've got 65K miles in my S60 which still has a 196 miles of range. I drove coast to coast in 108 hours and you don't "need" the range but you always "want" it.

If Tesla offered a 500 mile range vehicle for $1000 extra, (nearly) everyone would upgrade.

Buy what you can afford and realize that you can make any trip you want and charging is only getting better.

5 Superchargers opened with zero fanfare on Friday.

In answer to your further question about which options are indispensable:

1. Autopilot
2. Supercharging


adias.angel | 6 juni 2016

"@CraigW: Since most people don't keep their car 10 yrs and don't drive 25,000 miles/yr, all this discussion about having a larger battery because it will last longer is not relevant."

I am in the minority. I drive between 25k-30k per year (in cold weather) and we keep cars 10+ years (give or take on how much repair is needed towards the end of life). It seems like I am probably going to want to look at the larger option if I want to combine cold weather driving with a 80% recharge cap.

eandmjep | 7 juni 2016

I plan on using this car for lots of drives sight seeing etc. My wife and I used to do this a ton but then gas hit 3.75 per gallon and nixed that. I don't want to have to SC every where I go. Plus there wont be SC's every where and going 100 miles out of my way for a charge is not that appealing and most Destination chargers are "For Patrons Only" as well as slow.

tgretz | 7 juni 2016

The Tesla vision is Solar on the roof and the Tesla Powerwall and Car in the garage. This will be our future power system for your home if you choose to do so. The bigger pack will assist the house through the night when the sun is not out.
I personally cant wait to dump the grid and get rid of hydro bills!

mbb | 7 juni 2016

Bigger battery means you also have longer battery life and the car can go more miles.

CraigW | 7 juni 2016

In your case, that is definitely the wisest course.

My advice - and SamO's - is really aimed at those who are stretching to buy a Tesla and feel they might be getting less of a car if they 'settle' for the smaller battery. Both of us can assure anyone - from a lot of long-distance and local experience - that the smaller battery will not reduce your enjoyment of a Tesla. Don't feel short-changed.

Those with the money and those with specific situations should stay away from the smaller battery, because they will quickly get involved with the 'what if' questions.

lock123 | 9 juni 2016

Speed. Range. Handling.

Thats it.

Dont need or want autonomous driving, internet connection, foot massager, cappuccino maker, bomb shelter mode, time warp feature, et. al.....................really, its getting out of hand.

I want.

A Car.

With Speed. Range. Handling.

lock123 | 9 juni 2016

*At a mere mortal price*

draselder | 9 juni 2016

Los Angeles to San Francisco with only one pit stop.