Edmunds: "I drove 47.8 miles and lost 95 miles of range"? 180 mile range "seems more reasonable"?

Edmunds: "I drove 47.8 miles and lost 95 miles of range"? 180 mile range "seems more reasonable"?'s Model S long term road test has generally been fair but this article has some possibly questionable items. Not pulling the Broder card but am interested in what owners think and whether there's an issue with the author, the car or something else? Maybe he's been driving well over 75 or routinely punching it to get the "Tesla smile" but still-180 miles?

Here is one of the claims that was troubling: "The drive isn't terribly long; 300 miles or so. But it's full of hills, traffic and relatively quick highways. There's just no way I'd ever get the claimed 265-mile range on this drive. 200 if I'm lucky. 180 seems more reasonable."

Full article:

dirkhh | 16 augusti 2013

There are many threads here and over at TMC that say "realistically you'll get X" with various X.

This is like saying "a BMW M5 gets 18 MPG". Look at and you'll see that some people get 13, some people get 21. Same for the Model S. Some drivers, on some roads, will average > 450Wh/mile, others will manage to stay < 300Wh/mile.

Vevans2 | 16 augusti 2013

This article is complete garbage. There is no way I believe this guy lost this much range. I have driven my car like I stole it and didn't lose anywhere near that much range. This is just poor reporting.He goes from 265 to 200 to 180? If I didn't own this car I wouldn't even know. But having driven the car daily it just doesn't lose range like this guy is claiming.

hikerockies | 16 augusti 2013

I read that blog post from edmunds this morning. I have been reading their updates since they got their car and my experience simply does not come even close to theirs. I have a 60 kWh battery and I get slightly better than rated range. I punch it at every opportunity I get and still my average is 285 Wh/mile. I almost always end up using less rated miles than the actual distance I drive. I lose 6-7 miles of range over a 24 hour period to vampire loss. Using 95 miles of range with 48 miles of drive, losing 20 miles of range to vampire loss simply makes no sense to me given my own experience with the car.

PaceyWhitter | 16 augusti 2013

I have no problem with the article. All it was saying was over one specific (admittedly challenging) route they expect to get reduced range.

It also points out that with an EV, trips require much more attention to detail. Many on this forum have made the same comment.

Carefree | 16 augusti 2013

Those of you getting better than rated range despite the fact that you are gunning it must only drive downhill:-)

Living in the Phoenix area we have hills (not mountains) but the terrain is hardly ever flat (at least north of Phoenix where we live). I have 337wh/m life time consumption on my energy meter after almost 5,000 miles. I don't drive like a maniac but do enjoy the occasional thrill:-)

fluxemag | 16 augusti 2013

I get about 2/3 of the rated range on my car. Climate control has a big impact, as well as pre-cooling and vampire. I also drive 75 on the freeway. My impression is, because the peak efficiency is so good, any deviation from ideal driving habits has a bigger impact than a comparable ICE. The ICE is so inefficient to begin with, that it's hard to get your MPG to vary either direction. I could drive my G37 hard, or baby it, and maybe have 1MPG difference. It takes a lot more thought and effort for me to get close to rated range, mostly because this is summer in AZ and I'm not willing to sacrifice AC at all. And I drive with the flow of freeway traffic. The Tesla valets have no problem getting 270Wh/mi, no doubt by driving in cruise control at 55mph with the AC on eco mode (that's how it is left when I get my car back).

So I have no problem with the stated ranges from Tesla. You can definitely achieve that. But the variation from driver to driver, climate to climate and road to road is very big. As the efficiency of a vehicle goes up, the variation in driving circumstances has a bigger impact.

jbunn | 16 augusti 2013

Hmmm... The author wanted to take a car that gets less than 11 miles to the gallon? I think it was a joke, but sounds like he drives like a maniac.

With Regen on, and not riding the brake, but letting regen do the work, I find that I get most of my energy back. I have a 60 and have blasted through the Grapevine 4 times around 70 or better with the aircon on high, and ended up on the other side with about average range.

You might lose 20 to vampires if it's a really loooong 24 hour period. Like Friday night to Sunday morning if you have a range charge. As the battery depletes, it seems to lose less per day.

So he's taking a couple of worse case scenarios. Driving in mountains like a maniac on two pedals, assuming vampire load on a full charge when he'll be partially discharged, and the cars ability to recapture energy. It's not uphill both way.

AmpedRealtor | 16 augusti 2013

My question - is it really necessary to come down on every single article or statement that may be negative about this car or company? People are entitled to their opinions, and who am I to question the author's figures? After all, he is the one who drove his route - not me, not you, and not anybody here. It's not necessary to compulsively examine and destroy the merits of every negative opinion about this car.

hikerockies | 16 augusti 2013

@Carefree: I learned this trick well before I got my Model S while I was driving Accord hybrid (0-60 in 5.6 seconds). I found that I can have all the fun peeling off from a stop light and make up for it with driving smoothly, anticipating stops and slowing down gradually. I drove my hybrid accord and now drive my Model S at 78 mph on the highway with A/C running. I can drive with no compromises as long as I drive smoothly and not race from stop light to stop light. Maybe driving at 5000 feet of elevation helps as well. Many people have theorized there is less drag at higher elevation. I don't know if there is enough less of it to make a difference.

stimeygee | 16 augusti 2013

If he means "absolutely the maximum possible usage range no matter the conditions or driving style" then 180 is reasonable. But you'd have to drive really really fast to do that, blasting heat and/or AC. If he means "180 is a reasonable estimate of range" then no, that's totally wrong.

Carefree | 16 augusti 2013

@azizkhan - I learned that trick too - our Tesla replaced a Prius. I would always get 50mpg with the Prius - the exact EPA estimate - without even trying. Not so with the P85. Of course the Tesla is a whole different ball game and way more fun to drive and it kind of encourages you to floor it every now and then. But there is no way on earth I could even get close to the rated range in AZ.

Fact is also that we have solar panels on the roof that supply power for the entire house and the Tesla - so, I really don't care too much how much energy I use while driving.

Brian H | 16 augusti 2013

A published article has to meet a higher standard. Clearly he is intending his observations to be taken as a general case, in some respects, so he needs to be swatted down.

AmpedRealtor | 16 augusti 2013

@ Brian H,

I disagree. This person is doing nothing more than expressing his view, from his experience, that he has never been able to achieve 265 miles per full charge. He even drove one of his routes that consumed twice as much charge as range driven. It's a perfectly valid viewpoint from someone who is not interested in babying the car, but rather drives the way he drives his other cars. In order to dispute an account like this requires hypothetical reasoning and lots of wondering why the author did not contort his thinking to the way the vehicle works. Not everyone wants to think or drive that way - indeed, most people do not.

Nobody needs to be "swatted down" for plainly stating the reality that Tesla's range claims are overstated for their specific situation. Indeed, the best place to have this conversation would be in the comments section of the Edmunds blog in question.

eAdopter | 16 augusti 2013

Is AmpedRealtor bipolar?

AmpedRealtor | 16 augusti 2013

@ eAdopter - What is bipolar about my posts in this thread?

DonS | 16 augusti 2013

There is lots of variability. My lifetime average show 338 Wh/mi on the car. However, the last charge showed 450 Wh/mi in slow city traffic with the AC working and no hills bigger than a bridge. | 16 augusti 2013

At the end of the day, he is expressing the range anxiety that comes with an EV purchase but that also goes away once you have a couple of road trips under your belt. I think the one real problem on his trip was only having access to 110 at his hotel, but PlugShare and Recargo both show a number of L2 chargers in the area, so maybe a bit more research or planning on his part was in order.


AmpedRealtor | 16 augusti 2013

Author mentioned vampire loss of 20 miles per day and probably factored that into his range calculation. 20 miles per day seems high based on what others have reported, this is the only part of the article where I would have a beef.

jbunn | 16 augusti 2013

Amped, after you get your car (next week?), you'll go through a period where you anxiously look at the gauge every few seconds. Eventually you learn to trust the car. I have a 60, and I've driven as far north as Seattle, and as far south as LA.

I trust my car after 5-1/2 months. She does really well, and I get just above rated even at 70 with aircon.

Longhorn92 | 16 augusti 2013

"47.8 miles and lost 95 miles of range"

Wouldn't that be averaging approximately 600 Wh/mi?

In my experience, that is tough to do, especially on highway. In fact, I have never averaged more than about 400-450 Wh/mi even when giving very spirited test rides/drives. If you went uphill the entire way at very fast speeds or with a lot of stop and go, I'm sure it's possible, but that wouldn't seem to be a fair test for a road trip.

Also, the 20 mi/day seems really high estimate for vampire drain.

Vevans2 | 16 augusti 2013

My disagreement wasn't because it is a negative article it was because what is being said is wrong. The part about 47.8 miles and losing 95 miles of range. That would be tought to accomplish. I have not seen anything like this in my car.

stephen.kamichik | 16 augusti 2013

Last Monday I drove 200 km and used 214 km of range. My wife and I spent two days at a resort with only level 1 charging. Last Tuesday we took a 90 km trip and used 95 km of range. Yesterday we drove back home using 205 km of range for the 200 km trip back home. I drove at the speed limits posted (80-100 km/hr).

My model S is an S85 with air suspension and tech package.

The model S provides a great ride with excellent handling and acceleration.

sia | 16 augusti 2013

I think the claims in the article are so far outside the owner’s experiences, that the author should provide more details, such as route, conditions, time frame, etc.

sia | 16 augusti 2013

Grammatical Correction:

I think the claims in the article are so far outside the owners’ experience, that the author should provide more details, such as route, conditions, time frame, etc.

gooshjkc | 16 augusti 2013

I'm still waiting for mine, but I can tell you right now with the lead foot that I have I will probably get something close to what he got. Everyone drives differently and everyone will get a different number. Tesla always said the Model S is a no compromise car and rest a assure I will do the same when I get mine (minus the long long trips). I have a Porsche and Bemers and I don't get close to what the EPA said it should get. I travel about 150 miles, on average, per day. As long as I can do that going at 85 mph, I'll be happy.

LuvTesla | 16 augusti 2013

Based on my daily driving that seems accurate. My commute takes me to a few miles of constant hill climb on the highway. The incline and acceleration beyond the recommended speed eats alot more than what you traveled. Going downhill the same way doesnt give you much either due to wind resistance and having to go with the highway speed. So depending on how and where you drive (+climate control) you can easily burn it down to make his conclusion plausible. Besides, i don't think his claims are hilarious, its just another driver having a different experience with the same car. Take it with a grain of salt.

c.bussert67 | 16 augusti 2013

Your last comments are my thoughts exactly! I drive 70mph+, A/C on auto at 74-76 deg. My daily commute consists of 1/3rd 70mph posted freeway sections, 2/3rds twisty country back roads with stop lights. I find that traffic just helps my mileage cause it keeps my speeds down ;-) I easily get rated mileage. Where I see huge chunks of my mileage disappear is when I have to pile on the binders for a red light on a down hill. Using regen effectively is key to getting rated mileage. I loathe the brakes! You'll learn the S and your mileage will improve with time.

jat | 16 augusti 2013

I have easily achieved rated range when I wanted to (typically it means driving about 65, maybe 1mph slower if it is particularly hot). Usually I drive it to get around 220mi, which is driving about 75.

oildeathspiral | 18 augusti 2013

Thank you to everyone who took the time and posted about their real-world mileage.

Brian H., thanks for your post. Although he may deserve it, my intent wasn't to swat him down but to investigate if what he said had any merit especially (AmpedRealtor) since Edmunds is a respected automotive publication and the guy who wrote the article is the Features Editor. In this case I think there clearly should have been a higher standard as you pointed out. As a huge Tesla fan who tells everyone about the car and the company, I want to be completely accurate and not misrepresent anything.

Based on the responses here, the route and the weather, the 180 mile range remark I quoted is out of line for all but 2 of you. Note that most of the drive is relatively flat and Monterey Bay is, well, pretty much at sea level so it's not like he's ending the trip with a 5000 foot climb. As has been noted, the Model S is pretty efficient when it comes to regaining on the downhill side what is lost going uphill. Unless it's the route our parents took to school-uphill, both ways. As such, sia, completely agree with you before and after the grammatical correction. ;-)

EclecticCitizen | 19 augusti 2013

There have been multiple posts here and elsewhere about this range issue. I completed a survey here a few weeks ago--anyone have a link to the results?

My takeaway is that there are probably real differences in the efficiency of individual cars; the variations seen can't all be blamed on driving conditions and style. In summary, we are probably all correct, just having different experiences. It's not either or. It seems most people are making the assumption that their own personal experience is the universal standard by which to judge others' reported ranges. It's silly to say what others are seeing is impossible or somehow exaggerated.

We recently had a meetup in Phoenix and I spoke briefly to other owners about this issue. I drive like a grandpa 90% of the time with AC on eco, and yet my energy/mile and real-world range were much worse than other drivers in the same climate and terrain who frequently jackrabbit and drive aggressively. I routinely only get about 2/3 of the rated range, sometimes worse. It doesn't hurt to post that to compare with others (or write it in an article). Hopefully Tesla is monitoring and can evaluate for any build issues that may be influencing the variation in efficiency. Mine got better with recent firmware update, but still lags others significantly and matches what others have noted here and in the Edmunds post.

I'm happy for those who are averaging <300Wh/mi and near rated range. But why get mad or dismissive when some cars can't reproduce that?

michael1800 | 19 augusti 2013

*Seems* legit for no regen braking and mountainous terrain (with high speed of course)...not exactly a common case though. I have yet to take to the constant uphill routes yet however.

RanjitC | 19 augusti 2013

I just drove a sig 85 loaner for two days and had no problem achieving rated range at 306 wh/mi. When I got my P85 back from servicing I noticed that I had a lifetime average of 356 wh/mi, and this is still what I am getting. Obviously my bigger motor may have something to do with this and or my meters are off. On the other hand I have flogged my 911 on the racetrack achieving 5 MPG and cruised it on the freeway achieving 27 MPG. I have also read an article that showed a roadster doing 50 miles on a charge when driven on a racetrack YMMV.

oildeathspiral | 19 augusti 2013


I'm a little baffled by your post. You say you routinely only get 2/3 of the rated range despite driving habits that shouldn't reduce range nearly that much. I assume you haven't contacted Tesla service about this so if you don't mind me asking, why not?

David N | 20 augusti 2013

Silly question, but what does the wh/mi stand for?

paulkva | 20 augusti 2013

Watt-hours per mile, or how efficiently you use power when you drive. 1000 wh = 1 kWh, and the Model S batteries are 60 kWh and 85 kWh.

It's basically the inverse of miles per gallon, like gallons per mile.

Longhorn92 | 20 augusti 2013

Most owners have posted "long-term" averages in the 300-350 Wh/mi range, with several using less and a few more. So it seems odd that someone, who was supposedly testing for a typical road trip (mix of street and highway travel) would be getting in the 550-600 Wh/mi range.

Brian H | 20 augusti 2013

I think he was pulling a Top Gear-Broder somehow. Sounds bogus.