2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Beyond 15,000 Miles

January 1, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

Our 2013 Tesla Model S sailed past the 15,000-mile mark, exactly 10 months to the day since it joined our long-term test fleet.

On the one hand, this lags slightly behind the pace necessary to reach 20,000 miles in one year, our usual stated goal. Its 12-month total is on track to settle in at 18,000 miles if the current mileage accumulation rate persists.

On the other hand, no other electric car we've hosted in our fleet has come even half this close. This current mileage figure is unprecedented in our experience.

We had a 2011 Nissan Leaf for 6 months, in which time we drove it 3,551 miles, an annual rate of 7,600 miles. The pitiful Mitsubishi MiEV accumulated just 1,980 miles and lots of dust during its 6.5-month stay. Before them we put 7,683 miles on a 2009 Mini E.

Range has almost everything to do with it, and at 260-plus the Model S has no equal. More range equals more hand-raisers when the keys are being bandied about. It also helps that the Tesla Model S is quick, fun and has great cargo and passenger flexibility.

The flip-side of range is charging flexibility, and the Model S has that in spades, too. The usual 120V Level One and SAE J-1772 Level Two methods are here, of course. But Tesla is way ahead of the curve with additional 50-amp "NEMA 14-50" RV park compatibility and low installation cost home charging using the supplied cord, their own high-speed 100-amp HPWC for garage installation and the ungodly-fast and ever-expanding Supercharger network built to make cross-country travel a reality.

And this last point is why our Tesla may just make it to 20,000 miles in one year after all. The reality of the Supercharger network allows me to take the Tesla Model S on my annual Holiday trip to Oregon to see my folks. The newly-opened northern California and southern Oregon Superchargers will pair nicely with the NEMA 14-50 dad has in his garage to support his welder.

Though it has grown quickly to 45 stations (at the time of this writing), the Supercharger network didn't exist when we took delivery of our car. If it had been in place throughout we'd be at 20,000 miles already.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15,077 miles


  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    Have you heard of the fellow in Seattle who just crossed 100k on his 2011 Leaf?

  • jolinar jolinar Posts:

    Have you heard of the fellow who just crossed 50k on his Model S?

  • The Supercharger network is a very impressive aid put in place by Tesla to address its main and unavoidable flaw. If these things were as wide spread as gas stations you could legitimately argue that EV's could be viable daily transport. The charging times are still simply too long for practical purposes but the trade off is that they are free so you could theoretically drive from San Diego to Seattle for free (at the cost of time that is). I still hate EV's though and see absolutely no NEED for this hysterical flight from the internal combustion engine; especially considering that the newest engine technologies make the ICE extraordinarily clean and efficient today compared even to just ten years ago.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @majin_ssj_eric: Where do you see a hysterical flight from the internal combustion engine? This past year, over 15 million light passenger vehicles were sold in the United States. Go ahead and look up the number of vehicles that were electric.... Yup, pre

  • kardax kardax Posts:

    The Model S has passed the long-term Chevy Volt.

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    What I'm VERY interested in, is how the Tesla will do after 100k and into 200k miles. Battery replacements? Repairs and Maintenance? What's the car going to be like for the second owner that buys it at 100k and drives it for 5-10 years? That'll be the real question in my mind.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I had predicted between 14k and 15k miles, but the expansion of the SC network has enhanced the long-trip picture. I do agree with kirkhilles, though, and note that this 15k miles through 10 months would have been more impressive to me if it had been on the vehicle's original tires and drivetrain. Judging from Edmunds' LT experience thus far, this is not a vehicle I would care to own beyond the B-to-B warranty period. I do expect that will improve, though.

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    A word of caution about your Oregon trip, Dan. Many welders use a NEMA 6-50 plug, which requires a different adapter than the NEMA 14-50 that comes with the Model S. Tesla does sell NEMA 6-50 adapters for like $50 though. Wouldn't want you to turn up at your folks' place and be unable to charge.

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