Five EV Questions - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Five EV Questions

June 4, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

When you drive the 2013 Tesla Model S you'd better be ready for questions. Over the past year driving this EV, and the three years driving my 2011 Nissan Leaf SL, I've fielded hundreds of questions. They almost always come in the same order. The #1 most common question is — you guessed it — "How far will it go on a full charge?"

The #2 most common question might surprise you.

#2: "After the battery runs out, does the motor switch on?" No, I say. There's no motor. So then, that leads to the next question.

#3: "So what happens when the battery runs out? Are you just dead in the water?" I usually answer that you are not exactly "dead in the water," but you are in the same situation as you would be if you ran out of gas. Now, this triggers the next question.

#4: "How long does it take to recharge?" I have a problem with this question. It assumes you always run it down to zero and charge from an empty battery. I don't do this for the same reason people don't use up all the gas in their tank before filling up. So full recharge time is something that almost never happens. Instead, I'm charging when the battery is a quarter full to half full.

Last weekend, I still had about 65 miles of range on the Tesla but I decided to recharge anyway on my 240-volt home charger. I plugged in at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night and it was fully recharged mid-morning Sunday.

Yes, that's a long time but, to be honest, I didn't need it any sooner. So, while a fast recharge time might be important sometimes (i.e. while on the way to Las Vegas when, by the way, you can use the much faster supercharger) most of the time it is a meaningless number. Of course, people can imagine all sorts of scenarios when it might be important. But all I'm saying is that, to me, in three years of EV driving, it hasn't really been important.

To round out this list, I'll leave question #5 up to other EV drivers who might read this and feel like chiming in. If no one does, I'll post something in the comments.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 22,567 miles

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