2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: One Mile Per Second

May 15, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

Our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S hauls the mail. The thrust available underfoot when trundling along at city speeds is immense. When you floor it from a low speed, the Tesla delivers an instant, seamless wallop of potent, even giddying, acceleration.

Of course, tapping into that thrust consumes range at an alarming rate. Based on a very unscientific test, I determined the Model S's rate of range loss at full whack to be about one mile per second. That is, if you hold the right pedal to the floor for five seconds, you'll lose five miles of range.

Get frisky with the accelerator often during an extended drive and it might wind up even more extended than you'd planned.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Do. Not. Mention. Range. Now you've done it!

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    But if you spin the tires in reverse, it charges the battery in a matter of minutes!

  • lmbvette lmbvette Posts:

    I know in my Volt the range displayed is always based on your driving at that time. What I mean is, it constantly adjusts and it always has been acurrate. If is says 30 miles left, if I drive the same (stop and go city) I will compare the range display to the odometer and it is usually dead-on. Obviously in a Volt this is easy to test and replicate since when the range hits zero the gas generator turns on and I happily keep going, no tow truck involved. Have you brave souls at Edmunds tried to determine if the range constantly changes or is even remotely accurate? Just bring a flatbed and a truck with you across the desert. Come on...DO IT!!! The public wants to know! ;-)

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @duck87: +1000 to you! Its almost as bad as politics...

  • empowah empowah Posts:

    Guys, it's not that hard to calculate. Model S Performance has a max output of 310 kW (416 hp). Electric motors are typically 90% efficient (compared to 20% for ICE), so let's say it consumes at the rate of 345 kW. With an 85 kWh battery, that's 15 minutes, or at 125 mph, 31 miles. According to Top Gear, in their 1 gallon supercar challenge, the Ferrari 599 GTB got 1.7 MPG (UK) around the track. Its tank size is 23.1 imperial gallons, so about 39 miles of range. Flat out, it'll likely be worse, since you won't be braking as you would in a road course.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @empowah: I'm not trying to be argumentative, but your examples weren't the most exact of calculations. The information we would need to actually calculate how long and how far the Tesla, and a better competitor for that matter (M5 for example), would go

  • jpg66 jpg66 Posts:

    The normal real-life range for the Model S Performance is about 240 miles, so one mile requires 85kwh/240 = 0.35kWh/mile. If it would really tap 0.35kWh per second from the battery, that would amount to a power consumption of 0.35*60*60= 1,275kW, more than 4 times the specified maximum output of 310kW. So lmbvette is right: the reduced range is for 75% a result of recalculating the projected range based on the latest driver behavior, not of real battery depletion, which can't be much higher than a quarter mile per second.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    One other thing...the Tesla is limited to 135 mph, so comparing its range to that of even its most-speed-limited competitors (big Euro sedans, that by common agreement are limited to 155 mph) is not really valid. Other large sedans with handling packages or hi-po models (BMW M series, AMG, Audi RS) are limited to 175 or 190 mph. I would suspect an AMG or M-series would have a much greater range at 135 mph than a Tesla. Teslas do really well in quarter-mile runs, because of the excellent traction their even weight distribution gives, and the instant low-end torque of their electric motors. On a tight track, where that torque would normally help, I suspect the 4,700-lb. weight would be a penalty in fast transitions and would overtax the brakes. On a long, fast circuit, the combination of severe acceleration falloff once over 100-110 mph, combined with the 135 mph limiter, would cripple it.

  • toto_48313 toto_48313 Posts:

    I did some drag race (=> pedal to the floor), and the average consomption for 1/4 of miles was almost 0.9 kWh per run (12.5s), The rated range is about 300Wh/miles. During the drag (which included speed over 100 mph) : => one run ( 0.9 kWh = 900 Wh) is about 3 miles (3x300Wh) of rated range. => 3 miles of rated range over 12 s, it's about 0.25 miles per second The 0.9 kWh include the regen energy acquired during deceleration, so it's about 12 more second. If you included that deceleration time, you come to 0.125 miles of rated range per second

  • the only thing worse than discussing range is discussing math......

  • robs8 robs8 Posts:

    Yep and if you floor a similarly powered ICE you will get about 2mpg, the difference with the tesla is when you decelerate you will get about 50% back, try to acheive that in an ICE. This is an issue with any moving object and affects ICEs more seriously then EVs because at least the Tesla can recapture much of the energy used.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Lots of opinions here Edmunds... So how about a run till you die track test between the Tesla and say a 550i? Part 2 could be a quarter tank/quarter charge run down a desert somewhere. Which one goes further. P.S. If you actually do these tests I'll read Edmunds till I die.

  • xdamian_ xdamian_ Posts:

    After reading the second NY Times article from Washington D.C. to Boston, one could deduce that on a long trip such as this, one would lose 50% of range if held to an average speed of 70 mph as opposed to the 55 mph average the Government estimates were based on. On the other hand, in a self proclaimed "best miles" test run, the most mileage accomplished by a father and 13 year old son was 425 miles on a single charge. However, as a side thought, one speaker who had an emergency in their home resulting in the electricity being turned off wondered about being on their own without lights, heat and with no where else to go given her car would be out of "gas"!

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    @quadricycle: I would like to see that as well. ICEs are assumed to have 400-500 miles range but most have much MUCH less than that in all but ideal conditions. Run the Model S against a close competitor and may the rangiest car win! Though, the S may

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    @xdamian: I don't understand the last part of your comment. An EV wouldn't suddenly have a dead battery because the power went out....wait...was that satire? It's early and my brain isn't up yet.

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