2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Real World Range

March 29, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

On Friday afternoon I jumped in our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S and headed home for the weekend. The car was fully charged and its instrument cluster told me it was packing 251 miles of range.

I never plugged it in over the weekend, and on Monday morning the Tesla and I arrived back at Edmunds HQ after 87.6 miles of driving. At this point the car's instrument cluster was telling me it was packing only 65 miles of range, so my 88 miles of driving used 186 miles worth of battery range.

Hmmmmm. Admittedly I'm no hypermiler and all of the 88 miles were in the city, but at that rate the car's true range is in the neighborhood of 120 miles.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 1,901 miles

Comments

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    Were you juts cruising or driving hard?

  • do they list any sort of different range for city driving? As we've seen the Edmunds staff doesn't typically even get the city ratings on their gas engine cars even when some highway driving is mixed in. -- I've said it before and I'll keep saying it "electric cars and hybrids aren't for everyone." If you don't drive efficiently then don't get one. For that matter don't even get a newer car that is highly efficient. It just won't work out. Buy the car that fits the way you drive. --- that being said it doesn't do the electric cars any favors when they list the range as an ultimate, nearly unachievable high amount. --- until we come up withe some vastly superior way to store electricity the electric cars will belong to those that enjoy trying to stretch every mile out of them. Or those that don't drive very far on a regular basis.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    On one hand, I know the Edmunds staff does not get EPA-rated mileage from their cars, but on the other hand, I have never seen them get only 16 mpg from a ICE-powered car that has a combined EPA rating of 32 mpg. Maybe that New York Times columnist was not full of crap after all - ? I have seen posts by Tesla owners that said that AFTER they took delivery of their cars...they got a system update that, among other things, changes the way it calculates remaining range.

  • ariusj ariusj Posts:

    Sorry if this is a repost. The comment tool is buggy. I don't see the need to have to drive efficiently. With a real owner, the car will get charged every night. Edmunds have their charger installed in the office. Scott probably saw no reason to plug the car in his garage. PG&E isn't cheap if you're not on the electric car rate.

  • I don't know what the issue with your particular car is. But I and many other owners have driven well over 200 miles often, and with range to spare without doing anything special. The real-world range is most definitely *not* 120 miles, unless you were driving 100 mph+ the whole time with the heater on full blast. So something is up here.

  • Why did the instrument panel say for kWh/mi since the last charge?

  • As it clearly states in te Manual, plug in the ar in the evening, every evening whether you drive the ar or not...similar to your iPhone to keep it fully charged...this is the 1st thing you would do all the time...then, you would easily have 240+ miles of driving when you start out in the morning! Please use common sense when driving an electric cR!

  • cerjor cerjor Posts:

    This is in complete disagreement with my experience. I have a Model S with the 85 Kwh battery. I have never had a problem driving 200+ miles on a single charge. From what I hear from other owners they have not had problems with getting a range of at least 200+ miles either.

  • uncanny_man uncanny_man Posts:

    Depending on the battery chemistry (and chemical purity), batteries discharge over time! Surely you've noticed that your ipod doesn't stay fully charged indefinitely?

  • nanostream nanostream Posts:

    Seriously....someone drive down there and show this guy how to use the car. I've had my MS since the middle of December and have never lost this kind of range through sub 30 and 40 degree Boston weather for the last two months. You would not have been fully charged at standard charge (~237-242 miles) or range charge (~ 260-265) so exactly what are you doing? It's tiring listening to qualified car jocks that become terminally stupid when they get into an electric car. Give a detailed account of exactly what you did to get such uncommon numbers instead of a half-[non-permissible content removed] blog comment that obviously paints a false negative picture of the car. I'm no fanboy, but "willful blindness" is an unacceptable way to review a car.

  • trincoll trincoll Posts:

    Gas powered cars are different than electric fueled cars and we can all find ways to make cars fail however Scott is cheating himself out of one of the most important part of the electric experience. Electric cars require you to plug them in every night, and each morning the day begins with a full charge. How many times have you pulled your gas car into he garage with the tank near empty and been able to start the next day with a full tank? I would like an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Model S - not a sensational paragraph making brash assumptions based on not plugging in which all EV owners know is a huge advantage. Full disclosure I own a model S with an 85 kw battery pack, it is the best car I have ever driven. Rarely do I ever use more than a quarter of the charge, and the confidence I have starting each day off with a full charge is refreshing. Based on following the directions the range would have reset to full over night, but that does not make a good headline.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    I complete agree with the commenters who said you should have plugged the car in, overnight. Tesla specifically recommended for you to do that when you took delivery, didn't they?

  • Wow...don't tell this to my Model S or the countless others of real Model S owners who REGULARLY exceed 200 miles on a single charge (without doing any sort of hypermiling I might add) Not sure if you're confused by the "rated" range vs. the "projected" range, but your estimate of "true range" is so far off the mark as to be blatantly false or willfully ignorant. How about you respect the weight that your words have as a journalist and not throw around baseless claims so flippantly? I understand you may have had one experience that didn't make sense to you as a new EV driver, but that doesn't mean you should jump to conclusions. I can guarantee that over repeated drives you will far exceed 200 miles on a charge (even with a heavy foot).

  • edneff edneff Posts:

    Sounds like a possible instrumentation glitch. I have seen reports of owners routinely doing 200 mile plus journeys between charges. What was the ambient temperature? Perhaps plugging the car in even to a normal 110V household outlet would help, since I believe Tesla recommends plugging it in when not in use.

  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    The harder these electric-only cars try, the worse it gets. Come on, just buy a Volt. If I bought the Tesla S (ha, ha, ha, ha), according to the above post I couldn't make it from Rochester to Albany (218 miles one way), but if I bought a Volt I could accidentally drive to the West Coast and then drive all the way back to the East Coast and not run out of propulsion. I guess you have to be really rich-- and a bit dumb-- to buy such a frivolous machine.

  • cosmacelf cosmacelf Posts:

    "the car's true range is in the neighborhood of 120 miles". You call yourself a journalist? Thousands of Model S owners have gotten over 200 miles of range on a single charge, and you think your one experience trumps thousands of other people? The EPA managed to give it a 265 mile range. Personally, I think the blog post author looked at the energy usage app to find the 65 mile figure. That energy usage app IS NOT true estimated range, as anyone who knows the car can attest to.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Anyone notice how all the pro-Tesla comments are getting many thumbs up and any comment questioning Tesla gets a lot of thumbs down, while on any other post a comment might get maybe 1 thumb up or down? Its almost as if there is a band of people out there on the internet desperate to bat down any Tesla criticism. I'm betting this one is going to set a new thumbs down record.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    On topic, I do agree the battery probably does just lose a charge overnight and to get maximum range it should be charged nightly. But charging costs money. When I fill my car up with gas, the gas doesn't disappear if I don't refill it nightly. So even if that is the proper way to own and maintain an EV, it remains a knock against it.

  • robs8 robs8 Posts:

    Really guys? You think it is accurate to describe that little stunt as measuring "real world range" why not drive it 1/2 a mile a day for a month and when it's nearly dead at the end of the month declare the real world range is 20 miles? That would be just as "accurate" and as useful a measure.

  • cosmacelf cosmacelf Posts:

    Even with over night charge loss (and there is a software fix pending to reduce amount of charge loss), electric motors are still vastly more energy efficient than gas powered engines.

  • mr_kq mr_kq Posts:

    If you understand how the car calculates remaining range, you get a range of 150 miles and not 120 miles in this "test". Obviously, the reporter was driving hard, and the car calculates how far you can go if you keep driving the same way you have been. So the reporter should have come up with an estimated range of the 87.6 miles he drove plus the 65 remaining that the car estimates. That's over 150, not 120. I know 150 isn't great but it's not as sensational as 120. This is sloppy journalism.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Electricity seems to be the most efficient way to boil blood apparently. A note: The article is pretty free of judgement as he was just reporting his range findings (correctly or otherwise), not condemning the car, or speculating into the cause. Somehow though, it appears some got a little worked up and turned this into a good 'ol stoning (see the long comments with insults). So let's calm down, take a breath, and pick up some books on mob psychology while we're at it.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    True, but then, why not drive the car the remaining 65 miles and see if the range number changes, instead of speculating?

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    I figured the fanboys would out in full effect blasting Edmunds on this post. Face it guys & gals, you are now part of the vast right wing, big oil, fox news, Limbaugh, (have i forgotten anyone?) conspiracy.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Monday morning, fire up Edmunds, see this post, and even before I saw that there were 24 comments I knew that this forum would be flooded by upset fanboys. The Edmunds crew never minces words, reporting what they did to the car and how the car responded- in the event of "wilful ignorance" the regular commenters typically smack them, but the response level to almost every Model S post is ridiculous. I thought Prius fans were evangelists but this is taking it to another level. If this is what Tesla ownership does to people, forget it, you folks are the worst ambassadors for your brand. Also: When will we hear from Elon/lawyers? =)

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    I'm surprised by the huge number of comments on this blog entry. Seems like someone posted a link elsewhere and we're getting drive-by responses.

  • nanostream Is it hard for you to understand that a car that is driven more aggressively will have a range that is much lower. I own a car that claims it can do 350 miles on one tank of gas but if i drive it hard and only in the city then i will be lucky to get 150.

  • olanmills olanmills Posts:

    Maybe the car needs service or something else was overlooked. This has not been my experience at all.

  • jvonbokel jvonbokel Posts:

    With the current firmware lacking sleep mode, "Friday afternoon" to "Monday morning" could easily result in a loss of around 64 miles* to "Vampire Load" alone. There are a few different ways to do the math, but between that, the 88mi the author drove, and the 65 miles remaining, you've got 217mi, which is much more reasonable than 120, and is in line with what many owners are experiencing. *Assuming 5pm Friday to 9am Monday, and 1mi lost per hour. If Tesla can meet their stated goal with the reintroduction of sleep mode, that loss could be cut to less than 1 mile in the same timeframe. Vampire load also can account for the discrepancy between "fully charged", and "251 miles". The car was probably plugged in sometime on Thursday and reached a full charge (265mi) some 14 hours before the author picked up the car for the weekend, at which point it showed 251mi remaining.

  • dsm363 dsm363 Posts:

    It is an electric car so plugging it in when you can (especially if you are home and sleeping) seems like the right thing to do. Do you plug your mobile phone in when you get home? You could have at least plugged it into a 110V outlet and added about 30 miles of range over not which isn't much. Almost anyone who owns this car and has a garage would have installed a NEMA 14-50 outlet and been able to charge at 30 miles of range an hour. This is really a non issue unless you live in an apartment or condo without access to charging.

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