2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for August 2017
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
We drove our 2016 Tesla Model X 1,957 miles this month, including a long, 1,046-mile road trip up the eastern flank of California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
But no new records were set this month because that road trip was a four-day tow test with a small, single-axle Happier Camper trailer latched on behind. The remaining 911 miles amounted to local commuting miles and a trip to Disneyland, where the main guest parking garage has 100 spaces equipped with metered 240-volt ChargePoint stations.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Over the course of the month, we recharged our Model X no less than 23 times. Only six of those utilized our own metered Tesla high-power wall connector, and one other occurred at one of Disneyland's 240-volt metered ChargePoint stations. The remaining 16 stops were at Superchargers, and 12 of those were associated with the towing trip to a small lake near Donner Summit.
Superchargers are great because they do not cost us anything. But they're a record-keeping nightmare for us because they don't display how much electricity they dispense. Sure, the car indicates how much the battery used during the preceding stint, but that's not the number that defines an electric vehicle's true consumption. That's because charging losses are part of charging a battery, and they're significant — upward of 20 percent or more.
At home (or at metered public stations such as the one at Disneyland), this higher figure is vitally important because that's the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) for which you will ultimately be billed. Such losses are a fact of life as far as your utility meter is concerned, and indeed they are part of an EV's officially rated range and consumption as shown on the window sticker.
The point is somewhat moot in our case because Supercharger use is free for our early Model X. But Model 3 owners won't be so lucky, and even for us this lack of critical data means we cannot calculate consumption whenever a Supercharger is used.
With 16 such freebie stops, this month's data was heavily affected. Only 419 of August's miles are usable to calculate consumption, none of them towing miles. The knowable portion of this month's average consumption works out to 52.4 kWh per 100 miles, which compares poorly to the Tesla's EPA rating of 38 kWh per 100 miles. Prefer to think in terms of miles per gallon equivalent (mpg-e) instead? Our Model X averaged 64.3 mpg-e over what amounted to 419 commuting miles, which falls far short of its 89 mpg-e rating.
Miles added this month: 1,957
Miles with complete data: 419
Consumption over those 419 miles: 52.4 kWh/100 miles (64.3 mpg-e)
EPA consumption rating: 38 kWh/100 miles (89 mpg-e)
Best lifetime observed range: 212.6 miles
Best lifetime projected range: 267.6 miles
Average lifetime projected range: 168.2 miles
Current odometer: 23,014 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Nothing this month.
Read the upcoming two-part account of the tow trip to see the bulk of what we learned this month.