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Thread: Real World Range Questions (Winter)

  1. #1
    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Real World Range Questions (Winter)

    So, I'm trying to get a handle on what I can expect my "real world" range will look like on Model S over time with the 85 kWh pack. I have no real EV experience, so I'm trying to piece together a picure with the facts I can find. Here's what I'm working with:


    • Tesla says 300 miles, albeit at 55 MPH in perfect conditions with a new battery and no HVAC.
    • EPA sys 265 miles.
    • Recent Motor Trend range test shows about 238 miles and that seems like it was done in ideal weather and "nursing" it a bit. Their sense is that range is better in stop-and-go than on the freeway.
    • A recent Cars.com long term report on the Chevy Volt shows electric range drops from 40 miles to 25 miles in "cold" weather. That's a 38% reduction! Not the same car for sure, but it does have a similar technology liquid cooled/heated Li-ion battery. We have a company Volt, but no cold weather experience with it yet.
    • Tesla says they expect the battery to retain 70% of its capacity after 7 years. This turns an 85 kWh battery into an approximately 60 kWh battery by that time.


    About me:


    • I live in Canada. It gets cold. In addition to cold, it gets snowy, which increases rolling resistance and reduces range further.
    • My driving is about 85% freeway with the balance urban use.


    Conclusion:

    At the 7 year point, I would start out with 238 * 0.7 = 167 miles of "ideal weather" range. (Perhaps a bit lower because of my freeway per-centage). In the "cold", I would lop of another 38% which takes me to 104 miles, and I haven't factored in snowy roads yet.
    My total commute is 80 miles with no side trips, which I am required to make for my job from time to time. My cottage trip is 125 miles one-way, but I can charge when I get there.

    Something I don't fully have a grasp on is what is meant by "Range" vs. "Normal" charging. I gather "Range" charging gives you the full, advertised range, but is not meant for everyday driving as it can degrade the battery performance. How much of a range "hit" does one take with "Normal" mode charging?

    Am I crazy here? Have I missed something? It looks like what starts out as a 300 mile car may barely make an 80 mile commute in the winter months after a few years, and that would be with a "Range" charge.

    Mike

  2. #2
    MSP #4242, MX #648 mnx's Avatar
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    The cold weather reduction is nowhere near a 38% reduction. Ask Doug_G or Jaff, they both drive their roadsters in winter, I think the biggest hit you take is running the cabin heater...

    Quote Originally Posted by mknox View Post
    So, I'm trying to get a handle on what I can expect my "real world" range will look like on Model S over time with the 85 kWh pack. I have no real EV experience, so I'm trying to piece together a picure with the facts I can find. Here's what I'm working with:


    • Tesla says 300 miles, albeit at 55 MPH in perfect conditions with a new battery and no HVAC.
    • EPA sys 265 miles.
    • Recent Motor Trend range test shows about 238 miles and that seems like it was done in ideal weather and "nursing" it a bit. Their sense is that range is better in stop-and-go than on the freeway.
    • A recent Cars.com long term report on the Chevy Volt shows electric range drops from 40 miles to 25 miles in "cold" weather. That's a 38% reduction! Not the same car for sure, but it does have a similar technology liquid cooled/heated Li-ion battery. We have a company Volt, but no cold weather experience with it yet.
    • Tesla says they expect the battery to retain 70% of its capacity after 7 years. This turns an 85 kWh battery into an approximately 60 kWh battery by that time.


    About me:


    • I live in Canada. It gets cold. In addition to cold, it gets snowy, which increases rolling resistance and reduces range further.
    • My driving is about 85% freeway with the balance urban use.


    Conclusion:

    At the 7 year point, I would start out with 238 * 0.7 = 167 miles of "ideal weather" range. (Perhaps a bit lower because of my freeway per-centage). In the "cold", I would lop of another 38% which takes me to 104 miles, and I haven't factored in snowy roads yet.
    My total commute is 80 miles with no side trips, which I am required to make for my job from time to time. My cottage trip is 125 miles one-way, but I can charge when I get there.

    Something I don't fully have a grasp on is what is meant by "Range" vs. "Normal" charging. I gather "Range" charging gives you the full, advertised range, but is not meant for everyday driving as it can degrade the battery performance. How much of a range "hit" does one take with "Normal" mode charging?

    Am I crazy here? Have I missed something? It looks like what starts out as a 300 mile car may barely make an 80 mile commute in the winter months after a few years, and that would be with a "Range" charge.

    Mike
    2013 Tesla Model S P85: 12.417 @ 111.570 MPH

    Performance 85kWh, custom 19" Forgestar c5fv wheels, white/black/CF, pano,sound,tech,twin chargers!

  3. #3
    Model S 2017 KBF's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't think that the Volt or Leaf is comparable to Tesla's thermal management system.

    Because you keep it plugged in during the winter you won't have the issues an ICE has trying to get everything going when it's -40. It just means you'll use a bit more electricity while it's keeping the battery warm (but you'll still start your trip with a full battery). Apparently hot weather is worse.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBF View Post
    Yeah, I don't think that the Volt or Leaf is comparable to Tesla's thermal management system.

    Because you keep it plugged in during the winter you won't have the issues an ICE has trying to get everything going when it's -40. It just means you'll use a bit more electricity while it's keeping the battery warm (but you'll still start your trip with a full battery). Apparently hot weather is worse.
    The Leaf is air cooled, but the Volt has a liquid thermal management system, so I thought it might be a good proxy. Perhaps not, but as I understand it, even the Roadster's pack is a different configuration than Model S.

    Perhaps it's not as bad as my raw numbers suggest. The car should be nice and cozy coming out of the garage in the morning, but I do have to park it at work outside all day with no place to plug in.

    We've had some pretty hot spells here in Southern Ontario this summer, and our Volt showed no reduction in range during those spells. During that time, the Volt would sit all day not plugged in, but I noticed fans/pumps running when it was plugged in, even after being fully charged. Not so much in more moderate temperatures.

  5. #5
    Roadster #1144 + Sig 114 dsm363's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mknox View Post
    So, I'm trying to get a handle on what I can expect my "real world" range will look like on Model S over time with the 85 kWh pack. I have no real EV experience, so I'm trying to piece together a picure with the facts I can find.

    .........


    Am I crazy here? Have I missed something? It looks like what starts out as a 300 mile car may barely make an 80 mile commute in the winter months after a few years, and that would be with a "Range" charge.

    Mike

    You only want to charge in range mode if you need the added range. With your 80 mile daily commute, you shouldn't get close to running out even in standard mode with the heat on and running at 75 mph for many years.
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/mode...ency-and-range

    At 75 mph you should get around 185 miles in range mode with heat off. I believe running your heat is a 10-15% hit according to Tesla (link above), not 38%. We'll know a lot more of course this winter when owners up north start getting real world data.

    Is there any way you could talk someone into a place for you to plug in at work? I see you said you must park outside with no place to plug in.

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    Senior Member Jaff's Avatar
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    Yeah, the heater uses more power than the seat heater does mnx...Grimsby is nowhere near as cold as Doug_G gets in Ottawa, but I dress according to the conditions so I rarely get cold.

    mknox, I have noticed no appreciable reduction in range in the winter...however, I rarely travel longer distances in the winter (i.e. to the cottage...about 240 kms)...I remember reading some Roadster winter range reduction numbers in the 5-15% range somewhere on this forum

    Firstly, I would be less worried about what TMC says the range is or the EPA for that matter...the real range is the distance that you are able to drive in your vehicle, on your regular routes, with your driving style.

    I feel that the Model S will closely mirror my Roadster's range experience...in non-winter driving, if I stay within 5-7 kph of the posted speed limits and avoid jack-rabbit starts (and dispatching the young punks ), I will get exactly what my vds tells me to expect re remaining range.

    One option that is rarely discussed by reviewers is the option of "slowing down"...going marginally slower than the posted speed limit, even 95 kph in a 100 zone will increase your range...my sister had a vehicle emergency a few months ago...bottom line was I had to drive my brother-in-law from the cottage to Guelph so their vehicle could be repaired...I found myself heading back to the cottage (152 km distance) with 133 kms of range left in the tank...I simply slowed my speed and travelled 75 kph rather than the posted speed limit of 80 kph, put the roof back on, and shut off the a/c...I made it back fine with about 20 kms of range to spare...simply slowing down can extend your range significantly.

    For those with pre-delivery range concerns, you should search out and read the posts of this club's "range-meister" Eberhard...he knows how to squeeze out every last drop!

    These numbers won't apply to the Model S, but in my Roadster, a range charge (100% of the battery), I get around 382 kms of range...in a standard charge (90% of the battery) I get around 300 kms.


    Quote Originally Posted by mnx View Post
    The cold weather reduction is nowhere near a 38% reduction. Ask Doug_G or Jaff, they both drive their roadsters in winter, I think the biggest hit you take is running the cabin heater...
    Member Southern Ontario Tesla Owners Club

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    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsm363 View Post
    Is there any way you could talk someone into a place for you to plug in at work? I see you said you must park outside with no place to plug in.
    I'm working on it. Of all things, I work for an electric utility where we actually promote EVs! You'd think they'd encourage it by enabling employees and customers.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaff View Post
    These numbers won't apply to the Model S, but in my Roadster, a range charge (100% of the battery), I get around 382 kms of range...in a standard charge (90% of the battery) I get around 300 kms.
    Thanks. I haven't been able to find much on Range vs. Standard charging other than my assumption that the Tesla and EPA numbers are based on a 100% Range charge, which you technically shouldn't do on a regular basis.

  8. #8
    Roadster #1144 + Sig 114 dsm363's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mknox View Post
    I'm working on it. Of all things, I work for an electric utility where we actually promote EVs! You'd think they'd encourage it by enabling employees and customers.
    I've heard sometimes people have had luck if they offer to pay for in installation of the plug (that could be cost prohibitive though) but definitely try and talk them into doing it for you. You'll have better luck putting the charging spots away from prime parking places (not right next to the building) since people seem less bitter that EVs are getting the prime parking spots. Good luck!

    Jaff makes excellent points about speed being a big factor. You'll likely be ok for many years in standard mode (even without a place to charge at work). How fast do you normally drive on your way to work (highway speed)?

  9. #9
    Dr. EVS rolosrevenge's Avatar
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    I'm working on it. Of all things, I work for an electric utility where we actually promote EVs! You'd think they'd encourage it by enabling employees and customers.
    If they are a public utility district, they may be constrained by laws that prohibit them from giving away free power. A utility I do business with is in that boat, so when we drive the company LEAF up there, we have to go to a parking garage several blocks away to get a charge.

  10. #10
    Roadster #1144 + Sig 114 dsm363's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rolosrevenge View Post
    If they are a public utility district, they may be constrained by laws that prohibit them from giving away free power. A utility I do business with is in that boat, so when we drive the company LEAF up there, we have to go to a parking garage several blocks away to get a charge.
    Would a paid option be allowed (something like the Chargepoint network) where the utility could simply charge the cost of electricity with no profit?

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