How does range work?
“Range is the estimated distance your Tesla can travel on a single charge,” according to Tesla. Key word being *estimated*, because there are several factors that affect range. So, it’s not a set number for every trip. It’s literally a range. *ba dum tss* You can choose to display range as a percentage of battery remaining or remaining miles that can be driven – you can find this in the left corner of your touchscreen or right at the top top when you open the Tesla app. Simply touch the battery icon to change between % and miles.
What affects range?
Personal driving habits
- High driving speeds – how often do you peel out or accelerate quickly? 0-60 in less than 5 seconds is pretty tempting, so I get it. But this does lower your range quickly.
- Stop and go traffic/short trips – You use more energy accelerating constantly.
- Too hot can turn on the air automatically to keep it from overheating.
- Too cold can turn on the heat to keep it at safe levels too.
- Cold weather tips to save range: precondition and defrost before getting in. Charge when idle. Drive at moderate speeds and use chill mode. You can find out more in our winter tips video as well as Tesla’s guide.
- Whether you have a heat pump or not matters when it comes to energy used.
- Blowing air from your vents expends more energy than using seat heaters, so use those instead if possible.
- Inclement weather such as rain, snow, and strong headwinds decreases range.
- Aerodynamics -Drag from things like wind, roof racks, rear bumper racks, open hitch
- Weight – How many passengers are in your car? How many heavy items are you carrying?
- Uphill driving causes you to loose range quicker, but going downhill saves range.
- Size of tires matters – the smaller, the more range.
- Aerowheels eliminate drag, saving range.
**This is a cool site to show how much your range is affected.
Vampire drain/phantom drain?
Even when idle, your car uses energy through features you keep on or how many things are plugged into your aux. Things you can turn off when not using:
- Stand by mode/summon
- Sentry mode – recommended to keep on though unless you park in a garage or somewhere that you think you don’t need it, just for safety measures
- Avoid touching the app as much as possible. Every time you open the app, it wakes your car up from sleep mode.
Regen braking is the only thing that affects range positively by getting you MORE range.
- Regen braking saves energy by using the kinetic energy (friction) from the process of slowing down and using it to recharge the battery.
- Instead of energy going to waste when braking, regen is able to use it by putting it back in the battery pack.
- When you lift off the accelerator, it usually feels like you’re already braking. Some trips you may even only use one pedal as you speed up and slow down using only the accelerator pedal.
- It doesn’t work when your charge is full, because there’s no more energy to save.
How do I know how much range I have?
- Always check the weather and add buffers – I like to add about 50-60 miles of buffer.
- The map on your touchscreen can estimate how much you’ll have left when you arrive at your destination and help you plan better routes.
- If you’re supposed to have 310 miles, give yourself at least 60 miles of buffer just for safe measure – so it’s more like 250.
How low can I go?
- It’s not like when you get to E on a gas car and you get another 40 miles or so. Believe me, there’s nothing left.
- 10% is the lowest I’ll let myself go.
- I once pushed it by getting as low as 3 miles left when I only had 1 mile to go, and I didn’t make it. The Tesla powered down on the highway and slowed to a stop on the side of the road, where we had to be towed. And once your battery is dead, your Tesla locks up and the only way to get back into it is going through your frunk. You can find more about this process here.
How do I keep my battery healthy?
- Stay between 20-80% charge for US made batteries – Watch our video on charging for more info about this.
- If your VIN starts with 5YJ, it’s US made.
- If it starts with LRW, it’s the LFP batteries made in China, and Tesla says you can actually charge these to 100%.
- Just like with your phone or laptop battery life, your Tesla’s battery decreases slightly overtime.
- I’m down 4% battery life in 3.5 years and 80k miles of ownership. You can see your battery health in your app.
How much range do I need?
- This really depends on your daily driving or road trip needs, and how close you are to a charger or have one at home.
- Tesla has 4 Models and 9 variations from 272 – 405 miles, so there are several great options. Just remember to add that 50-60 mile buffer when purchasing an EV though. So 270 miles would realistically be more like 212.
- You can compare different Teslas here. Tesla’s support page on range is also a great resource.