Recommend music while reading! Cake - This Distance
The long-range battery for the Model 3 has a rated range of 310 miles. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going 310 miles on a single charge. If you are using this for daily driving, it’s recommended to have the battery limiter set to 90%, which would put you at 279 miles. And that’s if you are driving at 100% efficiency. It all depends on what all you do, aside from driving.
So last week, I decided to see how far I can go without charging my battery. As I mentioned before, many people that live in the city tend to live without garages or home chargers. Even though they may be fans of Teslas, they may not think they can keep the car charged like those that charge overnight at home. But I’m here to tell you it’s possible. It’s going to take a lot of planning, and Tesla Superchargers are going to be your best friends.
For my first distance test, I decided to start on Saturday morning and see how far I can make it. I wasn’t attempting any long distance trips. Just normal weekend errands and going to work during the week. My work is about 22 miles from my apartment. My car finished charging with 279 miles on Saturday, October 20. On Wednesday, October 24, I reached work with 36 miles. During my test, I used TeslaFi to log my data so I can analyze what’s going on. So what did I learn during my first test run?
For starters, I didn’t drive 243 miles! Surprisingly I really only drove 140.62 miles. How does that add up? Well, I’m not really that efficient while driving. Anytime you accelerate fast or speed on the highway, your efficiency is going to suffer. In my case, my total efficiency was around 79.12%! During my actual driving, I used up 177.72 miles on the battery! That’s not that bad, but what about the remaining 65.28 miles? After all, that’s 26.9% of the miles unaccounted for!
Well, here comes what we call Phantom Drain! What’s that? Phantom Drain happens when you lose miles when your car is sitting idle. Think about your cell phone or laptop. If may start out with 100%, but if you are not doing anything, it’ll eventually lose some of its charges. Think of the Tesla like a giant computer. It’s always communicating back to the Tesla account. It also has built-in LTE, WiFi, and GPS. If you don’t have applications polling it, it will eventually go to sleep. However, if you open your app, you’ll just wake it up again!
So let’s dig into the details! First, let’s take a look at my drives. The first day I came home pretty late from vacation, so the car just sat idle the whole day. My Sunday involved me running errands and heading to an ice hockey rink. The weekdays were primarily going to work. If you take a look, the distance I drove doesn’t always match how much I lost.
It’s interesting to note that my efficiency is better on the longer distances. If I look at it carefully, I’m usually on AutoPilot. If I’m going over 70+ mph, my efficiency decreases. Most of the times when I’m going to work, I hit some traffic and driving about 50 mph. At these times, I notice that my efficiency becomes better, closer to 100%. On the way home, I’m usually in rush hour traffic, so I’m usually going 30-40 mph or slower. When I go slower than that, I can see my efficiency suffer, especially when it’s stop-and-go traffic.
Now that we talked about battery drain via driving let’s dive in Phantom Drain. I’m going to split this into two, idle & sleep. Idle is when you are is parked. It’s probably still sending data out, your car is accessible immediately through the app. Sleep is exactly what it sounds like. If you are not communicating with the car or don’t have the app open, your car will eventually go to sleep. It’s like sleep mode on the computer. It’s not entirely off, but all the non-essentials are essentially off until it’s awakened.
Above we can see the times my car was Idle. It’s a lot. Doesn’t help if I accidentally opened the app or if I have TeslaFi polling it. Usually, it goes to sleep during the night if it’s not charging. Otherwise, it stays awake. As you can see, staying awake can be costly if you are trying to conserve your battery. I was losing on the average 0.79 miles per hour every time my car was idle.
In hindsight, when my car does go to sleep, you can see that my drain isn’t as bad. One night, I actually got range back onto my car! Though it was only 0.02 miles. All in all, I was losing 0.07 miles per hour.
Now, these results can vary, depending on how cold or hot it gets outside, and if you park inside vs out in the street. I will be doing these tests once a month for the next year to see how the results differ.
So what does it mean to you that lives in the city and don’t have a home charger? You have to plan accordingly. Otherwise, AAA will be your best friend as it tows you to a Supercharger! The Superchargers can be fast, depending on how many stalls are occupied and what the power output can be. It can be anywhere between 200 miles per hour to even 500 miles per hour!
You’ll also need to know what’s around the Supercharging stations. The last thing you want to do is sit at a charger for an hour doing nothing. There are usually restaurants, coffee shops nearby. If you combine it with these activities, then you can come back to your car fully charged! Just make sure you are courteous and move your car after you are done charging. Not only would you be holding up someone that might need a charge, but you can get hit with an idle charge! Living in the city is definitely doable with a Tesla!
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