When I got my Performance Model 3, I knew that the 310 rated miles wasn’t real. Based on the reports I saw, it was closer to 270 miles. With dual motors and a car that can outperform a BMW M3, the hit on the mileage was acceptable for me. It’s similar to when you get a “sports” version of a car model where it has a lower MPG EPA rating. For me, the 310 miles was more of a gauge and my indication of whether the battery has degraded.
Sometime in February and March, I’ve noticed that my rated range has been dropping. So I went to the Service Center to see if my battery was actually degrading. At the time, I had only had my car for 6 months, so it seemed really odd. The day before my service appointment, one of the service techs called me. He said they ran a remote diagnostic on my car and see no issue with my battery, and also mentioned that I had an older firmware that is calculating the range incorrectly.
That piqued my interest. Most people were telling me that it was due to my driving behavior, that I’m “driving it like I stole it.” I can assure you, this was not the case. My commute to work is 22 miles. Most of it is on the highway. I drive on “Chill” mode and am one of the slower cars on the road. All on Autopilot. I’m the “we’ll get there when we get there” type of person. If the speed limit on the highways is 65 mph, I’m driving 70 mph.
Just to compare efficiencies, my Model 3 has a 75 kWh battery. As I mentioned in a previous post, if I wanted to be 100% efficient, I would need to drive at 242 wH/mile. When driving 65 mph in a 65 mph zone, I would sometimes get over 260 wH/mile. That’s with Autopilot and no traffic!
I also live in San Diego, and the weather here can vary based on the where you live. Our weather reports have 4 different locations. I’m what they call the “coast” area. I live close to downtown. Our temps are between 40-60s during the winters, 60-80s during the summer. We only had weather over 80s during the summer a handful of times, so I never saw the “summer efficiency” that everyone else saw.
After my service appointment, I’ve been seeing multiple people saying similar things that they range had drop. I talked to few folks on Twitter. I had a real interesting conversation with @dealer_of_happiness on Twitter. He mentioned that Tesla might be experimenting updating the range in real time with the Model 3s, unlike the S & X. This would be reporting a more realistic miles on the car, instead of a rated range of 310. This would make sense why my car is suffering a lot than most.
So I asked around on Twitter for folks to help provide me some data. Granted, this is very small sample size, but wanted to see if there’s any patterns out there. There’s also something I wasn’t ready for, the Long Range (LR) Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) Model 3 had to be separated into 2 groups: those that got the 325 rated mile update and those that didn’t. I was hoping the efficiency would have explained why 1 group saw the rated mile increase, whereas the others didn’t. But that determination had to be something else.
First, the LR RWD is one hell of the efficient machine. The EPA rating was definitely based on this car. This is definitely our baseline. It almost seems that no matter how you drive the car, the range is not effected. The variations are very small and there are a few outliers.
The next one I looked at was the Dual Motor AWD. Unlike the LR RWD, it has a second motor to make it faster. With the data I collected, we are definitely seeing a trend as if your driving efficiency is worse, the rated miles will also drop. It’s not as drastic, but I’ll be curious to see where this plateaus over time.
Finally, for my car. This looks like it just fell off the cliff. With a more powerful motor, it seems to drop over time. Right now my car is around 294, but I suspect it to drop even more so. I couldn’t be surprised if it lands somewhere around 270.
As for the Standard Range, Standard Range + and Mid Range, I didn’t get enough responses from people to determine anything. I also only took car configuration into play, but not the tires.
I believe Tesla is taking a lot of information that factors into the range calculation. It’s probably taking into effect not just how we drive, but elevation, temperature, how much on highways vs city, and much more. As I see more people talking about their range drop on their Model 3s and based on my conversation with the Tesla service technician, I have become more convinced that Tesla is experimenting with the max range calculation. As you continue to drive, the rate range will more accurately reflect your actual range.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As more and more Teslas are being sold, you’ll start to have a majority of the Tesla drivers that are just the casual drivers and not the hardcore fans that know every technical detail about the car. The average driver may not know that 310 miles is not really 310 miles if they have an AWD or Performance car.
The accuracy of the rated range on the car will also fight range anxiety. Range anxiety is more mental than anything, knowing when to push yourself and your car. The average driver may not know enough about themselves or car to be comfortable. If the rated range is accurate, it makes cross country driving that much easier.
So if you are seeing your Model 3 range dropping over time, I wouldn’t worry. I’m sure you’ll eventually see it level off. If you really want to see your max range increase, you’ll probably need to adjust your driving. But that’s not fun. Instead, Enjoy your car. Drive it to every part of the world. Have fun meeting other great Tesla owners! Just know that your battery is probably fine.