Range Anxiety Just don’t talk to a Tesla Owner


Range Anxiety Just don’t talk to a Tesla Owner

He gave the example of friends who live in Gilroy (near silicon valley, the ground zero of Tesla owners). Its about 80 miles south of San Francisco. My friend lives in Torrance, about 300 miles south. The Tesla owner drove to Torrance, stopping once on the way to recharge.  He then confessed he forgot his “trickle Charger” and would have to go to charging stations to ‘top up.”

After arriving in Torrance, my friend followed him to a charging station and they dropped off the car.  In a few hours they went back and picked it up. Tesla then headed out to San Diego. He stopped once on the way down to charge, charged in SD, and stopped on the way back to charge. Once again he dropped of the car to charge and my friend picked him up. Later they returned to pick up the Tesla. It is not known how many stops he made on the way back to Gilroy.

My “car guy’s” comment.  “Great toy for city driving. Fun second car. Will I buy one? Not until they fix the battery problem — not enough range.”  He also commented on the time it takes to charge.  I didn’t believe him, so I looked it up —

Tesla says the 60-kwh battery provides a range of up to 232 miles (the EPA pegs it at 208 miles), and the 85-kwh battery (a $10,000 option) provides up to 300 miles (the EPA puts it at 265 miles). Here are some examples for recharging times: With a single onboard charger plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet, Tesla says you will get 5 miles of range for every hour of charging. From zero to 300 miles would take about 52 hours at that rate. With a single charger connected to a 240-volt outlet, which Tesla recommends, the pace speeds up to 31 miles of range for each hour of charging, and a full 300-mile charge takes less than 9.5 hours.

Step up to twin chargers on the car and connect to a 240-volt, high-power wall charger (an extra-cost charging unit, not just a 240-volt line) and the charging speed zooms to 62 miles of range per hour, and the total charging time drops to under 4 hours, 45 minutes.

Really in a hurry? Stop at a Tesla Supercharger station and you can top off the tank with 300 miles of range in just an hour, as long as your Model S is configured with Supercharger capability If a Supercharger station is out of reach, most public charging stations can recharge the Model S at the rate of 22 miles of range per hour of charging.

I then stumbled on a chain of comments on Driving from LA to Las Vegas, 280 miles.



If the 90% charge doesn’t cost you any time (because it’s at home while you sleep, for example) by all means, do that. To optimize charging time, you want to arrive at the supercharger with as little charge left as you are comfortable with. There’s really nothing to gain, time-wise, by adding an extra supercharger stop to the first leg of your trip.

Once you get to Barstow, though, the most time-efficient thing to do is charge just enough to make it to Primm, so you’ll be at a minimum state of charge in Primm, and thus charge faster. If you’ve got something else to do in Barstow, like eat a meal, that might change the equation.

Even though arriving with as little charge as possible is theoretically best, please leave a buffer, so you are sure to get to the next supercharger!

Let’s see — I get in my car, fill up at the local station, and drive nonstop to Las Vegas. I never for a second consider all the issues above. When I stop, its because nature calls, not the battery.


PS — I asked a Tesla owner about this and was told that there is no problem and these folks just don’t plan sufficiently.  Oh, did you know that if you buy the BMW electric car and then want to go to Vegas, you take it to the dealer and they give you a full size gas powered critter to make the trip?  What a clever solution.

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John Van Horn

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