How Much Spare Range Is Enough?

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#1
I'm new Model 3 owner (only have 100 city miles on it) and equally new to participating on a forum. (I hope I don't violate any unwritten forum etiquette rules.) Anyway, here goes. While I know the answer to this is personal, I'm wondering if there's a consensus on about how much remaining range is reasonable to plan for on a long trip. I'm going to drive from CA to Washington, D.C. next Spring and have looked at how the trip might be planned. Some legs between Super Chargers could leave 35-45 miles of range remaining, if all goes as planned. To a novice this seems like cutting it too close, but maybe it's no big deal in a TM3. Love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.
 

3V Pilot

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#2
I'm new Model 3 owner (only have 100 city miles on it) and equally new to participating on a forum. (I hope I don't violate any unwritten forum etiquette rules.) Anyway, here goes. While I know the answer to this is personal, I'm wondering if there's a consensus on about how much remaining range is reasonable to plan for on a long trip. I'm going to drive from CA to Washington, D.C. next Spring and have looked at how the trip might be planned. Some legs between Super Chargers could leave 35-45 miles of range remaining, if all goes as planned. To a novice this seems like cutting it too close, but maybe it's no big deal in a TM3. Love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.
One of the best features in this car is it's ability to continually calculate the range. It will tell you "Drive below XXmph to make it to your destination". And when it does you just slow down or plan to charge elsewhere. By the time you make the trip I'd bet more superchargers will be installed and it will not even be an issue. After a small road trip or two you will have lots of confidence in how the map works. I thought this car would be a compromise on long trips but have found just the opposite. Because you do have to stop a rest/recharge the car, you also get rested and recharged!
 

garsh

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#3
I run my Leaf down to ~2 miles of range remaining almost every day. I'd have no problems going down to 30 miles remaining. In fact, a battery with a low SOC (state of charge) will supercharge more quickly, so that's generally the best way to supercharge during long trips.
 
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13004

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I live on the road between VA and FL. I like to have a minimum of 35 miles, but prefer around 50isch as I often encounter detours. I also usually chill on the first 50% of the leg to build up extra cushion and then roll faster on the second half. I am not one to run my ICE cars much down past 1/4 tank. Please keep in mind that you can blow thru your expected range very quickly at higher speeds such as 80mph (speed kills) and/or if you run the cabin heat and/or travel in heavy rain.

Good-luck!
 

Frank99

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#5
Prior to your trip, 30-50 miles would be a good buffer in case of heavy rains or winds or very cold weather. I haven't done enough trips to know how well the Nav system takes those into account.

Once you're driving, I'll echo 3VPilot - the car gives excellent feedback. There's a constant display telling you how many miles of range you'll have when you get to the next Supercharger. Slow down by 5 mph, and the range increases. Speed up and it decreases. From the time you leave your driveway, the car is telling you everything you need to know to guarantee hitting the next SC.

I've done a couple of 500 mile trips, and the first time I was going to get into an SC with 5 miles of range left, I was quite anxious - I slowed down a bit, got in with 10 miles left, and learned that my right foot controls how much range I'll have when I get to the SC. These days, I simply don't sweat it. I'm planning a trip from Phoenix, to SoCal (maybe drop by Hawthorne), up through the Bay Area (maybe drop by Fremont), then east with a stop in Yellowstone, then back home. And I don't plan on worrying about SCs and range left when I get to one at all.
 

Ed Woodrick

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#6
I'm new Model 3 owner (only have 100 city miles on it) and equally new to participating on a forum. (I hope I don't violate any unwritten forum etiquette rules.) Anyway, here goes. While I know the answer to this is personal, I'm wondering if there's a consensus on about how much remaining range is reasonable to plan for on a long trip. I'm going to drive from CA to Washington, D.C. next Spring and have looked at how the trip might be planned. Some legs between Super Chargers could leave 35-45 miles of range remaining, if all goes as planned. To a novice this seems like cutting it too close, but maybe it's no big deal in a TM3. Love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.
Next spring? The number of Superchargers will probably change.

If you charge at home, this generally isn't an issue until you travel. And when travelling, you may not have many options.

But,
When a the trip calculator says stay so long, you can always increase. Also look for chargers with something interesting to do on trips, at least have lunch and go for 100%.
Also look for J-1772 chargers on PlugShare as a backup. They take longer, but if something happens, they can at least get you charged.
If the J-1772 chargers don't work, look for campgrounds that can support 50 ft motor homes. They'll have the high current plug that you can charge from.

Go driving, play with the car, get you own feeling of safety limits.

I recently did a 1800 mile trek through the South and didn't have any issues at all.
 

SalisburySam

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#7
Generally you want to avoid running out of fuel regardless of vehicle, perhaps especially if you’re driving an airplane. That said, consider trips in the M3 as you would in ICE vehicles. Drive until you feel you need fuel based on the location and convenience of the next fuel station and the one after that, coupled with your driving style. Having come from a 2012 Nissan LEAF, I early on learned what range anxiety was and for me the only way around that was to charge early and often. Because of the lack of refueling points back then, even with a DC fast charging port on the LEAF, taking a trip was a painful experience spent mostly at refueling points so I used my ICE for any round trip beyond the range of a single charging at home. That all went away with the M3.

I’ve only driven about 1,000 miles in my M3, but have taken a couple 150- and one 200-mile trip with no issues whatever. I drive at the speed limits (mostly 70, some 65) with climate control on. The lowest mileage I ever had was returning to my home one evening with 7 miles showing. Even with that, I knew I’d get home without running dry.

So, 35-45 miles left is not cutting it too close for me in the M3. 35-45 miles left on my LEAF is over ½ a tank of fuel, so no anxiety there either. Good luck, and enjoy your travels! I have.
 
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mkg3

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#8
The way I think about this is not in terms of miles reserve but in terms of percent charge left.

So If one think about it and say will recharge anywhere near 10~20% remaining, then your decision is based on battery health and longevity perspective (since its not good to draw down Li ion battery very low).

Also, I've found that the topology makes a difference in power consumption, all else being equal. In other words, up hill requires more energy than down hill. In your case, I don't know where in CA but unless you take the desert rout (10), you pretty much have to go over the Sierra mountain range. And if on 80, then clearly over the Rockies.

We have just over 1100 miles (mostly wife commuting 80 mi/day) and have not taken any trips but we'll give it a go this coming Saturday for 160 miles round tripper and see where we are.
 

Twiglett

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#9
to echo the others....
Its all based in your own confidence level and getting out and using it.
I started out driving like I still had my Leaf, carefully planning each leg and checking all the charging options.
After two months now I just approximate it.
Getting home with 40 miles left is fine when you can just charge while sleeping :)
My previous trip was 200 miles each way with a single supercharger stop on the way out
The current one is 150 miles out to a cabin with multiple days of day trips from there. Nothing but 110v charging and 150 drive home at the end. No problem.
 
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#10
Thanks to all for the data, observations and opinions. First long trip will probably be about 360 miles down US101 to southern CA. Plenty of SC stations along the way. It should be a useful first foray outside of town.
 

Dogwhistle

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#11
I like to plan all my legs with a 15% reserve, about 40-45 miles. If its less than that, I consider other options. If it goes less than 10% enroute, then I start taking action, so I prefer to stay out of that zone.

Once you enter a destination into the Navi-computer, the estimated arrival % is fairly accurate, at least in average conditions. That number does correct for planned speeds (it knows you plotted over a highway), but may not work in cold weather.
 

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#12
We just got done with a 2400-mile trip, through some areas with lots of superchargers, and some areas with none. My guarantee: You will become comfortable with having single-digit percentage when you arrive at an SC. If you are traveling through areas with regularly-spaced SC's, you will soon feel quite comfortable with allowing the battery to draw down.

Side note: apps like PlugShare and ChargePoint buy you an extra "buffer" of comfort in areas without SC's. And never forget RV parks for a "quick" boost...
 

jsanford

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#13
I base it on a factor of possible emergency needs. Spouse is 18 miles from work, so x2 = amount of charge on top of daily need, with extra for traffic and weather, or 50 miles.

The only time I came anywhere close was going to a high school graduation last June, in heavy cold rain with four adults in the car. We all wanted heated seats afterwards. Driveway was 32 miles remaining when I made it home.
 

Ed Woodrick

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#14
It's pretty much the same as an ICE.
For emergencies, there's a plug just about every and a J-1772 in many locations.

I normally don't like driving ICE with less than half a tank.
 

tencate

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#15
Just did another long trip (3400 miles), Max is nearing 25k miles now. When you're at the Supercharger, the Navigation will suggest you charge such that you end up at the next charging station with 10% charge left (about 30 miles). But keep in mind that's calculated going the speed limit with no head or side winds or extremely cold weather, etc. Then, it'll continue recalculating while you travel based on how you're driving and will tell you to slow down if you're not going to make it. Just a MPH or two makes a difference in range I've found. I'd also recommend making sure your tires are pumped up to something between 42 and 45 psi cold, everything matters. Still, trust the Navigation. That said, even though the car tells me I have enough to get to the next Supercharger, I usually charge a bit longer, til I see 12% as the target charge which allows me a bit more freedom to zoom around a little or deal with strong headwinds, etc. A handful of times I've ended up with 20 miles or less by the time I get to the Supercharger, no worries here doing that, I know there's a bit in cushion built into the car and once you get close to the Supercharger, you're puttering around not using much juice anyway. Another note, the LR RWD version allows you two ways to travel cross country on the Interstates. Long distance legs---skipping every other supercharger---with long (~45 min) charge times (which requires you to pretty much obey the speed limit the whole way), or shorter distance legs with shorter charge times which allows a bit more "flexibility" in your speed as well. The Navigation software seems to suggest the long distance legs form of travel. I like the long distance legs and long charge times (to read Emails, the news, etc), my wife prefers lots of shorter legs and stops; we DO also research Superchargers to plan where and what we're going to eat to coincide with charging. Finally? I find it's kinda fun actually finding the Superchargers. Sort of like a treasure hunt. Have fun!
 

Ksb466

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#16
I find the navigation mileage trustworthy at moderate temperatures. Driving 70-80 mph umimpeded by traffic reduces that 310 max range by 20-25%, but again, the nav mileage calculator knows this and schedules you safely around that. Interestingly, the supercharger bill for my 2 stops were both 0. Greenville S.C.
Charging was 350 and 450 mph rates respectively, despite 6 of 8 stalls in use.
 

PNWmisty

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#17
Some legs between Super Chargers could leave 35-45 miles of range remaining, if all goes as planned. To a novice this seems like cutting it too close, but maybe it's no big deal in a TM3. Love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.
That doesn't seem like it's cutting it too close in any normal situation.

While I doubt I will ever have to do this, know that it's possible to add range by regen braking while towing at a slow speed:

https://jalopnik.com/tesla-model-3-owner-recharges-car-by-having-it-towed-1830422030

Say you run out 10 miles from the next Supercharger (I know, really bad planning) and you're in the middle of nowhere. Just screw in your tow eyelet to the front bumper, attach a tow strap and loop the other end around the hitch of a helpful locals pickup truck. Now, have him tow you slowly 1-2 miles towards the Supercharger while letting the battery charge from regen. Then tell the good samaritan you are good to go and drive slowly the rest of the way to the Supercharger on your new found power.
 

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#18
That doesn't seem like it's cutting it too close in any normal situation.

While I doubt I will ever have to do this, know that it's possible to add range by regen braking while towing at a slow speed:

https://jalopnik.com/tesla-model-3-owner-recharges-car-by-having-it-towed-1830422030

Say you run out 10 miles from the next Supercharger (I know, really bad planning) and you're in the middle of nowhere. Just screw in your tow eyelet to the front bumper, attach a tow strap and loop the other end around the hitch of a helpful locals pickup truck. Now, have him tow you slowly 1-2 miles towards the Supercharger while letting the battery charge from regen. Then tell the good samaritan you are good to go and drive slowly the rest of the way to the Supercharger on your new found power.
This seems logical and easy to do, but I'm thinking the very friendly guy that is towing you is going to want to know why it feels like you are riding your brake as well. Just let him know he is generating electricity !!
 

JoeP

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#20
Ive owned an electric vehicle for 5 years now (Toyota Rav4EV) before i got my M3 and i was always pretty comfortable being at 10% charge when i got home. I only missed once when doing the calculation (and ran out 2 miles from the charger i was trying to make). AAA towing to the rescue (but it was a flatbed not the crazy towing arrangement just described).
Embarassing but nothing worse than that...