New model 3 owner - have questions about realistic Wh/mile

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28834

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#1
Hey guys

I just got my model 3 on Friday. It is a dual motor long range awd.

I live in Knoxville and have been shocked at the battery performance - it is WAY less than i expected.

First off we picked up the car in Nashville and it was charged to 80% when we got it showing a 260 (ish - dont quite remember) mile range. We got 115 miles or so almost to Crossville and realized that we werent likely to make it all the way back to Knoxville a 180 mile drive to my house.... Now one would think even accounting for realistic driving conditions (not the padded EPA numbers) that a 260 mile battery should get us 180 miles but in fact it looked like we were going to be about 10 miles short... The battery was projecting that we would run out with about 10 miles to go so a total of 170 miles - a crazy 90 miles short of the initial number.

That was our first experience - we turned around and went 30 miles back to cookville and charged there (it was 11 pm so we didnt want to worry with finding a 3rd party charger in the middle of no where) and came home. Now at this point i wasnt too familiar with wh/mile (the Tesla dealership was pretty bad about explaining everything) so i didnt know to really analyze that.

We charged the car overnight and i set it to charge to 100% since we were driving to Kingsport (another 110 miles) the next day to stay for the week with my family for Christmas. When i got in the car the range was displayed as 306 miles.

On the way to Kingsport we made a stop in Bean Station to see my Wife's family for a few minutes and then went on to Kingsport. Total trip was 124 miles yet when we pull in to my family's place in Kingsport i have a range displayed of 125 miles... another 50 or so miles off estimations (and this with driving 60-65 mph for at least 60 miles of the trip) It was here that i started really looking at Wh/Mile and noticed that on the interstate (40 and 81) at 75 mph it was using between 320 and 350 wh/mile with only my wife driving ( i was in a different car following) We traded in bean station so i could check it out and i drove 65 mph for 50 miles and my wh/mile was about 300.

That was a ton to write to basically ask... what type of wh/mile should i expect in east tennessee at 75 mph?

Heat was set to 70 fan on #1 or 2 usually no wind temp 40 degrees

I am just a bit bummed that the performance was so far off what i expected. I knew i wouldnt get the 310 mile range but i expected a lot more than im getting. Any advice or personal experience is appreciated.
 
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Frully

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#2
I'm sure a lot of people will chip in with real stats but your numbers seem sane -- Keeping in mind that wind drag is a 'square of speed' function, the power really starts to stack on when getting to highway speed.

My LR D gets about 190-210wh/km (336wh/mi) at highway speed limit (about 60-70mph).

74,000 W/h battery / 336wh/mi = 220mi estimate.
74,000 / 210wh/km = ~350km estimate. Definitely have to keep the speed and acceleration down if you want extended range.
 

Tmo6

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#3
I get avg 265 wh/mi in summer, and 340 in winter going about 75mph in my LR RWD. I can improve winter range by 1) shutting off heat, which gets me about 280wh/mi, or 2) going 65mph. In summer, I get better efficiency, but to truly get 310, you need to keep it to 65 mph, no heat, favorable weather.
 

Dan D

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#4
I drive like a "hypermiler" (unless I am giving people test rides or when some cheesy old Corvette wants to race) and find that it's all about ambient temperature. We all know there are plenty of other factors, but since I have had the car I am averaging about 260 wh/mi which equates to around 280 miles of range. It's been mostly cold since I've owned the car, typically in the 40s with morning commutes in the 20s. However, when it's been above 50F, I've been able to get to work at home averaging 230 wh/mi which equates to BETTER than the 310-mile projected range. I know that when the warmer weather hits, I will be able to get in the low-200s wh/mi and have the total range in the mid-300s. Long-Range Dual Motor 19-inch wheels.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#5
My wife is getting 255 through 5,000 miles with her dual motor.
 

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#6
Running the heat is the killer. This is one of the three areas I believe Tesla needs to continuously improve, heater efficiency (along with more range and faster charging times). If you can, lower the temp from 70 down, any amount less the heater has to work is saving battery. I’d suggest OFF if possible. I’ve found that setting the front defrost to 68 and fan speed 2 seems to keep me warm enough (after preheating) and using the seat heaters (which are extremely efficient).
For reference, a recent trip from Seattle to Iowa in a Model S, we were getting 65% efficiency. So for every 100 miles of range, we were getting 65ish. And that was with a few legs of the trip using no heat at all because we were worried we wouldn’t make it. Cold by itself does a number on your range, but then adding in a heater runningnat 70 degrees will drastically impact it further.
 

Bigriver

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#7
Hey guys

I just got my model 3 on Friday. It is a dual motor long range awd.

I live in Knoxville and have been shocked at the battery performance - it is WAY less than i expected.

First off we picked up the car in Nashville and it was charged to 80% when we got it showing a 260 (ish - dont quite remember) mile range. We got 115 miles or so almost to Crossville and realized that we werent likely to make it all the way back to Knoxville a 180 mile drive to my house.... Now one would think even accounting for realistic driving conditions (not the padded EPA numbers) that a 260 mile battery should get us 180 miles but in fact it looked like we were going to be about 10 miles short... The battery was projecting that we would run out with about 10 miles to go so a total of 170 miles - a crazy 90 miles short of the initial number.
I feel your pain. Taking delivery of a Tesla in cold weather can be heart-breaking relative to the range. I totally concur with @Dan D that the outside temperature is your biggest problem. Next is the car heater (I hand out blankets to my family members!) and third is speed. Elevation changes are huge, and could account for the difference you vs your wife saw. Many quote wind as a problem, although I’ve only had one situation where I thought that was a big hitter for me.

As for your specific numbers, they are a little disappointing but not causing me alarm. 180/260 = .69 while I would have expected more like .75. For long trips, i always have the plan and the backup options and watch the trip tab on the energy graph. Plugshare is absolutely the best app for all charging options, although the most recent Tesla software update is helpful because it now also shows destination chargers.

And it really does get better. Warm weather equals good range.
 

GateFather

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#8
Others gave good info about how to get wh/mi down but some advice for planning on future longer trips. Use abetterrouteplanner.com for planning the trip as it lets you customize your trip a bit better. Also, don’t look at the range the car is showing on the left side, it’s just the rated range for the percentage your battery is charged, not an actual calculation of your range based on driving factors. Better indicator of actual range is in the energy screen on the right side where it says range. That’s at least taking your previous 5, 15, 30 miles into account.
 

Dogwhistle

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#9
Switch your battery meter to % from miles, and double the number you see there. That is your realistic winter driving range.
 

Lovesword

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#12
To add to my earlier post: when I preheat, run the defrost at 68 degrees, fan at 2, I tend to see 280-290 wh/mile (this is over a 14 mile trip to work). I’d expect this to be lower on a longer trip.
 

mswlogo

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#13
Almost everyone’s first couple weeks will be high watts per mile. How many launches have you done in those few days :)

I can get 230 wh/mi easy breezy with heat off.

Has regen been on standard?

Takes a bit to learn ins and outs of the heater. If you can get away with recirculate on, it saves a lot of heat. But you can’t always use it because it may fog up.

Don’t charge to 100% unless you plan to immediately drive it. As in charge to 100% the night before. Charge to 100% in the morning, get in and go.
 

msjulie

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#15
No one mentioned, or I missed it.. check tire pressures. I try to keep mine at 45psi cold. We have chilly mornings here believe it or not :) but I try to stick to heated seats vs climate. Over 65mph efficiency takes a hit but I can often keep it 245ish if I'm not having too much fun
 

Ed Woodrick

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#16
What a Christmas present!!!

I'm in Knoxville right now, drove up from Atlanta on Saturday.
Knoxville is cold right now, so that's going to be a big impactor on your range.
But as a new owner, there are a number of other factors that can impact your range.
The wheels are a big one, 10-20% efficiency type of impact. The 18 Aero with the cover on are the best, take the covers off and there goes 10% of the range. I normally drive with mine off, but for the trip, they went back on.

Dependent on just where and how much charge you had remaining, you very possibly could have made it from Cookeville, you will gain mileage back going down the plateau. Going from Gatlinburg to Cherokee takes about 40 miles of range. But when I look at the range at Newfoundland Gap, I've used over 70 miles of range, I get it back headed down into Cherokee.

If you are routing to a location, the car will tell you to decrease speed if it thinks you can't make it. It will generally do a lot of the panicking for you.

You need to load the PlugShare app on your phone. It will show you where all the J-1772 plus are, while slow, they will provide the safety stop to allow you to be a little more adventurous.

But, one of the most important things, as a new user, is that a new user kills the range. Going 75 uses a LOT more energy than 55. Fast starts, not using regen, and many other little things add up. As a new user, showing off, these are fun, but kill range.

Coming from Atlanta, we ended up cutting over to US411 and driving up instead of I-75. Aside from the fact that we already knew that Chattanooga was showing slow (but it has a Supercharger) and that going from Chattanooga to Knoxville was also probably going to be slow, switching over to US-411 gave a few advantages, actually shorter, but taking a little longer, your speed is decreased. So there's a lot to be said about just getting out and enjoying the drive!!

If you don't have a plug at home or work, make sure that you do. Turkey Creek can get busy.

You've indeed picked some of the worse situations to start playing in, so hopefully things will go uphill from here.
 

Mosess

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#17
I average around 250-280wh/mi here in Atlanta even now in the winter and I have the 19" sport wheels.
Here are the things I do to get the best range:
  1. My car is in my garage every night and being connected to my house, it is climate controlled so I start each morning with a battery already at room temperature.
  2. I keep my tires inflated to 42psi front and 45psi rear cold with pure nitrogen (my office uses it for instruments so I get to use some for my tires, otherwise I'd go with regular air)
  3. Accelerate slower. I find that most energy is wasted on quick acceleration. It's great to show off to friends or leave an ICE where they belong, in your rearview mirror. But hard acceleration is the largest energy consumer in the Model 3.
  4. Keep plenty of distance between you and cars ahead of you and use it to gain speed down hill and use the momentum to get you as far up the next hill as possible before having to add energy. Think of the black and green lines that move to show you draw vs regen as your energy reserve, drive with a goal of having more green than black.
  5. Keep your car clean (and windows closed when driving) . The car was designed to have very little aerodynamic skin friction, hence all that glass on top and the clean lines. Allowing dust and dirt to build up increases aerodynamic skin friction and at highway speeds can make a 4-5% dent in your efficiency.

When my wife drives it, I see numbers around 185-225 wh/mi as she is a very relaxed driver so this further reinforces my belief that acceleration is the biggest energy consumer in the car. Followed by maintaining speed so avoid changing speeds constantly like some inexperienced (or just common people with no common sense) drivers do.
 
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28834

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#18
Thanks for all the advice guys. I have been reading more and it sounds like the cold weather really affects these cars in 2 ways - battery performance and air resistance. I still need to do a lot more driving to test and retest everything but i also plan to have Tesla check the battery just for my peace of mind.

To answer the more common question in here - we really didnt hot rod it or accelerate it aggressively at all. My mother-in-law has a model 3 and has had it for a while so we knew what to expect. Also, my other car is a 460 HP 2018 mustang so we get our fill of driving fast in it (though the model 3 is very fast in its own right) so the numbers i quoted maybe could have been improved a bit by driving a little more conservatively, i wouldnt expect a massive increase.

I will try turning the heat down/off/recirculate too to see how much that helps. I really wanted to be able to drive from Knox to Kingsport and back on 1 charge as i often make that trip for work purposes every week or so. Our office in Kingsport will be installing a tesla charger (not a public one just one of the household ones) soon so it wont be a permanent problem but for some reason just the principle of it all bothers me. I was sold on the car doing 310 miles and while i knew i wouldnt get that i didnt think 220 would be a struggle like it is. I would be happy if i could get 250 miles without putting too much effort in - the mountains and hills here take a toll on any car's efficiency but to struggle to get 90 miles less than rated range at normal driving speeds is a bit of a let down even though i love almost every part of the car.

I wont be returning it or anything - just a bit bummed out. I do realize we are basically driving the equivilant of the steam engine cars right now... this tech is only going to get better faster and stronger over the coming years/decades and its already amazing - just a bit of a shock when i saw the actual numbers.
 

garsh

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To answer the more common question in here - we really didnt hot rod it or accelerate it aggressively at all.
Accelerating quickly in an electric doesn't hurt your mileage as much as you might expect. High sustained speeds are much worse. Keeping speeds under 60 mph will probably allow you to see something close to the EPA rating.

I will try turning the heat down/off/recirculate too to see how much that helps.
Turning off heat completely (by turning the temperature down until it says LO) is going to help a LOT. If you can get by with using just the seat heaters (and otherwise dressing warmly), this is your best bet for seeing better range. This made by far the largest difference in my non-scientific testing so far.
 

Mosess

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#20
Accelerating quickly in an electric doesn't hurt your mileage as much as you might expect. High sustained speeds are much worse. Keeping speeds under 60 mph will probably allow you to see something close to the EPA rating.

Turning off heat completely (by turning the temperature down until it says LO) is going to help a LOT. If you can get by with using just the seat heaters (and otherwise dressing warmly), this is your best bet for seeing better range. This made by far the largest difference in my non-scientific testing so far.
You are correct in that the rate of acceleration doesn't impact range as much. As for maintaining speed on the highway, there seems to be a sweet spot for max range/efficiency vs time tradeoff and to me it seems to be around 67-72mph. The difference in aerodynamic resistance between 60 and 70 is not as great as between 70 and 75.

But running the cabin heat is indeed the biggest waste of energy especially when driving at speed. Consider this, almost 50% of cabin surface area is glass that is directly in contact with exterior air which at high speed cools very quickly to the outside temperature so any heat you add to the cabin is almost immediately lost to the glass by radiating it outward. To add to that, there are the coatings that reflect UV and IR heat outward and away from the car and if you tinted your windows, those too have one sided reflective coatings to reflect heat energy away from the car. So the glass is basically a very efficient one way heat conductor, to the outside.

Solution? I tried this today and it made a significant difference in cabin heat retention. The Tesla sun shades on the middle and rear glass panels.