Tesla range: your questions answered on rated, typical and predicted figures.

The forecast of how far the car can go before it runs out of electricity is a question many owners get frustrated by. Its rarely a consideration on a ICE as the available miles can be easily and quickly replaced at a fuel station, however when you are in an electric car with a displayed range below 100 miles or 150 km, if you are a long way from home then the thought of charging soon starts to be a real consideration.

Firstly, there is no 100% accurate way of knowing future range because its predicated on how the car is driven and the environment in which its driven.

Just like an ICE car, an EV will have a formal quoted range/efficiency. This will be based on EPA, NEDC or WLTP depending where you are in the world and even when your car was made and they all differ to a greater or lesser extent. ICE are the same, few cars get the published MPG or l/100km figures.

One element often causing confusion is whether the range reflects the driving style or efficiency of the owner. It does not except on the Energy use screen, it is based on a fixed amount, the definitions of which are explained below.

Which of the following you can see in your car depends on region and even model

Showing percentage

One of the most hotly debated topics is whether you should show a range at all on the dash or just show a percentage. The argument is that as the range is always wrong, don't display it, The counter argument is the percentage doesn't really tell you anything either, and at least a rough mileage is better than no mileage. Miles of range is a direct proxy for the number of kwh in the battery (typically about 3 miles is 1kwh although the exact ratio varies by model) whereas the % is just the fraction of the battery pack thats available and any loss of battery capacity reduces what a % stands for.

We display range, we let the battery icon give us an indication of the fraction of how full, but there is no right or wrong.

Vampire drain

One aspect of Tesla ownership that surprises some people is the car uses electricity even when not being driven. This is called Vampire drain. This can range from a few miles per day to quite significant amounts of energy that could deplete the battery within a week.

Tesla Energy Saving option

To reduce vampire the following steps are recommended

  • Only use Sentry Mode needed. This uses huge amounts of electricity for what it does and will deplete the battery in a few days if you are not careful
  • Uncheck the 'Always connected' option found a little oddly under the Display tab.
  • Turn off 3rd party applications that poll the car like teslafi, as this is preventing the car from entering deep sleep. This would have a similar effect to leaving always connected turned on
  • For the most aggressive form of energy saving, also turn on Energy Saving. The downside to this is the car can take longer to wake up when you get to the car, but if you were leaving the car for a few weeks, this is a good option
  • Lastly, do not open the Tesla app to check on the car. This causes the car to wake up again using energy.

A combination of the above will minimise the vampire drain in the car and reduce the amount of battery loss over night or whenever you leave the car.

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