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first impression - range anxiety

I normally drive 40 miles r/t a day to work. Maybe another 30 miles some days with lunch or shopping excursions. After an admittedly atypical weekend of driving my new Model S I'm feeling a little more range anxiety than I expected. Full charge in normal mode is 240 miles, driving spiritedly drives that down to somewhere in the 190s. And it will probably be a while before I get comfortable pushing my available range down in the the 30s and below.

I thought I would be fine with charging at 208v/16a at home and catching up over a few days or topping up at work when I was using the car more than average. But it turns out the SEMAcharge station at work is only delivering 208v/15a as well. And at about 8 miles of range (and $1.25) per hour I'm just not feeling the love. My family is spread out around the state and I found myself trying to do the math about what routes I should take and who I'd be able to visit on the same day. That kind of planning exercise is not something I want to have to do on a regular basis, which is why we went with the 85kwh battery. Now I'm finding myself checking to see how much range the car has every time I stop and start. Again, not where I wanted to be with this car. I'm sure a lot of the initial range anxiety I'm feeling will go away as I get used to the car, but I do feel a little option limited by this slow rate of charge.

So I'm thinking I'm going to have to go ahead and spend a couple grand to upgrade the power situation in my rental house. Yeah, it's only 2% of the purchase price of my Sig, but it still hurts. Especially as I'm facing another $2400 outlay for the service plan (Tesla wasn't able to roll it into the initial purchase agreement so it could be financed).

Do all J1772 chargers provide a maximum of 17 miles per hour? I thought some were faster -- i.e., the same 31 miles per hour you would get from a NEMA 14-50 outlet.

The J1772 chargers are 30A, roughly 15 miles per hour.
NEMA 14-50 are 40A, but the maximum I've seen with them is 26 miles
added per hour.

btw, HPWC allows you to use 80A of current to charge, but you don't have to use all 80A.
You can always dial it down to 40A or less, but having an ability to charge at full 80A is great for making mid-range trips during the day.
50 miles per hour of charging vs about 26 on 40A.

There is one on the way to Chicago that was recently installed in Normal, IL. It is supposed to be an 80amp.... if I recall correctly. Normal is trying to get the attention of all EV owners who are going South out of Chicago. Tesla should call them. There is a good chance they will fund or assist in any way the installation of a Supercharger (and I will be able to quickly drive to Chicago!)

Installment #3 of my first experience with range anxiety. I made it back home from my trip to Washington, D.C. with 27 miles of range left! Left a location in Arlington Virginia with a Rated Range of 206 miles and a projected range (again, based on my last 30 miles of driving- which was a mixture of local and highway) of 148 miles. Now my trip was 175 miles! I set off expecting my Projected Range to adjust over the trip to a number closer to my Rated Range and that's exactly what happened. I seem to be getting better range on the highway than with local driving. I can't figure out why. On the highway, my limited experience is that the Rated Range number is quite accurate. On my trip - almost all at a highway speed of 70 mph, I seem to have a range of approx 275 miles if the vehicle is fully charged on Max Range. Allowing for a cushion of 30 miles, that translates to an effective highway range for me of 245 miles. Would I like it to be greater? Yes! Will I get used to and comfortable with the range? I hope so. Having more places to charge quickly and accurate information regarding each charging location will go a long way towards addressing range anxiety. Those superchargers on the East Coast can't come fast enough!

Note - you are supposed to only use Max Range when going on long trips. Daily charging on Max Range is not recommended by Tesla.

When I made it home, I plugged in to my NEMA 14-50 outlet in my garage and it said I was charging at a rate of 27 miles per hour. I will start my day tomorrow with a "full tank."

Thanks Peter for the thread and the thoughts. Believe that your experience is very much indicative of what many of us are worried about. I still have a few months before I start to experience this first hand, but am starting to plan a N. Calif. to Phoenix trip for spring training and these real world data points are critical to both planning and getting through this trip.

Is there a national hotel motel chain that has class II or 14-50 charging recpetacles at most locations? Is there a list of locations? A list of chains?

DouglasR | NOVEMBER 11, 2012 NEW
Do all J1772 chargers provide a maximum of 17 miles per hour? I thought some were faster -- i.e., the same 31 miles per hour you would get from a NEMA 14-50 outlet.

There are some that provide higher amperage, but they are not common (yet). I have read about some as high as 80 amps.

@Dr. Bob

There are a number of apps / web pages that you can use to find chargers, none of which is comprehensive. Plugshare, recargo, carstations and chargepoint are the 4 I can think of off the top of my head.

Also note that you can use google maps to search. Do a search for hotels at your destination city first, then type "ev chargers" into the search box. Then go over to the top right of the map and turn on both search results & you'll see all the charging stations it knows about plus the hotels. Sometimes even if you can't find a charger owned by a hotel, there is a good chance there is a charger very near by a hotel that you can use overnight in a parking garage, etc.


Thanks for the information and the invite as well.

The reason I went with the HPWC was that I have deposits down on the S and and X. Since I will have two Teslas, I figured being able to charge faster would mean I would only need one charging outlet. I could charge the one car and then plug in the other car at night and they would both be fully charged. Also, I thought if friends came over, they would be able to get almost fully charged by the time they had to leave.

I figured that the faster I could charge at home, the less range anxiety I would need knowing my car would almost always be charged when I am home or needed to go on a last minute trip to the shore or North Jersey.

jjaeger: I will be making the trip from Napa to Tucson on the 27th/28th of December. My plan is to go Napa/Harris Ranch SC/Lebec SC/Barstow SC/Blythe (spend night at KOA)/Scottsdale Tesla Store/Tucson. I could probably make it from Harris Ranch to Barstow directly, and from Blythe to Tucson, but until I learn more of my cars capability don't want to chance it. And the two extra stops don't really impact the trip...still two days.

There is a thread over on TMC by SIG698 discussing an attempt to get a charging station at Chiriaco Summit east of Indio, or Blythe. Might be worth watching.

Tesla would recommend leaving both the X and the S plugged in not have one sitting around unplugged while the other charges. I would recommend after switching the charger from one car to the other (if they are both staying parked) to plug the other into a lesser power outlet. That's why I went with two 50 amp plugs rather than the HPWC.

If you drive both cars almost daily I think the only time sharing an HPWC between two Teslas would potentially be a problem is if you leave home for several weeks and only one can be plugged in. The daily inconvenience of having to go out to the garage after several hours and swap cars on the charger is also to be considered. Ideally, you'd want an HPWC *and* a 14-50. I opted for two 14-50 circuits...and then I traded in my Roadster for the S. Ah, well, we'll see: the S is such a compelling automobile that we may yet have two EVs in the garage. Meanwhile, I have a spare if y'all find yourselves passing through Denver. :-)

The issue of charging over a few weeks should be able to be handled by the standard 120V outlet adaptor. No need for the 14-50 connection for maintainance charging.

William9, thanks for the data, will be interesting to hear how the trip goes. There's a learning curve to be had before these trips become second nature.


going from Napa you will need to stop at Gilroy Supercharger I suspect in order to make it to Harris Ranch. I don't believe you can get from Napa to Harris Ranch w/o stopping!

Given the path you are looking at, you might be able to make it without ever stopping for the night, just take a 45 minute break every Supercharger stop!!

Good luck.


If the S is anything like the roadster, even maintenance charging is better done at 240V, because the battery environmental conditioning system wouldn't work on 120V. No big deal if the garage doesn't get too cold or too hot while you're away, though.

I haven't heard yet if the S behaves in a similar fashion.


I'd imagine that the battery heating/cooling system would be powered from the battery, same as when it's not plugged in at all.

jd3tm; It is 204 miles from Napa to Harris Ranch. With a full range charge of 260 miles, shouldn't be an issue. And I'll be the one in the slow lane.

And I'll be the one in the slow lane. (William9)

Please, don't! You're ruining our (and Tesla's) reputation! ;-)


You will quickly discover that it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to go that slow!!!

Going from San Jose to Napa (~100 miles) cost me almost 140 miles of range because:

-no one goes the posted speed limit on either I680, I580, I80 or any other Innn in Cali...

-it is just to darn much fun to merge at these intersecting interchanges...I think I lost 20 miles of charge just merging! ;-)

-passing and staying away from the folks who have been "Tasting wines" all day uses extra acceleration.

-there are actually very few spots where you can regen significantly so you won't make up much miles of charge that way.

So, give yourself a little pleasure and a break at the Gilroy SC! It's a great place to take an energizing stroll and drop a few $$$s to help the Cali economy! That way you can truly enjoy the Tesla Model S driving experience!




You wrote: "I'd imagine that the battery heating/cooling system would be powered from the battery, same as when it's not plugged in at all."

I'm not certain the S is designed the same way, but when it was plugged into 120V the Roadster wouldn't turn on the A/C or resistance heater in order to maintain the battery temperature.


Not doubting you about the roadster, but I'd be very surprised if the engineers at Tesla hadn't improved upon that with the Model S.

Any current owners care to confirm?

I don't know about the resistance heater but I can believe the AC is not needed when using 120 as it would not provide as much heating during charging as a 240 input would.

Battery climate control IS run off the battery at all times, except when the battery's SOC reaches critically low levels.

I plugged into 110V earlier today and didn't hear anything from my Model S.

Later I plugged into 220V/50A - charging at 195V/40A and still didn't hear anything. I only listened for the first 2 minutes though.

I think only SC makes enough heat for the AC to run loudly.

I think the AC is just quiet all the time.

I had a test drive today in MD. the AC is the loudest thing in the car. I would not call it quiet. Actually it is the fan not the AC per se.

Interior AC and battery AC are two different things. Maybe battery AC doesn't make much noise. OTOH 220V (at low amps) or 110V might just heat batteries so little that AC doesn't need to run at all.

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