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Poor Battery Life on 85w Tesla Model S

Hi - has anyone else been experiencing poor battery life on the 85w Tesla Model S?

I've been driving my Tesla for nearly six months. It has been running at 350-400 W/mi, and generally only lasts about 120-150 miles. This seems to be unusually poor performance. I've asked Tesla in Dania Beach to look at it, which they have reluctantly done, but they have claimed it is normal. Then I nearly ran out of electricity on what should have been a routine trip to Miami, and was stranded until they arrived with a loaner that night. Disaster!

Tesla Dania Beach is still claiming it is totally normal, which boggles my mind.

Has anybody else has this problem?


The Rated Miles display no longer displays EPA Rated mileage for your charge level. Check the kWh remaining on your charge and you will see it has not changed much at all.

With the last few firmwares, they changed the Rated Miles Remaining to be based off of driving habits.

This is more likely the reason your full charge shows a few less miles than it used to.

Your handles will not-auto present if you lock the car with the fob. They will only present when you use the fob again or touch the door handle.

Walk away door locking activates the auto-presentation upon return.

Switch from rated miles to ideal miles and use the ideal miles for verification. Rated miles is variable.

@Heeze. I have the exact same situation as described by BradleyO and feel it is the battery and not the software. How can I check the kWh remaining, I have not seen that option other then showing kWh rather then rated miles put into the battery while charging. Because ideal miles are not adjusted for driving habits, wouldn't ideal miles be a good gauge of battery charge level. My ideal miles have also declined by a sizable percentage. I rarely do a full charge, the last one I did on November 1, I got 246 rated and 279 ideal. That is about a 9% decline in rated miles and 7% in ideal miles.

I did a discharge down to just a few miles left and then did a full trip charge and left it plugged in for half a day. For some reason my range got better. Maybe it only tops off to the fullest cell? I have heard others talk about balancing the battery pack that way. It wasn't a huge increase, but it is worth a try.

@ben: I think that the "ideal" setting just changes the algorithm that calculates your mileage. It doesn't actually do anything to the internal workings of the vehicle. Minimizing energy drain is something that you need to do with other controls.

OP, I am sure talking with the service center would clarify why they think 150 miles is reasonable.

@ BradleyO,

Tesla has made a number of changes to how rated range is calculated, therefore it is almost impossible for any of us on this side of the process to be able to spot battery degradation simply by using the rated range display. Also, most of the battery's degradation happens early in the life cycle. It is not linear.

I live in Jupiter, Florida (my house is located in Martin County). I own a MS60.

I drove to the Miami Beach Courthouse two days ago at noon. This day was unusually cold for South Florida at about a high of 55-60 degrees. It is 95 miles each way, door to door. I did a range charge and started out at 199 miles. I drove there going 65MPH and returned going 60MPH or so for the first half of the trip home (b/c traffic was congested) and then went 72MPH for the second half of the trip home when traffic cleared. I used my cruise control most of the trip when I could.

I gained 1 mile for every 10 miles (or so) on my trip down and used an extra 1 mile every 10 miles (or so) on my return trip home (b/c I went faster). I had 3 miles left when I arrived home. I continually increased my speed on the return trip b/c I wanted to see how close I could make it. I could have went 65MPH on my return trip and would have had many extra miles when I arrived home, if I had wanted to be real, real safe. But I was safe speeding home b/c I always knew how many miles I had left and how fast I could drive.

I have owned my car since May 2013.

Your title says poor battery life. Does it mean the range you get from the battery was better when new and it has deteriorated since?

400 is INCREDIBLY high. Sounds like you may be driving aggressively?

I drive pretty aggressively and the speed limits here are insanely high (Texas), and my lifetime average is 325 wh/mi. 350-400 seems really high!

A question that I hope one of the Model S owners will be able to answer.

The reduction that people see in their rated range after charging, could that be due to the battery holding less charge at low temps? I have heard on the news that it is rather cold in the US now. If that is de the case, then rated range should rebound as soon as temperatures go up again.

Florida in the winter has to be as close as you can get to perfect conditions for high Wh/mile. Great temps and flat roads. I put my money on dragging brakes, low tires, or something like that. Battery would be low on the list.

I have a question for the forum members. I often see folks quote their lifetime energy consumption, where do you get that information? I have searched through the software, and I can't find it. I am sure it is obvious, but...

@crazybrit - Select Settings -> Charging. Most owners either leave Trip A or Trip B alone as the life time usage indicator.

@Mathew98: this is the only way? I thought there was value stored somewhere in the firmware.

I use both the A and B trip meters to monitor my averages for round trips.

My 40 has dropped from 160 ideal to 138 ideal (around 145 rated to 122 rated) in the eight months and 7500 miles I've had it for a drop of 14%. I've asked Tesla about this and they keep insisting there's no problem and it's just an adjustment in the way they calculate the miles.

Of course the change has been incremental since I bought the car even though I moved from Seattle to San Diego and my wh/mi jumped from about 310/mi to about 340/mile (328 lifetime average). And during this whole time, the range has GRADUALLY decreased. (and there was the LONG wait for 5.6/8 in the middle).

I'm not happy about the 14% loss of range (which the Tesla guy claims is not an actual loss - that I will get the same range - of course I'd have to drive it until it actually runs out of power completely to know how much range that actually it). But I'm even unhappier with Tesla insisting that everything is okay and that it's just me, but I'll have to trust them since it's almost impossible to actually verify on my own.

I asked when the battery guarantee kicks in, but there's no concrete answer on that. I'm sure 14% isn't enough. But if my battery hits 25%, you can be sure I'll insist on a new battery. By that time, my little 40 will be almost completely useless - Nissan Leafs will be laughing as they pass me.

I specially financed my car with Tesla so that I would have their buyback guarantee. I hope I don't have to use it because my battery drops to nothing while they keep insisting it's all in my head.


Did you emphasize that you were quoting the ideal miles and not the rated miles? Was "The Tesla Guy" from a Service Center, Ownership or Engineering?

You probably had a higher percentage of your range hidden below zero due to the after effects of the Brodering event.
Also, there is temperature variables that make a difference in your read out. Did you notice the change shortly after you moved south? It will show that you have more miles if you batteries are nice and active in comfortable weather.

Consider this: Gasoline in a tank contracts when it is cold and expands when it is hot. This will influence your impression about range as well. My car actually thought it was charged when it was warming in the sun after a cold night unplugged outdoors. It left a little lightning bolt on my NAV system in a regular parking lot.

At the same time, the 40kWh might have anomalies associated with the readouts. There are not that many of you out there. You might start a private thread for the 40kWh owners out there to see if there are any others that have had similar experiences. If there are, then you can compare notes and gather data.

Besides that, how are you liking the weather down there? ;-)

I actually seem to have a similar issue, but due to not wanting to bug anyone about it, i've kept it quiet. I haven't reached out to the service center to check it out, and the last time I posted on here, I was largely blamed because of my driving habits much like what seems to be happening on the forum currently (my habits sound similar to yours -- along with traffic, nothing too crazy, sometimes even trying to conserve range and power to see how low I can get consumption to go..) Anyway, My lifetime average is somewhere around 390 in an 85kwh battery and i've had the car since september, have logged 4300 miles. Upon starting the car, I see battery usage between 0 and 5 miles to be INSANELY high starting higher than 1000 and working down to 500 and after many miles settling to the upper 300s or 400s even. I live in Dallas - Very flat terrain here.

I don't have a solution, but you're not alone. I wouldn't expect the company to replace our batteries because we may be only a few out of the many...let me know at my email address above if any issue is found because I would also love to get the full range out of my battery.


I mentioned both the ideal and rated to the guy (don't know which department he was from - not service) but he insisted I still have the same range as the very beginning. Couldn't get him to acknowledge the possibility of ANY LOSS at all. I mentioned I knew about the brodering miles and I suggested a software setting that allows us to minimize that (since I know it's there - I'll actually run my car to 0, whereas if it weren't there, or just a mile or two, I wouldn't get close to 0).

Also, temperature shouldn't be much of an issue. I had car in Bellevue from May-Sept, and garaged (so mostly 50-80 degrees). And now, in San Diego area, about the same temp 50-80.

If my car gets much lower, I'm going to get on the freeway and drive 300 wh/hr until I run out of juice. Then let them pick it up and explain why I could only go the 120 miles or so instead of the 150 he insists I should be getting.

As far as starting a specific 40 thread, there are a few out there already. I've only seen one other person who has as much loss as I've had. But as long as Tesla is claiming this range loss is normal, I don't see there's much I can do except wait.

As to the weather, it's great. Amazing even. The food, on the otherhand, sucks. Haven't found a decent Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Sushi place anywhere nearby. LOTS of chain restaurants, though!

@HenryT2 Interesting that you are showing range loss since I understand your vehicle is a software-limited 60. I guess the software limits your range by a percentage of the total range instead of absolutely at 160 miles. I imagine any battery loss you have would be an easy software fix instead of requiring a replacement battery.

I've been driving my P85 in the Phoenix area since late August. I have about 4,500 miles. My lifetime average is 294 Wh/mi and dropping.

Maybe the owners suspecting battery problems could team up with an owner of a similar model who doesn't suspect problems. Meet up and fully charge both cars, check tyre pressure etc. Do a reasonable drive with one driver following the other. Swap cars, and who leads, for the return trip. Comparing the out/return kWh/mi will point to whether it is the vehicle or driver. It will also show up discrepencies in the reported range. And you get to meet up with another owner for a day out :-)

That would detect whether one was afflicted with twitch-foot!

There are so many factors affecting range. In the Canadian summer, my average energy use is well below rated. In the winter it is above.

One thing I noticed, is that last time I did a range charge, I had 419 rated km. I immediately started driving. It didn't tick down to 418km until I had driven about 10k. I did a total of 850 km that weekend with an average energy use of 173 Wh/km (about 278 Wh/mile).

I think part of the issue is that determining the amount of energy left in the battery is not so straight forward.

Also, the 19 tires are quite a bit better than the 21's.

I'm also having problems with my 40 battery. I used to wake up to 160 "ideal" miles. A few months later, it's 140 "ideal" miles and trending downwards. When I called to ask I was told someone would call me back to address my concerns. I never got a call back for many weeks. Ultimately I was told this is a manager related issue and that there are many others with the same complaint. Since our batteries are software limited, I couldn't see why they would not just adjust the software to increase the ideal mileage to 160 as it should be. I understand the rated miles could depend on my driving habits but the ideal range should remain at 160. I get the feeling Tesla is aware of this problem but is trying to avoid it. Agree with others that sweeping owners concerns under the carpet is not a wise strategy for the company.

Thread is for discussing 85. Duh

In a parallel/series battery system, if a couple cells in a "brick" are lost, that brick can show lower voltage earlier than the others, that can then lead to lower overall pack capacity, if the BMS can report a low voltage condition in this scenario, it can lead to a fixable condition. Can an SC look at a battery pack in this way?

I've had my 85 for almost 11 months and put 16,935 miles on it. I did a 100% charge today and allow it to sit for another 2 hours plugged in. Range at full charge was 242 miles; a decrease of 8.67%. Not too shabby. Average wh/mile is around 320 - suburban Boston, so it's cold.

@rdloftin, that doesn't seem too good... My car has more miles than yours, and consistently range charges between 267 and 272. It is actually higher than it was a few months ago after we ran it from full to empty every day for about ten straight days. The battery seems to like exercise in its full range. I never leave it fully charged, but do range charge once or twice per week to make a long commute between our homes.

I, also have had some battery concerns after 1 year and 11,000 miles. It's winter here and colder than last year, but my standard charge is less than for a 60. Also, the battery takes a long time to warm up even after heating the cabin. It often takes around 40 miles to warm up with continuous freeway driving. Then when i stop it cools down pretty quickly. As a result, my energy efficiency is quite poor. also, i don't get the battery cold message anymore. I asked the service center to look at it, but i think all they did was put a note on the service record to the effect that i needed to be educated. That the battery gets cold when it's cold out and that i should preheat the cabin because when i do that, the battery heater comes and conditions the battery. (Btw, i've been told previously by service that this is not true). I asked them how long it would take to condition the battery and they said about 15 minutes. Today, in 20 degrees, i preheated for 2.5 hours and the regen limit line moved fron 7 to 14, while the power restriction line stayed at 160. When i drove off, it took 15 miles to get full regen back. Then i stopped for 15 minutes and regen went to 45 and stayed there for the remaing 10 miles of the trip. I suspect there is a problem either in the battery cooling/warming system or some cells have droped out or both. But i think that service has been hearing so many complaints about winter perfomance that they've stopped listening. I'll eventually get it resolved with persistence.

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