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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?


@David - Have you ever tried to schedule charging so it would finish just 15 to 30 minutes prior to your morning commute?

I've been doing so this whole winter and there's no limited regen or cold battery message in the morning. Assuming the car is charged in the garage, there's no need to use cabin preheating in the morning.

The return commute in the evening is another story. Cabin heating for 20+ minutes prior to departure will still result in limited regen. However, it is still better than no regen at all.

Give it a try and see for yourself...

Actually I have. It used to work. I'm going to do it today to see what's up

@David: I think the regen limits are now set more conservatively this winter, as compared to last.

Cold batteries don't like to be recharged at high rates.

David Trushin wrote:

"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."

David: Try setting the cabin heat to "hi" when you pre-heat. I've read that the battery is only heated in this setting, not if you set a target temp.

After 12K miles and August heat to this weeks subzero temps, this 85K battery pak is amazing me. Absolutely consistent, every day. Regen limits seem fine, and usually disappear after a few miles or minutes. Have seen no degradation in charge capacity whatsoever. One thing I noticed is that with the "slide" charge limit capability, it is a perception issue. In other words, the screen appears 80% but varies a bit each time set. So it goes from 199 range miles, to say 204 the next week after a weekend road trip and one range charge for example. After settling in with it, I am stunned at the technical aspects of this car, and the reliability and ability to use it. Wish I could say half that about the TV, phones, computers in the house....ha

Normally, i would agree with idea that it's cold and things are limited until the battery warms up. Except for 2 things:it consistently takes abot 40 miles to warm up, and i never get the battery cold message anymore. Makes me think that some of the software is thinking the battery is warm and some of it doesn't. But i'll try heating on hi. Btw, service has said in the past that heating the cabin does not heat the battery, but allows the cold heating cycle to work faster after you start driving.

@David T: I have noticed that when in "range mode" I do not get the "Battery is warming" message. I think that the battery warms much slower in "range mode" as well as it seems to take longer to get regen braking back in cold weather. So are you in range mode?

Yes, I am. Thanks for the suggestion. I will switch it back and see if the behavior changes. I would have thought that the battery would heat faster in range mode. Is this documented somewhere?

Range mode definitely slows the warm up, both with climate and battery heating.

Today, I turned off range mode. The message came back. The battery appeared to warm more quickly, about 15-20 miles instead of 40. Also, I noticed that the energy usage was vastly improved. Before changing it, I was averaging around 400 wh/m over 30 miles, and after I turned it off, it was more like 335 wh/m. Silly me, I thought range mode meant "get more range" but it appears to be "eat more range"; at least in cold weather.

I haven't tried out the heating the cabin on hi suggestion yet. I deliberately did not charge the car to run the battery down. used about 53 Kwh since last charge and got about 135-140 miles with about a 30 mile average of 40 left. so that seems to be about what other people are seeing with the same weather conditions. Fortunately, it has been about 20 degrees F all three days.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I had a similar range problem once in an ICE. It turned out that the brakes had been adjusted too tight. I found this out when they caught fire on a highway trip.
Driving with your brakes on isn't good for mileage.

Ok, I think I understand what's going on here. First, heating the cabin on HI did heat the battery, while heating on anything else didn't. But only when the charge cable is plugged in. Thanks for the tip.

Second, I took it from Range mode to regular and the message popped up again. Also, the battery heated up pretty quickly for the the 20 degree temps we were having (I didn't preheat the battery for this trip). Also the energy efficiency was dramatically improved. In range mode with warm battery averaged 400, without range mode averaged 335. all on city streets.

My conclusion: Range mode doesn't appear to help in cold weather either before or after the battery warms up. Now I just have it in regular mode with the heater fan turned down and the temp comfortable and I'm happy. Thanks for all the help. More than I got from the service center.

In own a P85 and live in Seattle area, traveling 80+ miles per day. We are experiencing what is considered "cold" weather and I'm getting 210 miles on a rated 220 charge. My last 9.6K miles have an average 358W/mi, that's with 60% of my daily commute at 65mph and heat on, and 10+ mins "warming up" before I even get in the seat, in hilly terain. I will drain my battery 3 to 4 times a month down to 10 miles or less range before charging, and have not experience any degrading of battery life. I recently left Enumclaw Washington with a FULL charge(265 miles and assume 85Kwh), drove by the Centralia Super Charger (my wife thought I was crazy)and made it to the Woodburn Oregon Super Charger(200 miles per MapQuest), albeit I had 0 miles range for the last 10 miles(average speed 70mph) and my actual consumption was 76Kwh, yes..there is a reserve if you got the nerve! We did a full charge there and went on down to the San Fran area, and drove back to Seattle a few days later, using the Super Charger network all the way. I am approaching 15k miles in 6 months and have seen zero degrading of will always charge up to 220 rated miles(my setting), but I won't always get that in actual miles driven. The one thing you MUST keep in mind, range will always be effected by outside temperature, driving habits and terrain. I read with wonderment how some of you think you can drive at 80mph and expect your actual driven miles to be the rated miles.
I owned a Volt for 18 months putting 30K miles on it and only put 31 gals of (shudder) gas in it, so my range anxiety is pretty low. I am grateful that I can now ween myself entirely from the demon fossil fuel. Tesla is a great automobile, and will get better as the engineers fix some of the glitches


Zero degradation is a great result. You're obviously doing some things right!

I'm also having battery issues on my 85W Model S. It seems I can't get anything above 250 mile charge when I need a full charge (270+) for a very occasional trip. Several calls to Tesla with no solution yet.
I've had the car over a year with just 5,000 miles.
Any comments/ideas?

With temps hitting 50 here in Chicago for the first time since I've owned my S85 (12/17/13), I finally saw some amazing (for me at least) energy usage numbers...I drove 90 miles yesterday with an average of 304 Wh/m! I've been consistently in the upper 300s and mostly 400s. Can't wait to see the performance when it really warms up.

@ITSelectric - Ditto the energy usage for my S60 in the high 40's.

A 20 degrees difference resulted in 25% drop in battery usage.

I was white-knuckling it down to visit my daughter at college a few weeks ago...averaging 430+ all the way down at 70mph with temps around 5°F...rolled into town with just 24 miles left of rated range which I knew was really closer to 16. Luckily there's a supercharger right across the street from her dorm so 20 minutes later I had 100+ miles left and we had a nice visit. Stayed at the hotel across the street and left it on the supercharger all night and had 50 miles left when we got home with temps around 15°F. Looking forward to summer more than ever this year!

Temp makes a huge difference. Last month when it was -9C (15F) I drove to work and averaged 666 Wh/m. That was starting out in the garage that was at +11C. Now when it hits 20C in the afternoon (68F) I make the same trip at 320 Wh/m.

@mstrobl2 - So a 53F degrees difference yielded 52% reduction in energy usage.

From our limited poll, it seems like the MS will incur roughly 1% energy usage increase for every degree (F) drop in temperature. At least from 15F to 68F...

Mathew: Yes, but keep in mind that my commute is short at only 7 miles each way, so there's a big energy penalty in heating the cabin & battery. I drove a bit further in cold weather and got 380 Wh/m.

Well, my round trip commute is typically 50 - 70 miles each day. So the 25% reduction in battery usage when the temperature increased by 20 degrees is in line with your observations too.

Math it out, 80,000 watts divided by 400 watts per mile equals 200 miles of range.

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