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).

Getting a 14-50 installed is a couple hundred bucks max to make his EV driving experience light years more convenient. Don't think of it as investing in the rental property think of it as investing in convenience and peace if mind. I think we just need to maintain some perspective here that we are talking about installing a dryer socket not an extension to the house.

Docrob: In the case of the house I rent getting a 14-50 installed is going to cost North of $2K. I've explained the reasons previously.

Installation of a NEMA 14-50 with 40 amps continuous draw is absolutely the minimum power supply/plug you should have installed in your house if you are going to own a Model S and drive more than 40 miles per day. The charging rates on a standard 110V plug are not going to be sufficient for the vast majority of people and you will be required to plan and look for other charging stations as you are doing now.

This is one of those "cost of ownership" things that is more or less de-emphasized by Tesla reps. They basically recommend you install it like it is just a simple plug that you install. The range of installation costs is very variable, and I had to have a subpanel installed along with a 40 foot underground conduit for my detached garage. It certainly wasn't a "just install it" situation, and it cost me $2700 (we had some other electrical work done as well).

But, you really need to do this. Otherwise, you're going to be living with range anxiety for the life of owning your car.

Yeah MandL, the rental situation sucks - but you're going to drive yourself crazy with this car until you get that 14-50 installed at home. Think of it this way - you won't have to pay for a sub-standard charger at work anymore!

I'm curious about the Roadster charging stations, too! Is there an adapter?

Also, for additional charging stations.

Tesla Store in Westchester has an adapter on their charger.

I have been driving my Tesla S for 1-1/2 weeks, and I am amazed at the capabilities and quality of the vehicle. Definitely feel Elon has hit his mark. However, now that I have been driving around locally...still haven't gotten to less than a 150 Miles on my "reserve" tank. I have begun thinking about some of the longer trips that I would like to make. Unfortunately, I am in New Jersey far away from the awesome new supercharging stations. In some of my longer trip scenarios, I am going to friends or family that are 150 to 200 miles away which is fine to get there but coming back requires more juice. Not having a dryer outlet near their garages or driveways, I am stuck with plugging into a std outlet. Unfortunately for my friends and family that may mean an extended stay to juice up for my return trip home. Has anyone discussed the option of using a Y-Adpater to feed 2 120V 15Amp separate outlet circuits into the car to provide 120V 25Amps instead of 120V 12Amps? That would give a charge rate of twice that of a std outlet.

Any thoughts?

I understand the Range Anxiety issue. I currently drive a Nissan Leaf that gives me about 80 miles of range. When we first got the car it was a little disconcerting. After a year of driving the Leaf daily, I no longer feel the anxiety. I am comfortable with the range and have never failed to get home. Looking forward to my S with 300 mile range. If you can't get over the anxiety get in touch with me. I am thinking of buying a 2nd Model S for the wife.


It's not that simple. If I were you I'd look into staying at hotels with J1772 chargers rather than trying to fill up with 120v outlets.


Depending upon where your family is, look into an RV park. They typically have 50 amp chargers which will charge at 30 miles per hour. You can leave it there for the day and be fully charged while you do things with your family. Less expensive than a hotel room (assuming that you were staying with your relatives). There may also be a friendly Model S owner in the area with an HPWC (60 mph).

Or even a Roadster owner (if you have an adapter).

Question: I see several charging stations listed as "Tesla" in my iPhone apps. I assume that these are Roadster stations. Does it make sense to get an adapter in order to use these, i.e., are there many? Would I need dual chargers in my Model S in order to make the most of these stations?


Yes, you'd need twin chargers to get the full 70 amp charging. A single charger is limited to 40 amps (basically an RV 14-50 plug).

You shouldn't buy 85kWh Model S w/out 240V Charger..

Seriously anyone thinking about 85kWh on 110V is not full taking advantage of their battery.

As for buying a $100K Model S and hurting to buy $2K charger, maybe you should have settled for something more modest like Volt lease at $300/mo, no disrespect, just saying.

H8toW8 - I feel no disrespect. In fact, as I zoom around town in my Model S, I feel nothing towards you but pity. :-)

Still working on getting the NEMA 14-50 installed. In the mean time, I get about 2-3 miles of range an hour from 110v/20amp circuit. This covers 90% of my daily use during the week. When I want more (did a 180 mile road trip on Sunday) I can charge at 240/30 at the city garage a few blocks from home. $3 all day for parking and free electricity.

Interestingly, normal charge to full stops around 240 miles of range. range mode stops at 273. But this may have been discusses elsewhere.


Have you checked whether there are any incentives that might help you get your 14-50 installed at home? I've heard about something called the EV Project that will do home charger installs for free, but haven't looked into the details. It might not cover your circumstance, but it doesn't hurt to check.

I've had my Model S for 5 days and I love it. Typically I drive less than 25 miles a day so range anxiety is not usually an issue. Today, however, I took my first long trip from southern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. - approximately 160 miles. With a range of around 265 miles with the car fully charged on the max range setting, this should not be a problem other than arranging in advance to charge in D.C. for the return trip.

Each morning my car, fully charged, has shown a rated range of approx 260 miles and a projected range (based on my last 30 miles of driving) of 170! That's a big difference - especially since my driving is all local at speeds averaging around 35 mph.

So I left for D.C. with some trepidation as my projected range was 170 and my rated range was 265. I figured if my projected range based on local driving was 170, my range at highway speeds would be worse! Trusting that this was just a quirk in the software that calculates the projected range, I set off for D.C. expecting to charge at Tesla' s store in D.C. Well, I made it with 80 miles to spare.

I'll be interested if the accuracy of the projected range estimate improves with time.

Are you using brakes at low speed, or entirely regen?

@Brian H. Both as regen typically does not bring the car to a complete stop. I find I use regen almost exclusively on the highway and in city driving I rely on regen to slow the car down; but often need to use the brake to come to a complete stop.

Peter, reading between the lines it sounds like you're using Range mode for your daily charge: you wouldn't be seeing 260+ miles of rated range after a Standard charge. If so, I recommend you stop using Range mode unless you really need the last 10% of range, since frequent use of Range mode will cause premature degradation of the battery pack.

@SteveZ. Understood. Interestingly, when the car was delivered, my delivery specialist said that for the first few days, use range mode, then switch to standard mode. I kept it on range mode for my trip because I had no idea what I would experience in real life. When I trturn from this road trip, I plan to switch to standard.

Yes, interesting! Sort of "pre-conditioning" the battery. Keep us up on how all that goes.

FURTHER THOUGHTS. I already posted my initial thoughts for my first long trip in my Model S. As I prepare to return home (a 170 mile trip), here are a few more. First, for me, especially at this early stage of my lrange anxiety learning curve, my effective range is approx. 210 miles before you have to charge-up. What I mean is that for any long trip, assume you start fully charged on what Tesla refers to as "Range Mode." This will give you a rated range of approx. 270 miles. Remember, longer trips tend to have a higher percentage of highway driving and higher speeds reduce range. Form me I need to build in a "cushion" in case I have to take a detour or I get lost.

When I arrived at my destination for my first long trip in my Model S (170 miles), I was able to plug in at Tesla's Washington, D.C. store while my family and I toured. I showed approx. 77 miles of range remaining. Approx. 3.5 hours later, I showed 235 miles of range. Subsequent local driving to our hotel, meals and the function we were attending reduced my range to 180 miles. Not comfortable with starting a 170 mile trip with 180 miles of range, I needed to charge.

Most chargers you'll encounter are the J1772 type. They provide around 18 miles of range per hour. First, you have to find a charging station. There are several apps that locate them. I used Chargepoint. You need to set up an account with them and you receive a Chargepoint card synced with your credit card. You simply tap the card on the front of the charging station, use your J1772 adapter that Tesla provides with the car, and charge. Before I left for my trip, I used the app to see if there were any charging stations near my hotel. The app showed one right around the corner from the hotel! Fantastic! The Washington, D.C. metro. area has numerous charging options.

First warning, don't rely on just one charging location. Despite checking with Chargepoint before I left for my trip (the person I spoke to was not much help), when I found the garage where the station was supposed to be located, I learned that it either had been removed or never was installed! Luckily, I had charged at Tesla. I figured the next block of charging time I would have was the time I was going to be attending the family affair. Again, using the app, I located a charging station approx. 4 miles from the event's venue. I asked someone else to follow me to the charging station so I could have a way to get back to the event. The app indicated this particular station was in a parking garage. Second warning, you need to make sure the charging location has public access when you are going to need it. The app is supposed to provide this info. I found the garage where this particular station was located and the garage was not open. There was no attendant. Instead you needed a card to access the garage. Luckily, the gate had a call box and I was able to talk my way into the garage with the security service! I plugged in and went back to the affair.

Approx 3 hrs. later, I got a ride back to my car (didn't love the idea of leaving my new Tesla unattended in a garage- but it was my only option). The J1772 chargers give you approx. 17 miles of range per hour. Not much when you want to fill-up! Range was showing 235. Enough for my 175 mile trip back? I'll let you know...

@Peter...I will have a Tesla HPWCinstalled at my house early next year. I am in Mullica can alleviate some of that anxiety on the way back from the south. Even if you need a 120 charge to get you by until you get home, feel free to let me know.


@nj7065. That's very kind of you. We have a J1772 level 2 charging station In my office's parking lot which is located right next to the Cherry Hill mall if you're ever up in our area looking to top off! What made you decde to get a HPWC? When I looked into it, Tesla did not recommend one for my needs and I would have had to upgrade my electrical service to accommodate its needs.


Advise you read the Motortrend article about their trip from Las Vegas to LA on one charge. You have plenty of range, and if necessary you can always slow down a little to get more.

Peter this is a great story. It really helps me see the real world use of the car. I don't have mine yet but I have driven around St Louis and already noticed a few are not public so I updated the Recargo app with comments (recargo then updated the facts). EVERYONE please comment in these apps so people like Peter don't get these surprises. If an app doesn't have a comment section I don't use it the app. I always upload pics and a fully description even tho I am not charging yet.
When I drove to Chicago to look at the car I left comments at all the public chargers I looked at along the way.

+1 Sudre!

Yeah, the info you leave today may save a fellow owner's bippy tomorrow!


My DS didn't mention anything about Range mode charging except that you shouldn't do it any more often than necessary. If there's a benefit to using Range mode for the first week or so with a brand new battery pack, that would be very interesting, indeed. I'd like confirmation from more than just your DS, though: there have been a number of cases documented on the forums where different Tesla employees give conflicting information about the same issue.

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