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Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 4: Range

Last year, my wife and I decided it was time to swap out our old car with a newer one. After a lot of discussion, dreaming, and looking for small change in the couch, we landed on ordering a Tesla Model S. This is my thoughts on range after driving it for 2500 kilometers, in conditions from sunny +10 degrees centigrade to snowy -15 degrees centigrade.

Arguably the biggest selling point of the Tesla Model S is its range, of 426 kilometers. That was, to us, the clincher; no other car on the market when we bought it could even begin to compete – and that’s without considering the Supercharger network, arguably Tesla’s greatest competitive advantage.

On dry conditions, I can generally get somewhere between 150-200 Wh/km, while wet or slippery conditions (more so than simply cold conditions) can see me use as much as 350 Wh/km (I generally see a usage of about 280-300 Wh/km). Naturally, these numbers vary, depending on where you are driving. City driving in snowy conditions is worst, highway driving on dry roads is best, as you’d expect. Over the course of the first 2500 kilometers, I averaged 281 Wh/km, giving me a range just north of 300 kilometers.

As we have the 85 kWh battery pack, the calculation is simple; on wet conditions we have at least 243 kilometers of range (from fully charged), while dry conditions sees us having as much as twice that. Even at the worst, I have more than 50 kilometers left when going from supercharger to supercharger. My point in saying all this is simply that the much touted range anxiety is non-existent, and the supercharger quite clearly is the killer app of Tesla’s EVs.

Charging from 10% to 90% typically takes between forty minutes (if no one else is charging) to an hour and twenty minutes at worst, and the superchargers are generally located near service stations, offering at least junk food of some sort, and at best a proper meal. To paraphrase Robert Llewellyn, I generally need to stop to stretch my legs (not to mention a toilet-break) well before I need to start considering stopping to recharge. As the supercharger network becomes better, with stations closer to eachother, the time spent at each stop matters less and less.

Like I said in the first impressions review, driving an EV is a paradigm shift. Charging time is not a problem, quite simply because you take them into consideration. With some conscious driving, energy consumption is greatly reduced, and you have some serious range (728.7 kilometers in one charge) if you put your mind to it.

Finally, a word about chargers. In Norway (and presumably across Europe), the Model S is delivered with a mobile connector with two adapters, a schuko adapter, as well as the Blue plug. Other adapters are available – at a price. We’ve picked up two; the Mennekes Type 2 adapter, which is quickly becoming ubiquitous in Norway, replacing schuko in public charging stations, and a CHAdeMO adapter, which is also fairly common in Norway.

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