Tesla Model 3 Range

A lot of people ask how far I can go in my car and it’s a hard question to answer. There are a lot of factors like season (the batteries are a lot less efficient in cold weather), type of miles, heat/AC use, etc. I decided to keep track of my trip up to Rogers City this weekend. When I got in the car the battery had been charged to an estimated 292 miles of range.

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The trip is a total of 156 miles, with 47 of those on the freeway. When I arrived at Mom and Dad’s the battery was down to 101 miles of range.

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So that’s 156 actual miles for 191 estimated miles of range. I have the bigger wheels which are supposed to use 10% of the range, so I’d say that’s pretty good efficiency. Below is the energy consumption over the trip.

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Tesla Wall Connector

Two weeks ago, I forgot my mobile charger on a trip up to Rogers City, where I charge with the same type of plug I have in my own garage. After 50 minutes on the road I turned, drove home to pick up the charger, and then had to stop in Bay City to supercharge because I’d already used over 100 miles of range. As I thought about it later that day, since the weather isn’t freezing anymore, I could have made it to my parents’ place with enough range to take a different route home, and supercharge in Gaylord.

Oh well, it was better to be safe than sorry. That night I told myself I wouldn’t let it happen again though, so I ordered a unit I could install in my garage. Then I could keep the mobile charger in the trunk where it belongs.

I also bought a new circuit breaker and wire in order to supply more current (amps) to the unit.

  • Tesla Wall Connector – $530
  • 25′ of 6/2 Romex Wire – $46
  • 60 Amp 2-pole Breaker – $19
  • Labor – $0

My total cost was just under $600 since I did the install myself. I’ve read on various Internet forums of people paying anywhere from $300 to over $2,000 for an electrician!

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I found a good spot in my garage to mount the plate and ran the wire from there down to the electrical panel.

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Installing a breaker and wiring it up can be scary and extremely dangerous, so a lot of people are smart to pay a professional. If you take your time and understand how the system works, it’s quite easy to do though. I turned off the main line and confirmed with a multimeter. The 30 amp 2-pole breaker in the lower right had been used for a hot tub several years ago and wasn’t even wired to anything anymore. I swapped it with the new 60 amp breaker. I closed everything up, turned on the main, flipped the breaker, and voila!

I love when everything works on the first try. Of course, I installed everything to code. 😉

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My Model 3 was already charged to 90%, which is as high as you want to charge the car for normal daily driving. I bumped the limit for a quick test and plugged in the car. With a 60 amp breaker, the maximum output of the charging unit is 48 amps, so I was in business. According to Tesla’s documentation, this should charge at a rate up to 44 mi/hr of range. It showed 36 here, but in my experience it takes a few minutes to ramp up and the chargers tend to slow down as they approach the charging limit, so I’ll have to check again after a day of driving. With the mobile charger and a 240 volt 20 amp outlet, my previous charge rate was 14 mi/hr of range, so it’ll be nice to have this boost.

The entire installation took a little over 2 hours since I was working alone and went slow to avoid mistakes.

One Day with my Tesla Model 3

Almost exactly 2 years (more on that process in an upcoming post) after reserving the Model 3, she arrived yesterday just after 9am. It came in a big delivery truck.

After giving it a thorough inspection (with some great help from a neighbor), I signed and figured out how to move it from the end of the street to my driveway.

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As you can see above, it estimated there were 215 miles of range charged in the batteries, which is about 70%.

I’m so glad I changed from black with black to blue with white. The colors are badass. It took me awhile to sort through the papers, put on the temp plate, and configure the car. Then it was time to hit the road, which can’t really be explained. I watched a ton of videos and read so many things about the acceleration, but you have to experience it.

AMAZING!

I’ve never been in anything so smooth, fast, and fun to drive. When you hit the pedal it goes. With all of the weight being across the bottom, the handling is phenomenal and it corners unlike anything I’ve ever ridden in.

Rarely ever having to use the brake takes some getting used to. Within the first 20 miles I was already used to my speed being on the screen off to the side instead of directly in front of me.

I cruised around to get used to it and then headed over to Midland to pick up my buddy Casey for lunch.

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After dropping him off I headed down to the Oakley Vault in Birth Run to buy some new sunglasses to keep in the car. The style is different, but very comfortable. The arms (also knowns as temples I learned) of the shades are blue (my favorite color and of course match the car) and can be swapped out for a second set they came with.

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After a workout at the gym and taking a few friends for a ride, “Betty Boost” was getting power hungry so I headed home for the day and plugged her in.

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The NEMA 6-20 outlet charges as expected, which I think will be fine for my driving habits.

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I racked up 138 miles on the day. I plugged in for about a half hour, while getting ready for the gym, which got me 7 miles of range back. So that would bump the estimated range up to 222 for the day. With 32 miles of remaining range my used mileage came up 52 shy of the estimate. Not bad considering she was launched many times today, which drains the batteries a lot, and a bunch of miles were on the freeway.

When I checked the status this morning after 14 hours of charging, the range was up to 232 miles, which averages out to a recharge rate of 14.3 mi/hr.

NEMA 6-20

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I’ve never used this outlet in my garage, but I’ll be using it a lot very soon. It is rated for 20 amps at 240 volts and is called a NEMA 6-20. The outlet was pretty old, so I replaced it with a new one, which cost less than $6, including the face plate.

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What will I be using this for? To charge my Tesla Model 3! The Model 3 can plug into a standard home outlet in the United States, which is a NEMA 5-15 (120 volt / 15 amp). The charge speed is really slow though, only getting 3 miles of range per hour. A NEMA 6-20 can produce 15 miles of range per hour. To put that in perspective, if the car was down to 10% battery it would get back up to 90% in about 16.5 hours.

When I replaced the outlet I noticed that the wiring was only 14 AWG, which is good for 15 amps at 240 volts. It should be using 12 AWG for 20 amps, so we’ll see what kind of charging speed I get when I have the car. If it’s only able to pull 15 amps, then the charge rate would drop to 11 miles of range per hour. Even that should be plenty of juice for my driving habits, but I’ll have to see.

I could always reroute an existing 30 amp circuit that isn’t used and install a NEMA 10-30 (240 volt / 30 amp) outlet, which gets 22 miles of range per hour. Or go big by installing a 50 amp breaker and a NEMA 14-50 (240 volt / 50 amp) outlet, which charges at 30 miles of range per hour and could provide a full charge overnight. If I’m really in a bind I can always drive over to the Meijer in Bay City which has Tesla Superchargers.