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 Brakes Work

Yesterday my heart rate got a little jacked on the drive to Rogers City. It’s awesome that the Model 3 always has a dashcam recording (when you have a USB stick plugged in) and you can save the clips. First, a deer ran across the road.

Of course this happened on the only stretch of highway where the speed limit is 65 mph, so I was cruising along at 70. You can’t really tell from the video, but I had to make a full slam on the brakes and everything on the back seat ended up on the floor.

I shit you not, less than a minute later…

An older woman made a move to pass with seemingly no speed. I saw it coming so I slowed down really early and moved over to the shoulder. The vehicle being passed slowed down quite a bit too and she still didn’t have much room to squeeze in. Fucking idiot!

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.

3 Months with Model 3

It’s been 3 months since I took delivery of my Model 3, so I’ve had plenty of time with it. It’s an incredible vehicle and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to get one.

A few interesting things:

  • Michigan has an electric vehicle (EV) surcharge on their license plate registration of $135 per year, because you’re not buying gas. Registration fees are also 20% higher! Glad we’re penalizing people for trying to save our environment. So dumb.
  • No, there is no engine and no transmission. I get asked this a lot. You don’t put gas or oil in a Tesla.
  • Due to no engine, under the hood is a small storage area called the front truck (frunk). There is still a full size trunk in the back.

Some great things about the car:

  • Not having to go to gas stations. The last time I bought gas was over 3 months ago for my truck.
  • Charging in my garage has worked out fine without upgrading to one of the really big outlets.
  • It has heated seats everywhere and the front seats remember your setting for the next time you get in.
  • Auto adjusting cruise control is probably my favorite feature. Takes so much stress out of driving when you don’t have to manually speed up or slow down for traffic. You set how many car lengths you want between you and the car in front of you and Tesla handles the rest.
  • The car keeps getting better and better because there are software updates. I’ve probably had 5 or 6 so far.
  • If you start crossing a line without a blinker on, that side of the steering wheel vibrates to alert you.
  • Due to regenerative braking, you almost never need to use the brakes. As you let off the accelerator the car slows down much faster than an internal combustion engine. The calipers should last the life of the car.
  • In addition to Park, there is also a gear/mode called Hold. When you come to a complete stop the can locks in the brake and you’re in Hold. You can take your foot off the brake pedal and the car won’t move until you press on the accelerator. I’m still getting used to this after having to stay on the brake for 20+ years at stop lights.
  • Not having to carry keys is so nice. The car lets me in and runs based on a Bluetooth connection with my phone. I’ve been carrying around the keycard, but haven’t had to use it since setting up the Tesla iOS app.
  • Super chargers are great. It can slow down your trip and you have to plan things out a little more, but in general I think this is a good thing. We’re in a rush too often and this lets you explore some new places while you wait an hour for the car to charge on long trips.
  • Being able to heat the car, open the frunk, check on charging, and do a bunch of stuff from the iOS app is extremely useful.
  • Last but certainly not least is the speed. When you hit that accelerator, instant torque is applied to the wheels and BOOM you’re off the line. I still laugh when I take off from a stop light and leave everyone in the dust. It’s so fun to drive.

A few things I don’t like:

  • The range estimate doesn’t take the bigger wheels into account, so I have to remember that I can’t travel as far as the car suggests. Hopefully they’ll improve this with a software update.
  • The scroll wheels on the steering wheel are good for some things, but not great for music volume. Several times a week I accidentally nudge the wheel while making a turn and the volumes shoots up or down.
  • If you’re using the cruise and someone driving the opposite way makes a turn across your lane, the car often thinks you’re in danger. It’ll alert you and start slowing down even if there was no chance you were going to hit that vehicle. I’m sure this will get better over time. If it wasn’t for this I think I’d activate cruise in the city a lot more.

3D MAXpider Floor Mats – Tesla Model 3

I went all out and bought these 3D MAXpider KAGU Black All-Weather Floor Mats for my Model 3 to protect the floors during our ugly Michigan winters. They’re made specifically for the car so the fit is perfect and they look great. I love how they even cover the left foot rest on the driver’s side. I did black out the silver 3D logo with a Sharpie when I read other people had done the same.

Good timing with our first snowfall today.

Charging Upgrade

I drove up to Rogers City for the weekend to work on the charging situation before it gets too cold outside. Last night I plugged into a standard outlet (NEMA 5-15), which should only be able to charge at a speed of 3-4 miles of range per hour, according to Tesla’s home charging documentation. Somehow I was getting 5, which is still really slow.

I brought wire and a new NEMA 6-20 outlet with me, which is the same thing I have in my garage. So this morning we ran a line and installed the outlet. The box in my parents’ garage already had a free 240 volt 20 amp breaker, which made installation a breeze. It took 20-30 minutes for the charge speed to ramp up, which could be due to the colder weather, but I’m getting the same 14 miles/hour I get at home. Much better!