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When you first make the switch over from a gas car to an electric car, there’s a few things to get used to. First of all, you need to understand charging, which we cover here. Then, there’s questions like, “So, where’s the battery? How does range work?” We get it, because we’ve been there too.

Below, and in the video above, Ji answers the most common questions new owners ask from his own experiences of owning all S3XY Models over the past 5 years. We hope this helps you understand range and EV batteries more!

Is Tesla Range Accurate?

Range is an *estimated* number based on different variables. That’s the thing about range: A lot of things can impact it, such as the size of your wheels and tires, the weather, and driving habits.

Our Model X is a very heavy, heavy car; It’s over 5, 000 pounds. It has an estimated range of 260 miles, and I typically give a 70 mile buffer whenever I’m traveling. So, once I have about 70 miles of range to go, I need to find a charger.

With the Model 3 and Ys that I’ve had, those are definitely a lot more accurate in my opinion than the X. Yet, I still give a 3 or Y about a 50 mile buffer when traveling. I have a 2023 Model S at the moment, and that one is very similar to like the 3/Y. I definitely go 0-60 quite a bit in the S. So, on those days, it’s going to be a lot lower since I’m consuming a lot more of that battery, making it go down a lot quicker.

You can see what’s impacting your range in the energy consumption chart that Tesla provides in the touchscreen. You can even see what it’ll look like in the future if you continue with the same driving habits. Again, range is *estimated* since it’s so impacted. Because of that, I recommend having that 50 to 75 mile buffer when traveling.

Where is the Tesla high voltage battery located?

The Tesla battery is located at the bottom and center of the vehicle. That’s why it’s so heavy. That’s why it’s also very safe. It doesn’t really flip over easily, since all that weight is in that middle and the bottom part of the car.

Difference between 12v and high voltage battery pack

So your Tesla has the high voltage battery, which is your main battery pack that you’re actually driving off of, and you also have a 12 volt battery. The 12 volt battery powers lights, power windows, wiper motors, lift gate, washer fluid pumps, the ABS (automatic braking system), electronics, the main display, etc. And then the high voltage battery pack is what’s going to power the actual drivetrain.

How can I maximize my Tesla’s range?

Drive at optimal speeds. On a highway, I try to keep it around like 70-75 miles. When you’re in stop and go traffic, that eats more battery than highway driving. When consuming those spikes of energy when accelerating quickly, the range will decrease quicker. Smaller wheels will help a lot, especially if you’re on the road a lot and optimal range is very important.

Another thing that will also impact your range is something called “phantom drain.” That happens a lot of times when you have Sentry Mode on. Also, when you check your phone app, that wakes up the Tesla every single time, getting it out of sleep mode and can cause some range loss. So, pay attention to what software is on or affecting your range too.

What’s regenerative braking?

Regen breaking keeps our electric motors and our batteries a lot more efficient. In an electric vehicle, when you propel and then slow down, it actually brings that kinetic energy gained from slowing back into the battery pack, adding back range.

Also, with regenerative braking, you’ll also often hear something called ‘one pedal driving’ paired with it. This just means that when you let off the accelerator pedal, your car already starts slowing down. Once you get used to it, you’ll learn how to gradually start and stop without even touching the brake. So, I rarely use the brake. And that’s really common in all EVs, not just Tesla.

Does the Tesla (high voltage) battery need to be replaced?

Replacing batteries is not very common. I had the 2018 LR Model 3 up until like 2022 or 23. When I traded it in, I was still at like 298 miles. The battery degradation was quite low. I know some people have, but there is an 8-year warranty on them, so that’s a really long time.

How can I keep my battery from degrading?

For battery degradation, the easiest thing to do is not Supercharging every single day. That’s because Supercharging requires an insane amount of amperage really quickly into the car, and if you do that everyday, that can hurt the battery overtime.

Also, you want to charge it like Tesla recommends. If you have an LFP battery, charge up to 100%. If you have a non-LFP battery, you want to keep it between 20% – 80%.

How does weather affect battery/range?

Weather affects your battery quite a bit actually. The biggest impact is when the temperature drops and it gets really cold. I’ve had a Tesla before the heat pump, so during the winter, my range suffered a lot. If you do live in cold climates and you’re thinking of buying used, I would make sure it has a heat pump, because that will help a lot. They started putting them in the Model 3, X, and S in 2021, and all Model Ys have it. The reason why range is so affected in the cold is because it has to keep the battery warmer, so it uses lots of energy to do that.

Rain and wind is also going to cause more drag, using up a little more of your energy. The hot weather is also going to affect range a bit, because you’re going to be using more AC – Not just when driving, but also while using the climate control function. This is a really neat funtion that when it gets to a certain temperature, it turns on the AC in the car to keep everything cool.

How low can I let my Tesla battery get? Can I run out of range?

I’ve ran out of range in a Model X before. We had 1% and were about 2 miles from home. It started shutting down in the middle of the highway and telling us to pull over. The doors still work, because they work off the 12 volt battery. But you’ll have to get it towed to a charger most likely. AAA also has a charging thing where they can plug you in and then get you a little bit of battery to get to a charger. But your charging port actually locks up, and you have to do something in the front to unlock it.

So, you can go as low as you want, but it just depends on your level of risk. I would not recommend going below really 5%. Try to give it that buffer I mentioned, like that 50 – 70 mile buffer, because that’s the last thing you want when traveling.