In-Depth Look At Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range Electric Miles

OCT 19 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 80

Wow did the Tesla Model 3 news stream in late last evening.

After we signed off and attempted to call it a day at InsideEVs — though our days never really end in the usual sense — Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to make some pretty major announcements. Late last night we learned that you can now order a mid-range Model 3, the single-motor Long Range variant is set to go away, and Full Self-Driving will also become unavailable, at least temporarily. Fortunately, our respected friend, data giant, and Twitter user Troy Teslike (@TroyTeslike) got to work deciphering data.

Our comment section lit up, as did people on Reddit, social media, and Tesla forums. The whole situation presented itself in somewhat of a confusing manner, and to be honest, we’d be lying if we said we had an ultimate grasp on exactly what is happening. Nonetheless, we made every effort to get the news out as reported and we hope to elaborate on the announcements soon.

In our InsideEVs comments section, several users tried to wrap their heads around the numbers involved in this new and surprising “mid-range” Model 3 battery option, along with the pricing, which was presented with potential credits in mind. Rather than try to provide more information before we get additional confirmation from Tesla, we’ve chosen to share Troy’s current analysis of range figures:

 

Please continue to share your thoughts, calculations, and understanding of the situation in our comment section. Thanks as always to InsideEVs readers and supporters for your valued input.

TESLA MODEL 3

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2. Tesla Model 3
Range: 310 miles; 136/123 mpg-e. Still maintaining a long waiting list as production ramps up slowly, the new compact Tesla Model 3 sedan is a smaller and cheaper, but no less stylish, alternative, to the fledgling automaker’s popular Model S. This estimate is for a Model 3 with the “optional” (at $9,000) long-range battery, which is as of this writing still the only configuration available. The standard battery, which is expected to become available later in 2018, is estimated to run for 220 miles on a charge. Tesla Model 3 charge port (U.S.) Tesla Model 3 front seats Tesla Model 3 at Atascadero, CA Supercharging station (via Mark F!) Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 The Tesla Model 3 is not hiding anymore! Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs) Tesla Model 3 Inside the Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 rear seats Tesla Model 3 Road Trip arrives in Tallahassee Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

TESLA MODEL 3 PERFORMANCE

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80 Comments on "In-Depth Look At Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range Electric Miles"

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Benz

“Based on vehicle weight, I estimate that the Mid Range battery has 3,744 cells compared to 2,976 for Standard Range and 4,416 for Long Range battery.”

3,744 battery cells in the battery pack.
How many kWh is that for the total of the battery pack?

ffbj

65kWh.

Benz

How did you calculate that?

Zachary Hafen

3744 x 4.8Ah x 3.6v?

Benz

3744 x 4.8Ah x 3.6v = 64.696 kWh

mzs112000

Could also be 66.493kWh if the nominal cell voltage is 3.7v instead of 3.6v….

David Bricknell

I had the 2170 as 4.9Ah and nominal voltage at 3.65v. This would give 3744×4.9Ahx3.65v=66kWh. LR was 4416×4.9×3.65=77.9kWh.

Lawrence

Usable? Or total capacity?

Rolando

Cell level calculation is always gross, the net/usable is coming (e.g. is controlled) from the BMS.

Alex

Assuming LR is 75kWh and SR is 50kWh, the MR will be around 63kWh.
The LR extra 25kWh was priced at $360/kWh, for the MR version the extra 13kWh is priced at $385/kWh.

While cheaper, the MR version offer a smaller bang for the buck, Tesla should be decreasing the price of batteries not increasing.

I’m not a fan of Nissan (neither Tesla, neither any car brand except Ferrari) but it’s clearly that the Tesla model 3 will still be far from the price point of the Nissan’s EV.

F150 Brian

$5000/(40 miles/90 miles*25kWh) = $450/kWh

Alex

I was being a bit more optimistic about the capacity of the MR version assuming 13kWh above SR and not 11kWh… But you might be right, with all the tesla fanboys I like to give them a good error margin ;).

stimpacker

Agree the TM3 MR offers a smaller bang for the buck.
However, there is no reason for the TM3 to match 2019 Nissan Leaf.
Nobody equates a GM/Dodge car to a BMW just because both have V6 engines.

Alex

Model 3 is built more like a leaf than a BMW 3.
Model 3 is great range (for EV), good space, very fast, very safe. But there is more than just that.

Dan F.

NO BMW car has EVER had a V6. I6 yes.

Terawatt

They’ve made lots of prototypes, and rejected them all: https://jalopnik.com/did-you-know-bmw-builds-v6-engines-all-the-time-1633734035

Alex

V6 are more compact, almost everything else is better in an i6 that offers better balance.

R.S

Yea, but the Leaf isn’t exactly a BMW. On the other hand sure, the Model 3 is typical American build quality and materials, but it’s not just going fast in a straight line. Some of the tech is top notch!

Windbourne

And the Nissan’s EV are FAR from being close in luxury, performance or range to a TM3.

Alex

… and price ;).

Billy Gomes

Lol, what are you doing on an EV fan site then? Fararri may be the last ICE manufacturer to switch to BEV’s….

Pushmi-Pullyu

Yes, I’d think he’d far prefer a gearhead site. But hey, maybe we can make a convert out of him. 🙂

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Assuming LR is 75kWh and SR is 50kWh, the MR will be around 63kWh.”

We should clarify that ~75 kWh is the LR’s usable capacity; the full capacity is ~80 kWh.

Benz

If there would be 1,000 of the “2170” battery cells in a battery pack, how many kWh would that be?

How to do that calculation?

Deepak

1000*75/3744 = 20.03kWh

Alex

The 3744 cells are for the MR version

drpawansharma

I like it. Nice round numbers. 1000 cells = 20 Kwh.

ffbj

Use arithmetic. Or cyphering as we used to call it.

Alex

Someone tested LG and Samsung SDI 21700 batteries. The LG were a bit over 18Wh/cell the Samsung a little bit less – 17.4Wh/cell.
Panasonic cells should be around that – if we divide the 75000Wh by 4416 we reach the 17Wh/cell – probably because the usable capacity is smaller than the sum of cells – Panasonic, LG and Samsung cells must be pretty equivalent.

Benz

Thanks

That makes sense

Alex

you can search the 21700 review:
“Li-ion 21700: LG M50 5000mAh vs Samsung 48G 4800mAh discharge capacity test”
in site thunderheartreviews.

TJKR
Martin Lacey

1,000 x 4.8ah x 3.6v = 17.28 kWh
The capacity of the Model 3 LR pack is 4,416 X 4.8ah X 3.6v = 76.30848 kWh rounded to 76.31 kWh

Thom Moore

My first suspicion is that Tesla will software derate its 75 kWh long range battery, to something like 60 kWh, sell it for $4k less, and hope that the buyers will eventually soften up and pay for the extra capacity that is present in the battery. They’ve done this before, which is why they can enable higher battery capacity in disaster emergencies like Hurrican Michael. Why would they mess with designing a distinct battery pack when they have this mechanism all set up for the Model S and X?

Then there is the matter of the “standard” feature set vs the premium feature set. When will they offer that as a real option?

Alex

Tesla said it’s not doing that. It’s hardware changes to the battery pack.

God/Bacardi

Based on Musk saying they found a way to make SR “lighter, cheaper and better” my WAG is that he actually discovered a better way to make “dead” cell blanks…That could be what’s going on here, replacing active cells with blanks…

Pushmi-Pullyu

Tesla has never used “blank” cells in its battery packs. There’s no valid engineering reason to do so, and we can be confident it never will.

TJKR

Interesting thesis but I doubt it. I think they are short of cells. It’s very easy to remove a few cell banks and adjust the software. They can use the extra cells to make more packs and more cars. They can also make more powerwalls and peaker batteries which are probably more profitable . More evidence that Tesla and the rest of the world needs to up the cell production capacity.

Windbourne

In small quantities, that would make sense.
In massive quantities, that is a money loser.

Thom Moore

Well, this is a well-established Tesla gambit, as I noted. I may be wrong, but why then did Tesla not go immediately to a 50 kWh battery, making the “standard” Model 3 possible sooner. Why go to all the trouble of designing a new battery for this middle of the road new model instead of using that effort to get to the standard size battery? My guess is it was trivial to derate the existing battery (zero expense), and they are getting price resistance by now that makes it an attractive way to get additional people in the door, hooked on electric, and then hook them into buying the soft upgrade.

Pushmi-Pullyu

It makes no sense. There’s no good reason for Tesla to pay the cost of assembling dead (or dummy) cells into a battery pack, when they could simply leave out a few strings, saving both weight and part of the assembly costs. Adjusting the software in the BMS for using fewer cells would be far less costly than continuing to make packs with unnecessary welded connections and fusible links.

When Tesla sold the electronically limited S75 as an “S60”, Tesla was very upfront about that. That was a marketing ploy to get people to buy a lower-cost Model S, with the hope they would pay to upgrade it from S60 to S75 at a later date.

This bad meme that Tesla sometimes uses dead/dummy cells in its battery packs has been around since the early days of the Model S, when some speculated the S60 pack was actually an S85 pack with dead/dummy cells used to replace live cells. This was easily debunked by pointing out that the S60 had a lower curb weight than the S85, yet this bad meme has persisted, as bad memes unfortunately do on the internet.

Jeroen

I’ve never heard of this dummy cell story, but if actual cells were replaced with dummys, like plastic empty canisters, that could explain the lower curb weight?

Pushmi-Pullyu

“My first suspicion is that Tesla will software derate its 75 kWh long range battery, to something like 60 kWh, sell it for $4k less, and hope that the buyers will eventually soften up and pay for the extra capacity that is present in the battery. They’ve done this before…”

Yes, they did that in the newer version of the Model S60, but they were very upfront about it. Contrariwise, from what Elon said, the Mid Range Model 3 will actually have fewer cells in the pack, and will weigh less.

I think you’re gonna have a hard time justifying a claim that electronically limiting a ~75 kWh (usable) pack to ~60-65 kWh (usable) will reduce the weight. 😉

Benz

How much energy can be stored in one 2170 battery cell?

Warren

There is no one, simple answer to that question. It depends on what you are optimizing for…energy or power. The two are pretty much in opposition, unfortunately. However, the more energy your battery holds, the more power you can pull out too. So if you can get a enough kWh in a small enough, cheap enough battery pack, you can also get decent performance, without optimizing for power.

mzs112000

That depends, what chemistry, how they are manufactured….
Theoretically, you could have a 21700 Lead-Acid cell, NiMH, NiCD, Li-Ti, LiFePO4, LiNMC, LiNCA, Li-S, NiFe, or any number of other chemistries. So you could have a 2170 cell that stores 5Wh, or you could make one that stores 30Wh….

Benz

How much energy can be stored in one 18650 battery cell?

Nix

That is hard to pin down. 18650 is just the the size of the battery (18mm by 65mm) and different chemistry can have very different ratings. Batteries have a rating of how much energy each cell can hold based on each battery maker.

But it is even more complex than that. The rating is not necessarily a hard limit on how much energy the battery will hold. ultimately it is up to the charger used to charge the battery to control how much energy is stored in the battery. All batteries can be charged past their nominal face rating. Even a lowly AA or AAA battery you get at the store will likely be charged past the Volt/Amp rating on the side of the battery if you measure a fresh one with a multi-meter.

Rolando

The Sanyo and Panasonic top end 1865(0) batteries (similar to what Tesla uses slightly customized in X and S ) are rated at 3.4 to 3.5 Ah at 3.6V = approx 12.5 Wh per cell.

PK

So $58,800 + HST Canadian. That’s $66,444 (not sure if the dest. fee is included) Still too much for me, especially without the $14k Ontario incentive.
Also not a fan of the price with gas savings. I’m all for TCO but since I drive a Leaf there’s no gas savings to be had.

Windbourne

?????
I thought that Tesla had enough North American parts to quality as going free across the border.
No?

Chris O

“grasp on exactly what is happening”? The way I see it Tesla is running out of north American high end buyers, isn’t ready to sell in Europe and isn’t interested in doing a low margin SR version yet so now it’s winging it with a medium range version that was’t originally intended but could easily be created by leaving out some modules from the LR’s battery pack. Well, if it works, good for Tesla, it really needs the profits to fend off the short FUD storm.

leafowner

I think you hit it on the head Chris O — trying to get more of the $35 k reservers to pony up a bit more coin….

TJKR

Using Federal Tax expiration to do it. At this point, if the tax credit expires on Dec 31st, the Medium Range will be about the same price as the Standard as long as you get it delivered by Dec 31. Also I think they are started for cells so this is a good way to make more cars using less cells.

Dan F.

To really do that they should drop the Premium Upgrade Package (PUP). This mid range car would then be $40k. But, PUP is probably a high margin “mandatory option” and it would disrupt assembly with another variant.

Since PUP has a great many components, this will definitely slow down production. And yes, the profit on PUP has got to be too good to pass up for Tesla.

Adam

Either they haven’t finished designing the non-PUP version or its not ready to be implemented in the assembly process. I’m willing to bet a short range PUP is introduced before the full 35K Model.

Pushmi-Pullyu

…or the PUP is a high profit margin “option” (which is currently mandatory) for Tesla, and they’re not willing to give that up yet.

Tesla is obviously “pulling demand levers” by putting this slightly lower-priced Mid Range TM3 into production, while simultaneously phasing out the LR RWD version. It has been argued that the reason for putting the Mid Range TM3 into production was to balance the reduced demand for eliminating the LR RWD version.

I don’t know if that’s entirely correct; probably there was more than one motive for Tesla to create the Mid Range version. Tesla is juggling a lot of production and cost factors here. But it seems to be a sound argument.

Terawatt

The premium upgrade package almost certainly is the most, if not only, profitable part of the sale.

It’s the same with most manufacturers by the way. The options are marked up several times more than the base car itself, and are therefore a very important source of profits even if they are a relatively small part of revenue. In several cases the option literally makes ZERO difference to the cost of making the car (a feature is software-disabled) meaning that the full price of the option is profits.

There are even examples of the cheaper product being slightly more expensive to make. Intel used to hardware-warp some CPUs, requiring an additional step in their manufacture to physically damage them, before rebranding them and selling them as cheaper Celeron CPUs. Unlike Tesla’s software-limited battery packs, thankfully not an idea getting reused this time around, it was actually an intelligent move by Intel – because computer chips cost cents apiece to manufacture, but hundreds of millions of dollars to design. Designing a smaller version of a battery pack is straightforward, and using fewer cells makes smaller packs much cheaper to make – the exact opposite situation.

Scott H

I don’t think it is a lower capacity long range, the 0 to 60 speed and 30 minute charge distance both match the standard range from what I’ve seen or been told by Tesla tollfree number. It’s an extra-capacity standard range model, so they’re just adding modules to SR, not leaving out some modules from the LR.

Jason

Elon has said it is the the same battery as the LR but with fewer cells. In other words they just left some empty spaces where cells would have otherwise gone in a LR battery. Besides the SR battery lines are not online yet and it would make 0 business sense to introduce a modified higher capacity SR battery even if they were.

Viking79

I think it is a sign of increasing production that has to go somewhere (as you say, assuming US is only market). This is a positive sign, more cars will mean lower prices, not higher prices. Once they meet demand here, or come close to meeting it, they will start international shipments.

JoeInTheUK

Around 64kWh seems to becoming the new standard. Kona, Niro, next gen Leaf, now Tesla 3 MR.
Any figures on the new VW ID (aka Neo aka eGolf replacement?)

mzs112000

Who knows, maybe once Gigafactory is fully completed in 2022 or somewhere around that timeline, Tesla might start selling battery packs to other companies for use in their cars…

Benz

The 2020 Tesla Roadster will have a 200 kWh battery pack.

4.8Ah x 3.6v = 17.28 Wh

200 kWh / 17.28 Wh = 11,528 battery cells

How will Tesla manage to put 11,528 battery cells in that 200 kWh battery pack of the 2020 Tesla Roadster?

Alex

I don’t know, i guess there will be space for that but weight is going to be huge – at current tech it would be over 750kg of cells, at battery pack level close to 1000kg.
Battery alone it’s 2/3 of a 911 GT3!

mzs112000

Remember the Tesla P100D pack has 8,256 cells. So, that number is only about 40% more cells. And of course, the 11,528 number is based on 4.8Ah per cell, but there are now cells on the market from LG Chem with 5Ah per cell, so the number of cells can still be reduced even further. And that is assuming no advancements in chemistry are made between now and 2020. So really, the battery need not be much larger than the one in the Model S.

Rolando

Elon Musk was expecting approx 20% increase in capacity during the next 2 years for the Roadster-2.0 based on chemistry. Plus some more savings from still needing only 1 TMS and 1 BMS for much more cells.

Anyway 200 KWh will be big and heavy ….

Pushmi-Pullyu

The next-gen Roadster isn’t necessarily going to have all those cells in a single space. There has been a lot of argument over whether the prototype actually has a high enough floor for a double 100 kWh battery pack there.

I think it’s more likely that the pack will be divided into 2 or 3 modules, with some cells in front (perhaps underneath the frunk, or replacing it?) and some behind the back seat. Just my opinion of course.

Martin Lacey

Big hole in your data…. EPA issued 334 miles on the LR RWD and lowered it to 310 at Tesla’s request.

This would impact your estimate for the number of cells in the MR RWD and consequently your range calculations at various driving speeds.

(sorry to pee on your parade).

Rolando

The EPA range was lowered to 310 miles to make all Model-3 versions (single, dual, performance) showing the same range. And according to the range statistics from ‘Troy Teslike’ the performance versions are overrated for range.

On the other hand the EPA range stated in brochures is usually reduced by 20% ‘safety margin’ from most manufacturers.

So we will not know for sure how many 2170 cells are really in the mid-range pack until someone disassembles the pack or some factory insider is leaking the information.

Martin Lacey

Based on the 334 miles the EPA originally guided using 4416 cells we can calculate how many cells required to drive 260 miles:

(4416 divided by 334) x 260 = 3,438 cells.

(3,438 x 4.8ah x 3.6v) = 59.41 kWh… I expect it will be a 60 kWh pack.

Nix

EPA rating is based upon the usable part of the battery, not the total battery capacity. So if the battery is only charged to 95%, and only allowed to discharge to 5% (for example), that would throw off that math. EPA numbers also include charger loss, because they measure how much electricity it takes to recharge after running the test cycles. That also throws off the math.

Leo B

The LR is said to have a 4416 cell pack, 96 series, 46 parallel at 3.6 v and 4.85 Ah per cell. That’s 77.1 kWh total.
The SR is said to have a 2976 cell pack, 96 series, 31 parallel at 3.6 v and 4.85 Ah per cell. That’s 52.0 kWh total.

If we extrapolate from the EPA range for these models (and I agree that’s not necesarily very accurate), then we get the folowing:
LR EPA 334 mls -> MR ~60.0 kWh total
LR EPA 310 mls -> MR ~64.7 kWh total
SR EPA 220 mls -> MR ~61.5 kWh total

So the MR is one of the following:
3456 cells (96s36p) 60.3 kWh total
3552 cells (96s37p) 62.0 kWh total
3648 cells (96s38p) 63.7 kWh total
3744 cells (96s39p) 65.4 kWh total

My guess would be the 3552 cell pack.

CPO

I think the main reason for the Mid-Range release is to enable as many people as possible to get the full federal tax credit as soon as possible.

Bolt driver

It also allows more cars to be built with the same giga factory capacity. More cars built, more income. They are at a point where they have to show some profitability.

alohart

Didn’t Tesla announce the final day orders could be placed to guarantee the full $7.5k federal tax credit? Wasn’t that day a few days prior to the mid-range Model 3 announcement? If so, all orders for the mid-range Model 3 would occur after the final day to order, so it seems likely that few, if any, mid-range Model 3’s would qualify for the full $7.5k federal tax credit.

Quiviran

I’m just reacting to the headline here. You do realize that all Tesla miles are electric miles, right? Or did I skim too fast and miss the really big news?

Anton

I’m not trusting the calculations regarding the range. Tesla Bjørn did a model 3 LR video driving 90km/h (roughly 55 mph) with the 19″ wheels and managed to get “only” 310 miles of range.