Tesla Model 3 Hits The Autobahn


Experiences some thermal protection behavior after extended hard driving

The Tesla Model 3 is not yet officially being sold in Europe, so it’s impossible to know how it will hold up to the rigors of Germany’s speed-limitless (in places) Autobahn, right? Wrong. As you can see in the video above, it is indeed possible to know. Though not supported by the California automaker, a few examples of the mid-size sedan have made it across the pond to the Old Country.

Faithful InsideEVs readers may remember that time an outfit called NextMove set a driverless hypermiling record in the baby Tesla. Well, that same organization has let a Model 3 loose on the high-speed highway, allowing it stretch its legs all the way up to their limit. This being a non-Performance, Long Range battery, rear-wheel-drive version of the car, that top end is as supposedly 140 miles per hour (225 kph), though we’ve seen it do 142 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

So, how did it do? Overall, we’d have to say pretty well. The driver was pushing it hard to see if he could get thermal protection behavior to happen and, eventually, he was successful. The lengths he had to go to, however, make it clear regular owners will never reach these limits. Not only did he drive at top speed for some distance, but he also did a number of hard accelerations from typical driving speeds to 140 mph. Ten of them, actually, before he finally noticed an effect. And, when forced to drive slower because of traffic or the occasional speed limit zone, the car normalized.

Now, there was one instance deep into the roughly 100-mile drive between Leipzig and Erfurt where the car did exhibit an odd behavior. At the 4:44 mark, he puts his foot into it at 90 kph (55.9 mph), but the acceleration is very limited. Apparently, it lasts for a few seconds and then resumes as normal. It would be interesting (for us and, we imagine, Tesla engineers) to know what exactly occurred here. Unfortunately, as we said, cars in Europe are unsupported until deliveries officially begin and so we may have to wait and see if this occurs in another customer’s car.

For now, though, check out the video for the all the action. If you aren’t a German-language speaker, click on the closed caption (CC) icon for an English translation. Enjoy!

Source: YouTube

Categories: Tesla, Videos

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

51 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Hits The Autobahn"

newest oldest most voted
Another Euro point of view

Quite good for an EV actually but still passed by a good old mom Q7 at 7’15”.

That “good old mom” Q7 is badged as being PLP tuned with dual exhaust. That means it has a minimum of 300 HP and 450 ft/lb of torque, and might have 500+ HP and 800+ ft/lb of torque out of a V12 twin turbo engine!!!

That “good old mom” Q7 is a sleeper. No dishonor in having the non-performance version of the Model 3 get passed by a tuned sleeper that may have a V12 twin turbo tuned engine.

Since the Performance Model 3 has the same battery it will be overtaken just like the RWD LR Model 3 did.

“Those who want to drive fast with this car can, if they don’t need to go far”
This is going to be the story for a really long time with EVs no matter who makes them.

I can see now why Audi and Mercedes limit the top speed of their cars from the get go. Much easier to explain that then to explain why the car suddenly doesn’t want to accelerate anymore.

Luckily the rest of the world doesn’t have Germany’s problem and can’t go above 70mph anyway.

In my experience, most of the US goes over 70 mph on the Interstate. I recently drove in Michigan; cruised for a couple hours at 85 mph, while passing only a few more cars than passed me. I drove right by two State Highway Patrol cars while doing 80 mph, they didn’t seem to notice. Going through Ohio (taking a few chances on the way) I cruised at 78 mph and slowed to 74 mph while “under observation”. And then in Kentucky, I drove to Bowling Green with the cruise control set to 82 mph most of the way.

“Can’t go above 70 mph” isn’t even remotely true, even in friendly Canada.

I drive to work daily at over 80 in Los Angeles. If you go under 70 you get run off the road

If you were able to drive by troopers doing 80 without being pulled over, it was not quota time. I got hunted down for doing 80 on NC interstate. While I agree that people will do 80+, they’re probably not sustaining that speed.

Plenty of 80 mph speed limits in TX. SR 130 has an 85 mph speed limit.

Yup and those people raving about how far the Jaguar I-PACE can go didn’t like it when I pointed out the slow average speeds those trips were made with. Not dinging the car but wanting to know realistic range using realistic speeds that most folks on road trips will be at. Freeway speeds.

This week we were shooting a video comparing the Jaguar IPACE with a Tesla Model X 100D. 200 km Autobahn at “normal” speed. The results where surprising. The Video will go online next week on your nextmove YouTube channel.

That must be the part of Texas where even the tumbleweeds are speeding.

Yes that is a true “German problem”. But it seems to be important for many German drivers and German media. Even though, only a fraction of the population drives faster than 200 kph (125 mph), everybody is raising this question when it comes to Tesla. That’s why we wanted to show, that you can indeed drive fast with the Model 3.

If you are staying at 125 mph (200kph) you will not experience power limitation – of course this is also a quite ridiculous speed. Especially since using autopilot is so much more convenient. AP is restricted to max speed of 150 kph / 93 mph.

Luckily the rest of the world doesn’t have Germany’s problem and can’t go above 70mph anyway.

This is far from a true statement. Most European countries treat rural motorways somewhat similar to the Autobahn (which is in Germany, Austria and Switzerland BTW). Italy’s Autostrada, while posted, does not enforce speed limits in rural areas except at extremely well marked cameras (tourist revenue).

The UK has even posted signs along their motorways for when speed limits are enforced. We’ve frequently driven 100-120 MPH between Edinburgh & Dundee along with cops.

France is perhaps the oddest in that they do not believe someone should get more than one motorway ticket in a day so while you may get a ticket (extremely rare) and even pulled over a second time you simply show the previous ticket and the cop smiles and wishes you a good day.

Norway and Sweden are perhaps the strictest but like others are much more focused on dangerous driving, passing on the right, blocking the left lane, etc.

Oh, and every one of these countries has a fraction of the crashes, serious injuries and fatalities of the U.S. – measured per capita or per mile driven.

The situation in France is a bit like in Germany. On a single drive only the highest ticket counts. So if you go through 3 speed cameras you will only get fined once.

What a pile of nonsense. The speed limit on UK motorways is 70mph. None of them are treated like the German autobahns, and if you drive at 120mph and the police pull you over you will most likely get a driving ban. . A quick search on line will show how you are likely to be dealt with by the courts. And try that trick with the French police and see who is smiling.

When did you last see police on a UK motorway. Nobody other than lorries drives at 70mph (traffic build up allowing)

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Utah has stretches of interstate with 80-85 MPH posted speed limits.

Do you know why Audi and Mercedes limit the top speed of their cars? Apparently not.

This is a sort of gent agreement to limit cars to 250 km/h to prevent *truly* idiotic speeds*) becoming commonplace: https://www.autoevolution.com/news/gentlemens-agreement-not-so-fast-sir-47736.html

*) Anything above 150 km/h can be considered “idiotic” already, with most humans not being capable of safe driving at those speeds.

I’m pretty sure he was referring to the strangely low top speeds of the EQC and e-Tron.

This is missing the point. The EQC and the etron quattro have really low limits at 200km/h.

BTW: The reason why people don’t want their cars unlimited in Germany is because summer tyres are required to have a speed index matching the top speed of the car. This gets unnecessarily expensive. I actually prefer the limit at 236km/h because that allows me to use V index tyres while the 253km/h limit requires W index tyres (with exceptions of some manufacturers allowing Z index but it needs to be printed in the vehicle licence). Above 270km/h it gets really stupidly expensive with the Y tyres.

At 5:36 minutes the calculation is wrong : consumption 35KWh for 100km = 56 KWh per 100 miles (161 km) and not 22 KWh. Stefan seems to have divided by 1.609 instead multiply.

So the battery is the Achilles heel in Model-3, not the motor like the Model-X from Bjorn Nyland who was overheating first e.g. before the battery of the Model-X when driving on the Autobahn.

It doesn’t seem like much of an Achille’s heel, though — he mentions that he is (1) specifically trying to overheat the battery with hard accelerations and traveling at absolute maximum speed, and that (2) this is causing him to use about double the normal autobahn-driving-regime amount of energy.

The car does not seem to be staying in the overheated regime very much; despite his efforts, so (1) a more usual driver would seem likely to never see this, or encounter it only rarely for short periods.

Also, (2) if he was using 56 kWh per 100 miles (161 km), then ‘normal’ usage on the autobahn would use about 28 kWh for the same distance — or 267 miles (431 km) per full charge.

The Model 3 may not be the perfect car for everyone, but it does seem to have made tremendous improvements in battery (and heat) management. Now, let us see a time around the Nurburgring!

would be interesting to have “good” autobahn conditions without slow vehicles forcing to slow down always

We believe that the Model 3 did really well in this test. We actually were surprised that the car recovers fast from “Autobahngate”. We actually believe it recovers faster than the Model S.

This test has nothing to do with normal EV driving behavior. In previous videos we tested the Autobahn range at 120 km/h (74 mph) vs. 150 km/h (93 mph): https://youtu.be/v56gMy04oMI

Thanks for collecting the data. The results were impressive, and the 74 mph numbers would translate well to many parts of the US:

150 km/h (93 mph): – Consumption: 229 Wh/km – Range: 315 km (196 mi)
120 km/h (74 mph): – Consumption: 164 Wh/km – Range: 450 km (280 mi)

My point was more that Bjorn Nyland’s Model-X P90DL is pulling much more KW from the 90 (actually gross 87 KWh) battery than the TM-3 single motor from it’s (75-80 KWh ?) LR battery, still the motor strators are the first to overheat before the TX-90 battery.

NextMove only have 2 single motor RWD TM3 imported, so the LR battery has to supply ‘only’ a single motor. When the dual standard or even more the dual-performance versions will use the same size LR battery it will be much more demanding and even faster to overheat.

Not as much, because the 2 motor have to propel the same load but they share the work in half each.

Pulling just about the same power from the battery, well no more than about 7% more of added inefficiency.

Basic math!

Dear Roland,
thank you for raising this point. You are indeed right. I made a mistake in converting.

We think it is the battery that is limiting the power. However, there are also voices that believe the motor is the root cause.

We have corrected the mistake in the subtitles!

Not bad. Still decent range (frankly, I expected higher power consumption, good aerodynamics), minor overheating issues. It would be good to test 2-3 fast charge/discharge cycles – that, plus driving at around 200km/h, would be a more practical test.

As for “pushing hard”, that’s pretty standard pace for airport taxis etc. A premium car is expected to cruise at this speed comfortably and without giving an impression of being pushed to the limit. I think it’s a pass for Tesla 3.

I’d like to see how the German EV’s go under the same test.

Same here. We will do such a test video in October with the Jaguar IPACE and of course as soon as we have our first Audi etron we will do the highspeed autobahn test and push the car to the limit. Maximum speed is 125 mph (200 kph). I guess we have to do more kick downs to get the car into power limitation 🙂

The Audi E-Tron-55 and Mercedes EQC are limited for top speed, so no chance to compare. The next Audi ‘E-Tron S’ and Porsche Taycan might be able to surpass 200 km/h.

Just like te 250+ of the Roadster 2020

Thank you INSIDEEVs for picking up our video.

At at 2:29 mark, the Model 3 reaches its top speed of 227kph and touches briefly 228 kph (142 mph). But that was in an early stage of the trip: https://youtu.be/Ff0F5f9bmwc?t=149

Idiot driving high speed on two lane autobahn.
The trucks are driving 90 kph and he is driving just next to them above 200kph.
The trucks are overtaking with 90 kph on the left lane on a two lane german autobahn.
This test shoul be done a 3 lane autobahn. But then again a 3 lane autobahn has allways heavy traffic and it’s impossible to drive at high speeds for long time. You only get a short acceleration and need to brake hard shortly after.

Fact is, even in Germany is impossible to drive at high speeds for a long time. Unless you want to commit suicide like the guy in the video.

“Fact is, even in Germany is impossible to drive at high speeds for a long time. Unless you want to commit suicide like the guy in the video.”

No problem at night or on Sundays with trucks being banned from driving in Germany.
This guy in this video was driving pretty normally. How you learn it in driving school in Germany.

Or you have to drive in the middle of the night, like Bjorn Nyland who prefers his high speed Autobahn test from 2:00 – 3:00 am.

Excuse me, have you ever driven in germany? Do you know the extensive training that goes into getting a drivers license in germany? There is really no reason you could or should not pass a truck with higher speeds. Everyone around you underwent the same training and knows how to behave properly. Like not suddenly veering to the left lane and always maintain a speed that is matched to how far you can look ahead and safely evaluate the situation. Passing a truck with 100 km/h speed difference is no problem at all. And being passed in that situation by some other car that’s going 100 km/h faster still is rare but it happens. You are right, if traffic conditions are bad, then you can’t drive that fast for long. But as long as you are not recklessly tailgating or anything, there is no harm in taking advantage of the possibility of going fast. And there are enough stretches in my area, where I can drive 250 somewhat constantly on a regular basis for 50 km. Germanys road accident numbers are not higher than those in the USA. One last addendum: I don’t think it’s awful that the Tesla limits… Read more »

“Everyone around you underwent the same training and knows how to behave properly. Like not suddenly veering to the left lane” — yet that’s *exactly* what happened to an acquaintance of mine when they tried going 230 km/h or 260 km/h (don’t remember which) for fun once.

225kph top speed. Kind of meeh, you get smoked by every turbo diesel station wagon C-Class, A4, 3 series, VW Passat or better…

Wow, I’m actually impressed, it manages to do quite some distance at high speed. An improvement over the S and X.

I drive a model S 75 RD and I live in the Netherlands, so an occasional trip to the famous German Autobahn is not an exception. Without hefty accelerations it is no problem to drive 100 mph as long as the battery lasts. Faster is only short possible.

As an improvement, it seems the article recently about the Model 3 Battery Cooling, showed why this could be Expected!

Next, the steps they took for heat management on the Performance Version, in addition to the Battery Module design, will be good to discover!

16 kWh / 100 km at 120 km/h is impressive.

The best way to destroy a battery? Just watch the video!

You may overstate the speed limitless in Germany. During daytime the Highways have increasing treffic so that the average of about 110 kph measured on a longer trip (e.g. 850 km from Hamburg to Munich) are not really overcome. The fast pacing today can only be reached in the eveing hours when driving in the range between 7 p,m, and midnight when most of the commuters are at the dining table. Then you can male it in approx. 5-6 hours with a 170 kph in average. If you have a Mercedes/Porsche that will be different as you have an “inbuilt” higher prioriyt on the left as cars “automatically” move to the right lane when weeing you with the rear mirror.

As such the Tesla 3 may count like an average car on the Highway. Anyhow all over Europe the Speed Limit to 110-130 kph is set. As such the Tesla 3 may be well cruising. I wonder why cars with ability to go up to 250 kph are stillsold as the owenr pay a lot for hp but would never be able to experience it.

“Not only did he drive at top speed for some distance, but he also did a number of hard accelerations from typical driving speeds to 140 mph”

That’s a pretty standard autobahn drive cycle to be honest. You’ll be blatting along at whatever you can do max and then someone will pull out (ABs are mostly only two lanes each way) so then you brake down to 60-70mph and then, once the normal driver has moved/completed his overtaking manouvre, you’re right back on it and back to your setpoint/ max speed whatever.

This can go on until the next time you hit a “120” sign signifying an 75mph limited section. Then when that clears, you’re right back on it. So yes, it would be pretty easy to hit power limited situations in normal German autobahn type driving.

Don’t have that problem in an Autobahn spec (big two piece brakes, 186mph top speed) E63 AMG but I would in the Model S and the model 3 too it seems. Horses for courses though…. still love the EV and then V8!

Interesting YouTube channel.
Finally someone tested the range at European normal highway speeds.
As expected range is good for an EV but far from exciting.
315km is just a bit over 2 hours driving at 150km/h.
At 120km/h the range is much better but for long distances “nobody” cruises at that speed.

400,000 “nobodies” are standing in line to travel long distances with 120 km/ -150 km/h 😉