See How Far This Tesla Model 3 Goes Before It Needs A Tow

APR 15 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 71

Let’s drive the Tesla Model 3 until it’s literally dead and in need of a tow.

We’ve seen many videos about exhausting EV batteries, but it’s not often that they don’t make it to a charger or back home in the final moments. Ben Sullins sets out on a trip from his California home, hoping he can make it about 310 miles to Las Vegas. According to Tesla and the EPA, will he make it?

Related: Watch What Happens When A Tesla Model 3 Battery Hits 0%

Sullins lets us know that he’s already made plans ahead of time for a tow truck, which makes it pretty clear that he will drive the car until it comes to a stop. He charges the battery to a full, 310-mile starting range and sets off.

Fairly quickly into his journey, it’s already clear that he’s never going to make it to Vegas, which seems about right since he’s doing all freeway driving and doesn’t have the aero wheels. He mentions that all driving is in good conditions and easy terrain, almost entirely on Autopilot.

One important piece of information to note is that “Tez,” Ben’s Model 3 has apparently been lowered, and he also makes a comment about the rims. Surely this will impact the car’s range, but how and by how much?

Needless to say, Sullins turns around to head back home as he hits the halfway point, based on the estimated range the car is providing. However, he’s unable to make it back home without the help of a tow truck. The fact of the matter is that the Model 3 achieves just about what it should according to the EPA’s 295.5 highway range rating and actually exceeds it if you consider the phantom drain.

Video Description via Ben Sullins on YouTube:

We set out to test how many miles a Tesla Model 3 would actually get in a range test. This is our result.

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71 Comments on "See How Far This Tesla Model 3 Goes Before It Needs A Tow"

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I really can’t understand why anybody listens to this guy. While TB is all about EVs and really likeable, this guy just wants to show his face as often as possible to the world while claiming of being a data genius, which he clearly is not.

Because both him and this website are Tesla shills!

He is the biggest tesla shill ever. At least Bjourn is tesla fan but doesnt discredit other evs and actually go road trips in them

Bjorn is a straight shooter, and the only Tesla tuber worth watching. Ben is not objective at all, he just babbles, and wants to pretend he is a data guy, NOT

Yeah so? It’s his channel. If you don’t agree, don’t tune in.

You have BMW fans that don’t like any other make, and most people have a problem with that.

And most people *DON’T* have a problem with that.

It’s their comment; if you don’t like it, don’t read it..!

See how idiotic this attempt to say between the lines “if you don’t like something, just shut up and leave it alone” is..?

There’s a big difference between saying “this guy shouldn’t be allowed to have a YouTube channel” and saying “I don’t understand why anybody listens to this guy”. And the criticism is quite valid. Now, I think Ben is probably trying to be reasonable and objective. But he fails completely. And he is very, very far from the data scientist he portrays himself to be.

He is, it seems, a pretty successful YouTuber with a significant following. InsideEVs may think that’s enough to warrant attention, and it’s certainly a quick and easy write-up that generates some clicks. So I don’t like it, but I think I can understand it. I’m not paying, so I’m not the customer.

I really can’t understand why he had to park so stupidly. Really, guy?

Never once heard him claim to be a data genius. What’s your problem?

Come on. It’s the image he has been going for from the start. He doesn’t use the word “genius” and doesn’t, as far as I know, lie about his credentials as such. But it’s full of vague statements clearly designed to give that impression. He says he’s “a data geek” and the channel is supposed to stand apart from all the others because it’s centered on data analysis.

It’s possible I’ve got it the wrong way round and he knows data analysis very well. If so, however, it’s worse, because then his takes on Tesla data are not simply incompetent, but fraudulent.

I am pretty sure that lowering the car helps range, but the wheels on this guy’s Model 3 look like an air pump.

I too reacted to that. It’s easy to get the impression from the text this would negatively affect range, but at highway speeds it should help. That is one of the selling points for the air suspension, which allows you to have less ground clearance and improved aero on the highway…

Why 22 miles phantom drain if it was fully charged at start of drive?

That’s what’s…weird. How do you lose 22 miles in a day trip?

It didn’t stay anywhere overnight. It’s not cold. How do you lose 22 miles so rapidly? On a Standard Range Model 3, that’d be 10% range loss…for taking a pit-stop?

Ben said he went for lunch which took 90 minutes and lost the 22 miles while parked.

Maybe hes on the old software, people have been complaining about phantom drain with older Model 3 software. With newer versions I haven’t heard of any phantom drain problems.

Just a thought.

He might have had “keep climate on” enabled during his break. If so, this could account for the additional consumption.

Now why was someone who was TRYING VERY HARD TO MAKE IT ALL THE WAY TO VEGAS remotely even consider to run the climate control at all, least of which when he wasn’t even near the car?

He was going 80mph when epa highway driving is 55mph if he have gone 60 mph in right lane he would got to LV

Will – that is a very misleading statement. To someone who doesn’t understand the testing, they would think that EPA range would equal what it does when you drive 55 and it most certainly does not.

The EPA uses a test cycle that is not real and there is no real world condition that it will apply in.

Most cars get about EPA mileage and range at 65-70 MPH at a reasonable temp – 50-90 degrees. Below 50, an EV range will fall more than an ICE mileage because heat is not free in an EV.

Even an aerodynamic car like the Model 3 will lose at least 10% between 70 and 80 mph. So 31 miles – looks about right. My model S EPA speed is right about 67 mph in normal driving conditions.

I think frankly the first question is what does he mean by phantom drain and how did he decide it was 22 miles?

Also weird from the author’s side to say the car managed to match EPA range if you “include phantom range”! What’s that supposed to mean?

If “phantom” is running the AC, ok, it’s at least energy that could have been used to drive farther. But if it is simply energy he couldn’t account for (say, he measured what he put in and subtracted what the driving computer said he consumed) it’s not at all clear that this is anything but heat losses (from charging, discharging which heats the battery, plus heat losses in motor and inverter when driving). A lot of these computers report only the energy used by the motor, and thus the reported consumption is always less than the actual consumption (for instance in my LEAF).

Wow! 266.8 kWh/mile !!

I think that’s about what one of Elon’s rockets expends.
No wonder the poor guy couldn’t finish his trip!

Check your math. It’s Wh/mile, not kWh/mile.

The image embedded above lists it as “kWh / mi”.

That was funny, I was wondering if he was towing the moon or something.

Joking aside: 281.1/310 ≈ 0.91

i.e. on essentially all-freeway driving he gets 90% of EPA range.
My Nissan Leaf does a little worse than that at moderate freeway speeds. So no big surprise here!

One thing everyone is missing here is that the Model 3 has a COMBINED 310 mile EPA rating. Its hwy EPA rating is 295.5 miles. His trip was on the highway at highway speeds. And he isn’t using the 18″ wheels with aero covers which are used for the EPA rating.

So he got 95% of the expected EPA hwy rating without the aero wheels. This is exactly what we would expect.

Great point! Thank you. I updated the language in the article to clarify this.

Solid contributions philip. Thank you!

Not only is he not running the aero wheels, he’s running upgraded 20″ custom wheels with wider tires. This is a major efficiency killer, just like the 22″ wheels on the Model X and the 21″ wheels on the Model S. Add to that his cruising speed of over 70 miles per hour at times.

This test is in no way representative of what a stock Model 3 can accomplish.

I go 90mph for hours in my outdated 500hp Audi. I do FEEL progressive as a lap you while you are nursing a charge or waiting for a super duper charge or whatever you smarms call it.

Try doing it with gas that you produce yourself.

As someome who owns a LOT of investments in the Automotive and Commercial Insurance history, I wanna say thank you. Your overconfidence bought my a Model X! Keep on pay’n the idiot fee brah. No joke come check us out at the next MNEV meet up!

At 500 hp at 90 mph you pass everything except a gas pump. At $3.50 – $4 per gallon enjoy those frequent and “progressive” fill-ups..

The price that some folks pay to seem validated is absolutely baffling.

I am still waiting for a fossil car test
check the official miles per gallon, fill it up and see just how the real world range is until you stop at a hi-way and need to be dragged behind an other car!

“The EPA uses five drive cycles performed on a dynamometer under controlled conditions, which amount to speed traces simulating real-world driving, to determine the fuel economy of conventional vehicles: a city cycle (UDDS or FTP-75), a gentle highway cycle (HWFET or HFEDS), an aggressive higher-speed cycle (US06), an air conditioning cycle (SC03) and a cold-start cycle (cold UDDS). Often only the UDDS and HWFET are run, and correction factors are applied to estimate the effect of the other three cycles.”
And then it gets more complicated from there. The range estimation is not based on a highway drive.
https://www.torquenews.com/2250/how-epa-determines-electric-vehicle-s-range-not-simple-it-sounds

2 important things missing from this are
1) average speed for the entire drive.
2) average outside temperature

This wasn’t a real-world test of a typical drive, a commute, or even a day trip. This was a real-world test of a leg of a MULTI-DAY ROAD TRIP.

Nobody drives 5 hours in one direction and then makes the return trip in the same day – that would be 10 hours of driving in a day. That’s not typical. That’s extremely, extremely rare.

And if you want to say that this could have been a day trip of 150 miles each way, then the lunch stop they took would have been a perfect example of a recharging stop, and the car would have made it home fine.

So if, for some reason, you want to drive 5 hours on the highway in one direction and ignore all charging stations along the way…

I mean, seriously?

Just because you personally don’t drive that way just obviously means you are not a travelling technician or salesman. Time commitments (outages, etc) mean that there isn’t time to recharge during certain legs of the trip. However, I’ve voluntarily driven far greater distances/times than this, but for my jobs over the years, i was forced to do this also.

That is as arrogant as saying there is no need EVER for a large EV as some have stated. People’s personal needs differ.

Bill,
Considering the ability to add 3-4 miles per minute at a Supercharger, I find it kinda ridiculous to say you’re so strapped for time that you can’t even stop on a road-trip for 15-20 minutes and comfortably continue to your next driving destination. And considering the ICE alternative still hast to stop for 10-15 minutes for gasoline fillups, how much difference in time are we really talking?

There’s 350 million people in the United States alone, there’s bound to be a handful you’re describing that are so time-strapped that they cannot spare one extra minute. Those carbon covered unicorns should stick to gasoline.

I don’t know what part of the country you are from, but most working blue-collar people have commitments. If you are retired you can afford to stop at the supercharger and walk around a while or have a nice lunch somewhere.

Most people do not have that luxury during their work-a-day lives.

Maybe when we get some Model 3’s delivered in Ontario, we can get a Model X 100D and a LR Model 3 to do a set of common trips together: Toronto – Montreal, & Toronto – Windsor! In neither trip do we pass les than 2 Superchargers, actually there is already 3 on the way to Windsor, and r on the way to Montreal! For my own ICE day hops, I will drive Downsview to Bracebridge (about a 2 hour drive), & back, same day; and have Driven straight out to Windsor in one direct drive, but then I was going to an EV Event, which, once there, I could have a choice of L2 EV Charging Stations! However, I get that Range and EPA, or Transport Canada, are not figures for EV’s OR ICE Vehicles to really use fir extreme driving range! Since I bought my 1st EV Conversion, in 2006, I have felt that the simple question of “How Far Will It Go?” On one charge, is not easily answered by 1 number! My Electricfly (www.myelectricfly.com) energy use was, on purpose category base tests, as low as 67 Wh/Km, but also as High as 285 Wh/Km! On Lead… Read more »

“and r on the way to Montreal!”, ‘r’r’ was supposed to be a ‘4’. Oooops!

When i spend that much for a car, I get freedom to do what i want, when i want. You go ahead and hobble yourself and declare yourself virtue lady.

281 miles? I’ve gone farther than that (288 is my personal best so far) in my BOLT ev, of course, my average speed wasn’t what he was going, but it beat 35 mph. I guesstimate I had 4 miles left as the car never was actually totally dead-in-the-water. When I did the battery capacity test (59.9 kwh) I used the electric heater to fully drain the battery and measured the juice required to recharge the battery to full (67.66 kwh) – not totally sure of the precision on that figure, so let’s just say 67-68 kwh.

I notice this Tesla dude THOUGHT he had an 80 kwh battery and was rather surprised at the 75 kwh actual capacity.

Comment to ED: Can’t respond to BJORN’s I8 article.

~280 miles about what i get in my BOLT EV.
(50-55 mph/average & 55+F temp)
usable battery is around ~61-62 kwh. Actual battery is probably around 67kwh

The Model 3 is probably a 80 kwh battery with 75 kwh usable.

Comments are turned off because the readership was mad that we posted an April Fools joke after April Fools. To be honest, there have been much more newsworthy and breaking stories since then. We pushed the silly, funny Bjorn video back to the weekend accordingly.

We regularly prepare posts like that (less newsworthy, more fun, more informational, no need to be timely, etc.) and then they get continuously knocked out of the rotation by the regular flood of actual daily news. Our intention wasn’t to share an “old” video or make people think we didn’t realize he was joking.

Video on Alex Autos Honda Clarity Phev

Bolt battery is 57 kwhs.

That is its official DOE rating (95%) – not related to my car yet. My car’s battery has not aged enough to get down to this ‘official’ rating as of yet.

Lots not covered in video. As already stated.
Speed.
Temp.
Heat/AC
Way different tires/wheels that are not even calibrated for the car. If I remember correctly he has the car set to 19 inch wheels.

He is running 20 inch wheels.
Whole knows if lowering messed with the drag.

Lowering usually lowers the drag, but he was so unscientific about speed, I saw a lot under 60MPH in the first half of the drive

So, if I understand what the article is saying, this guy is using non-standard wheels on his Model 3; and furthermore, he doesn’t even tell us what he’s using. Since it has been established very clearly that wheels and tires do affect range, then why would anyone think this range test is in any way relevant to what the average driver will get, or what you, gentle reader, might get if you were to buy a Tesla Model 3?

Seems to me that quite a few electrons were inconvenienced quite a bit for no purpose, here; both in that drive and in posting this article to the internet.

Despite any factors or details, it gets nearly the EPA highway range and he’s driving over 55 mph most of the time. So, while it seems he’s showing that the car can’t pull off the 310-mile range, it shouldn’t get that many miles on the highway in the first place. It basically does exactly what one should expect it to do. Of course, there are other videos and studies where we factor temp, speed, HVAC system, etc., this is not really about all that. When we get in the car and drive, all of those things are surely factors, and we pay special attention when driving an EV. But, the main point is, it will get you approximately what the EPA says it will get you, regardless of any more extreme factors … even if you choose to do crazy things like lower it, and make different tire and rim choices. One could assume that a stock Model 3 will far exceed the EPA’s highway range, especially after seeing this video. We can ask Ben about the wheels and tires and speed and AC, but I think that the point is less detailed. It shows that it meets or far… Read more »

It just has to be noted that he took the least elevation change route from SD to LV he could, right? That is one weird, out of the way, route to go past Joshua Tree and 29 Palms. Why not just take the freeway, which is what 99.999% of people would do?

It’s hardly an equitable comparison, relative to the route thousands of people take every day– meaning straight up the 15 toward Barstow, Baker, Primm, Jean and Vegas. But traffic flows 70-80MPH there and the interstate traverses several very steep grades.. so, it seems like Mr. Cherry Picker wanted to cherry pick his route. In other words, even tilting the playing field to get the best result, he came up 10% short.

Makes sense, and very good to know. Thank you.

Exactly, this was a lame test, not a route anyone would take. Ben used to be more more objective, but recently, he has been uniting the Tesla tubers to be on a misinformation campaign. Ben and those guys from Now you Know, are just capitalizing on ignorance of their followers.

5% short. Tesla Model 3 EPA hwy rating is 295.5 miles. He acheived 281 miles. And he did it on larger wheels without the aero covers that were used in the EPA test.

And he drove at higher speeds on the highway than they do for the EPA tests. So all in all the Model 3 either hit the EPA Mark or even did better.

As far as taking the normal way to LV take any car and drive 80 mph up those long grades and see if you get the EPA mpg rating. You won’t and wouldn’t expect to.

Traffic on the 15 would have slowed him down substantially.

Cool, keep doing these videos, everyone, it just gives us more information to work with. Sure, there are plenty of unanswered questions, but to be honest, it still got 280mi at realistic highway speed and that’s how many people in the future will be driving EV’s.
The great thing is, you still got those Super Chargers, which he didn’t use on purpose. Usually he would use them.

Looks like he intentionally took back roads to keep the speeds down and efficiency up. I mean 29 Palms isn’t exactly on the way from San Diego to Las Vegas, is it?

He’s the guy that posted the other day about the “cost of gas versus cost of electricity” and claimed the ICE people were cherry-picking.

yet, here, he could have taken the normal route (straight up I-15 at 70 MPH) to Vegas– but he didn’t to avoid the long, steep ugly grades north of Victorville, north of Barstow and north of Baker.

This guy’s the cherry pickingest cherry picker ever…

Could not agree more..

In the video you can see his speed at different times. I saw 65, 50, 65, 65, 70. That’s faster than what the EPA uses for their highway driving cycle where Tesla gets a rating of 295.5 miles. He came up 5% short driving on larger wheels without the aero covers and driving at an average higher speed. Seems pretty much in line with EPA ratings.

Sure if you go 80 mph up long grades you get less range just like you would in a gas car. But you would expect that.

As I recall, the EPA driving tests use 55 MPH as the highway speed.

So yeah, getting that close to the “official” distance rating even when driving 70 MPH or faster for much of the route, plus not using the “aero” wheels, is actually a very good showing for the Model 3, as several people have pointed out here in comments.

We are knocking the model 3, yeah it has great range but he cherry picked the most ineffective route to get to vegas and other qualms i have with this dude

We are not**

I bet he drove 60 he whole way

Most of it was under 60… Waste of time! Ben is trying to appeal to followers like Bjorn Nyland does, but what he is missing is honesty and objectiveness. Bjorn is by far the best one to watch if you really want to learn about EV’s

Yes we need more Bjorn and Alex Autos since he is the best reviewer on YouTube. He gave all A’s for Clarity and time it at 7.5 not bad for a mid size plug in hybrid

for a data guy …. it’s kind of convenient forget to mention hes model 3 is using after market wheels. i don’t know you but, i believe the 10% range loss are there.

He claims to be a data guy, but his thumb’s always on the scale as we used to say in the old neighborhood.