Video: This Tesla Model S Shows No Signs of Range Loss at 20,500 Miles


Tesla’s energy-dense lithium-ion battery cells aren’t necessarily known for longevity, but as Tesla Model S owner Kman Auto says of his battery pack:

208 Miles of Rnage After 20,500 Miles of Use

208 Miles of Rnage After 20,500 Miles of Use

“Is this not the best wearing battery we’ve seen so far???”

Kman Auto made that statement after a recent Supercharging event, which he describes as follows:

“A VERY nice surprise after supercharging at Highland Park. We were having a nice chat in the service center while charging, and watching the Rated Miles count go up. Just when we thought it was done charging, Whoops, we got another mile. Ended up hitting 209 Rated Miles. I was on my way from Milwaukee to Detroit for the big auto show, and I supercharged 8 times and did 6 range charges. each time rated range was 207-209 miles. I also added 1000 miles on my car in less then 24 hours, and my car is now at 20,500 miles in 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour and 44 minutes of ownership.”

Kman Auto is of course known for his constant use of the Supercharger network, so with 20,500 miles on the odo and perhaps a hundred or so Supercharge events, his Model S’ battery pack seems to be faring well.  Don’t you think?

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23 Comments on "Video: This Tesla Model S Shows No Signs of Range Loss at 20,500 Miles"

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20,000 miles isn’t all that much. Many Leafs have little to no measurable loss at that mileage as well if they are located in cool climates. Many Volts have way more miles and still no range loss.

even still, with that much superchrging I would expect worse results. I refuse to supercharge my car although someday I’m sure I will have to. I’d love to see his capacity hold up for another 20K miles!

I agree that I would be more interested to see the same experiment with a Model S in Arizona. I expect it to fair much better than the LEAFs, but hard to imagine they will show no wear at all. This does show that SuperCharging does not put significant damage on the pack, in cold climates.

I have to disagree using the Volt as a comparison, David. Since the Volt only uses 65% of the total pack capacity, Chevy can continually use more of the pack capacity to achieve the same kWhs available per charge. I don’t know that they do this (intentionally or unintentionally), but it is available to them. They have the most conservative pack design and will likely longer than the rest of the car. I am considering a used one as a hold-me-over when my LEAF lease ends in June.

Just to clarify, GM has stated that they do NOT expand the charge window on the Volt to maintain the same availability. Your overall point, though, is very valid. GM took a very conservative approach with the Volt. A temperature management system plus a very restricted SoC window is showing itself to give a very solid durability.

Josh – Kman drives a 60kWh Tesla, but I believe there’s 80kWh of battery there, he’s just not allowed to tap into it. Correct me if i’m wrong, but could the extra battery also serve as a buffer?

Tim – do you have a link about the GM statement. I’ve never seen anything official.

Tesla wouldn’t give away 20kWh of battery cells for free. That’s the Supercharger capability you’re thinking of – that is built into every car but only allowed to use it if you pay for the option.

I was confused about the 40kWh and 60kWh. The people w/the 40kWh Model S have extra battery they cannot use.

(From Wiki)

In 2013, Tesla canceled a 40 kW·h version of the car due to lack of demand, stating that only 4% of pre-orders were for the 40 kWh battery option. The customers who ordered this option have instead received the 60 kWh pack, but range is software limited to 40 kWh (142 miles of rated range). It will still have the improved acceleration and top speed of the bigger pack, so will be a better product than originally ordered, and can be upgraded to the range of the 60 kWh upon request by the original or a future owner for US$11,000

I challenge you to find any LEAF with 20k miles that has less than 10% capacity loss as documented with a CAN bus reader.

I can tell you that my ’11 LEAF with 25k miles is down ~18% capacity after a bit more than 2.5 years – and I don’t even live in a hot climate.

Even in Seattle, if you drive 20k miles in one year you are going to be down 10%.

Quoting Robert llewellyn:

“The car in Newcastle with 50,000 miles on the clock HAS ONLY EVER BEEN RAPID CHARGED. Its batteries are completely healthy.”

Battery completely healthy doesn’t mean there is no range loss. The challenge with the Leaf is the battery capacity meter is that it’s not granular enough (while the Tesla’s is quite granular, showing it by miles). That’s why Dave R suggests a CAN bus reader.

In the Leaf you need to lose 15% before your first bar is gone and 6.25% for each subsequent bar. For the 60kWh Model S, it would have to lose 31 miles (showing 177 miles of rated range) before it would reach 15%.

16k miles and 100.7% battery capacity.. 282 gids.

2013 SV in Chicago

Dave, I was going to say that you will lose your challenge to someone with A LEAF 2013, but PhatCat beat me to it. 2013 SL 7.5k miles 283/284 Gids and I can avoid heat pretty well in Canada.

How much kWh the battery holds now versus then would be a better way to judge than estimated range.


Tesla’s range estimator has been notoriously unreliable with range disappearing and reappearing in cold weather, etc. Leaf Owners have figured out more exacting way to determining the percentage of battery life. Perhaps Tesla owners should consult them on how to drill down into true pack capacity, rather than rely on the sketchy range estimator.

A range estimator is exactly that, and is only loosely tied to the pack capacity.

This seems to be more evidence useful in blunting one of the criticisms aimed at ev’s. “You will have to replace the batteries.” Implying all too often. Eventually if you want to keep a car running and roadworthy you may have to replace a lot of things regardless of the power source. Having had 2 cars I kept for over 25 years, I learned that lesson. Most people, of course, are not nearly adamant to hold onto things as I.

Agreed – one of my business professors this week said “what happens after 5 years of owning a hybrid?” and someone said “you have to change the batteries”. I wanted to speak up but I figured it would be weird if I started to explain all the ins and outs of battery lifetime. Sigh, the misinformation continues.

No need to “explain all the ins and outs of battery lifetime”. You can simply assert that Toyota Prius has demonstrated that the batteries last much longer than that.

There’s a large thread on the TMC forums where people are reporting noticeable amounts of range loss after similar mileage – thread started last July and is still going strong:

Worst amount of range loss (aside from something weird going on with the “40 kWh” cars) is around 5% after a year and 20k miles.

I have 21K miles on my Imiev and have not noticed any loss but it has only ever been charged with 110…….

There used to be rule of thumb about not buying a car that was made on Friday, since the likelihood of it’s being a lemon was higher. There might be some conditions that would result in some battery packs being poorer than others, or certain other features of the cars electrical system which resulted in abnormally poor results. Mostly I think driver patterns related to how they charge, weather conditions, (climate) and ancillary to that whether the car is garaged or not, would have the greater effects overall on battery life.

Supercharge of 120KW is only about 2C charging rate on a 60KWh battery pack. So charging at 2C isn’t that extreme. For about 100 cycles, it should be a healthy pack.

High speed charging degradation is usually a result of internal temperature. At 2C, I wouldn’t even call that “high speed”. So, with thermal managment system, I would fully expect the battery to be healthy.