Thinking about purchasing a Tesla. The biggest question to ask is how far can your car go and how long, in years, will it last? In this article, we’ll cover the answers to both.
The average distance a Tesla will travel on a single charge is 262 miles. The batteries are guaranteed for 8 years but are expected to last up to 30 years, with some degradation.
We all want to do our bit for a greener planet, but we also need to get from A to B. So if we decide to go with a Tesla, will you be able to do this, and for how long?
Battery Range for a Tesla
Each Tesla has a different range distance as each battery within each model is a different size. The lowest range is the Model 3 Standard at 262 miles and the opposite end of the scale is the Model S with a 405-mile range.
Tesla Range on a Single Charge
|Distance On Full Charge
|Model 3 Standard
|Model 3 Long Range
|Model 3 Performance
|Model S Long Range
|Model S Plaid
|Model X Long Range
|Model X Plaid
|Model Y Long Range
|Model Y Performance
So what exactly does that mean? These distances relate to a single charge. The majority of charging for Tesla owners is done at home. A mobile connector is supplied with your Tesla however if you own a property, I would recommend installing a Tesla Wall Connector (TWC). Let’s go through what the difference is.
Tesla Time to Full Charge
|Time to 100%
|120v (Home socket)
The type of charger you use is dependent on the frequency of use of your car. If you are doing low mileage per day or week then a home charger is more than adequate.
If your journey each day is 50-60 miles the investment in a TWC will be important.
And what about a Supercharger? Well, a Supercharger is a fantastic option for charging. There are 30,000+ of them nationwide. It will charge your Tesla to 90% in 15 -30 minutes.
Amazing, right? Well, yes and no. Supercharging is not recommended by Tesla. It will degrade the life of your battery much more quickly than daily charging with a TWC.
Even though the Supercharger Network is owned and maintained by Tesla, they are a great option to get you across the state, but not for everyday use. They use a much higher voltage (480V) and are DC.
The other point about charging and range distance is how you are as a driver. Tesla has so much power and speed, it may be difficult to keep it in check. You want to give it a go, and flex its muscles so to speak. But this comes at a price.
Tesla Power By Model
|Top Speed (mph)
These are phenomenal specifications. Who wouldn’t want to give it its all, but if you are driving your Tesla to the max all the time, then your range will be much less reduced and your battery life will, unfortunately, be much shorter.
Tesla Battery Longevity
The other thing to consider is the life of the battery. According to Elon and Tesla, a Tesla battery is able for 1500 cycles (charges) or the equivalent of 300,000 to 500,000 miles. The average US driver travels a distance of 15,000 miles per year which would mean that your Tesla battery will last between 20 – 33 years. Not many people hang on to their car for that long. IHS Markit estimates that Americans change their car every 11.8 years.
Tesla cars have a battery warranty for 8 years or a certain mileage – depending on the model you own.
Tesla Model Battery Warranty
|Model 3 Standard
|Model 3 Long Range
|Model Y Long Range
(Tesla has also, more recently introduced that they will guarantee you have a 70% charge at 150,000 miles or 8 years).
Tesla batteries are Lithium-Ion (Li-ion). Each Tesla battery pack is made up of thousands of cells and weighs about 900 lbs. The Model S for example has 7920 cells in 5 modules (previously there were 16 modules). Li-ion is the highest energy battery in a rechargeable format.
As your battery ages, there is some range depreciation but Li-ion is the best choice for EVs as the degradation is the slowest. Tesla says that at approximately 100-150,000 miles your battery will have 90% of its original capacity and 80% at 200,000.
There are ways to extend your battery life:
- Daily Charging: recommended by Tesla
- Avoid high speed
- Avoid flattening the battery completely
- Avoid constant Supercharging
- Limit heat and AC use (not exactly practical but a Tesla recommendation nonetheless
Replacing a Tesla Battery
This is a big question, especially if you are considering a second-hand Tesla. (Which are a very good buy, to be honest) But you will need to check the mileage and the battery status.
Energy Display – Percent. This will tell you what state the battery is in.
You will need to know what the battery range was when the Tesla was new. What the range is on a full charge now and by comparing both you can work out the degradation of the battery.
Tesla Battery State of Health Example:
Then check the overall mileage. We expect up to 10% degradation up to 100-150,000 miles. If your mileage is much lower than this then the Tesla has not been cared for and vice versa. If the price is right and you take your chances what are the implications of a new battery?
There are a couple of things to consider – the cost (which can be significant) and who is going to install the new battery? Tesla has quoted prices for battery replacement at $7000 but this is not a complete overhaul but merely some of the modules switched out for new ones. A complete battery replacement could be as much as $22,000.
And who is going to do this repair for you? The answer is more than likely your local Tesla Service Shop. Although EVs have been on the market for 10 years, many garages are reluctant to take on repairs to them. Mainly because they don’t understand the technology and are nervous about the electrified part. Which, in my opinion, is very understandable.
On the other hand, you may have a mechanic in town that has seen the future and has embraced EV technology. If this is the case then chances are the cost will be much lower than the Tesla shop. Just make sure you research it widely and they are qualified to do the job.
What Happens to Old EV Car Batteries?
This is another question that raises its head when talking about the planet. Is it a fool’s economy? We think we’re doing the right thing by driving an EV, but what happens to the batteries at the end of the car’s life? Well, in actual fact, when EV batteries stop charging cars it doesn’t necessarily mean they are done. They can be reused to store Solar and Wind energy.
The carbon footprint of an EV battery can be reduced by 17% if repurposed to reusable energy. There are other possibilities in the pipeline, such as powering city street lights, or back up power when the grid is down.
A single charge of a Tesla battery will last 262+ miles depending on your driving style. Looking at the long game, Tesla has really got the battery manufacturing well and truly under control.
Each battery is capable of 1500 cycles or charges which equates to 300-500,000 miles. That’s a lot of trips in anyone’s books.
You may also like the following posts:
Can I push start a Tesla? (external link evjuicedup.com)
Are electric cars worth it? (external link evjuicedup.com)
Is Supercharging bad for Tesla battery? (external link evjuicedup.com)
- About the Author
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.