How to pick which range of Tesla or other EV to buy


A big question for most EV buyers is how much range they need. It depends on your commute, your driving area and how much you want to take long road trips, and where you want to take them, but most people will be pretty happy with the 200-250 mile range cars that are starting to come out. But do you want to pay extra for more than 300 miles of range and get that long range Tesla?

Here's an article where I outline how to make that decision:

How to choose what range Tesla or other EV to buy


Thanks for the very informative article!

Your table lists the AWD/LR Model 3 at 325 miles. If I'm not mistaken, Tesla lists the range at 310. 325 might be the now discontinued long-range, rear wheel drive model.

most days 0=> 20 mi
2 days/week 40 mi
most weekends 100 => 250 mi in places with no charging stations. sometimes it is challenge finding an open gas station or grid sourced electricity.

the way I see it, I can use an small battery EV much of the time but need to keep a beater petrol car for living the rest of my life.

Well, of course long range would work fine for you. SR+ would not make those days of 250 miles -- but while there may be no charging out there, if there is supercharging on the way there or on the way back, not close to your house but 30-40 miles away from it then you can handle such days with it. If that is not there, nor any charging where you park, then yes, you could use a gas car, until the cost of the longer range comes down.

My next car (probably purchased two or four years from now) might be an electric car. I am waiting for something equivalent to my current Skoda Fabia estate diesel: a small car, but big enough for two adults in the front and two children (with safety seats) or three (slim) adults, the extra boot space of an estate, and no more power than I need. I now have 69 horsepower and regularly drive at 180 km/h on the Autobahn, which is enough. A car which would go significantly faster costs significantly more, but it is rare that I could actually make use of this extra speed, and wouldn't be worth the extra money anyway.

The electric Opel Corsa might fit the bill. If Tesla actually offers a basic version in Europe for 30,000 Euros or whatever, then maybe. But what's up with "can't see the prices on the website; get them by phone or in person"? This sounds like the price depends on one's negotiating ability. Even if it doesn't, I don't see the point.

As with any car, the price of the car and the price to go a standard distance are the main factors. Lesser factors are price of insurance and of taxes. With an electric car, yes, range is important, but, to me, the more important thing is how long I have to charge to go a certain distance. In other words, charging an hour for 500 km or half an hour for 250 are, at first glance, equivalent. At second glance, maybe half an hour for 250 is better (i.e. only 250 km range), because the battery will be cheaper, lighter (thus the car more efficient), and so on. Of course, the speed of charging also depends on what options there are for charging on the road.

I think "how long to charge" is the wrong question. The answer should be "it doesn't matter how long it takes to change most of the time." That's because when you hit the right range, you always charge at night, while asleep, and you don't care how fast it is. We have reached that for driving around your city and commuting.

However, the question still applies on long road trips. But even there, the answer should be the same, which is you like to be able to charge while eating. So if your car has enough range to get you to lunch, and you charge during lunch, and then it gets you to the end of the day and you charge during dinner or sleeping, then charging took zero time. Less than going to a gas station.

However, if you plan to go on off the beaten path road trips, the lunch charge may not be available at this time.

You may not use more than 70hp but electric motors are such that you will probably get decent acceleration in your electric car even if you don't want it. You won't get Tesla level but you'll get more than your Corsa.

No, Tesla does not put the price on the web for cars they want to discourage selling. It is not an attempt to negotiate.

(I have a M3 AWD) You pretty well covered the fact that you don't normally charge a Tesla to 100%, which means that your daily drive will come out of 80 - 90% of the stated battery range. What I didn't see was coverage of the impact of weather extremes where use of cabin heating in the winter and use of AC in the heat will also decrease range. Additionally, it is natural to have some degradation of battery capacity over time. I tell people to choose battery size based on their daily driving fitting within 60% of the stated range.

My wife drives 30mi each day. So charging to 50% (~120mi) is plenty. And easier on the battery. On weekends, we may charge more, if needed.
On a 600mi trip to the Gulf, we stopped 3 times on the interstate. 20-40 minutes, each? No problems. But once off the interstate, you are at the mercy of Tesla L2 chargers (2-6hrs, at restaurants and hotels), or overnight house current. Our condo had that, so we recharged every night. It was never a problem.
We've had a Leaf for 4 years that got 90 miles. And never left town! (and no other car has supercharging). It was never a problem, and was only a commuter car. We loved it! But now, we're driving the future!
Those bigger batteries are expensive. Unless you actually NEED that range, don't pay for it. It feels weird to under-charge the battery, but I can supercharge near the house, if necessary.
Your money, your choice. But that next step up will cost you another $10k!

I went with an SR+. My daily work commute is 30 miles per day round trip. I find the range of the SR+ to be great. I have done some smaller 500 mile road trips with no range anxiety issues whatsoever. I charge at home daily using type 2 but on my road trip charging at a Supercharger for the first time really opened my eyes as to the benefits of the Supercharger network and was kind of an aha moment. In my country (Canada), the spread between the SR+ and LR is a lot more money compared to the US pricing. I also want to have some room to pickup the Model Y when they release a lower spec Model Y.

It's a great article. I think you should mention one big draw-back of the Leaf which is it's lack of battery cooling aka TMS. This makes the Leaf totally unsuitable for road trips irrespective of how many DC chargers are available along the way. The Leaf's battery heats up continuously while driving such that once you reach a charger your charge is throttled down to sometimes half of the 50kW that Nissan advertises. Therefore, the time to charge becomes ridiculously long. To make matters worse the battery heats up even faster during charging session. Since there is no active cooling system one soon (250 miles or so) ends up in turtle (safe) mode and all you can do is park it overnight to let it cool down.
I am at my second Leaf and speak from experience. The "long range" model has an even bigger overheating issue since the cells are packed tighter.

So this is true even with the latest leaf? I guess that leaves it as a car only for driving around the city. I have seen Leafs parted at fast chargers though, so are they just charging slow?

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