A Tesla owner has documented a journey of more than 550 miles in a Tesla Model S 85D.
The first announcement came via Twitter, with a photo of Casey Spencer’s dash en route showing that it had been 503.3 miles since the sedan was last charged.
The tweet was followed up by a more detailed explanation on Teslarati the following day, accompanied by a second photo showing Spencer’s final distance of 550.3 miles.
According to the EPA, this version of the Model S (which includes an electric motor for each axle and an 85 kilowatt-hours lithium-ion battery) has only a range of 270 miles.
It’s important to note that Spencer did not push the Tesla 280 miles beyond its rated range by driving in average conditions. He carefully selected his route, taking advantage of a long downhill stretch, miles of mostly flat terrain and a tail wind for the latter portion. Spencer further reduced rolling resistance by increasing tire pressure to 50 psi.
Spencer also went to extreme measures to ensure there would be as little draw as possible on the batteries. He made the trek by himself, taking only the essentials, to keep weight low. By starting the drive at night, Spencer was able to stay comfortable without running the air conditioner. He also turned off other unnecessary features that would deplete the battery.
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A quick calculation of the time and distance reveals that this was not a race, but a slow and steady trek at an average speed of 22 mph. Spencer attempted to live-stream his journey, but his laptop batteries lasted only 14 of the trip’s 26 hours.
By the end, the Model S had used 76.8 kilowatt-hours of battery life, with an average of 140 watt-hours per mile. According to Spencer, his lifetime average is 324 watt-hours per mile.
Even though Spencer used drastic measures to extend his range through lightweighting and a reduced speed, it’s still impressive that the Tesla was able to last for 550 miles without stopping to recharge.