How Many Miles Can You Go in a Tesla? Does It Matter?

Exceptional range and the establishment of charging stations all around the globe have put Tesla miles ahead of other electric car manufacturers. 

Tesla claims all but the Model 3 Standard Range Plus have a range of over 300 miles (482.8 km), with the Model S Long Range maxing out at 405 miles (651.78 km). In truth, few people get close to a Tesla’s estimated range, given that the average American drives roughly 40 miles (64.37 km) per day. 

I’ve taken the liberty of answering your questions about Tesla’s mileage and range. By the end of this article, you should better understand Tesla batteries and how far you expect them to take you. 

How Many Miles Can You Go in a Tesla?

The number of miles you can go in a Tesla, according to EPA estimates, begins at 262 miles (421.65 km) in a fully charged Model 3 Standard Range Plus. After that, the most miles you can do is 405 miles (651.78 km) in a Model S Long Range. However, this varies depending on the model. 

The miles estimates provided on Tesla’s website result from tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are as follows:

Tesla ModelEstimated Range
Model Y Long Range315 miles (506.94 km)
Model Y Performance303 miles (487.63 km)
Model X Long Range360 miles (579.36 km)
Model X Plaid340 miles (547.18 km)
Model 3 Long Range353 miles (568.10 km)
Model 3 Performance315 miles (506.94 km)
Model 3 Standard Range Plus262 miles (421.65 km)
Model S Long Range405 miles (651.78 km)
Model S Plaid396 miles (637.30 km)

Do Miles Really Matter on a Tesla?

There’s plenty of information available about the relationship between mileage and the condition of an internal combustion engine. 

Generally, the higher the mileage, the cheaper the car is as wear increases with the mileage. The same is partially true with Teslas. 

Miles matter on a Tesla as the battery degrades with every mile and recharge. But what really matters on a Tesla is the battery level. The battery level shows how far the battery has degraded. 

Tesla-Model-S-Mileage-And-Charging-Screen

If you’d like to find out How To Check Mileage on Tesla Model S, see this article that I wrote. I also found some alternatives.

Teslas have fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine, meaning fewer parts degrade as the odometer ticks on. The cost of repair of a Tesla compared to its ICE equivalent is much lower since there’s very little to repair or replace. 

Checking the odometer won’t give you a clear indication of the condition of a used Tesla, but a battery test will. Some Tesla owners wear their batteries faster due to poor maintenance habits. 

White-Tesla-Model-3-Charging
The range was once the electric vehicle’s Achilles heel, but Tesla’s innovativeness solved that problem. Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

Tesla Batteries Should Last 300k-500k Miles

Elon Musk wrote that Tesla battery modules cost between $5,000 to $7,000. However, he also claims that a module should last anywhere between 300,000 to 500,000 miles (483,000 to 805,000 km). 

Replacing a battery module that will last another 300,000 miles (483,000 km) for $5,000 isn’t that bad. Take note, however, that some battery modules won’t last that long due to poor maintenance. 

That’s why your primary concern should be on battery level rather than mileage. 

Mileage does matter when checking the validity of Tesla’s warranty. To qualify for the warranty, the battery level needs to be at a minimum of 70% (See again why battery level is crucial?).

Luckily, Tesla covers you up to a certain point:

  • Tesla will cover the battery and drive unit of your Model S or Model X for eight years or 150,000 miles (241,000 km). 
  • The company will cover the same parts in your Model Y and Model 3 (Long Range and Performance) for eight years or 120,000 miles (193,000 km). 
  • Tesla covers similar parts in a model 3 Standard Range for eight years or 100,000 miles (161,000 km).

Tesla has cemented itself at the top of the electric vehicle ladder by offering a superior range to most of its competitors.

How Accurate Are the Tesla Range Estimates?

Tesla range estimates are pretty accurate, according to a test by Motortrend. Tesla’s onboard computer calculates your range depending on your driving patterns, then divides the juice in the batteries by factors such as speed and terrain and produces a range estimate. 

This range estimate appears on the Energy App on your touchscreen. 

The Motortrend team drove a 370-mile (595.46-km) Tesla Model S for 359 miles (577.75 km) non-stop, and the range stated that the Tesla could still do 41 miles (65.98 km). 

The man driving claimed he was worried when taking a mountainous route to his destination. However, Tesla surprised him by taking into consideration terrain while calculating the range he had left. 

He noted that the system got better at predicting the miles he had left as it learned more about his driving style. 

How Does Tesla Estimate Range?

Tesla estimates range by dividing the battery level by external factors, including driving behavior and the environment. Therefore, it’s common for you to see the estimated range change as your driving style changes or as temperatures get warmer. 

Driving in cold areas can also reduce the estimated range because cold batteries use up more energy. High speeds and city driving also reduce Tesla’s estimated range.

Tesla can increase the range of a vehicle using software updates. For example, in October 2020, Tesla updated the Model Y’s software and improved the car’s range by about 10 miles (16.09 km).

I also wrote an in-depth guide on How Far Do Electric Cars Go. Check it out!

Tesla Estimated Range vs. Rated Range

The rated range of your Tesla is the range provided by Tesla as you purchase the car. Tesla gets this figure by dividing the battery level by a fixed efficiency value. 

They set the efficiency value depending on tests performed by the EPA. 

However, the rated range doesn’t factor in external elements while calculating, so there’s often a discrepancy between Tesla’s estimated range and the rated range. 

As you start driving, external elements factor into the range calculations. For example, some drivers note that the rated range falls faster than the actual miles one is driving. 

It’s because rated range calculations don’t consider external factors. 

Tesla recommends that you refer to its software estimated range to get the most accurate range reading. 

This YouTube video will give you an idea of how Teslas calculate range during a journey:

How Accurate Are Rated Range Estimates?

Tesla’s rated range estimates aren’t accurate, and the company makes it clear that the range presented on its website is the EPA estimate. It’s an estimate because one cannot accurately measure the range of an electric vehicle – or any car for that matter – due to external factors. 

Furthermore, the EPA gives car manufacturers leeway to add to or subtract from the figure provided by EPA. Tesla generally chooses to add to the rated range figure provided by EPA.

Edmunds performed a test to determine how accurate Tesla rated ranges are, and the results were shocking: none of the four Tesla models they tested hit the rated range provided before the battery hit 0%. 

Tesla contacted Edmunds stating Teslas remained with emergency juice in their system even when the batteries read zero. Edmund performed an experiment that confirmed Tesla’s assertion, but some cars still failed to reach their rated ranges. 

Tesla’s assertion that the batteries remained with energy even when the dash says otherwise further proves that the rate ranges are inaccurate.

Furthermore, a test by Teslike found that Tesla often exaggerates its rated range.

Tesla ModelEPA EstimateEdmund Test Result
Model Y Performance291 miles (468.32 km)263 miles (423.26 km)
Model X Long Range328 miles (527.87 km)294 miles (473.15 km)
Model 3 Standard Range Plus250 miles (402.34 km)232 miles (373.37 km)
Model 3 Performance310 miles (498.90 km)256 miles (412 km)
Model S Performance326 miles (524.64 km)318 miles (511.77 km)
In this table, you will find range estimates of various Tesla Models along with the Edmund test results for comparison.

Is Tesla Standard Range Enough?

The Tesla Standard Range Plus is the cheapest new Tesla available. It provides incredible value for money with decent acceleration, ample luggage space, and 262 miles (421.65 km) worth of range. 

The Tesla Standard Range is enough for the average person as you’re unlikely to drive 262 miles (421.65 km) every day, and therefore, won’t need supercharging. Your Tesla will get all the juice it needs from overnight charging at home. 

The Standard Range is cheaper than the other Model 3’s because it comes with a smaller battery. However, it has styling and range far superior to other cars in its price range. 

Its interior is simple, and though adults won’t enjoy seating in the back, there’s enough room for five. 

The Standard Range is enough for anyone driving short distances daily. It’ll serve you well as a daily commute to work and have enough juice left for errands. 

The Model 3 Standard Range can also work for long journeys considering Tesla’s investment in superchargers. Superchargers allow for rapid recharging of your car’s batteries. 

Frequent supercharging is discouraged, but it does come in handy during long journeys. Before you leave, confirm that your route has enough superchargers by consulting the car’s touchscreen.

How To Increase Your Tesla’s Range

The first way to increase your Tesla’s range is to reduce the impact of external factors on fuel energy consumption.

For example:

  • Tire pressure should remain constant per Tesla’s recommendation. 
  • Remove any unnecessary cargo to reduce the weight carried by the Tesla. 
  • Aerodynamic drag increases your Tesla’s consumption, so close all windows while driving and set the suspension to low. 
  • Take off the roof racks when not in use.
  • Cover aero wheels with aero wheel covers. 

Your Tesla can help you increase the range if it has the regenerative braking option available. This saves energy created during braking and uses it for subsequent acceleration. 

Therefore, the energy in your batteries remains intact. Remember to set regenerative braking to ‘Standard’ to get the best out of the system.

How Long Do Tesla Batteries Really Last?

Tesla batteries can last from 300k-500k miles (483k-805k km). However, Tesla batteries degrade over time at varying rates depending on maintenance. Tesla warranties cover up to 150k miles (241k km), but batteries can last longer. So the better you maintain your Tesla, the longer it will serve you. 

According to Electrek, the data shows that battery degradation falls under 10% in most Teslas, with over 160,000 miles clocked. Such a Tesla will get to 300,000 miles (483,000 km) without needing a battery pack change. 

Frequent supercharging presents one of the biggest threats to long battery life. However, Tesla batteries have also proven resilient to supercharging. 

Tesloop, a shuttle service that only uses Teslas, replaced a Model S battery pack at 194,000 miles (312k km), with its degradation at 6%. The battery had degraded that slowly despite the tour company’s frequent supercharging. 

You don’t need to supercharge your battery frequently, as home charging works just fine. 

Getting your Tesla’s battery pack to last 500,000 miles (805,000 km) can theoretically happen, but it would take near-perfect maintenance and a fair bit of luck. 

Reports suggest that Tesla is working on a battery to last 1M miles (1.61M km). It might have to, considering its plans to manufacture electric trucks. 

How Do Teslas Get So Much Range?

No car manufacturer comes close to Tesla’s offering of range. In fact, Tesla became the first electric vehicle manufacturer to break the 400-mile (643.74 km) range mark.

Tesla gets so much range by manufacturing all parts itself. By doing so, it draws out every bit of performance from its components. Car manufacturers that rely on outside sources for parts rely on suppliers for upgrades. In contrast, Tesla can undertake year-round development on those parts. 

It puts Tesla way ahead of the electric car development game. 

Furthermore, Tesla is an electric car company that dedicates all its resources to electric vehicles. Other car manufacturers, however, have to divert funds and human resources to other departments. 

Another reason why Tesla offers a superior range is that it sacrifices the longevity of the batteries to provide more miles. 

Tesla battery packs work at full capacity from day one. It causes faster degradation but ensures that Teslas can go further than any other electric vehicle. 

Can You Upgrade the Tesla Range After Purchase?

Tesla does allow for some upgrades after purchase. For instance, you can upgrade the charging system at a fee. However, you can’t upgrade a Tesla’s range after purchase. The range is linked to the battery and motor, making an upgrade impossible to do without building a new car. 

The best way to upgrade the range is to buy a Tesla with a higher range. However, if you have the Model S Long Range, you’ll have to wait for Tesla to release a higher range version.

EV Speedy’s Take

Tesla consistently wins out when it comes to electric cars, mileage, and range. That’s because they focus all their energy and resources on this one aspect, where other car companies don’t have that luxury. 

Generally speaking, Tesla is fairly accurate with its estimates, and its cars frequently range over 300 miles (482.8 km). However, that number changes depending on the weather, your driving style, and even if you have the windows down on the highway.


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.