I can easily say that the most frequent thing that people try to remind me when they find out that my wife and I ordered an all-electric car is to “not run out of gas”. Of course nobody wants to be late for an appointment or stranded on the roadway because their car ran out of gas. Additionally, charging a battery does take longer than filling a gas tank. However, when it comes to the Tesla Model 3, we aren’t the least bit concerned.
First of all, how often do we even think about fueling our gas/diesel cars and trucks today? If you’re my wife, she hits the gas station almost every other week. That means for over a week she’s not even concerned about the next time she has to fuel up. However, that needle starts to fall and now she has to start planning a trip to the pumps. That’s not to say it’s a major hassle, but it definitely causes the odd occasion where you need to leave a little earlier for work or an appointment. When it comes to all-electric cars like Tesla’s you still have to consider how you’re going to charge your battery. The answer here is, the “fuel pumps” are now located at home. Every night when the car parks in our garage she will have the ability to plug in and recharge the batteries for another day’s use. (If you have street level parking then I’d say that as it stands an electric vehicle isn’t right for you. If you’re really interested you could make it work if you planned out arrangements to access charging).
How far is that nightly charge going to be able to take her? Well obviously that will depend on a multitude of factors. Let’s start with some basic numbers and then save the harder stuff (cold weather, regenerative braking, vampire drain) for a future post. First of all, Tesla has released that the Model 3 will come with a minimum rated range of 346 kilometers on a full charge. It’s also advised to not consistently charge the battery above 90% (to increase the life of the battery). So, if she charges to 90% each day that should leave her with 311 kilometers of use. After she completes her 60 km round trip to work, that leaves her with 286 km to do any additional running around that the day requires.
So what happens if she has an extra busy day and she has to find a way to charge in order to make it home? At the time of this writing, there are already about 50 available public charging locations in the Edmonton area. These numbers are growing quickly, especially as the city is currently reviewing a program to install more than 100 charging stations. With this information, the cars built in navigation can help her locate a suitable charger within range and make sure she can make it home safely. Beyond that, Tesla cars can make use of your standard 110v plug. That means if she was really stranded she could start getting a charge from anywhere you could plug in your block heater. (It’s going to take a long time, but it would work).
With all those options, this almost completely covers the Mazda’s current use in our household. Of course though, there has been the odd time where she has had to take the car out of town. If her work sent her to Calgary for a project, the trip is actually really easy. She already has the rated range to get there without stopping. If she decided to make use of the Tesla SuperCharger in Red Deer for sixteen minutes, she’d arrive in Calgary with over 100 km of range to spare.
My current car has been the workhorse so far to handle longer distance trips. If we decided to take the Model 3 out to go visit some of my family in Abbotsford, BC the 1,200 km requires a few more stops at Tesla SuperChargers. On average, it would require about a 30 minute stop every 2 hours and allows us to make the trip in 15 hours and 48 minutes.
At the end of the day, I think it’s safe to say we won’t be “running out of gas” in the Model 3. It’s daily usage around town actually easily handles that problem better than her current car. Even if we decide to take it for long distance travel it remains entirely possible (although longer).
What are you hoping I’m going to talk about? What am I missing? Leave a comment below.