Tesla’s Interactive Information Guide

Today I went to Tesla’s website to check out their cars, their technology, and just to get a feel for what this company is about.  I was impressed with their high-quality images, sleek and easy to use web interface, and their interactive, and highly informative, guide on common questions and considerations when choosing an EV. Here is what I found:

The Tesla Model S comes in two battery sizes, 85kWh and 60 kWh.  It make sense that the larger battery option has a higher range than the smaller one.  However, the range of your Tesla, or for any EV for that matter, is directly influenced by how you drive.  For example, one scenario I created from Tesla’s range “estimator” is driving a Tesla Model S with an 85kWh battery going 60mph on the highway on a 70 degree day with no AC will supposedly have a range of 277 miles per charge.  Here is a screenshot of my scenario:


You can play with the buttons to generate your own scenario to find out how far your car could go on a single charge.

Once I was able to play around with the Charging Calculator I began to understand how different variables affect charge time.  First off, let’s be clear that the Tesla Model S can come with one of two on-board charger types– single charger and twin chargers.  The single charger is capable of handling 40 amps whereas the twin chargers can accommodate for double that.  What does this mean?  Tesla explains it as “Twin Chargers allow twice the conversion capacity as the Single Charger when the power is available.”  In other words, if your power source can deliver 80 amps of electricity, it has the capability of charging the car’s battery that much faster.  In my example, my daily mileage is 70 miles and I have opted for a 240 volt outlet with 40 amps.  The calculator estimates that it will take 2 hours and 12 minutes to charge back up the EV.  Here’s a screenshot of the charging page:


Perhaps the most interesting part of this information guide is how much mulah we save.  It’s great that Tesla has provided a calculator for this, too!  By listing national average cost of fuel against the national average cost of electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh), Tesla illustrates a straightforward comparison on fuel cost of traditional vehicles versus EVs.  Since I live in Maryland I went to www.marylandgasprices.com to find out today’s State average gas price–$3.510.  Today’s national average is $3.590.  I also plugged in the rate from which we pay Baltimore Gas and Electric for electricity, which is a rounded number of $0.09 off-peak residential supply service (I chose off-peak because I figure I will charge an EV at night).  My fuel cost for unleaded will cost me $3,510 after driving 30,000 miles.  My fuel cost for electricity ends up only at $764–incredible!  Here’s the screenshot:


Final Thoughts

After playing around on Tesla’s interactive calculators, my thoughts and feelings about electric vehicles have dramatically changed.  It somehow makes sense, when looking at the long term, to opt for an EV due to the savings in fuel costs, maintenance fees, and combustion engine parts.  Now, my scientific and mathematical mind needs to see a projection chart to see how my daily use and behaviors will pan out to see how I can effectively estimate the cost of going for an EV.



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