2012 Tesla Model S

The mid-range Tesla Model S with SuperCharger is Tesla's sweet spot

The 60 kWh Tesla Model S now comes standard with support for the high power SuperCharger, and with it's lower cost it's a better value proposition than the 85 kWh Model S.

The Tesla Model S electric car has an EPA certified driving range of 265 miles, when outfitted with an 85 kiloWatt-hour battery pack. To match the supersized battery pack, the Model S includes a fast charging system capable of a complete recharge in an hour when charged with the Tesla-proprietary SuperCharger. Until now the SuperCharger was standard equipment only for the 85 kiloWatt-hour Model S, and was listed as an option for the 60 kiloWatt-hour Model S, and completely unavailable for the 45 kiloWatt-hour model. It's recently been noticed that the Tesla Model S options page now lists the Supercharger as standard for the 60 kWh model.

It is the 60 kiloWatt-hour Model S with SuperCharger that should be the sweet spot in the Model S lineup. To see why, consider these factoids:

The 60 kWh Tesla Model S has not been officially rated by the EPA, but we can expect it to be certified for approximately a 187 mile driving range. There is a $10,000 price premium between the 85 kWh and 60 kWh versions of the Model S, for which you buy a 265 mile driving range versus a 187 mile driving range.

With the 85 kWh Model S the SuperCharger is designed to recharge 160 miles of travel in about 30 minutes. Tesla has not specified what it does with the 60 kWh Model S, but it should offer a similar charging rate. According to Tesla, the 85 kWh Model S can be recharged within an hour at a SuperCharger station, and the 60 kWh model should take closer to a half hour for a full recharge.

The majority of driving is around town trips, rather than long road trips. Where a 265 miles driving range is far more than enough driving range for driving around even the largest urban areas, a 187 miles driving range should also be sufficient. That is, for all but the most hard-core of road warriors.

While most driving is around town, everybody takes the occasional road trip. The Tesla SuperCharger has the potential to enable Model S owners to take proper road trips. The 85 kWh Model S, with its 265 mile driving range, might be a little better for road trips than the 60 kWh mode. The 85 kWh Model S owner could drive for about four hours, stop at a SuperCharger station, plug in, have a bit to eat, and in an hour or so be back on the road again. The 60 kWh Model S owner would have to stop after about 3 hours of driving. Either vehicle could make for a decent road trip experience almost as good as the gasoline car road trip.

In short, purchasing the 60 kWh Model S would save $10,000 off the purchase price, provide more than enough driving range to travel around town for the typical daily drive. With the now-standard SuperCharger, the 60 kWh Model S should work fairly well for road trips, however the 85 kWh Model S with its longer driving range, will give a better road trip experience. Tesla is supposed to begin manufacturing the 60 kWh Model S this fall.

News Categories: 
Carmakers: 

Comments

"fast charging system capable of a complete recharge in an hour when charged with the Tesla-proprietary SuperCharger" Tesla have consistently said that the supercharger will not be able to do a complete recharge, the battery is most capable of accepting charge between 30 and 80% and it is this range in which the supercharger works. So a Tesla driven down to 30% can be fast charged 50% back up to 80% in 30 mins but this does not mean a 100% charge can be performed in one hour. A charge from below 30% or to above 80% will have to occur at a slower rate limited by the battery chemistry.
The 60kWhr battery pack should take somewhat less time to charge up than the 85kWhr battery pack, but not that much less because of battery chemistry. The EPA rated range of the Model S has stood true. Many owners and independent testers are verifying the 265 mile range estimates and most of them have seen over 300-mile range predictions during in-city driving. Just check out the Tesla forums under real-world range. Obviously, if you love G-forces, your range will be much less; same with traveling at higher speeds.
I`m afraid you`re overlooking important factors mr. Herron. You forget that a battery consist of cells. You cannot assume that it will take less time to charge a smaller battery, because then you would have to assume that the smaller battery can handle the same amount of charging power. In example; the 85kw car has better acceleration, why do you think that is? It`s because the 85kw pack can handle a more massive battery output, most probably because of how the battery is put together. When "refilling" the 85kw pack will be able to handle more charging power than the smaller batteries the same way that it`s able to give a larger output. In small scale: would you charge a regular 12V car battery with a 90kw tesla charger? It would take seconds/minutes (not going to do any calculations), but that`s oversimplifying the case. Bottom line, you cannot say that a 60 (or 45kw battery for that sake) can handle the same charging power as the 85kw battery. Please correct me if Tesla has released documentation of the 60kw being able to charge at the same rate as the 85kw. I agree that most of the buyers would do fine with the 60kw (and should buy the 60kw), but you are overlooking several important reasons for buying the 85kw pack (less battery wear from charing/use, better driving range after years of battery degrading, better performance +++).
The factor you are talking about is the charge rate a battery pack can safely withstand. That the 85 kWh pack can withstand a 90 kw charge rate, suggests the cells can safely withstand a 1C charge rate. The 60 kWh pack at a 1C charge rate would require the SuperCharger to tone down to a 60 kw charge rate, and provide fewer miles per hour of charging. Good point. But Tesla hasn't released the figures required to determine whether these suppositions are true. Some cells can take greater than 1C charge rate, FWIW.
The 60kWhr battery pack should take somewhat less time to charge up than the 85kWhr battery pack, but not that much less because of battery chemistry. The EPA rated range of the Model S has stood true. Many owners and independent testers are verifying the 265 mile range estimates and most of them have seen over 300-mile range predictions during in-city driving. Just check out the Tesla forums under real-world range. Obviously, if you love G-forces, your range will be much less; same with traveling at higher speeds.
The 60kWhr battery pack should take somewhat less time to charge up than the 85kWhr battery pack, but not that much less because of battery chemistry. The EPA rated range of the Model S has stood true. Many owners and independent testers are verifying the 265 mile range estimates and most of them have seen over 300-mile range predictions during in-city driving. Just check out the Tesla forums under real-world range. Obviously, if you love G-forces, your range will be much less; same with traveling at higher speeds.