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Tell Us: What Happens To Tesla Model S If You Run Out of Battery Power

Here is what happens when your Tesla Model S dies or your car runs out of battery power. It's not like ICE cars. Here is a first hand experience.

Today one of our group members in Tesla Model S Owners Group on Facebook asked the following question about what happens when a Tesla runs out of battery.

"We drove about one mile on 0 mile range left. What would happen if we really ran out? Would the charger door be locked out? Does anyone have a first hand experience?," asked Donna in the group.

First of all, it's not recommended to drive your Tesla on zero mile range. It's not good to your battery. Teslas or electric cars are not like gas cars. If you run out of battery power it will hurt your Tesla's battery performance in the future.

Ben Phelan in the group provides a first hand experience.

"Providing you don’t run down the 12v then it's fine. However the calibration is sometimes off.

"Using the power meter, when power is restricted to 100kW you really need to find somewhere to charge. When it gets to 20-50kW it’s about to shut down.

"If you are lucky, and the temperature is warm you may be able to crawl a little while on around 10kW. But generally the car will begin to gradually loose power giving you time to pull over.

"Best advice is you have a couple of miles to find a charge socket of outlet once you get the 50-100kW power limit."

Do you have a first hand experience if your Tesla or an EV run out of battery power? How did you handle it? Where did you charge it? Please, share your experience and thoughts in the comments section below for discussion.


Martin (not verified)    April 1, 2018 - 8:25PM

Tesla Model S shuts down, you can access tow mode on the screen to free roll and release the brake. Charge door still opens, powered by 12v battery.

rizzle mcBrizz (not verified)    October 22, 2019 - 11:42PM

Today my Model S while parked went from almost half charge to ZERO miles!!!!!! so Empty......when i contact roadside assistance they tell me they will get me an estimate for tow--- I'm like, ya don't think so, car just drained itself to empty.....who drank Elon Musk's juice today?

sean rogers (not verified)    November 15, 2019 - 2:40PM

In reply to by rizzle mcBrizz (not verified)

Had the exact same experience today. Luckily Marriot with some chargers was nearby and I drove 1 mile on 0 miles left and made it to Marriott chargers. The responders told me they will give me an estimate, then they said you may want to check with your insurance because they do not cover this area. I was not happy about it. Any other $100K car would have picked me up. BMW flat tire, out of gas, you press one button and they come and get you. This needs to be fixed.

HarryS (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 8:12PM

I have emergency road service on my insurance. I have carried AAA+, which will haul you up to 100 miles. Limited to 4 x in a year. I have also carried Good Sam RV ERS which will haul your car to the nearest point that can fix your car, usually your brand's nearest dealer. If you just ran out of battery, it will haul your car to the nearest charging station.
If too many people abuse this too much the insurance co’s and ERSs will quickly tire of it and likely add surcharges for dead traction batteries.

HarryS (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 8:20PM

I was turtled, then shut down in my Leaf. It coasted in “N” to an Arby's parking lot. When looking for a 120v outlet, I eventually after an hour spotted a Lions Club monument across the side street that had floodlights. The floodlights were smashed but the meter base had a regular 120v 15a duplex outlet. Could it be live? I brought the L1 charger station from my trunk. Eureka! It lit up! We pushed the 3,400# Leaf over near the pole where the meter was and plugged up.
By the time the Nissan dealership opened in the morning the Leaf had enough charge to go there, where the very friendly people showed me to an L2 station that was installed for a secretary’s Leaf.
What luck!