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I Only Have 3 Miles Left on My Tesla, And The Closest Supercharger Is 7 Miles Away, But I’m Not Worried For 2 Reasons

During a recent road trip, a Tesla Model 3 driver found himself in a precarious position. His vehicle only had 3 miles left, but the closest supercharger was 7 miles away. However, this feature saved him from getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Range anxiety is one of the biggest roadblocks holding people back from transitioning to electric vehicles. What if I run out of electricity and can’t find a place to charge?

This is a valid concern. A simple gas canister can extend your range by hundreds of miles in internal combustion vehicles.

Not to mention, there are tens of thousands more gas stations across the country as there are fast charging locations.

In this aspect, internal combustion vehicles still have the upper hand on electric vehicles. That being said, it’s important to explain range anxiety in real-world driving situations. Currently, range anxiety is more of a psychological fear than a realistic concern.

One good example that highlights this fact is a recent incident with a Tesla driver on a road trip. The person behind The Kilowatts X account was driving his Tesla Model 3 when he realized it had only 3 miles of range left while the closest supercharger was 7 miles away.

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Coming from an internal combustion vehicle, one would be excused for thinking the Tesla driver is about to get stranded.

However, two things to remember here are: first, regenerative braking, and second, reserve battery range after a Tesla vehicle reaches 0 miles remaining.

Regenerative braking, commonly known as (regen) allows electric vehicles to recharge their batteries when pressing the brake pedal. When you press the brake pedal in internal combustion vehicles, the vehicle’s kinetic (moving energy) is converted to heat and dissipates into the surrounding air.

However, in electric vehicles, the motors can convert the vehicle's kinetic energy back to electricity and use it to charge the battery pack.


In The Kilowatts’ case, his Tesla showed only three miles of range left, and he needed to travel seven more miles to reach the closest supercharger; however, he was also at the top of a mountain, and the supercharger was at the bottom of the hill.

So, how did his trip go? You will be happy to learn not only did The Kilowatts not get stranded, but he reached the supercharger station with 7 miles to spare.

As he was going down the hill, although he traveled 3 miles, he gained an additional 4 miles on top of the energy he needed to travel the 3 miles.

Regenerative braking can be a blessing when you are in a range pinch; however, on regular day-to-day driving, the regen feature has an even more important advantage.

Since, for most braking circumstances, your Tesla and almost all other electric vehicles use motors rather than brakes to decrease speed, your brake pads can last much longer.

This fact plays an important role in decreasing the cost of ownership of electric vehicles. However, in addition to the financial benefits of having a second independent mechanism to slow down your vehicle, it also helps with safety in the unfortunate circumstance that your brakes fail.

All in all, regenerative braking is a wonderful electric vehicle-only feature; however, what if, unlike in The Kilowatts case, you are not atop the hill, and your battery is about to be empty?

Here, Tesla has also implemented another safety mechanism to prevent you from getting stranded. When your Tesla shows 0 miles of range left, the vehicle has a reserve battery capacity to help you travel more than 20 miles.

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Recently, Bjorn Nyland, an early Tesla owner, tested how far his Model Y can go after reaching 0 miles left. Despite his Tesla showing 0 miles left, Bjorn could drive his Model Y for another 20.5 miles (33.7 km) and draw an additional 4KWh of energy, or about 5% of the battery capacity.

Yes, this is still not as easy as keeping gas canisters to provide hundreds of miles more; however, an additional 20 miles allows the owner of any Tesla to easily reach a supercharger station without getting stranded.

According to Tesla’s latest count, more than 57,500 supercharger stalls are installed worldwide. These fast charging stations have more than 99.97 percent uptime, meaning you are guaranteed to find a Tesla supercharger within 20 miles anywhere in the US, China, or Europe.

Also, for the forgetful among us, if you are making a long road trip, Tesla’s in-vehicle navigation system automatically routes you with all the necessary supercharger stops to reach your destination safely.

This means you just input your destination into your Tesla, and the vehicle determines where you should stop and how long you should charge, making the whole process hassle-free.

Another concern you might have is that you will need to frequently stop to charge your Tesla on a road trip, adding considerable time to your commute. However, something to note here is that all Tesla vehicles have more than 250 miles of range.

This gives you 3 to 4 hours of continuous driving at highway speeds. At that point, it’s wise to rest, take a bite to eat, and maybe go to the restroom before you embark on your trip. In the time it takes you to complete these tasks, your Tesla is charged up and ready to go, giving you another 3 to 4 hours of highway drive.

If you are coming from an internal combustion vehicle, it’s understandable that you have reservations about range and charging. However, something to keep in mind is that the electric vehicle world has come a long way since the early days when there were only a handful of fast chargers across the country, and EVs could barely travel 100 miles.

Today, you can buy electric vehicles that can travel more than 500 miles and charge at tens of thousands of fast chargers across the country.

The EV world is still making great improvements and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the latest technological breakthroughs when it comes to electric vehicles.

Until then, visit our site,, regularly for the latest updates.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised to see how much range a Tesla vehicle is able to recuperate using regen? Also, do you think 20 miles is enough for reserve in electric vehicles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below by clicking the red “Add new comment” button.

Image: Courtesy of Tesla, inc.

For more information, check out: I got a Rock Chip on my Cybertruck, and Tesla Quoted Me $2,442.71 to replace “the Largest Windshield in any Vehicle.” What Happened to The Cybertruck’s Armored Glass?

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and the evolution of the EV space daily for several years. He covers everything about Tesla, from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.