Tesla Range Boost:
10 Tips for Low Battery Emergencies
Despite routine charging and efficient driving habits, situations occur where your Tesla battery can get critically low. These 10 emergency tips can extend your Tesla’s range and get you to the nearest charging station: Reduce your speed; enable Chill Mode; precondition; switch off cabin heat and optimize your vehicle’s aerodynamics.
As long-time Tesla owners, we are now very confident with how far our vehicle can travel on a single charge (range). We precondition, have a regular charging routine and efficient driving habits to conserve our range and get us to our destination without worrying about running out of juice!
But sometimes, despite the best habits, life happens. There were a few times that we glided to a supercharger on a wing and a prayer, like when:
- we got called out overnight for an emergency 150 miles (240 km) away
- we forgot to plug in at night and woke to find a low battery as we were rushing in to work
- one of our owners travelled 90 miles to pick up last-minute concert tickets (it was a good concert!)
- we got caught in a snow storm with -5 F (-21 C) temperatures, leading to rapid battery drain
- when one of our kids brought the vehicle home at 3% (he ignored Tesla’s notification when the battery hit 9%)
If you don’t have time to juice up at a Supercharger or are running low due to an emergency, our team of Tesla experts share these 10 emergency tips to extend your Tesla range in a pinch.
10 Tips for Low Battery Emergencies
If you find yourself running low on charge, there are a few things you can do to increase your range by a few miles until you reach a charging station. If you’re in a pinch, try these fast tips to extend your range:
- Precondition your battery
Even if you’re in a hurry, take a moment to precondition your battery before you drive. This will heat and optimize its performance, especially in extreme weather conditions.
- Remove excess cargo
Before you leave, remove heavy items from the trunk and frunk, including bicycle and roof racks to reduce the vehicle’s weight and energy consumption.
- Plan your route
Choose the shortest distance and avoid uphill driving to conserve energy. Use Tesla’s navigation system or the Tesla App to find the most efficient route.
- Avoid stop-and-go traffic
Minimize energy-draining bursts of acceleration by choosing routes where you can maintain a consistent speed
- Manage energy-consuming features
Turn off cabin heat or air conditioning. Switch to seat and steering wheel heaters. Keep a blanket or extra coat in the vehicle.
- Enable Chill Mode
Chill Mode reduces acceleration speeds and conserves your battery’s energy.
- Enable Speed Limit Mode
Speed Limit Mode reminds you to keep your speed at or below the posted speed limit for energy efficiency.
- Reduce your speed
The slower you drive, the greater distance your Tesla can travel. Keep your speed consistent and avoid sudden bursts of acceleration.
- Optimize aerodynamics
Keep your windows closed to reduce aerodynamic drag. For models equipped with air suspension, adjust it to ‘low’ or ‘very low’.
- Draft behind large vehicles – with extreme caution
Drafting behind large vehicles like trucks can reduce the energy your Tesla uses, but it should be done with extreme caution and only for a short time. Many race-car drivers and competitive cyclists use this technique to conserve energy. Driving about 100 feet (6-7 car lengths or 2 seconds) behind a big rig can significantly cut wind resistance, thereby conserving energy.
Important warnings when drafting:
- Vehicles driving closely behind a truck are in the rig’s blind spot, making it hard on truck drivers to avoid stopping or maneuver safely
- The average stopping distance for a truck is 196 feet, so drafting at 100 feet may still be too close
- Regional laws may dictate how closely you can follow behind a vehicle to avoid traffic violations
- If a truck driver turns on their hazard lights, slow down – it means you’re following too closely
Whenever possible, adapt regular charging routines and efficient driving habits. But when you’re in a pinch, apply these expert tips to reduce range anxiety and ensure you always reach your destination with confidence.
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