How far can a Tesla go on one charge on the highway?

Electric vehicles like Teslas are becoming increasingly popular as drivers look for alternatives to gas-powered cars. One of the most common questions potential Tesla buyers ask is “How far can a Tesla go on one charge while driving on the highway?”

The Range of a Tesla Battery

The driving range of a Tesla depends on several factors, including battery size, driving conditions, and driver habits. Teslas are available with different battery pack options that provide varying levels of range.

Here are the EPA-rated driving ranges for current Tesla models:

Tesla Model Battery Pack EPA Range
Model 3 Standard Range Plus 263 miles
Model 3 Long Range 358 miles
Model S Long Range 405 miles
Model X Long Range 360 miles

These ranges are based on EPA testing cycles and are meant to provide a standard comparison across electric vehicles. Your actual driving range will vary based on driving conditions.

How Speed Impacts Range

One of the biggest factors that reduces driving range is speed, especially at highway speeds. The faster you drive, the quicker you will use up the battery charge.

According to Tesla, driving at a constant 55 mph can achieve 100% of the EPA rated range. But increasing speed to 75 mph reduces expected range by about 30%. Driving at a very fast speed of 85 mph cuts expected range almost in half.

This is because wind resistance increases exponentially with speed. The faster the car moves through the air, the more force it takes to overcome wind resistance. This wind resistance accounts for the majority of range loss at highway speeds.

Additional Factors that Reduce Range

In addition to high speeds, several other factors can reduce how far a Tesla can drive on a single charge:

  • Cold weather – Low temperatures can reduce range by as much as 25%. The batteries perform best in warmer weather.
  • Climate control use – Heating the cabin and operating the air conditioner draws battery power.
  • Uphill travel – Climbing steep hills makes the motor work harder, using more energy.
  • Heavy cargo load – Added passenger and cargo weight increases energy use.
  • Aggressive acceleration – Frequent fast acceleration draws more power and cuts range.

Drivers should keep these factors that impact range in mind when planning long highway trips in a Tesla.

Average Highway Range Expectations

Although EPA ratings provide a standardized range estimate, real-world driving conditions vary. Based on actual driving experiences, here are reasonable expectations for average highway range in a Tesla depending on conditions:

  • At a steady 65 mph on flat roads in warm weather, range should be close to the EPA estimate, or potentially exceed it.
  • At 75 mph on flat roads in warm weather, expect range to be reduced by 25-30% from the EPA estimate.
  • At 65 mph on hilly roads in cold weather with the heat on, range could be 50-60% of the EPA estimate.
  • At 75 mph on hilly roads in very cold weather, range may be reduced to 30-40% of EPA estimate.

Of course, driving habits and factors like wind and traffic will also impact these estimates. Monitoring the projected remaining range on the vehicle’s display is recommended to adjust driving as needed to avoid running out of charge.

Maximizing Driving Range on the Highway

Here are some tips to maximize how far you can drive a Tesla on the highway on a single charge:

  • Keep speeds between 50-65 mph. Driving slower counteracts wind resistance and maximizes range.
  • Use Autopilot and Traffic Aware Cruise Control to maintain steady speeds.
  • Lower climate control settings and use seat heaters instead of cabin heat.
  • Travel during warmer weather whenever possible.
  • Plan a route with minimal elevation changes.
  • Avoid frequent hard acceleration. Drive conservatively and maintain momentum.
  • Reduce cargo weight and remove roof racks when not needed.
  • Check tires for proper inflation. Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance.
  • Limit auxiliary electronics like sound systems. Use drive mode to limit drain.

Being mindful of these suggestions will help any Tesla travel farther down the highway on a single charge.

Charging Considerations for Long Trips

For longer highway journeys, charging needs and optimal Supercharger stop locations also need to be planned ahead of time. Some key factors regarding Supercharging a Tesla on a long trip include:

  • Superchargers can restore ~150-200 miles in 15-30 minutes.
  • Charging slows down progressively as the battery reaches full capacity.
  • State of charge and charging speed impact total charging time.
  • Plan stops every ~150-200 miles to limit charging time.
  • Use trip planner to identify Supercharger locations and build driving schedule.
  • Consider weather forecasts that may reduce range along your route.

Properly planning charging stops is essential to avoid excessive charging times on road trips. Tesla’s trip planner incorporated into their vehicles’ navigation system helps guide proper Supercharger usage for maximum efficiency on long drives.

Emergency Charging Options

In an emergency situation where you run low on charge far from the next Supercharger, there are a couple last-resort options to consider:

  • Public third-party charging stations – These are widely available but charge at slower AC Level 2 speeds. Not ideal for a quick fix, but can recover ~25 miles per hour of charging.
  • Mobile charging trailer – Some service providers offer mobile Supercharger trailers that can be delivered on a flatbed truck for emergency roadside charging. Fees for this service typically apply.
  • Towing – Worst case, the car can be towed to the next Supercharger location if it runs too low on battery. This should be avoided if possible though due to high towing costs.

With proper trip planning and occasional conservative driving, emergency charging options hopefully shouldn’t be required. But knowing backup plans can provide peace of mind while road tripping a Tesla in case the unexpected occurs.

Key Takeaways

To recap, the most important points to keep in mind about maximizing driving range in a Tesla on the highway include:

  • Range reduces considerably at highway speeds due to increased wind resistance.
  • Driving 75 mph may reduce range by 30%, while 85 mph cuts it in half compared to 65 mph.
  • Cold weather, climate use, cargo weight, and hills also decrease range.
  • At 65 mph on flat roads in warm weather, range should be close to EPA estimate.
  • At 75 mph on hilly roads in cold, range may be only 30-40% of EPA estimate.
  • Slowing down, using cruise control, and minimizing climate system use all optimize range.
  • Plan Supercharger stops every 150-200 miles for road trips.

Understanding how these factors impact range can help Tesla drivers maximize their battery charge to cover more miles down the highway without having to stop and recharge as frequently.


Teslas hold the promise of providing electric-powered transportation with surprising range capabilities. But when range estimates based on EPA testing cycles meet the reality of high-speed highway driving, that range understandably reduces through increased energy demands. Planning ahead, driving conservatively, minimizing comfort system use, and leveraging Supercharger infrastructure all help maximize driving distance between charging stops. Tesla vehicles make driving electric a more practical option than ever before. But managing range and charging considerations remains part of the experience for Tesla owners embarking on long highway journeys.

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