I accidentally had a true experience testing the driving range of the Roadster. My current assumption is that I could expect to drive 150 miles round trip in any traffic, road, or weather condition and return home with no worries. Until I collect more data, I would be uncomfortable pushing the range much beyond 150 miles unless I knew the conditions were ideal or I set the car to charge in range mode.
On Saturday, I took about a hundred mile round trip. Mostly freeway driving reasonably close to the speed limit but with a couple of nasty unexpected spots of traffic. Definitely more traffic than I normally encounter.Then on Sunday morning I realized I forgot to plug in the car! I took my planned twenty mile round trip, and returned for one hour of charging. When I took off for my third trip, my charging screen was still in the yellow zone after adding in only 10 miles of ideal range.
I decided to take my 31 mile round trip anyways. I am a member of AAA and could simply have the car towed back home.
When I returned home, I was in the red zone with only an estimated 21 miles left.
A more detailed mileage breakdown:
20 – non-congested city driving
20 – non-congested gentle hill driving
20 – congested freeway driving
90 – easy freeway driving
The listed estimated range for the Tesla is 227 miles EPA combined city/highway. The big problem with this estimate is that it is for the range charging mode not the standard charging mode. I keep my Roadster in the standard mode by default and assume most owners do also.
I drove 150 miles with a “10 mile top off” in the middle and had 21 estimated miles left. So 150-10+21 = 161. I do not think I would want to empty my battery to zero, so in standard mode, a 150 mile driving range is a reasonable number for now.