Imagine an Auckland-Wellington road trip powered by nothing but the quiet thrill of electricity. How far will Tesla Model 3 RWD range last?
Imagine embarking on a road trip from Auckland to Wellington with nothing but the open road ahead and the thrill of electric mobility propelling you forward. With the Tesla Model 3 RWD range, this dream becomes reality…
Mike’s Tesla Model 3 RWD
Mike Thompson* is about to set off on a road trip to Wellington. He’ll be there all week running a training program for clients of his company.
To demonstrate his company’s commitment to carbon neutrality he decided to do the round trip in his company car, a Tesla Model 3, instead of flying. Mike’s then going to write about it on his company’s blog.
Now that Mike’s had his Tesla for a wee while he’s super confident it will handle the distance, but not so sure how easy the trip will be in terms of charging.
Tesla Model 3 RWD range
The listed Tesla Model 3 RWD range is 491 km (WLTP). Manufacturers quote their range in WLTP, but what the heck does WLTP stand for?
According to Wikipedia, the World Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) is a technical standard for measuring exhaust emissions, fuel consumption and range of cars. It’s basically a global standard for determining the levels of pollutants, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of traditional, hybrid and electric vehicles.
The WLTP rates EV driving range using a 30-minute test cycle that includes a mixture of urban and non-urban driving phases, different speeds, stops, acceleration and braking.
It’s a way of realistically comparing EVs from different manufacturers, but won’t necessarily reflect your actual range. That’s because range depends on many factors, including the environment and personal driving habits.
For example, one driver might accelerate faster and brake more suddenly than another who may drive more conservatively.
Mike jokes that the listed range of 491 km is American k’s where it’s nice and warm and flat and the driving is orderly, unlike the hills and manic competitive combat sport that is New Zealand driving.
Tesla Model 3 RWD range anxiety on a 642 km road trip
In 2023 we know electric cars can travel long distances between charges. But how easy is a road trip from Auckland to Wellington? Let’s find out whether our Tesla Model 3 RWD range anxiety is rooted in reality or a figment of our imagination…
Most newbies don’t realise until afterwards that their Tesla Model 3 RWD range anxiety is unfounded. Mike’s had his Model 3 for a wee while now, so one thing he doesn’t suffer from is range anxiety. His only concern is how inconvenient the recharging is going to be.
You’d think a 650 km trip could be done with only one stop, but Tesla knows better. Maybe it’s all the crazy hills and never-ending roadworks, but the Tesla Model 3’s onboard route planner plotted out a total trip time of nearly 9-hours with two recharge stops, one in Taupo and a top-up in Mangaweka.
Mike had topped himself up with breakfast and coffee before he left and planned to drive straight through to Taupo before refuelling both himself and this Model 3. By the time he was getting near Taupo his bladder was telling him it was time to stop.
His screen showed the battery was being preconditioned for fast charging to make sure it charges as fast as possible. There’s a Tesla supercharger right beside the fire station on Lake Terrace and that’s where his Model 3’s navigation system directed him.
As usual there was no queue for the Tesla chargers. Mike says he has never had to wait in line for a Tesla charger. When he gets there all he does is plug it in and the car does the rest.
His screen showed him the Tesla Supercharger was adding range at a rate of almost 1,000 km per hour. Since charging above 80% is rarely necessary, stops are typically short and convenient.
The Model 3’s electronic screen gave him an estimated charging time. Mike was concerned that would be an inconvenience but it turned out to be the exact amount of time needed for him to take a much-needed bathroom break and grab a coffee and a bite to eat at Dixie Browns, a short walk up Lake Terrace.
Mike monitored the charge status in real time on his phone’s Tesla app, and was back at his car just as it was finished charging.
The trip from Taupo to Mangaweka had put him half an hour behind schedule thanks to the number of trucks grinding up hills, heavy traffic, and roadworks after more cursed roadworks. Thankfully there was no line for the Tesla chargers at Mangaweka.
Mike only needed a top-up so he plugged his car into the Tesla charger and headed into the cafe for a toilet stop, another coffee and a bite to eat. When he finished he checked his Tesla app and discovered that OMG, he should have eaten faster because it was at 100% already.
Back in the car Mike was off on the final 210 km leg of his Auckland to Wellington journey. Arriving at his destination in the windy capital, Mike couldn’t believe how fresh he felt.
He’d only stopped twice and both times were for human needs – food and bathroom breaks – while his car charged in the background. Every minute of his stops had been productive and there had been no waiting around for his car to charge.
Mike had experienced no inconvenience at all, and not a single jot of range anxiety. On top of that, he felt remarkably fresh.
EV drivers arrive at their destination happier & calmer
Mike loves cars. He’s owned them and raced them and they’ve all been fossil fuelled, but it wasn’t until he got into one of the Tesla Model 3 RWD range that he lost his former passion overnight. As well as being much cheaper to fuel and maintain, the fast accelerations make his Model 3 more fun to drive.
The biggest and most unexpected benefit, however, is that it provides a calmer, more peaceful environment to travel. A recent study found that EV drivers are more focused and arrive at their destinations happier and calmer than their internal combustion engined counterparts.
Who knew driving could be such a serene experience?
Tesla Model 3 RWD Range
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Get in touch to learn more about the Tesla Model 3 RWD range…
* Mike Thompson is a fictitious person inspired by real Driveline clients.