On the original Star Trek, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, a.k.a. “Scotty,” was a curious character and one of his traits was his proclivity for under-promising and then over-performing. This usually manifested in a crisis situation when Captain Kirk needed warp speed, and something was wrong with the warp drive or the dilithium crystals. Kirk would ask when the warp drive could be back on line and Scotty would provide a seemingly long time (under-promise) and then get it done in half the time or sooner (over-perform).

Elon Musk just might have a little “Scotty” in him as our Tesla Model 3 Long Range was promoted as getting 310 miles per fully-charged battery yet we were getting about 350 miles. Elon Musk tweeted that the Model 3 Long Range has a 75-kW battery. To calculate, one takes the battery size (75,000) and divides by the watts-per-mile (213 when we hit 6,000 miles). So, the average range of our road trip was 352.1 miles—far greater than the promised 310.

Likely Reasons

  • Tesla’s stated range is inaccurate  | See: Here’s how Tesla played with EPA ratings to advertise all Model 3 versions with 310-mile range.
  • Aero wheel coversaccording to Tesla engineers, Tesla’s 18” aerodynamic wheel covers can add up to 10% on the range.
  • Low A/C Usage – maybe used air conditioning 30% of the time as it was pretty cool in mountains and along the coast. However, that 70% of the time we had the windows wide open, which creates drag.
  • Speed Limits, we generally drove the speed limit or a few mph over. Highway speeds ranged from 60-80 MPH, but the speed limits in National Parks were 45-55 MPH.
  • 0-60 – rarely did we floor it when entering freeway or at traffic light just for fun. We were not aggressive drivers as so many people are when they get a new performance car.
  • Regenerative Braking – expert use of regenerative braking to recapture range.


“I cannot change the laws of physics, Captain! I’ve got to have thirty minutes.”

– Montgomery Scott ‘Scotty’, Chief Engineer, Starship Enterprise (from The Naked Time (Season 1, Episode 4) Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry)


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