Announced in 2008, the first Model S hit the road in 2012 with EPA a range of 265 miles per charge. Newer models can get up to 405 miles of range per charge. It is an all-electric, luxury sedan that Tesla considers its flagship production vehicle. Most used Model S still get very good range - at least 200 miles per charge, although some of the 60 kWh batteries can be shy of that mark in extreme temperatures or harsh driving conditions.
Used Model S average around 9,000 miles per year owned, which is shy of the 13,500 miles that the average American driver goes.
There are over 18 trim levels for the Model S over its production life. Prices for new and used Model Ss vary greatly depending on the trim level, which usually determines the battery capacity. The number in the trim denotes how many kWh the battery has so that a Model S 70 generally has a 70 kWh battery pack.
In addition to the battery capacity choices, 2014 and later Model S versions include a choice between a single or dual motor, denoted by a “D” in the trim level. The dual motor versions are all wheel drive, as opposed to the rear-wheel drive powertrain in the single motor version. A designation of "P" in the trim level indicates performance mode with higher horsepower and slightly lower range.
Other differences between Model S generally track with trim levels, or are tied to certain software or hardware configurations, such as Ludicrous or Plaid mode. One important thing to know about a Model S is what hardware it comes with, since this will determine whether it's eligible for software add-ons such as full self-drive.
The table below represents the trims in the Recurrent community.
The Tesla Model S is a battery electric vehicle, or BEV. This means that it runs exclusively on electricity, which is provided by a high voltage lithium ion battery. It has zero tailpipe emissions.
For any all-electric vehicle, range means how many miles the car can go when it’s charged to 100%. Like with an internal combustion vehicle, the real-world range may vary with driving conditions. The EPA rates electric vehicles with a single, estimated range for all of a particular make, model, year, and trim. However, there can be both short and long term changes to what the EPA predicts. Short term changes are usually caused by external factors such as driving style, terrain, or temperature, while permanent range effects are due to battery degradation and age.
Seasonal changes and driving behaviors affect the day-to-day range that EVs can achieve. For example, you may have 50 more miles of range with springtime city driving than with cold winter road trips. While all EV batteries have some dependency on external factors, the amount of on-board variability you’ll see in a car depends on battery chemistry and how the car manufacturer programs the battery management system. Read more about how temperature affects range here.
Used Model S ranges at 100% charge vary from 150 to 403 miles, depending on battery size. This data is derived from over 800 Model S vehicles in the US.
From what we've seen, most Teslas hold on to their original range fairly well and you can expect to get 85-90% of the car's original range over its lifetime. Used Model S ranges at 100% charge vary from 150-403 miles, depending on the battery size. This data comes from over 800 U.S.-based Model S vehicles on the road today.
For the last year we have been helping EV owners monitor their car batteries, and our research shows the beginning of our battery degradation monitoring for the Model S electric vehicles in our community. We know that in new EVs, there is an initial drop off in range. This is expected in all lithium ion batteries and means that the battery chemistry is settling into its long-term state. After this initial drop, range estimates (and battery health) tend to fall into a steady but slow decline.
Other ways to measure vehicle efficiency, or energy use per distance traveled, are MPGe and miles/kWh. You may see these values on new car stickers or on dealer listings. The Model S gets between 89-120 MPGe and between 2.6-3.6 mi/kWh. This falls to the low to mid range of efficiency, depending on the performance level. A Model S with faster acceleration and more horsepower will generally be less efficient.
Our community of Model S drivers give the car a Charging Score of 4.75/5, meaning that most drivers are very satisfied with their charging experience. Tesla recommends that owners charge at home for daily charging needs and offers an add-on purchase of a home, level-2 charger. But, as a Tesla vehicle, the Model S is also part of the Tesla supercharger network with more than 10,000 US locations. Tesla superchargers can provide up to 200 miles of range in around 15 minutes, with max charge speeds of 250 kW. Model S drivers can also charge at other public charging locations, such as EVgo and Electrify America, although they may require a CCS adapter. New Teslas come standard with a J1772 adapter for use at public or non-Tesla level 2 chargers.
Teslas all have lithium ion batteries, which are power dense, high voltage battery packs. All lithium ion batteries slowly lose power and capacity with age because of a thing called battery degradation. The battery degrades based on two things:
a) the age of the battery (also known as 'calendar' aging)
b) how the battery is used, charged, and stored
There is no way to avoid calendar aging, but there are things that can cause a battery to degrade faster than expected. There are a number of things EV owners can do to slow the process but it is a longer discussion that we have covered in a research article on battery degradation.
The battery size, or battery capacity, for a Model S is measured in kWh, and ranges from 60 - 100 kWh. While a 60 kWh battery is fairly standard for a contemporary EV, it was sizeable in 2012 when the Model S was released. The trim level generally corresponds to the battery size, so a Model S 70 usually means a 70 kWh battery pack.
Tesla expects their Model S batteries to last for quite a while. Their battery warranty guarantees against degradation past 70% for 8 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. The balance of the warranty transfers owner-to-owner, so if you buy a used Tesla within the years or mileage allotted to the original warranty period, you are still covered. Used Teslas purchased directly from Tesla.com also come with an additional 1 year, 10,000 mile warranty.
Curious how long EV batteries last? Read more here!
This page shares Tesla Model S data collected from over 800 cars across the United States. Each of the 5 million miles driven helps to draw a picture of the Model S experience. We polled our community of Model S drivers to find out what they love and what they could leave with their vehicles.
Most liked features:
"Sexy, fast, and fun to drive! I love that it’s completely electric with zero omissions. It’s awesome to never have to go to a gas station again."
"It’s fun to drive and it’s extremely reliable. Mine has over 176,000 miles on it and I have never had a problem that prevented me from driving it."
Room to improve:
"No handles above doors to assist egress and ingress; inadequate cup holders; inadequate storage space (no back-of-seat or door pockets & awkward center console)."
"Lack of aftermarket parts, difficult to get repairs outside of a Tesla shop, Tesla being stingy with parts for owners to do repairs on their own. Cost of parts and repair from Tesla is prohibitively expensive. Lack of reliability with door handles on Model S."
"This car is quirky, and it has not been as reliable as other cars I have owned over the past 20 years. It has been serviced for warranty issues 3 times. Access to service is poor and other supportive services (loaner cars, etc.) are virtually nonexistent."
The Green Score for the Model S is great, since as an all-electric car, it has the lowest tailpipe emissions. Buying a used Model S is another great way to lower your environmental impact - every used car purchased means one fewer new car that needs to be produced and shipped. Finally, you can really up your green game by powering your EV with renewable energy for the ultimate clean machine.
The Model S is not an inexpensive or budget car, and its performance and design make that clear. Starting price for a new Model S is $83,990 and it can go as high as $123,990 with performance packages such as Plaid. The wide range in price represents all the gradations of battery size and options available. As of publication, Tesla is no longer eligible for the $7500 tax credit for new cars since more than 200,000 Teslas have been sold. However, there is pending legislation that will restore this, and other, incentives.
The used price of a Model S varies based on year and trim level. Between 2012 and 2021, the average used prices are between $30K - $120K without a few outliers outside that range. As expected, more luxury options and larger battery capacity are higher in that range, while older models and lower battery sizes are less expensive. 2020 and 2021 models are priced similarly to new cars and add-ons such as full self driving can raise the price even higher.
The Model S is one of the earliest mass-produced EVs, and there are enough of them on the road to see how their price changes with time.
Recurrent uses cost per range mile as a way to measure the marginal increase in range that larger battery capacity or different trims may offer. The Model S has a cost per range mile between $167 - $323. These values include all used model years and all trim levels. Larger battery capacities generally correspond to higher ranges so the top end of this spectrum is for more expensive trim levels.
Recurrent uses data from the AFDC to determine the range of annual charging costs for a Model S. Assuming and average driving pattern of 34 miles a day, 5 days a week, 49 weeks a year with 25% highway driving, plus a few additional highway road trips, you can estimate your annual charging costs to be between $368 - $1,178 for 2017 AWD 75D. More detailed and personalized values can be calculated at the link above. For our calculations, the highest electricity price is found in Hawaii and the lowest in Louisiana.