Tesla Owner With Most Miles Talks Benefits Of A Tesla Model S

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

Those wondering how well the Tesla Model S can hold up to the rigors of intensive use will probably be interested to hear what a physician by the name of Dante Richardson has to say, as the resident of Washington, DC, has driven his Model S over 120,000 miles… in just the last 2 years.

That figure means that Richardson has — as far as is publicly known — driven his Model S more than any other individual owner in the world. I suppose that it might be worth listening to what he has to say — just maybe. 🙂

With that intention in mind, he was recently interviewed by the folks over at Tesla’s blog. Here are some highlights:

After 120,000 miles, Richardson is well accustomed to life in Model S. “I’m always in the car!” He lists acceleration, handling, cold-weather performance, and storage space as his car’s standout benefits. But the killer advantage is a driving life that no longer revolves around gasoline.

Richardson has a Volvo C70 hardtop convertible that is hardly ever driven. “I love my Volvo, but every time I take it out of my garage and I get a whiff of the fumes, it catches me by surprise because I’m not doing it every day…. It’s not a subtle reminder.” When he takes the Volvo to the gas station, he forgets which side his car’s tank is on.

He has no such trouble with the Model S. Its fuel is electricity, which never smells or splashes on his shoes. And it never needs him to find it at a gas station – it comes right to his home. “Over the long term,” says Richardson, “it’s really so pleasant to wake up to a car that is full of fuel.”

Lmao. Yeah, I’ve wondered about that — after getting some distance from the gas and diesel smell of gas stations, what do electric vehicle owners end up thinking of such places?

Commenting on Tesla’s Supercharger network of fast-charging stations, he noted: “It’s mind boggling how much things have changed. Never in my greatest imagination would I have thought that Tesla would have made this much progress with the Superchargers this quickly.”

Considering that the network is still being built out, it’s set to only get better (more comprehensive), it bears reminding — improving that aspect of Tesla ownership even more no doubt, one of its many advantages. Though, I’ll be curious what’ll happen with the stations if the Model 3 does end up seeing “huge” sales — will the experience diminish? Or will station buildout accelerate?

Overall, about what I expected to hear — beyond the high cost of repairs (if you need them), I haven’t really heard much negative about the Model S. The customer base seems to be pretty satisfied for now. In fact, no owners are happier with their cars than Model S owners. Any of our readers care to chime in?

Image Credit: Tesla Motors/Dante Richardson

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

62 thoughts on “Tesla Owner With Most Miles Talks Benefits Of A Tesla Model S

  • Bravo Richardson. Keep it up. Please trade in the Volvo C70 if you are not driving it. Let someone use it.

    Let us know if you have done 200,000 miles.

  • My Model S has 15,000 miles on it after 13 months of driving. Wouldn’t trade it for the world! Except maybe a Model X! Just got another software upgrade over the weekend. “Valet Mode,” among other things. That’ll come in handy! This car does twice as many things as it did the day I took possession. No other car company continues to delight it’s customers like Tesla does. I’d be getting nickled and dined for every improvement if GM, Ford, or Toyota had developed this. And for Supercharging. This is the way to make cars…and customers for life.

  • Something not covered in this that he talks about in the interview should have been included. He tells how with the expansion of the supercharge stations his most recent 1,000 mile trip to Florida was done in just 15 hours. Now just figuring three half hour stops (every 250 miles) for charging, it would mean he maintained an average speed of 74 mph.
    To me this is great, the Model S is really a car that not only can do the long trips, but has no problem maintaining the average cruising speeds found on the US interstates (75-80 mph).

      • That is another great benefit, and one which most people have become aware,but well worth reiterating.
        This was just the first specific reference that I have seen that these cars can not only do the long trips, but do it at a speed that keeps you safe in the flow of traffic when traveling the long stretches of 70-75 mph speed limit highway I travel a few times a year.
        If everyone was to assume that the 70 mph limit was the fastest you are supposed to go it wouldn’t be an issue. But the police never seem to bother anyone going up to 80 in these zones, and very rarely even those pushing it to 85-90. So the ones that stay right at 70 or five miles under are the hindrance to traffic and more likely to cause bunching up of vehicles, which is when the accidents happen.
        So it is nice to know that eventually when it is possible for me to get a Tesla that the long distance trips will be as convenient and safe as their cars have been portrayed to be.

      • What was his cost for the “fuel” for the total distance driven?
        Cost of electricity in Washington state?
        And what would his cost have been if he drove an ICE?
        And most important CO2 reduction, even with coal electricity?


        • His personal cost for fuel was zero, because he used the supercharge stations.
          His trip was from Washington DC to Florida, so not sure about why the cost of electric in Washington state. As to the cost to Tesla for the trip it would depend upon the contracts with local utilities and how much renewable energy they are using at the different stations along the route.
          Costs in an ICE vehicle will vary according to mpg and current gas prices.
          And CO2 reduction involves way to many different factors for me to even try to make an educated guess.

          • The supercharging stations use solar panels and are designed to on average create as much electricity as they use. EDIT: when and where possible of course.

          • Yes that is right, with the individual stations and the production facility in California also setting up PPA’s for wind, hydro and other renewable energy sources,as you say when and where possible.
            This with the battery Gigafactory being built with enough wind and solar and other measures to cover its energy use make Tesla a good example of a company not only talking the talk, but walking the walk of being environmentally responsible.

          • My way of thinking was:
            Total distance driven over two years: 120.000 miles.
            Tesla 85 kWh battery equal to 300 miles, so
            120.000 miles : 300 = 400 times.
            400 times x 80 kWh = 32.000 kWh
            32.000 kWh x $ .10 = $ 3.200.00
            x $ .15 = $ 4.800.00
            x $ .20 = $ 6.400.00
            Similar car @ 40 mpg 120.000 miles = 3.000 gal. x $ 3.00 per gallon = $ 9.000.00
            Refining energy used for 3.000 gal = 12.000 kWh.
            32.000 kWh – 12.000 = 20.000 kWh net = CO2 emissions ?
            3.000 Gal = CO2 emissions?
            Dollar savings about 3.000 to 5.000 for 120.000 miles over gas, CO2 savings?
            Energy efficiency: electric about 75 % overall?
            Energy efficiency: gas 25 %, for driving, overall 10 %?

          • No disagreement with your numbers, but when getting into something like this people can get picky about the details, like if the emissions from oil exploration and drilling and it’s energy requirements should be included. Then there is the manufacturing of the vehicles and etc, but if we go that far should the giant tanker ships or rail and truck transport for the fuel be included, or the energy involved with all the different pumps from getting the oil out of the ground through the refineries, into and out of different transport, and finally into the vehicle? Then there are the battleships and naval fleets keeping the shipping lanes safe, and it seems you could just go on and on.
            So to me an electric vehicle using locally produced energy when possible is going to be better than an ICE vehicle in just about every circumstance by common sense, but to try to prove it out by the numbers is just way beyond anything that I have the time for.

          • My main point is: driving electric is cheaper, in real money and MUCH better for the planet.
            Most people do not care much about the planet, but they do care about their money!
            So once people understand that it will be game over for FF!
            It will be just a matter of time. 😉

          • The majority of US citizens are concerned about climate change and want something to be done. When EV prices drop to the level of ICEV prices then doing something to help the problem will be an added driving factor.

  • Why no comments on the car itself? How’s the battery pack holding up after that kind of mileage? Be great to know!

    • I think I’ve read elsewhere (TM forum?) that he has not lost much range at all. My guess is Tesla doesn’t want to draw attention the to stat anyway since it’s 1) a single case, and 2) something much of the media may not understand is a good thing out of context.

    • The battery is covered under warrenty for 8 years… he has 360000 more miles to drive 🙂

  • I don’t believe a word of this garbage. Tesla written, no doubt. What a rosey battery world. Horseship!

    • I think someone forgot to take their meds this morning…

      • Paying so much for a ??? WITH BATTERIES IS NUTS. A soon to be dope sitting on the dark side of a country road yelling “Help! Nerdy in Distress!”

        • I’m going to agree with you – He is an idiot/dope for running out of juice because…
          1. Cars warn you when they’re getting low on fuel (both ICE and BEV)
          2. The TESLA (I assume that’s what is being driven from the article) has a “find the nearest charger” facility which is equivalent to a “find me the nearest petrol station” app on a phone for an ICE.
          3. Why would anyone try to drive anywhere without first checking they have enough fuel for the trip?

          At least driving a BEV he doesn’t have the added problem of sludge from the petrol getting mixed up when you run completely out of fuel.

          Unless, of course, He has a pretty girl by his side and wants to “run out of fuel” 🙂

        • If he hasn’t ended up on the side of the road yelling for help in the first 130,000 miles, would you mind telling me why he would do so in the next 100-200,000?
          An electric vehicle is just like a gas powered one, in that you have gauges to tell you when it needs to be filled up.
          Or are you insinuating that this Doctor doesn’t know to look at them while driving around?
          Perhaps it is the case that you let your gas powered vehicle run out of fuel when you are out driving around, so expect everyone else to do the same?
          With the necessary qualifier, that everyone else doesn’t follow your example.

          • Impotent Wimps Drive Electric Cars.

    • Where is your proof of any lies?

      If you don’t have any, you have no credibility.

      • No product, no matter how wonderful, a product, has 100% great reviews. Never happens. Human Nature.

        • No one said anything about 100% great reviews.

          You have failed to show any proof of lies so you have no credibility.

          Your posts are incoherent.

        • CheekyBum
          This is not to you, but needs to be put here to be seen by others.
          To everyone else: this is just an opinion that you may disagree with but does nothing against site rules.
          So cut out the flagging, it is a waste of time to keep seeing this comment come up. If you disagree write a response or down vote it please.
          Thank you.

    • You do have to acknowledge that the Model S took JD Power’s title for the most loved car away from the Chevy Volt. Both cars beat out the Porche 911.

    • Did you really up vote your own bullshit comment?

    • OMG! Someone with a face that looks like a bum!! how unfortunate…

  • I hope he got the 85kWh battery:

    “Your vehicle’s Battery is covered under this Battery Limited Warranty for a
    period of 8 years or for the number of miles/km specified below for your
    Battery configuration, whichever comes first:
    • 60 kWh – 125,000 miles (200,000 km)
    • 85 kWh – unlimited miles/km”

  • What about repairs? What are the common repairs?

    • IIRC, bodywork is $$$$ if someone runs into your Tesla.

      • Yes, it looks like, per comments on their forum, that the aluminum body limits your potential repair shops and also is harder to work with than steel so a repair will be some amount higher.

        I see an article with a Tesla person saying their newer cheaper car will not use aluminum.

        “That’s according to Chris Porritt, Tesla’s Vice President of
        Engineering, who says that Tesla’s third-generation plug-in will be
        manufactured using “appropriate materials” for its price point and
        market segment”.

    • I’d be interested to know how many miles Tesla feels the electric motor can be expected to last, and can it be “rebuilt” at some point, or do you need a brand new one when the original gives out, and if so, what would the cost be.

      I see on the Tesla forum people talking about the motor having 400K lifetime but it don’t think that they were directly quoting the company literature.

      • This is just a guess, but I would suspect that the wear and tear on an electric motor would have similar results to the way you treat an ICE one.
        If you do a lot of of hard accelerations, and more high speed driving then it is going to wear out faster than an engine (motor) that is driven in a more reasonable way.
        On two of my ICE vehicles they have accumulated over 500,000 miles with just routine maintenance and reasonable treatment, with no major rebuilds or repairs that required dismantling the motor. (this is counting timing chain/belt as external repairs because they are outside of the main block and head)
        It would seem that the electric motors in the Tesla’s should be able to achieve something similar if not abused in their use. In my work experience there have been seen electric pump and compressor and elevator motors doing fine after 30-40 years of use,, the same should be possible with the motors in the Tesla’s as their use is intermittent not constant as in the case of those pump motors.

        • Eventually the bearings will wear out in the drive unit. That should take so long, that its almost not worth discussing. Commercial ac motors run for literally decades, in 24*7 operation, under worse situations, and worse cooling…

          • Yes you are right, I just added some qualifiers to my assertion to avoid disagreement with people unfamiliar with how good commercial electric motors have been for years.
            One of the older ones in my experience was a pool filter pump motor at an old YMCA, it had been running pretty much 24/7 for going on fifty years other than service checks once a year. It was pre sealed bearings even, so had a grease cup that needed topping off once a month. This was over thirty years ago, but if it has continued to be maintained it could be pushing eighty years now.

        • Timing belt replacement doesnt require engine dismantling Birdy.

          • Granted it is not true in all cases, but for the Toyota or Buick that I was referring to it wasn’t much of a problem.
            Unbolting an alternator or taking off some accessory belts to remove the cover and replace the chain or belt was easily accomplished in my driveway or under the shade tree as they used to say. There was no need to mess with the bearings, seals, or etc of the crank or camshaft, so no engine dismantle.
            Just now trying to think of how many cars or trucks that I have done this to for myself or friends makes me realize that I have lost count. But doing basic maintenance like this for close to fifty years has been one way that I have found of being able to afford to keep a vehicle on the road. Maybe not possible for everyone, but I think that if more people would just read through a repair manual they would find out just how easy a lot of this work is and save a lot of money in the long run.

      • So at some point the bearings will go out, but that doesn’t seem like a complicated rebuild. I think the big unknown (both in durability and expense) are the individual electric components and the battery.

  • I haven’t experienced “high cost of repairs”. I did not purchase the service contract and I have not paid for any service. Although I live 300 miles from the closest service center, they will send me a Ranger to my home for repairs. I got a warning that my 12V battery (which I didn’t know I had) needed service, but they said that I could drive it quite a distance, and that it was a very proactive warning. And I used it as an excuse to drive to a Ranger’s house which is in a large city to do some shopping while he worked on the car. Sure beats getting stuck somewhere with a dead battery!

  • Range reduction?

  • In the reference article to this one there was a comment about a twitter feed that he had now reached 130,000, I suspect that that is the same as the one you are linking.

  • Can’t get a Tesla just yet but have owned a Leaf for 10 months and my wife and I ‘fight’ over it. It’s such a pleasure to drive that I can only imagine the Tesla. Soon!

  • I would like to know how much the battery has degraded after 120,000 miles.

  • Would it be possible to create dynamic tires to decrease/increase rolling resistance? I was thinking about some kind of net you can put in the rubber so it can take different shapes and thus increase and decrease friction while driving.

  • Teslas: enabling wealthy people to feel smug, while over-consuming the world’s resources since 2009.

    • Replace Teslas with the names of ANY or all premium cars and the year 2009 with “over a century”

      • You are quite right. The difference is simply that many Tesla owners pretend to be environmentally conscious.

        • A lot of them ( and quite a few Leaf owners ) generate much of their own power. David Noland, a regular poster on GreenCarReports / HighGearMedia lives on a farm powered by small hydro

          A significant number of Model S owners traded up from Priuses, Highlanders and Siennas.


          • The Tesla (likewise with most luxury vehicles) have an incredible amount of embodied energy and resources. Compared to say, a bicycle, or even a well-used public transport system.

          • Home ownership has an incredible amount of embodied energy & resources, compared to apartment / condo dwelling.
            I’ve been living in apartments for several decades.
            And it’s been 10 years since I owned a car.

          • Yes, the least amount of embedded energy transportation would see us all walking everywhere.


            But in the real world people want to drive cars and most people want to drive the nicest car they can. If we can produce those cars in a sustainable manner and power them with renewable energy that should free us up to worry about other things.

          • We can’t produce all of these cars for everyone in the world in sustainable manner and that is the key point.

            As per MorinMoss’s, the car also encourages resources to be consumed in other ways – more land, all that energy that goes into making and maintaining an extensive road network, larger homes etc.

            Not everyone has the privilege, nor feels entitled to consume 10-100 times the amount of resources as the average person in the world.

          • Sure. But let’s not get on our soapboxes and ignore the real world. A lot of people are going to own and drive cars. We need to get them into the most sustainable cars possible.

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