At a recent National Drive Electric Day, I met one of the most efficient Tesla Model S drivers in the world, according to his findings as an active member on Tesla forums and highly engaged in the EV enthusiast community. Even though Henrik bought the performance Tesla Model S P85, he is one of the most efficient Tesla drivers out there. Not all Tesla drivers are speed demons. Tesla offers the safest cars in the world, and the most efficient long-range cars (the only long-range fully electric cars until the Chevy Bolt arrives). Tesla’s vehicles are also technologically satisfying for the world’s premier tech enthusiasts.
Henrik and I got to know each other as EV enthusiasts simply comparing our knowledge and feelings about driving EVs. I talked about how I build sometimes 5 trees driving in ECO mode in the Nissan LEAF. The 2015 Leaf has an EPA-rated range of 84 miles, but I have had 120 miles at times in city traffic or coasting down a lonesome highway between small Florida towns.
We are not that different in our approaches, but I was happy to learn more energy efficient driving techniques from Henrik.
“Other than one person in Texas and one is Georgia, I have not found anyone lower than me in watts per mile,” Henrik tells me. “It is possible that people are not publishing it. I have only found two people lower than me.”
“Occasionally I accelerate hard to play,” Henrik notes, but quickly adds that he is more into efficiency. “Most of the time I am driving slower because it is more fun.”
I ask for more details and he explains various efficient driving methods:
- Sometimes rolling the windows down, no AC.
- Sometimes I do 61 instead of 65 and 70. When driving slower, I actively get out of people’s way — either left or right.
- No acceleration is much more gentle driving because that is more interesting.
- And the biggest one is: What do you think is more efficient — regen or coasting? Lift throttle on the car or —. It is more efficient to put the car in neutral and roll — coasting — using the mass of the car to roll. I put the Tesla in neutral on the top of a bridge and the hill will get me downwards acceleration.
- It is more efficient to use mass going down the hill than using regen because regen is only 30–50% efficient.
- Coasting is more like using 70–80%. If there is heavy traffic, do not do it.
- More advice — safe distance ‘drafting.’ Find a truck or another person driving slow, get behind him, and let the blame for driving slower go on him.By the way, if drafting, you should not follow too closely. But you can be 5–6 car lengths behind a vehicle and still benefit from his air pushing. When people talk about drafting, generally it is because you are too close. This is not that. It is further back, but I still benefit. I know because I watch my power usage drop when I am behind a large vehicle.
- Predictive driving. Know your traffic. Sometimes at 45 miles an hour, you will stop at that light. If you go 30, you will go through it. Or if I can not make it, and I see 5–4–3 … I am already in neutral and slowing down, saving energy. I see people accelerate past me if I am going a bit slower only to notice them waste gas/energy to get to the same light as I do faster.
- Using more brakes and more fuel. Its costs for both. But the sad part is 98% of the people are driving that way. Now if there is a lot of traffic, it is safer to drive with the others and not get a lot of looks. You do not want to be that guy slowing everyone down.
- Tesla Range Calculator Highlights Impact of Temperature, Speed, Wheels
- Tesla Model S 90D Rated 302 Mile Range By EPA