First Tesla Roadster range test in standard mode, July 9-July 12, 2014.

I was advised by the Service Center to have my wife do her normal drive and not plug the car in until about ten miles.

So, over the course of several days (from July 9th to July 12th) we did just that. Thank goodness we have OVMS, since I use that to let me know when the SOC has dropped to around 25% and have a good gauge of how much more driving we can do. I used to have it set at 50%, but decided to lower the threshhold since we’re not planning on plugging it in until it’s closer to ten (ideal) miles in standard driving mode. This was just a matter of sending a text message “FEATURE 9 25” to OVMS to configure the SMS Alert when the state of charge drops to 25%. OVMS will send a text back saying “Feature has been set.”

I created a log file to track what the miles would be overnight to see what sort of vampire loss the Roadster had in comparison to the Model S and was pleasantly surprised to see that the car lost 1% over the course of almost 1.64 days from the time I parked the car at home.

Date Park at Home Leave Home SOC CAC
July 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM 142 81% 145.73
July 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM 142 80% 145.74
July 11, 2014 at 9:10 PM 76 44% 145.66
July 12, 2014 at 11:41 AM 76 44% 145.66
July 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM 13 7% 145.66
July 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM 234V/40A 325 Minutes 5.416666667 hours
July 13, 2014 at 6:30 AM 175 97% 145.66


As you can see from the spreadsheet above, I actually had the car at the Service Center and back home the first day, July 9th. I parked the car around 6pm with 142 Ideal Miles of Range left and the car sat unplugged at home for a little over a day and a half, before my wife took the car out on Friday. Per OVMS readings, it had lost about 1% SOC (and no ideal miles). She drove the car for about 66 ideal miles (closer to 60 actual miles) and got home on Friday night with 76 ideal miles (and 44% SOC) of range left in the car.

Overnight, the car did not lose either ideal miles or % SOC and we drove off. Around 20 ideal miles left (and on the way home) on Saturday, we got the following error:


Though it mentions that power is limited, I was on the freeway, and the power seemed to be fine.

We finally plugged in with 13 ideal miles of range last night. Interesting, the rated range was down to 12 miles.



So, after 158.4 miles for the past few days, we recharged at standard mode.


7% SOC in Standard mode left, and the CAC values dropped to 145.66. We recharged overnight and ended up with 175 ideal miles at 6:30 AM. Basically, I checked the status when I woke up, and wrote it down. Because by the time I rolled out earlier today I already lost a mile of range. We will have to do this again for a few more times this next month, but that didn’t seem to have helped any. It’s going to be a long month.

Update on Tesla Roadster CAC and Ideal Miles testing

So, I started a new thread at on this issue which has helped me a lot on figuring out what I can and can’t see on the vehicle.

So, I’ve followed some of the advice and used VMSParser and the Tesla Graphical Log Parser (Tesla GLoP) to copy the logs down from the Roadster and see what values are generated from it. Aside from OVMS, my favorite telematics product, providing me with realtime statistics on the vehicle. I love the nearly six years of user experience that are the long-time Roadster owners/community. They’ve created tools such as the two log parsing programs to extract knowledge about the vehicle.

I posted a sample of the last month:

timestamp, brickahmin, brickahave, bricknumber
6/9/2014 14:29:11 143.26 148.67 74
6/10/2014 14:29:09 143.14 148.62 74
6/11/2014 14:29:11 142.8 148.39 74
6/12/2014 14:29:12 142.63 148.05 74
6/13/2014 14:29:11 142.4 147.7 74
6/14/2014 14:29:11 142.63 147.88 74
6/15/2014 14:29:11 142.69 147.88 74
6/16/2014 14:29:11 142.97 148.16 74
6/17/2014 14:29:12 142.92 148.27 74
6/18/2014 14:29:11 143.2 148.62 74
6/19/2014 14:29:12 143.03 148.22 74
6/20/2014 14:29:11 142.8 148.1 74
6/21/2014 14:29:11 142.46 147.76 74
6/22/2014 14:29:12 142.63 147.88 74
6/23/2014 14:29:12 142.8 147.99 74
6/24/2014 14:29:13 142.75 148.1 74
6/25/2014 14:29:13 142.52 147.76 74
6/26/2014 14:29:13 142.46 147.42 74
6/27/2014 14:29:13 142.57 147.19 74
6/28/2014 17:09:38 143.03 147.59 74
6/29/2014 17:09:38 142.8 147.08 54
6/30/2014 17:09:38 143.2 147.36 54
7/1/2014 17:09:36 143.37 147.65 54
7/2/2014 17:20:32 144.17 148.39 54
7/3/2014 17:20:32 145.03 148.67 54
7/4/2014 17:20:31 145.03 148.67 54
7/5/2014 17:20:31 145.14 148.79 54
7/6/2014 17:20:33 145.14 148.79 54
7/7/2014 17:20:33 145.31 148.9 54
7/8/2014 17:20:34 145.65 149.3 54

And was advised that if the last value does not change for a while that it could be the issue (a bad brick that is dragging the whole sheet down.). The fact that the brick has changed throughout the month, shows that I probably don’t have a single deficient brick. In the thread, Kevin Sharpe showed his Roadster log values and shows what a bad brick problem looks like.

Aside from the self-help stuff, one of the advantages of purchasing a Roadster under the Certified Pre-Owned program, is the access to the SC at no additional charge (for warranty issues). I was already scheduled to bring the car into service for an issue with fogging in the headlights, so I had them look into the loss of Ideal Miles and CAC values.

So, the Service Technician/Shop Foreman for the Southern California Service Center that I took my car too have provided the following plan of attack after they’ve looked at the car (and did the bleed test, updated the firmware (to support the >70A bug)) considering that our annual maintenance for the Roadster is upcoming.

Since my better half’s daily drive is approximately 60 miles a day, he suggested that we drive the vehicle in Standard Mode and run the car down to about 10 Ideal miles for at least three times over the next month and charge back up in Standard Mode. On those evenings that the car has NOT been driven down to the 10 Ideal miles, we were advised to park it, but do not plug it in overnight. I’d like to track the vampire loss for the vehicle as we do this.

During an extended period of non-use, the tech suggested that we plug in the Roadster using storage mode during that time.

After the month, and possibly during the annual maintenance, they’ll look at what happened to the pack after these tests.

I did see some improvement in minimum CAC values over the past week since I did my test on July 2nd and July 3rd… So, we’ll see. Will report here (as well as on

First Daily “Standard” charge after the weekend’s Range charge test

No pictures, ’cause I had to head to work quickly…

Step two of the Range Test Days and Tesla Roadster pack rebalancing that I was doing was to get to my first daily “standard” charge to see if it made a difference.

Following Michael Thwaite’s suggestion to maintain the charge (and not drain too low) we plugged in the Roadster on Saturday night with about 102 Ideal Miles on Storage mode.

On Sunday, drove the car out for some further errands, etc. and ended up home with 21% SOC/37 Ideal Miles/34 Rated Miles left (thanks to OVMS again).

This time, I plugged it in and performed a STANDARD charge starting at midnight… (a few hours earlier than I normally set the car to charge. To maximize the amount of 40A/240V charging that I will do at super-off-peak EV rates.

When I rolled out at 9am, the car had 174 Ideal Miles on it and the CAC values were at 145.44. It was a slight improvement to the 171 Ideal Miles that I observed last week, but definitely nothing to write home about.

I guess we’ll have to see if we can change my better half’s behavior and see if she can plug it in every other day so that we can drain the battery down 120 miles in two days of driving vs. the 60 miles a day that she normally charges under to see if that will do something to improve the CAC values and ideal miles after a full charge.

I cross posted questions on these tests to, so wanted to put the CAC values here –

Values from October 2013, when I first started to use OVMS.
Standard – Charging Done SOC: 96% Ideal Range: 183 mi Est. Range: 173 mi ODO: 3,578.8 mi CAC: 154.38

Values from today overnight charged in Standard mode and 174 miles (the CAC value is the same from the evening before it started to charge.) (unfortunately after my wife drove about 30 miles)

Not charging SOC: 82% Ideal Range: 147 mi Est. Range: 144 mi ODO: 10,901.2 mi CAC: 145.44.

Rebalancing the Telsa Roadster battery pack

One of the things that one should be concerned with when buying a used Electric Vehicle is battery health. We were confident with purchasing our 2008 Signature 100 Tesla Roadster from Tesla Motors because they warranted the vehicle for 37 months or 37,000 miles, whichever comes first. Additionally, the vehicle we purchased only had 2,220 miles when we bought it, so it would seem that the previous owner took good care of the vehicle. When we first picked up the car, its daily charge was around 185-186 miles. At the actual day that we picked it up, we range charged it for the first time the numbers were closer to 240 miles (don’t remember exactly what it was)

However, since September 2013, the car’s daily range has gone down to around 172 ideal miles. That’s about a 7.5% drop in ideal miles since we acquired the vehicle. Understanding that a 2008 vehicle isn’t that new and I should expect some loss, the question is how much loss is acceptable for something that has a warranty. Is the loss even real? There have been reports to indicate that a Tesla Roadster’s algorithm for range calculation isn’t very good.

Apparently an approximately 60 mile daily roundtrip is too short and could also lead to an “artificial” loss of range. So, I’m unsure whether there is a real loss or whether it is unreal.

To combat this challenge, I’ve looked at some sources to see what I can do to rebalance the pack. The first method I tried to do was several months ago at Having followed the process gained a few miles temporarily, but the decline still occurred. So, this week, I figured to go ahead and see what else I can do.

I spoke with some of the Tesla Service Advisors and I was told by one of the advisors who uses a Roadster to try something different. Range charge and drain the battery down to at least 30% SOC and then do another range charge. Then repeat. So, the pictures will be what I’ve done on July 2nd and July 3rd.

So, my first range charge was done from the evening of July 1st to July 2nd. Started at 219 miles of range and decided to do a long drive to the desert.


Here is the car with the top-down. After all, it’s the summer in Southern California.


So, after 165.5 miles of driving, I encountered the following error:


Now, I’m not sure if the second half of my drive was in Range Mode or Standard mode, but I did drain the battery, so I miscalculated and ended up back home at 10% SOC.


Range was estimated at zero, because it couldn’t calculate things, luckily I use OVMS, and that told me that I had 10% SOC left. So, I wasn’t nervous.

So, after the first day, I charged the car all the way back in Range Mode and got the following the next day:


That’s 222 ideal miles and 201 rated miles. Ideal miles are based on the ideal 55mph in flat terrain vs what I actually drove the previous drive. Granted, another reason I had really low range was because I was “inspired” to drive a little faster than the speed limit for quite some distance.

So, in day two, I tried to drive with a lot more restraint, and after 162.2 miles of driving, I decided to go home.


Using OVMS, I could see that I still had 16% SOC left and a rating of 38 ideal miles left.


So, did that do it? Well, day two ended, and this morning, I saw that the car charged at 222 ideal miles again. The CAC values was higher than before the test, but not much more. So, I guess we’ll have to see what happens after the Fourth of July Holiday weekend.

To see if the theory that charging the car less will help, the next trick is to drive the car down before plugging it in rather than plugging the car in on a daily basis. This would also mean we’ll have to pay attention to any vampire drain and plug in the vehicle as soon as it needs it. Fingers crossed, hope that works. In the meantime, Tesla’s downloaded the logs, and if they see something there, then we get it fixed or validated. The Service Center guys were talking a bleed test, so, who knows. Either way, 172 miles daily range is still almost double what we got from the Active E.

And lastly, it does help to drive conservatively to get closer to ideal range than driving with a heavy foot… But it’s a Tesla Roadster for crying out loud, it just screams to be driven with a lot of speed, especially when the top is down in beautiful weather.

Comparing the Active E, Model S, and the Roadster, a deep dive from an owner (Electronaut in the case of the Active E)

Almost ALL EVs are fun to drive. You can’t say the same for all ICE (gas) cars.

However, there is obviously a pecking order and this is obviously one man’s opinion (and ONLY one man’s opinion, I’m sure that my better half will have her own opinion of all three vehicles). The models being compared are a 2008 Tesla Roadster 1.5, 2011 BMW Active E, 2013 Tesla Model S S85 (firmware as of today’s publication February 2014 v5.8.4 (1.49.57)).

However, I found one of the best analogies of the differences between driving a Model S and a Roadster through a Retweet by J-C St-Pô

So… What does that make the Active E… I would put that closer to a Tie Fighter. Needs a Star Destroyer or Death Star to get from place to place and no long range flight or warp capabilities.

Aside from the SF analogies, how do we compare three vehicles that continue to be near and dear to my heart.

Let’s look at the three vehicles in eight categories. Range, Speed, Maneuverability, Telematics, Infotainment, Integration with Work, EV Efficiency, and Cost.


With just the raw range, the Model S is the hands down winner for this category as the expansion of the Supercharger Network and the speed with which one can recharge at these Supercharger stations makes it a moot point, for long distance charging. Living thirty miles from the Hawthorne Superchargers makes this a potential refill before topping off at home for the fastest recharge of the 265 miles that the Model S can go. At home I have NEMA 14-50 and 6-50 outlets that provide me with 40 Amp charging for either the Model S and the Roadster and the car can turn around quick enough to make range a non issue.

The Roadster with its 170+ miles of range is also rather easy to fill up. Living near several Tesla Stores and Service Centers that still have the 70A Roadster High Power Wall Chargers (HPWC) give me the public option to top off rather quickly. Furthermore the NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 6-50 outlets at home will let me recover faster than my 30A J1772 EVSE from Chargepoint.

So, the Active E must be the loser in the range battle, right. Well, not really, with a 240V plug at both ends of a daily commute, living in Southern California with ready access to many public J1772 stations, the Active E is a solid contender for this title for traveling within the Los Angeles Basin. I have done several 140 mile days with no real problem and even a few 300+ mile days.

Though the Model S is the clear winner, the other two vehicles do a decent showing in my garage. As I’ve said about the Active E in the early days of “ownership”. The range of the Active E is unlimited, as long as you have access to electricity AND the time to wait for it to recharge.

The Model S has 3 points, Roadster with 2 points, and the Active E with a point.


Well, how do we measure speed? Top Speed? 0-60 MPH (0-100 KPH)? Yes and Yes.

So, the Roadster is built for speed and though the P85+ will challenge the Roadster, our S85 is NOT a P85 or P85+. The Active E is quicker than MANY vehicles on the road, but not as fast as either the Roadster and S85.

So, Roadster 3 points, Model S 2 points, and Active E has a point.


Maneuverability is a function of size and handling. The Model S is a great car. It’s just too big for me. It’s nimble and everything, but, so are both the other two cars. The Roadster is small, nimble, and quick. But it’s tiny and hard to see. It makes driving the Roadster harder to drive day-to-day. The Active E is just right. It’s quick. small, but easy to see and spot.

When driving in traffic, the Active E is the best one of the three. The Roadster is in the middle and the Model S is in last place.

So, Active E 3 points, Roadster 2 points, and Model S has a point.


The Telematics of the vehicles become a more complicated calculation because the Roadster, as originally equipped had no Telematics. However, thanks to our friends at and the development of OVMS, the Roadster is comparable to other modern EVs. You can read my original post on telematics to compare the Active E, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Roadster. So, how do we score the Roadster. It’s my blog and post, so I say that we rate the Roadster WITH OVMS as that’s the only way to really get the most out of this category for the car.

Telematics on the Roadster equipped with OVMS is top-notch. Once configured properly and the correct SIM card plan is purchased from AT&T, it works great, however, it costs $100 a year to keep the service going. The Active E included the Telematics for the entire two year program and the Model S has yet to determine whether Tesla will begin to charge for that.

The Active E has had its problems with the iOS My BMW Remote App in the past and just recently took out support on iPads. (Now, the car is going back to BMW NA on the 23rd, so I can forgive them for that.)

The Model S has an API that has allowed folks to control the car better with the VisibleTesla project (as well as the github for it here) and the GlassTesla App for the Google Glass that pretty much gives the Model S owner multiple avenues to control and view the status of the vehicle.

This is a hard one for me to score as it is such a critical feature for the car and one of the Telematics feature that I often use has been the SEND TO CAR feature that Google Maps supports. The big car manufacturers have allowed end users to send a destination to their vehicle. Tesla does not currently support this, but all current BMWs with BMW Assist have access to this and therefore the Active E has this capability as well. However, the new version of Maps has this feature currently disabled, so it’s a non-issue.

Here is a picture of the Active E receiving destinations from Google Maps
Upper San Gabriel Valley-20140211-00319

All three iOS versions of the Telematics Application overlays the vehicle location on a map. Both OVMS and Tesla’s Model S will show you the vehicle location anywhere that you have Internet access. The Active E application limits one to view the location of the vehicle when you are about a mile away from the vehicle. Once you are further, the vehicle will not be displayed on a map. This deficiency is a drag on the capability of the Active E Telematics.

The preconditioning controls and remote charge start/stop of the Active E is better than either of the iOS versions of the Tesla Controls. However, the Roadster can be configured to chargestart and the like via SMS and the Model S can be schedule charged using the VisibleTesla application. The Active E allows one to schedule a delayed charge start as well as start to precondition the car. The difference in Active E preconditioning from Tesla Model S preconditioning is the Active E one actually warms up (or cools down) the battery to ensure that it gets to an ideal temperature and then takes care of the cabin. Whereas the Model S one just takes care of the cabin. The Roadster does not allow for either preconditioning cases,since I live in mostly ideal weather part of the country, where it is rarely too cold or too hot, it’s a non issue. One of the drawbacks to the Active E is its lack of community support it for App development, so in totum, it’s a wash.

So, as configured, Roadster 3 points, Model S 2 points, Active E 1 point.


With the big touch screen we should just hand the Model S the top score.

Not so fast. One thing that we can count on is the fact that the Roadster does hold the bottom part of this section. How could the Active E score better than the Model S in THIS section?

1) iPod integration.

The Active E has one USB port, the Model S has two USB ports, and the Roadster has a solo iPod 15 PIN connector. The Model S port only allows for music to be played on a USB drive on it OR use the port to charge an iPod/iPhone on either USB port. The Active E port can read music from a USB Drive or support an iOS device to play from its directories. Playlists and everything. The Roadster will allow an iOS device to play, but it will not support charging a modern 15 pin device. Score one for the Active E.

2) Auxiliary port connection.

If you don’t have an iPod or music on a USB drive, can you connect any audio device via an analog connection. Both the Model S and Roadster is a no. However, the Active E includes that in its package. This means that you can even bring a cassette player in the car… Not that I ever did, but I could have.

3) Sirius Radio.

The Model S can get Sirius XM on it. However, you have to spend $2,500 to have the capability added to your build. (This is a $1,550 increase over the original price for the package). Both the Roadster and Active E have this built in and works just fine.

Am I just ignoring all the cool Internet Radio things that the Model S has? Not really, I just feel that all that cool Internet Radio gets eliminated by the practically nonfunctional AM Radio in the vehicle. I live in a major metropolitan area and like to listen to AM Radio for my Local Sports Talk and when the Lakers are playing. That station AM 710 KSPN Los Angeles does have a streaming feed that works fine for talk radio. However, because of their licensing, they do NOT broadcast the Laker game. Granted the Lakers have not been playing well this season. But it still is content that I wish to receive that I have difficulty doing so on the Model S. Additionally, we’ve been living under the threat of losing the cool Internet Radio stuff, so don’t really feel like counting on that.

So, surprisingly, the Active E takes the lead here and the Model S takes the second spot with the Roadster third.

Integration with Work

This is a funny section for most people that are comparing vehicles, but when you drive as I do and commute as far as I do, it is important that I am able to conduct business calls, etc. while I drive. A critical first feature to this integration is Bluetooth.

All three cars can connect to a bluetooth source and play music from a bluetooth source. Both Teslas can only connect and stream to one bluetooth device, whereas the Active E can have MULTIPLE bluetooth devices connected to the car. A primary and secondary telephone as well as identify one of these sources for bluetooth audio streaming. When using Siri on an iPhone 4s, the audio will play through the vehicle. I don’t have that happening on either Tesla. Granted, I may not be doing this correctly on the Model S, in which case the Model S still fails BECAUSE of the requirement to only connect one device at a time via bluetooth, instead of having a standby device be recognized and paired. Therefore, on a long commute, when I need to make a call, there is a delay for me to get back to my entertainment when my call disconnects. Especially since I may be streaming my iPod through the same connection that I am making calls with it.

Here is the Active E set up to connect to two bluetooth devices at the same time.
East San Gabriel Valley-20140211-00308

The BMW allows me to see my text messages, emails, and service messages on the screen while I drive. Additionally, I can have the vehicle read these out loud for me.

Emails on the BMW Active E

Granted, the Model S does have that large browser on the screen, but it really isn’t safe to load Outlook Web Access while driving.

Internet access is obviously much better on the Model S, but the Active E is no slouch either. The Model S Internet is currently free, but this is under threat of changing “any time” so, the Active E can hold its own under these conditions.

Internet Apps on the Active E

Reading the news on the Active E
East San Gabriel Valley-20140211-00312

And on a last note, bluetooth audio calls are best on the Active E, not so great on the Model S, and downright poor on the Roadster, which is also how I ranked them on this section.

EV Efficiency

How do I measure EV efficiency? Vampire Drain and how well the car does sitting idly and plugged in waiting for me to drive. My driving style isn’t the most Eco Friendly in the world, but I’ve been able to sustain 4.1 Miles per kwh (or 244 Wh per mile) for a 50 mile commute on the Active E and yet to do that on either Tesla. The Model S is just too heavy and the Roadster is too fun. So, Active E on top, Roadster in the middle, and Model S at the bottom. Though it was a tough one between the Roadster and the Model S as the Roadster sounds like a racket and quite inefficient when it is charging itself and the energy losses when it is parked is greater than any vampire drain for the Model S (and I’m currently on 5.8)


This is an unfair competition as we received our gently used Roadster as part of Tesla’s Certified Pre-Owned program and with the 37,000 mile and 37 month warranty that goes with it it makes the Roadster the hands down winner in the cost department. The Active E with the unlimited mileage lease could have taken the lead, but I discounted it because it is a lease. The Model S was definitely the most expensive of the three vehicles to own and operate… Though after three years, perhaps the Roadster would be more expensive. We shall see.


If we tally up the points, the Model S is at the bottom with fourteen points and we have the Active E and Roadster tied at seventeen points each. How do I pick a winner?

That’s easy… It’s me… I get to choose which car to drive depending on what I’m doing that day (unless it’s the Roadster, in which case, I have to borrow it from the better half.)

Seriously, the three points that the Model S is deficient in can easily be fixed with a Software Update after the 5.8 that it currently has in firmware. A software patch can be sent out to that vehicle to give it better Bluetooth handling or be able to read the file system of a connected iPod to the USB port. These sort of things can easily bridge the three point gap between itself AND either the Active E or the Roadster. That’s what makes the Model S amazing.

I’ve already voted for these vehicles with my pocket book. We’ve purchased the two Teslas and committed to the Active E for the two years that we’ve been fortunate enough to lease it.

Now, if only Tesla added coat hooks to these vehicles, they would be perfect.