Electric vehicle owners may at some point be faced with having to drive with very low state of charge, even beyond the point where the battery charge percentage drops to zero percent. Not all EVs react the same when you do this, although it is known that Teslas are still safe to drive with very low state of charge, because they don’t limit power as drastically as some other cars.
We do this in all our 70 mph range tests to not only show you how for a certain EV will go on one charge, but also what it does when it says it’s about to run out. Recently, we tried out the Volvo XC40 Recharge and it really started cutting the power when the state of charge dropped to single digits.
Teslas don’t do this, and you can maintain highway speeds even as state of charge approaches zero, as Richard Symons from RSymons RSEV discovered when he performed a side-by-side full to 0 percent range test in a Model Y and a Model 3. The test was carried out in the UK, with temperatures of around 13°C (55°F) and the two vehicles were driven mostly on dual carriageways where the speed limit is 70 mph.
They drove the two Teslas as they would in normal everyday driving, not trying any efficient driving techniques, and they even swapped drivers to try to cancel out any possible advantage. Richard was back in the Model Y to drive as it gave its last electrons, and as we discovered in our own testing, it only started really limiting power after 0 percent state of charge was displayed.
The Model Y stopped after 289 miles covered and 76 kWh used, while the Model 3 covered 293 miles on 69 kWh, and unlike the Y, it actually reached a charging point. Towards the end of the video, Richard also goes over the Model Y’s charging curve from nearly dead all the way back to full.