A Tale of Two Drives

One of the things I haven’t thought about much with my Tesla is range anxiety, even in winter. However, I recently had two almost identical trips with vastly different temperatures. This post looks at what I learned.

This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.

The First Drive

In early April I took a day off to go skiing. I used to do this often based on weather, picking sunny and cool days. However, in 2023 I’m more schedule driven. I had to do this particular day because I had the free time.

I woke up and it was about 12F outside. The forecast for Keystone for the day was a low of 1F and a high of 41F. A wild day, so I set out from home. I’d charged the car to 90% the night before, which was a failure on my part. The car had been set to 90, and I had meant to change this to 98, but forgot.

I drove up, stopping a few times for coffee, food, and the restroom. I arrived at the resort parking lot with 35% charge left. It was 7F, and I was a little worried about skiing, but I assumed it would warm up. This also meant I’d used 55% of my charge getting up to the mountain.

It was a nice day, and I enjoyed skiing, leaving around noon. At this point it had warmed up to 34F. I actually showed 36% on the battery driving home. When I mapped going home, the car recommended a charging stop in Idaho Springs for about 5 minutes. Since I planned on lunch from Beau Jos, that was fine.

I parked, walked to the gas station to get a soda and then picked up my pizza. I charged for about 12 minutes, getting 27kW added. More than I needed. I arrived home with 37% left. With all the stops, I ended up going 221.4 miles on 91% charge.

Possibly I could have made it on a single charge.

A Spring Ski Day

A few weeks later, I went again. This time it was around 50F when I left home. I arrived at the resort, where it was about 25F, but warming quickly.

This time I’d charged to 96% the night before. I got to the parking lot with 49% left. Around 47% used. When I left for home, same lunch stop but not charging, I felt comfortable. I pulled into the garage with 22% left on an 80F day near my house. This trip was 217.7 miles.


There is a huge difference between a 30-40F day skiing and a 10-20F one. The car definitely loses some range in the cold. It’s worth paying a little attention here, but I probably could have avoided Super Charging, or at least done less, if I had charged more at home before the first trip.

In terms of comparison, the drives up were roughly the same, same stops. I used 55% in extreme cold and 47% in cool weather. 8% difference here.

The drives back had a few different stops as I ran different errands, but 36% returning from the mountains in the cold. In warmer temps, it was 38%. One thing to note is that the return trip in the cooler weather was more like the going up in warmer weather. Coming home the second time the AC ran a bit.

I got this car because it had the range that I thought would let me day ski without an inconvenient charging time on the way home. I don’t know other EVs would do that, but with the Tesla Superchargers in Idaho Springs, Silverthorne, and Park Meadows on my journey, I had some leeway to stop quickly. Even in cold weather, and skiing in 15F weather is rare for me, I likely could have made this without stopping.

However, life is life. Sometimes things don’t go your way. The charging stop wasn’t inconvenient at all since I needed a restroom and lunch. I actually got the notification from the car it was charged enough while walking to get my lunch.

EVs are interesting, and they have a different paradigm. I have ceased thinking about range almost all the time, but I do plan differently than I do with ICE cars.

About way0utwest

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