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Tesla Model 3 pulls 35 miles of extra range after its LFP battery charge display drops to zero

Model 3 range can be underestimated (image: Bjorn Nyland/YouTube)
Model 3 range can be underestimated (image: Bjorn Nyland/YouTube)
Elon Musk says that Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y vehicles with iron phosphate LFP batteries can be safely charged to 100% and, in fact, it is even recommended for better range estimation. It seems that said range can be underestimated by tens of miles, too, as one Model 3 experiment showed.

More than half of Tesla's new vehicles now come with LFP batteries thanks to the bestselling Model 3 and Model Y. Those phosphate packs offer lower energy density and shorter ranges than their performance nickel-laden counterparts in the Model S/X. Elon Musk is on record saying that this is not that big of a deal as the LFP chemistry allows the battery to be charged to 100% with much less degradation potential than the more expensive nickel-cobalt units.

The main differences for you to consider are that the LFP battery has a slightly shorter range, 253 miles, as opposed to the NCA battery, 263 miles. But that slight difference in range is deceptive. The NCA battery probably shouldn't be charged to 100%. Fully charging the battery causes damage to the battery making it likely to deteriorate over the years of ownership. It's perfectly fine to charge the LFP battery to 100% so the driver experience is pretty much the same except for a couple caveats.

As if to put all those claims about phosphate batteries to real-life scrutiny, though, the one and only EV tester Bjorn Nyland decided to check how long could a new Model 3 last with a charging indicator displaying zero battery capacity "in the tank." He started driving with the indicator showing just 6.3 kWh left out of the Tesla's 60.6 kWh battery capacity, and in a fairly low temps weather at that.

After the car hit 0% juice on the indicator, he was able to push it further because his scanning tool showed 7 kWh more left, all until the Model 3 display started showing all sorts of low battery and damage warnings while shifting the car to neutral. He was able to drag the Tesla to a bus stop before it shut down, and calculated that the LFP-laden Model 3 went about 35 miles of extra range after the battery indicator showed 0% charge left.

Tesla advises that its cars with LFP batteries should be charged to a 100% at least once per week to calibrate them and avoid range misestimations like the ones that recently happened during a cold snap in Canada. "Until calibrated, displayed range may under or overestimate compared to distance driven," advises Tesla.

Moreover, Tesla frequently updates the battery chemistries in its newer models, depending on what it gets from its suppliers, even if the packs nominally use the same technology. Thus, this almost new Model 3 may have had a higher energy leftover threshold set straight from the factory, too, so your mileage may, literally, vary.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 10 > Tesla Model 3 pulls 35 miles of extra range after its LFP battery charge display drops to zero
Daniel Zlatev, 2022-10- 6 (Update: 2022-10- 6)