What Happens if Your Tesla Runs Out of Battery?

Tesla has revolutionized the world of transport with its futuristic concepts and technology. It has allowed the world to travel with significantly lesser carbon emissions and lower running costs.

The battery is the heart of any electric vehicle. You won’t be able to do much with your Tesla if it doesn’t have a properly performing or charged battery.

Hence, it is critical to keep an eye on your Tesla’s battery charge and ensure proper battery maintenance.

What Happens if Your Tesla Runs Out of Battery?

Any battery-powered appliance or vehicle needs proper recharge to keep running efficiently. Since a Tesla is an electric vehicle, it is not unusual for it run out of battery charge.

A Tesla’s battery could run out due to many reasons. If you continue to drive without keeping an eye o your battery charging, chances of it running out during your commute are high.

This could also happen if the system that allows you to view your Tesla’s battery level malfunctions. A broken display LCD screen or wiring damage could cause this to happen.

Moreover, if your Tesla’s battery sustains damage in an accident, its battery liquid could leak. As a result, the battery damage would lead to a quick discharge.

Furthermore, the overall battery range might drop due to the Tesla or battery being mishandled. This drop would lead to less charge being stored, and hence, the battery would run out earlier.

Your Tesla running out of battery charge midway through a trip can be more complicated than when a regular car runs out of fuel. This is because, unlike in a regular gas-run car, one can go and get fuel.

The best way to deal with such situations is to remain calm and be informed regarding your options.

what happens if your tesla runs out of battery power
what happens if your tesla runs out of battery power

1. Check Your Battery Level

Any Tesla driver should always keep an eye on their battery’s charging levels. The driver can view the battery level on the top left corner of the Tesla display screen.

If the battery symbol is green, the Tesla has sufficient charging. However, a red battery indicator means that the battery is about to die.

Tesla has an inbuilt system that notify you regarding your battery situation. This means that your display screen would inform you when your battery power is getting low.

Moreover, the display screen system would automatically help locate and suggest nearby charging stations. These inbuilt systems ensure that the chances of your Tesla battery running out stay rare.

However, if you fail to pay attention to the display screen, lower your speed and park your Tesla. Now, you can move on to your charging options.

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2. Locate a Charging Source Nearby

If your Tesla battery still manages to run out, try to locate a charging source. If your Tesla is at home, you can simply plug it into a charging source.

If you are driving your Tesla into town, you can ask somebody else with a Tesla for him/her. The friend could let your charge your Tesla from their personal charging source.

When you are far from home and have no friends around, try locating a public charging station. Your Tesla still has almost ten to twenty miles even after the range shows zero.

Hence, instead of continuing your journey, find a charging station. These stations have fast DC charging, which allows your Tesla to be fully charged in little time.

When looking for a charging station, try to keep your speed low. Driving at high speeds would discharge the remaining battery life too quickly.

Tesla has almost a thousand supercharging stations in the US alone. However, at times even the closest charging stations could be too far due to your low or discharged battery.

Read What is Tesla Destination Charging?

3. Call Roadside Assistance Service 

If you are unable to locate a charging station nearby, call roadside assistance service. The service people would come to the location you’re stranded in.

They can then easily tow your Tesla to the nearest charging station. If there are no public supercharging stations nearby, the service will help transport your Tesla back home.

Then you can simply put your Tesla on your at-home charging source.

You should request the roadside service to bring a flatbed for damage-free transportation. This is so because towing your Tesla could cause severe damage to its traction motors. Whereas, transporting it on a flatbed could avoid this damage.

Remember to put our Tesla into ‘transport mode’ for easy transportation.

4. Call a Mobile Charging Service

Mobile charging services are a recent introduction. This service allows you to bring the charging station to you.

The mobile charging service would charge your Tesla easily. This would help save the time and effort you would have to spend to get to a charging station. However, since this service is new and seldom provided, it could be a costly charging option.

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5. Try Jump Starting Your Tesla

Your Tesla vehicle comes with two batteries. The bigger battery is used to power the motor and allows your Tesla to move. The smaller 12V battery is for powering the headlights, display screens, wipers, etc.

In case your battery has died, and you have no means of recharging, you can attempt to jump-start it. If the 12V battery has enough charge, it could be used for this purpose.

However, you should only use this for an emergency situation. Moreover, do not use this method to jump-start someone else’s Tesla. Doing so could damage your Tesla’s battery and electric components.

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How Long Will an AverageTesla Battery Last?

Getting started with no battery charge can cause anyone to panic. Hence, being knowledgeable and informed regarding your Tesla’s battery life is essential.

The battery life shows the duration of how long a Tesla battery can go before needing a recharge.

Battery life is most commonly measured in range (miles). The range depicts the particular Tesla’s battery life per charge.

In the USA, an averageTesla battery lasts for almost 336 miles on one charge. If you’re looking at it in terms of years, the battery life can go up to 35-39 years.

However, there are a few factors impacting your Tesla’s battery. These include:

What happens if your Tesla runs out of battery
What happens if your Tesla runs out of battery

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The Tesla Model You Have

Every Tesla model comes with its own type of battery, which has different chemical composition. Different chemical compositions can offer different battery ranges.

The battery of your Tesla could be:

  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Nickel-cobalt battery
  • Lead acid battery

Lithium-ion batteries have the latest battery technology and offer the highest ranges. Its chemistry allows more charge to store and encourages efficient usage.

The Tesla Model S, which has a lithium-ion battery, has a range of 752miles per charge. This is one of the highest ranges offered in an electric car.

However, lithium-ion batteries are far more sensitive to extreme conditions and can get damaged.

Hence, Tesla still used lead-acid batteries in some heavy-weight vehicles. Lead-acid batteries may offer lower lifespans and lower ranges but are less sensitive.

Moreover, different batteries have different sizes, capacities, and hence different ranges. The bigger a Tesla battery, the higher it’s capacity and range. Consequently, its battery life per charge is also higher.

The table below shows different Tesla models and their batteries’ capacities and ranges. The range shows the battery life per charge.

Tesla ModelBattery Capacity (kWh)Range (miles)
Model S 60D60242
Model S 70D70274
Model S Standard Range80280
Model S 90D90335
Model S 100D100395
Model S Long Range100405

Your Driving Practices

Your driving practices have a direct effect on your Tesla’s battery range. Poor driving methods lower battery life. Similarly, certain driving practices can improve range and extend your battery’s lifespan.

The battery life of your Tesla battery would depend on the factors elaborated below. 

Total Weight

A Tesla carrying high weight due to excessive passengers or heavy luggage would put its battery under stress, which decreases its range even more.

As a result, the total battery life would be reduced.

Driving Route

Most recent Tesla cars now come with lithium-ion batteries. These batteries heat up quickly when going uphill for prolonged periods.

Routes with many slopes will cause the range to drop and the battery to die quickly.

Frequent driving on such routes will severely damage and decrease the battery’s lifespan.

Accelerating for Prolonged Periods

Any vehicle will get worn out before time if the driver frequently accelerates for prolonged periods.

High speeds and continuously changing acceleration put increased pressure on the Tesla battery. This pressure causes the battery to get used up quickly.

As a result, your Tesla would not make it too far without additional recharging.

Short Trips and Frequent Brakes

Restarting your battery multiple times due to short trips is a bad practice. Each time you restart your Tesla, more battery charge gets used up.

Moreover, frequent braking also adds pressure and stress to the battery. Consequently, both these actions lead to reduced battery range and a decreased battery life.

Extreme Conditions

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized all battery-run appliances, including electric bikes and cars. However, their sensitivity to temperature is a big problem EV owners face.

Driving on a cold battery without pre-warm-up could affect the range and battery life. In order to learn how to save battery life during extremely cold weather, click here.

Similarly, driving the car with an overheated battery without allowing it to cool down will also kill its battery life.

Apart from the heat and the cold, humidity also affects the battery life per charge. It is especially affected during rain spells as the humidity in the atmosphere is quite high.

The moisture can cause some battery connections to corrode. As a result, the battery may get damaged and lose its charge storing abilities.

Moreover, driving against the strong winds will also deplete the battery’s power more quickly.

Your Tesla Battery Care

Caring for your Tesla battery is critical as repair and replacement are not easy to afford. You especially have to be particular about your Tesla battery’s charging routine along with the charging source you’re using frequently.

Read How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Hold its Charge?

Charging and Discharging

Every time your Tesla battery gets fully discharged, its total capacity decreases. As a result, the total battery life/charge and battery lifespan is reduced.

Like all other lithium-ion-powered electronic devices, Tesla also has an ideal charging range. Charging beyond or below this charging range negatively affects the battery life.

Elon Musk encourages Tesla owners to maintain a charging range between 20%-90%.

Moreover, leaving the battery discharged for prolonged periods reduces the total battery life. If one has to store their battery, they must charge it first.

Charging Source Options

A Tesla vehicle comes with three main charging options:

  • The NEMA 5-15, 120 volts
  • The NEMA 14-50, 240 volts
  • The wall connector, 480 volts

Other than these three, Tesla offers two other independent charging options:

  • Supercharging stations
  • Self-installed solar charging system

Every charging option has its own particular voltage reading.

Experts advise Tesla owners to use a slow, low voltage charging source. Although it will increase the charging time, it will positively affect the battery’s range and life.

Using high-voltage DC supercharging stations would use less time, but will damage the battery’s range and life.

Charging During Extreme Temperatures

As explained above, lithium-ion Tesla batteries are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Hence, charging the battery while the battery’s temperature is too high or low is highly discouraged.

The battery should be allowed to warm up or cool down before it is plugged into a charging source.

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Final Thoughts

Tesla technology is designed to ensure its owners come across no issues or hurdles. Its built-in screen display allows the driver to remain informed regarding necessary battery updates.

These updates may include total battery charge, charging advice, and locations of nearby charging stations. Hence, it is rare you will remain unaware of a malfunctioning Tesla battery.

However, if your Tesla somehow runs out of battery charge, you have some options. You can try to locate a nearby station or call for roadside assistance service.

If you are lucky, roadside assistance service might be able to provide you with mobile charging. If no help is available, you can try to jump-start your Tesla with its second 12V battery. In order to locate your nearest Tesla supercharging station, click here.