How Two Tesla Model 3 Fans Drove 606 Miles to Set a 'Hypermile' Record


Two electric vehicle fans just set a big Tesla Model 3 record. Sean Mitchell, president of Denver Tesla Club, revealed on Sunday that himself and owner Erik Strait had officially traveled 606.2 miles on a single charge over the course of 32 hours — even though the long-range edition of the vehicle is only rated for a distance of 310 miles.

“I think I have a hypermile hangover,” Mitchell tells Inverse, referring to the practice of driving as energy-efficiently as possible. “On a serious note, it’s a small but cool accomplishment.”

The trip, which received praise from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest distance in a production electric vehicle on a single charge. The chosen route was a mile-long loop near the Denver supercharger. The pair battled temperatures of up to 108 degrees with no air conditioning just to squeeze every last drop of juice out of the battery. With no time to stop for food, Mitchell resorted to imaginative methods to literally grab lunch:

Boulder-based Wunder Capital told Denver Post that the solar energy funding firm had provided “several thousand dollars” to cover record submission and expenses. also sponsored the record.

Mitchell used three tips to complete his record, useful advice for any electric vehicle owners:

  • Elevation Change. Elevation can have a deceptively large effect on battery life. For the chosen route, the car only changed elevation by around 10 feet throughout the whole course. “My first hypermile attempt in the Model 3 did not go nearly as well as this last one because I chose [a] route that had hills,” Mitchell says. “What goes down, must go up.”
  • Speed. The pair drove their car between 22 and 30 mph, moving slower in curves and 30 mph in the straightaways. Lower speeds use less energy to shift the car.
  • Tire Pressure. While Tesla recommends a pressure of 42 PSI, the pair pumped their tires to the maximum recommended pressure of 50 PSI. This enabled minimal rolling resistance while staying within the safe limits of the tire.

Unfortunately, the pair fell slightly short of the 669.83 miles set by Tesla Owners Italia in August 2017 using a Model S 100D. However, it’s believed to be a new record for the Tesla Model 3, and a marked improvement over Mitchell’s previous run earlier this month that racked up just 515.7 miles.

The pair next to their car.

Seam Mitchell

The experience left Mitchell impressed by the company’s newest car, which entered production in July 2017 as a cheaper alternative to the Model S sedan.

“I hope that a few more people give the Model 3 a look after hearing about our record,” Mitchell says. “It’s a really fantastic car. I’m impressed at how well designed it is.”

There were some slight quirks with the trip. Mitchell noted that the car achieved 110 watt-hours per mile and consumed 66 kilowatt-hours of energy, which is significantly less than the 75 kilowatt-hour capacity of the battery. The pair also had to get their Model 3 towed to the service center after the run:

Despite the quirks, it’s impressive that the Model 3 moved so far on a single charge. Expect hypermile records to reach new heights when the second-generation Roadster hits the roads in 2020, which has a 200 kilowatt-hour battery expected to reach a staggering 620 miles under normal use.

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