What to Do When Your Tesla Model S Runs Out of Power

We've all been there, stranded on the shoulder of the road, without as little as a sip of gas in the car's tank. But that's a situation electric vehicle owners experience much more often than internal combustion motorists.
Tesla Model S P85 mobile connector 1 photo
Photo: original photo by autoevolution
Even if there's no service station on a 50-mile radius from the place your car ran out of gas, fret not cause a friendly motorist is sure to offer a helpful hand in no time at all. However, if you're the owner of a pure electric drive car like the Tesla Model S, sourcing the zap to power the dead battery pack is a little bit more complicated than sourcing a few gallons of fuel.

Thankfully, Tesla Model S drivers have a very neat reserve feature hidden within their vehicles' electronic brain, which will get them an extra 10 to 20 miles of range starting from the moment the dashboard shows you an obnoxious '0' miles remaining. But what should you do when your battery pack is completely depleted and the car informs you to pull over safely because it will shut down in a few moments?

First of all, you have to engage neutral and put it into 'tow mode' to prevent it from rolling if the road has a bit of a gradient. During the half-hour or so you have to wait for the towing truck to reach you, the Model S in 'depleted power' mode will still offer you the possibility to access vital vehicle functions via its center console touchscreen.

Don't get yourself worried about the towing company. Tesla Motors commissioned towers that have been properly instructed on how to handle and jumpstart the Model S to get it on the truck's flatbed. After arriving to the nearest charging station, you have to wait for the car to complete a full charge cycle.

After the battery pack is full o' zap once again, you cannot just open the door, start the engine and drive away. Before you do that, remember to power off (Controls; E-Brake; Power Off) and reset the vehicle to get it out of 'depleted power' mode. If you forget to reset, the Tesla Model S won't allow more than 20 kW of power consumption and regenerative braking will also be deactivated.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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