Here’s what happens when your Tesla dies

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  • We drove two Tesla Model 3s and a Tesla Model Y until their batteries were completely drained
  • The results reveal a lot about EV behavior and just how far you can drive before the battery is empty

The number of electric vehicles on the road grows by the day, but there are still some unknowns, even for those familiar with the technology. Every EV driver will naturally wonder: “How far can I really drive before I need to recharge?” And then there’s the inevitable follow-up question:

“What happens if my car’s battery runs out of juice?”

If you run out of gas, you might be stuck for a bit, but adding fuel to the tank will get you back on the road quickly. That’s not the case with EVs. A dead EV must be transported to a charging station, so the stakes are a lot higher.

To find out just what happens when the battery goes dead, we drove a trio of Teslas — two Model 3s and our own 2020 Tesla Model Y — at a steady 65 mph until they stopped. Here’s how it went.

What happens when my Tesla’s battery dies?

The range and battery meter is located in the top left corner of Tesla’s large touchscreen display, right near the speedometer. The color of the little battery icon will change from green to yellow to red as the battery gets down to its last bit of juice. Think of it like a low-fuel light on a gasoline car — or the battery indicator on your phone. Additionally, Tesla’s vehicles give you plenty of warning as the end draws nigh, with multiple notifications popping up to tell you that the battery is getting low and needs to be recharged soon. When it gets really low, your Tesla will suggest charging locations like the nearest Supercharger and let you know when you’re getting out of range of the nearest one.

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