Gotway Tesla V2 Range Test

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I remember taking my InMotion V5F on a 14.5-mile journey and getting home with 15% remaining in the battery. I should have this documented somewhere, but I can’t find it! You’d think I would have been excited enough about that to tweet a screenshot of WheelLog, right?!

At any rate, I’ve been meaning to drain the Tesla’s 1,020 watt-hour battery. I’ve been curious how its range will compare to my little V5F. I saw a range test of the new 1,480 watt-hour Tesla, and that got me even more curious. If he can make it 50 miles on the third-party battery upgrade, how far will my stock Tesla go?

My range test took three days

I had a full battery when I went out for a ride Monday evening. I didn’t have a lot of time before sunset, so I only got 5.25 miles in. I was smart enough to not put the Tesla on the charger so I could continue testing the next day.

I took two different rides on the second day. I rode 7.2 miles in the afternoon and 10.48 miles later that evening. This left me at 45% charge.

The third day of testing was the most interesting to me. I wanted to see how the Tesla would react when the battery got low. I’m under the impression that I’ll start hearing a warning beep if I push the motor beyond 80% of available power, and I know from flying FPV miniquads that a nearly dead battery can’t supply as much current as a freshly charged one!

When I pulled up to my house, I had put another 10.35 miles on my Tesla, and the battery was reading 15% charge. That’s a total of 33.28 miles, and I’m confident that there are at least another 3 or 4 miles left in the battery. That’s not quite as much range as my wife’s Pace Aventon 350 e-bike, but it is still farther than we’re ever likely to go in a single day!

I’m quite pleased with these results. That’s more than double the range I was seeing on my little InMotion V5F, and I’m riding the Tesla so much harder. My average speeds are 2 to 3 mph higher. The V5F tops out at 17 mph, and I’m often cruising around on the Tesla at around 20 mph.

How did the Tesla act with the battery low?

I am not a speed demon. They say my Gotway Tesla can reach 30 mph, but I don’t want to go that fast. I have the audible warning set at 20 mph. That’s about as fast as I’d really want to go with the gear I’m wearing. I have pushed it to nearly 24 mph, and it didn’t require any effort to get there.

If I hear the beeps at 20 mph, I tend to back off. This seems to have me programmed for cruising at around 17 or 18 mph.

During the last two or three miles of my range test, I was being cautious. At one point, I had my phone out, and it said I was going 15 mph with 16% remaining. I leaned in reasonably hard to push my speed past 20 mph, and there were no complaints, and the voltage didn’t drop.

There’s a long hill at the end of my ride. I made sure to push fairly hard up the hill, and I kept an eye on EUC World the whole time. I maintained 17 mph up the hill, battery percentage held at 14%, and I didn’t get any warnings.

My brand new Gotway Tesla has no trouble handling my riding style at 14% charge. This shouldn’t be surprising, because EUC World was reporting that I was at 71 volts at this point. That’s a little over 3.5 volts per cell. There’s still quite a bit of juice left in an 18650 at that voltage!

Will this always be the case?

No! I beat the heck out of my FPV miniquad LiPo batteries. When one cell starts to fail, that cell drains much more quickly than the rest. During a flight, I might have 5 cells at 3.8 volts while the dead cell is at effectively zero. That means I only have 19 volts available instead of 22.8. That’s a lot less power!

The trouble is, while my quad is just cruising, the battery will read 22.8 volts. The dead cell is happy enough to supply 10 amps. When I ask it to supply 100 amps, it can’t.

Our EUCs will act the same way when a cell is failing. The battery will happily charge to 84 volts. The wheel will balance fine. It will cruise around fine.

When you ask the wheel to deliver a lot of power, it may fail.

My drone uses a 6-cell battery. When one cell is gone, 20% of available power goes away with it. My Gotway Tesla uses a 20-cell battery pack. If one cell fails, only 5% of available power vanishes.

While the rest of the cells are at 50% charge, that 5% may never make a difference. When your wheel is nearly depleted, that 5% may be the difference between staying upright and falling flat on your face!

Odds are high that this is the way your EUC battery will fail. It is rare for 20 cells to all age equivalently. There’s almost always a weak link. Lithium-ion packs that die of old age usually have just one bad cell or bank of cells.

I don’t want you to worry about your batteries. I just want you to understand that just because your Tesla responds amazingly at 15% battery during your first 200 miles, that may not be the case at 2,000 miles or 10,000 miles!

I’d be willing to push my Tesla down to 5% to get home tomorrow. Would I trust it at 5% in another 5,000 miles?

Should I be jealous of the 1,480 watt-hour version of the Gotway Tesla?!

I have to say that when I saw the listings for the 1,480 watt-hour Tesla on AliExpress, it definitely piqued my interest. You’ll get 45% more range for less than $1,200, and it only weighs 5 pounds more than my Tesla? Seems like a steal, right?!

The list price for the 1,020 watt-hour Tesla at eWheels is $1,575. It is currently marked down to $1,450, and when I bought it, it was on sale for $1,350. Even though I bought at such a low price, I still paid nearly $200 more for a less capable version of the Tesla. Did I get ripped off?!

Of course not. The community trusts eWheels. They’ve been around a while. They back their sales with a 1-year warranty. What happens if I have a dead battery pack on the upgraded model from AliExpress?

The extra range and cost savings may be worth the risk, though. A wheel with 50 miles of range and a 30 mph top speed for less than $1,200 is an amazing value. I’m not sure anything else can compete!

How’s the Tesla treating you?

I’m still quite pleased with my purchase. I’m not putting as many miles on it as I’d like, though. We had a couple weeks of rainy weather shortly after the Tesla arrived at my door, and since then it has been quite hot here in Texas. I’m starting to rectify that situation, though! By the time you read this, I’ll finally be over 200 miles, and half those miles will have been accrued in the last two weeks.

I keep saying that the Tesla is like 80% of a Gotway MSX Pro for 60% of the price. I stand by that. I’ve put a couple of miles on my friend Tanner’s MSX Pro. If I could somehow manage to mount the wheel without looking at it, I might not easily be able to tell you which wheel I’m riding.

I ride almost exclusively on pavement: sidewalks, bike trails, roads, and parking lots. We often have segments of our journey where we have to sneak across grass or dirt, though, and the Tesla handles it just fine. If you want to go off-road, there are much better choices than the Tesla.

For the road, though, I’m extremely pleased with the Tesla. The price is good. It has more performance than I need. The InMotion V5F has me spoiled, though, so the Tesla feels pretty heavy, but it isn’t too bad throwing it up into the back of our miniature SUV.

I’m still not used to the extra weight and girth!

After 350 miles, I was getting quite comfortable on the InMotion V5F. My calves didn’t really touch the sides of the wheel most of the time. For whatever reason, my left leg would brush against the padding, but I wasn’t putting any pressure on it. I could also easily lift a foot if I needed to adjust my positioning.

On the Tesla, my calves are in constant contact with the padding, even while I’m just gently cruising along. I don’t think the heat is helping, either, because when I get sweaty, my legs stick to the pads. This makes it hard to adjust the position of my legs forward or backwards. I’m thinking about adding something like Kuji pads to my Tesla, but I want to wait to see what happens when I get better at adjusting my feet.

I still can’t lift one foot off a pedal while riding the Tesla. I just don’t understand the extra weight of the wheel and what to do with my body. The pedals have nearly twice as much surface area as the V5F, and the sandpaper has even more grip. It is nearly impossible to slide my foot into position after the fact.

Sometimes I mount the wheel, and I’m just unhappy with where my second foot lands on the pedal, and I’m not good at fixing it. This is a problem with me and not the Tesla. The bigger pedals are a huge upgrade. I just have to level up my riding!

What’s next?!

I need to practice riding with one foot. I don’t need or want to be fancy like the folks that pick one leg up and waggle it around. I just want to be able to pick a foot up an inch or two off the pedal, then put it back down where it needs to go. I promise I will put in some practice.

What do you think? Did I make the right choice with the 1,020 watt-hour Tesla? Am I going to be disappointed that I didn’t wait for the 1,480-watt hour version, or is 33 miles enough range? I’m more than a little envious of the suspension on the KingSong S18 and the InMotion V11. Should I have waited for one of those? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!