Tesla range estimates called into question in independent tests

Tesla range estimates called into question in independent tests – Feb. 10th 2021 2:53 pm ET @FredericLambert Tesla range estimates are called into question in new independent tests by Edmunds showing that Tesla’s vehicles don’t hit their EPA estimates. Range estimates There are no good range estimates for electric vehicles. There are just bad ones, […]

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Tesla range estimates called into question in independent tests

– Feb. 10th 2021 2:53 pm ET

@FredericLambert

Tesla range estimates are called into question in new independent tests by Edmunds showing that Tesla’s vehicles don’t hit their EPA estimates.

Range estimates

There are no good range estimates for electric vehicles. There are just bad ones, with some being not as bad as others.

To be fair, that’s also the case for gasoline-powered vehicles, but range has been more of a focus for electric vehicles due to the fact that they have a shorter range, especially at the beginning of the transition.

Range is based on the energy capacity inside the vehicle and its efficiency.

However, efficiency can be affected by a ton of different factors, including speed, temperature, elevation, and more.

The EPA range estimate is believed to be the most accurate, but it’s not the same for every electric vehicle, as manufacturers have the option to play with the numbers a little, depending on how conservative or aggressive they want to be.

Tesla range estimates vs other automakers

Tesla is famously the leader in the EV industry when it comes to range and efficiency based on the EPA numbers.

However, the automaker has been known to play with the numbers a little, and in recent years, some owners have been complaining about not being able to achieve the estimate in real-world conditions.

Edmunds tried to compare the EPA ratings of 15 electric vehicles, including five Tesla vehicles, against real-world range, and here are the results:

Vehicle EPA
estimated
Edmunds
tested
EPA
estimated
Edmunds
tested
Ambient
temperature
2021 Audi
e-tron sportback
218 miles 238 miles*
(+9.2%)
44 kWh/
100 mi
38.2 kWh/
100 mi
(+13.2%)
71°
2020 Chevrolet
Bolt
259 miles 277 miles
(+6.9%)
29 kWh/
100 mi
25.7 kWh/
100 mi
(+11.4%)
60°
2021 Ford
Mustang Mach-E AWD Ext Range
270 miles 304 miles
(+12.6%)
37 kWh/
100 mi
33.1 kWh/
100 mi
(+10.5%)
62°
2020 Hyundai
Ioniq Electric
170 miles 202 miles
(+18.9%)
25 kWh/
100 mi
20.8 kWh/
100 mi
(+16.8%)
70°
2019 Hyundai
Kona Electric
258 miles 315 miles
(+21.9%)
28 kWh/
100 mi
22.3 kWh/
100 mi
(+20.4%)
61°
2020 Kia
Niro EV
239 miles 285 miles
(+19.2%)
30 kWh/
100 mi
25.3 kWh/
100 mi
(+15.7%)
67°
2020 MINI
Cooper SE
110 miles 150 miles
(+36.5%)
31 kWh/
100 mi
21.8 kWh/
100 mi
(+29.7%)
62°
2020 Nissan
Leaf Plus SL
215 miles 237 miles
(+10.2%)
32 kWh/
100 mi
27.1 kWh/
100 mi
(+15.3%)
67°
2021 Polestar
2 Performance
233 miles 228 miles*
(-2.1%)
37 kWh/
100 mi
35.2 kWh/
100 mi
(+4.9%)
67°
2020 Porsche
Taycan 4S
203 miles 323 miles*
(+59.3%)
49 kWh/
100 mi
32.3 kWh/
100 mi
(+34.1%)
73°
2020 Tesla
Model S Performance
326 miles 318 miles*
(-2.5%)
35 kWh/
100 mi
32.6 kWh/
100 mi
(+6.9%)
60°
2018 Tesla
Model 3 Performace
310 miles 256 miles*
(-17.4%)
29 kWh/
100 mi
30.1 kWh/
100 mi
(-3.8%)
61°
2020 Tesla
Model 3 Standard Range Plus
250 miles 232 miles*
(-7.2%)
24 kWh/
100 mi
23.0 kWh/
100 mi
(+4.2%)
67°
2020 Tesla
Model X Long Range
328 miles 294 miles*
(-10.4%)
35 kWh/
100 mi
35.0 kWh/
100 mi
0.0%
60°
2020 Tesla
Model Y Performance
291 miles 263 miles*
(-9.6%)
30 kWh/
100 mi
29.6 kWh/
100 mi
(+1.3%)
65°

As you can see, Edmunds was unable to achieve the EPA range on any of the Tesla vehicles, while they beat the EPA range by some decent margins in other electric vehicles.

Electrek’s Take

Again, no range test is perfect, but I think the comparison here is what most people would experience and what I’ve experienced myself, having driven almost all the vehicles on that list.

Tesla is more aggressive in its advertised range while other automakers tend to be more conservative.

Now let me be clear: You can still achieve the EPA range in Tesla vehicles, and it doesn’t mean that Tesla is lying. There are allowed to play within a margin (a multiplier) in the EPA rating.

Those are just different strategies that are being adopted by the different automakers. Ideally, you want more consistency in the industry, but that’s the state of it right now.

The EPA ratings are better than nothing, but I do like this trend of automakers being more conservative since I think it’s better for range anxiety to an accurate or conservative displayed range than having a long advertised range.

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About the Author

Fred Lambert

@FredericLambert

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