Home » Tesla Slashes Range Figures For Multiple Models, But Why?

Tesla Slashes Range Figures For Multiple Models, But Why?

Tesla Range Ts
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Range remains a major selling point for EVs. Automakers have pushed up to and beyond the 300-mile limit on a wide range of models, and charging today is faster than ever. Never mind the fact that most journeys are well under 50 miles, most of us still consider range a major factor. And yet, for Tesla, it appears something unsettling has happened. The company has dropped the stated range figures on a variety of its models.

The story was highlighted on Twitter by Sawyer Merritt, who brands himself as an investor in Tesla stocks. The Model Y Long Range has had its range cut from 330 miles to 310 miles, while the Model Y Performance dropped from 303 miles to 285 miles. Meanwhile, the Model X Long Range and Plaid had range figures cut by 13 miles and 7 miles respectively.

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The Model S Plaid was hit worst of all, losing 37 miles as its range figure dropped from 396 miles down to just 359. The same car with 21″ wheels lost 28 miles of range, down to 320 miles in total. Interestingly, though, the Model S Long Range has its range figure untouched—it remains at 405 miles on Tesla’s configurator. The Model 3 appears to be affected too. While the basic rear-wheel-drive model still sits at 272 miles and the Performance at 315 miles, the Long Range has seen range drop to 333 miles.

 

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So what’s behind these cuts? Well … that’s not exactly clear right now. Merritt claims the range adjustment is the result of changes to the EPA’s EV testing methods, which will affect all automakers and points to a letter from 2022. The EPA itself hasn’t been crowing about major changes to its testing processes, nor has the automotive media. The Autopian has contacted the EPA for comment, but I did some digging of my own regardless.

Diving into the precise wording of the EPA’s regulations, there were some changes in 2023 to Title 40, Chapter I, Subchapter Q, Part 600, Subpart B, § 600.116-12. Not even joking, that’s how deep we’re getting. Changes primarily concern procedures around key-on and key-off soak times during testing and details around distances for constant-speed cycles, which could have an effect on total range. There are also clarifications around soak times, though much of this is for model year 2025 vehicles.

Oh, and Subpart C, § 600.210-12 also had a minor change. In this case, the EPA added the following which may be of note:

Similarly, for any electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, manufacturers may voluntarily lower the fuel economy (MPGe) and raise the energy consumption (kW-hr/100 mile) values if they determine that the label values are not representative of the in-use fuel economy, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions for that model type, but only if the manufacturer changes both the MPGe and the energy consumption value and revises any other affected label value accordingly for a model type. Manufacturers may voluntarily lower the value for electric driving range if they determine that the label values are not representative of the in-use electric driving range.”

In other words, the EPA is explicitly allowing automakers to voluntarily downrate their range figures if desired. Some slope numbers used in fuel-economy equations changed, too, but it’s not clear whether this would directly affect EV calculations or solely ICE-powered vehicles.

Screenshot 2024 01 05 181553

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So, yes. There are some changes to EPA test methods. But at this stage, it’s not clear whether Tesla’s revised figures are just a choice to revise numbers down, or due to the outcome of revised tests.

Another hint comes from DriveTeslaCanada. The outlet claims that the reduced range is down to “comfort and functionality improvements.” These undefined changes reportedly draw more power from the EV’s battery pack, but the documents allegedly state the trade-off in range was considered worthwhile. Beyond that, the outlet also says the figures were reduced due to changes to EPA testing involving drive modes, which is the document that Merrit mentions above.

Here’s the key piece from that document:

A vehicle with a single default drive mode may be tested for MPGe and range in that mode. If a vehicle has drive mode effecting features that allow the default drive mode to be changed from drive to drive, then it is not considered to have a single default drive mode. If a single default drive mode does not exist, the manufacturer must test for range and MPGe in one of two methods:
1. Determine the best-case and worst-case latching modes for range and MPGe. Test in both modes and average the results.
2. Determine the worst-case latching mode for range and MPGe and test in that mode only.

Allegedly the drop is partially due to a new rule “which now requires tests to be conducted with acceleration and ride height modes in best and worst case scenarios, the average of which is then taken.” Again quoting internal documents, this change allegedly causes “higher consumption and a slight decrease in overall range.”

Of further interest is the fact that the Department of Justice has been probing Tesla’s EV range figures. Indeed, the company has received so many complaints that last year, Reuters reported the company had set up a special team to suppress customer complaints over the matter. Via the Reuters story:

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Tesla employees had been instructed to thwart any customers complaining about poor driving range from bringing their vehicles in for service. Last summer, the company quietly created a “Diversion Team” in Las Vegas to cancel as many range-related appointments as possible.

The Austin, Texas-based electric carmaker deployed the team because its service centers were inundated with appointments from owners who had expected better performance based on the company’s advertised estimates and the projections displayed by the in-dash range meters of the cars themselves, according to several people familiar with the matter.

In the face of such widespread questioning, it’s perhaps only prudent for the company to adjust its figures somewhat downward. The first full highway test of the new Tesla Cybertruck showed a range of only 257 miles at 70 mph, compared to the published range of 320 miles. But that’s a single test under a particular set of conditions, with some blaming chilly temperatures in Texas. We’ll need a lot more data to understand how well the Cybertruck’s real-world range meets its claimed range

In any case, when we get more concrete details, you’ll read them here at The Autopian.

Image credits: Tesla

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beachbumberry
beachbumberry
3 months ago

I have a model 3 mid range but had to get a battery replacement after hitting a deer and snapping the coolant fitting off in the drivers wheel well.

From what the Tesla service rep told me, the battery was replaced by Tesla with a newer standard range plus battery because so few mid ranges were built and it is software limited. I’ve put 40,000 miles on that battery since then and have consistently gotten between 225 and 230 miles from a full charge regardless of weather (200 miles from 80%). It’s great for my commute and stays predictable.

For the sake of the market, maybe that’s a better option. Software limit a max range lower than the actual max capacity. Provides a more consistent product for consumers and less uncertainty.

Last edited 3 months ago by beachbumberry
Ben
Ben
3 months ago

Far be it from me to defend the Cybertruck, but most vehicles don’t get their rated highway mileage at 70 mph. I think the EPA test average speed is somewhere in the 50s, which, not coincidentally, tends to be where mileage is best, and also not a particularly representative number since most people drive much faster than that on the highway. If you actually drive 55 you can probably beat the EPA numbers most of the time, although I would be at all surprised if the Cybertruck doesn’t.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago

Tesla jumped before it was pushed??No way! Someone record this moment for posterity.It may never happen again!

Yes I Drive A 240
Yes I Drive A 240
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

Probably to avoid being caught doing something shady.

Goblin
Goblin
3 months ago

At its release the Peugeot 605 was advertised as a 6.5l/100km (36-ish mpg) vehicle. T’was sharing a platform with the Saab 9000, not exactly a small or light car.

The mpg was calculated following the UTAC standards of the time. The test was a closed circuit, straight-ish line, not too long drive, and was performed with tires narrower than stock, overinflated to insane levels, and with – the crown jewel – about a pint and a half of oil in the engine, way below minimum level, as it (marginally) helped lower the gas consumption.

This was the time (mid-late 80’s) when pretty much every car in France was advertised in the 30-35mpg range – turbo pocket rockets included.

So, how much off is a Tesla again 🙂

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

Everybody was insane about mpg in the 80s. At one point Ford advertised up to 30mpg from f150s just like Jason’s The Marshall.

I have a very similar pickup(manual trans six cylinder engine 2wd single cab Ford, just one generation newer) and I get about 15mpg city. Sometimes as high as 22mpg highway if I drive like 50mph. I’ve heard of people hypermiling these things and getting like 24mpg highway. 30 is not possible.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
3 months ago

…or Tesla might actually start getting handled for lying about ranges to this point?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
3 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

This is the answer plain and simple. The envelope is starting to tear for Elon in so many ways that he is properly losing his nerve. This is a good thing and can’t happen soon enough.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
3 months ago

Don’t Teslas send their charging and discharge characteristics and their range back to the company? Wouldn’t that real world real cars as used by real drivers in real weather and traffic more accurate than any test results?

Perhaps the range has been decreased in software to increase the number of charge—discharge cycles that the battery can endure to extend its useful life both by reducing actual degradation and by redefining its capacity.

That brings to mind a question.Do the Teslas with the batteries whose capacity is limited by software ( the ones who famously had their range temporarily increased during an emergency a while back) consequently have less stressed longer lasting batteries?

Last edited 3 months ago by Hugh Crawford
Oldskool
Oldskool
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

This should be the way. Maybe it already is, if not then it would be beneficial. The car sticker should show some average range numbers with a QR code next to it. The QR code takes you to an interactive map, showing mileage from real users wherever you choose. No names or addresses, just data. That takes into account everything at once, weather, traffic and road conditions, terrain, even regional driving styles. Zoom and pan around the map to see the averages change. Get more specific data by choosing a date (wanna see how it does in Arizona in summer or Minnesota in winter). Stalled in LA, whizzing in Detroit, or putzing around in Podunk. Rockies or Plains. You name it. They could also show the charging stations on this map. I for one would love this kind of transparency of what to expect. And the technology is there.

Last edited 3 months ago by Oldskool
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Oldskool

That’s not Oldskool at all!

Oldskool
Oldskool
3 months ago

Funny, I actually thought about that!

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Yes those oversized underutilized batteries will definitely last longer. How much though i couldnt say

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

I’d say until they are out of warranty.

Martian
Martian
3 months ago

Maybe Elon made a claim that was less than feasible, again?

1. Ranges
2. FSD
3. EVs are better for environment
4. Prices on multiple counts
5. Release dates
6. Certain models actually being available
7. That he know more about mass production than those that invented it and have been doing it for over 100 years
8. But wait there’s more….

Small Fact0ry
Small Fact0ry
3 months ago
Reply to  Martian

Just go to https://elonmusk.today for a running tally of claims that he’s made.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  Small Fact0ry

Haha,thanks for the link

Thevenin
Thevenin
3 months ago

Another possible factor behind Tesla slashing their ratings could be that their 4680 cells are finally in mass production.

Last time EV nerds got their hands on some, they found the 4680 cells had about 13% less energy density than the old 2170 cells (lol). Less density, less range.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
3 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Is there any reason that Tesla hasn’t switched to the Lithium iron phosphate batteries over these nickel manganese batteries?

Bison78
Bison78
3 months ago
Reply to  rctothefuture

I think they do, in the “Standard Range” models.

Thevenin
Thevenin
3 months ago
Reply to  rctothefuture

There aren’t many suppliers, and it’s easy to have issues with the few there are. The US-spec Model 3 SR+ uses prismatic LFP batteries from CATL, but they haven’t been a resounding success — they raised the 0-60 by 10% compared to the prior ternary chemistry while losing the US tax credit. The Model Y made in Berlin has BYD’s LFP “Blade” cells that are reportedly excellent, but I suspect Tesla wants to avoid becoming too dependent on their top global competitor for batteries.

After CATL and BYD, there aren’t a ton of LFP manufacturers with the kind of scale a global automaker needs. But in 2023, LG, SK On, and Samsung SDI all announced they were developing their own LFP cells, so that might change soon.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
3 months ago

I suspect some economics games are at play: Downgrade (and subsequently discontinue) existing product, start offering an ‘enhanced’ product at a higher price point. It allows you to jack up prices without pissing off too many customers as the new product is ‘different’ from the old one and therefore justifies its higher price point.

I predict that Tesla will start offering a new ‘upgraded’ option, with better range/performance figures (probably slightly better than the pre-downgrade old figures). For a short transition, they will offer the option to buy old (at the ‘regular’ price) or new (at a higher price), then the old will be phased out for ‘manufacturing efficiency purposes’ and the only option left will be the pricier one.

Eric Davis
Eric Davis
3 months ago

Like when what had been a normal-sized candy bar was suddenly larger with a “25% more free” sticker on the wrapper then a few months later it went back to the previous size but cost more than it used to, but they also started offering a “King Size?” That was one of the first betrayals I noticed once I was old enough to pay attention to such things (i.e. started getting an allowance as a kid and now suddenly I cared because I was spending my own money).

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
3 months ago

This appears to be in response to the DOJ investigation.
Easier to “adjust” figures before you are forced to admit the truth, either in a court room, or to the Government.

As always, YMMV.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Very true,but when has elon ever done that?He seems to turn everything into a fight

3WiperB
3WiperB
3 months ago

Averaging the rating of different driving modes is silly. It should be based on the best number. I can drive my car for fuel economy or for max acceleration, but the fuel economy number is based on an EPA cycle. Our 330e has like 7 drive modes and a few of those are customizable. We mostly drive in electric or hybrid pro, depending on how far we are going. If we put it in sport plus, it is super fast and fun, but gets much worse economy by charging the battery using gas to boost acceleration and changing shift points. I appreciate that the mode is there, but I rarely use it. The mileage rating should be based on the best mode and just state that. This rule will lead to all the “fun” modes going away in favor of economy modes.

Last edited 3 months ago by 3WiperB
Needles Balloon
Needles Balloon
3 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

A detail you might’ve missed is that to be considered for EPA testing, the drive mode must be latching (once selected, it stays in that mode the next time you drive). If only one default drive mode is latching, and the rest must be selected manually on every startup, then only that one drive mode is considered for EPA purposes.

My Ford Escape Hybrid has 4 drive modes (Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery) but only Normal is latching (I wish Eco was latching too), which means it’s the only mode considered for EPA testing, and including the Sport mode (which disables engine start/stop and has a higher idle RPM) would not lower EPA ratings. I used to have a Ford Fusion Hybrid which only had a normal and Eco mode which were both latching, so in that case the inclusion of the latching Eco mode helped EPA ratings.

BMW can continue to include fun modes like Sport Plus as long as they’re non-latching.

3WiperB
3WiperB
3 months ago

Good clarification. Thanks!

R53 Lifer
R53 Lifer
3 months ago

EVs should have 2 range figures provided: Summer Road Trip (72.5mph with A/C on, 80deg outside) and Winter Road Trip (72.5mph with cabin heat on, 30deg outside). These are the conditions that are actually relevant to a consumer’s perception of range. Forget city/hwy, we need hot/cold.

Bill Garcia
Bill Garcia
3 months ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

I like this idea – in EVs let’s provide hot & cold vs city & hwy!

Alpine 911
Alpine 911
3 months ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

Great idea about the temperature. We still need city (high regen) and highway/ high speed (high air resistance and therefore high consumption) though.

V10omous
V10omous
3 months ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

Agree, but in deference to those who live in more extreme climates, I’d prefer to see 100 deg and 0 deg as the benchmarks.

Those that live in moderate climates could then expect better ranges than advertised.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

At 100 degrees, range is liable to slightly increase for many battery choices.

V10omous
V10omous
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Possibly in an idealized sense, but I expect not when the increased AC load is factored in

RataTejas
RataTejas
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I have a PHEV Clarity, and the magic temperature is around 70-80. Here in Dallas area, I get big drops when cold, and smaller but significant drops when hot (100+)

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
3 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Anywhere outside of the USA and Liberia a temperature of 100 degrees would pretty unusual.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Lots of places hit 100. Europe did last summer. India. The Maghreb. The Arabian peninsula.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
3 months ago

This is a metric ton of laughs

Marteau
Marteau
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Laugh in 131° from marocco last summer.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
3 months ago
Reply to  Marteau

In 1929 the king of Morocco decreed the distance from Fez to Casablanca would be measured in meters not cubits and fevers would be in Celsius.

Marteau
Marteau
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

I don’t know what u imply, but yes, i did the c° to f° conversation for you.

changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Did you mean Libya? If not I’m gonna guess the charging network in Monrovia probably sucks as well

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
3 months ago

The USA and Liberia are the only countries that still use imperial units and Fahrenheit temperatures, everywhere else 100 degrees Celsius would literally cook you like a lobster.

RataTejas
RataTejas
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

One could even say they’d be boiling hot.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Good thing the EPA is only providing range estimates for the USA.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Yeah, I don’t often go on a summer road trip in temperatures as cool as 80 degrees.

Martian
Martian
3 months ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

Also add each of these with full max payload and you’ve got a full story.

Also add a carbon creation to build and operate vs current hybrid models to show how EVs actually compare from an environmental perspective.

Scruffinater
Scruffinater
3 months ago
Reply to  Martian

EVs (and hybrids to a large degree [pun intended]) are mostly immune to payload effects on range as long as aerodynamics are not affected. Because regen breaking. It’s not perfect but the effect is small as long as you don’t have to use your mechanical breaks much (and/or gas engine breaking in the hybrid). For the same reason, hilly versus flat terrain is not much different in an EV or hybrid as long as you start/end at a similar elevation.

Totally agree on the cradle to grave accounting though. We basically only ever get 1 part of the story. We need manufacturing, use, and disposal/recycling to actually make informed decisions.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  Scruffinater

All cars are mostly immune to payload effects on range in highway driving situations.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 months ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

hmm… Let’s say 0 degree, 0 gravity, 0 atmosphere, 0 friction, 0 driver. That’s probably close to infinite range. Is that why the through a Tesla into outer orbit? Something to put on the brochure?

Or was it just vanity litter…

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
3 months ago

I have no idea what soak times or latching-modes are. Am I the only one out of the loop?

The Bonnie Situation
The Bonnie Situation
3 months ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

soak = sitting at a prescribed ambient temp with the vehicle off. Relevant in a fuel economy cycle test because a longer soak means your vehicle components and cabin will revert back to that ambient temperature over time and it will take more energy to heat or cool them again (compared to not having the soak and continuing to drive with everything thermally conditioned)

latching = carries over between key cycles. It’s why most cars always start in a normal (or eco) mode when you turn them on again, even if you turned it off in sport mode. It’s also why automakers that give you a button to disable an engine auto-stop feature make you press it each time you turn the car on instead of carrying it over from the previous key cycle.

Last edited 3 months ago by The Bonnie Situation
Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
3 months ago

Thank you! Autopian articles usually do such a thorough job of explaining things and giving context and background I felt like the dumb kid in class reading this article.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
3 months ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

There was a great article on Ars Technica a few days ago that goes into some really good detail:
https://arstechnica.com/cars/2024/01/heres-how-the-epa-calculates-how-far-an-ev-can-go-on-a-full-charge/

RataTejas
RataTejas
3 months ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

Ask your friends from Utah what their soak times were.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
3 months ago
Reply to  RataTejas

Thanks for the Monday morning laugh.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

Tesla has been slightly exaggerating its range figures, and the previous EPA testing methods had a tendency to overstate range figures as well. The highway testing especially is not reflective of real-world range figures on most EV models. EVs that have good aerodynamics but are also heavy will be more penalized on the highway testing than those that are lighter but less streamlined, because of all of the accelerations and decelerations inherent in the testing.

Bison78
Bison78
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

In my experience, on long trips, at reasonable highway speeds, I am able to meet, or perhaps slightly beat the range figures. However, it’s very speed dependent. Speed up a little and you will quickly be below the range figures.

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