Every Tesla Failed to Uphold Its Estimated Range in Edmunds' Testing

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【Summary】Tesla may make electric vehicles with some of the most range on the market, but the automaker’s vehicles failed to match their EPA and manufacturer ratings in Edmunds’ independent testing.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 23, 2021 9:00 AM PT
Every Tesla Failed to Uphold Its Estimated Range in Edmunds' Testing

Range is one of the most important factors that consumers consider when looking to purchase an electric vehicle. Since electric cars take a lot more time to fill up than a conventional gas-powered vehicle and chargers are in limited supply, range is crucial. American drivers may not need hundreds of miles of range, but it's a safety net that's nice to have. Unfortunately, when an automaker claims its vehicles can get a specific amount of range or the EPA conducts its official testing on an EV and comes up with a figure, that number actually doesn't mean much in the real world.

Tesla's Figures Don't Match

Recently, Edmunds got its hands on most of the electric vehicles on the market to see how real-world range matches the EPA's official figures. Things are a mixed bag. Tesla may have the most popular electric vehicles on the market and lead the world in EV sales, but its real-world range is well below what the EPA claims the vehicles should be able to get.

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance is the most egregious offender. The EPA claims the sedan has a range of 310 miles, but Edmunds found the electric car's real-world range was closer to 256 miles. That's a 17.4 percent difference. The 2020 Model X Long Range (294 miles compared to 328 miles), 2020 Model Y Performance (263 miles compared to 291 miles), 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus (232 miles compared to 250 miles), and 2020 Model S Performance (318 miles to 326 miles) all failed to match their EPA figures in Edmunds' testing.

Teslas weren't alone in failing to match their EPA numbers. The 2021 Polestar 2 Performance has a claimed range of 233 miles, but Edmunds only traveled 228 miles on a single charge.

Few Cars Exceeded EPA Estimates

Quite a few electric vehicles actually exceeded their EPA numbers. The Audi e-tron Sportback, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD Extended Range, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV, Mini Cooper SE, Nissan Leaf Plus SL, and Porsche Taycan 4S all managed to improve on their EPA range figures.

The Taycan 4S was the most impressive electric vehicle Edmunds tested. The sedan managed to travel 323 miles on a charge – it has an estimated range of 203 miles – representing an increase of 59.3 percent over its claimed estimated range. The Cooper SE also performed well, traveling 150 miles (36.5 percent), 40 miles further than its estimated range. Lastly, the Kona Electric stood out with its 315 miles of travel range, which represented an increase of 21.9 percent from its EPA estimated range of 258 miles.

Edmunds' real-world test is important, because it shows consumers that they can't rely on the EPA's official estimates or an automaker's estimated range when they're shopping for a used vehicle. The EPA doesn't test electric vehicles in a way that mimics what owners do in the real world. Independent testing, like what Edmunds and other outlets do, is more indicative of the real world.

To complete its testing, Edmunds started with a full battery and drove the vehicle on 60 percent city and 40 percent highway until the battery was almost empty. The outlet then counted the miles traveled and the amount of indicated range remaining to get its total tested range figure.

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