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Teslas Traveled Further Than Other EVs When Out of Range in Edmunds' Testing

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【Summary】If you own an electric vehicle, you won’t be able to travel a lot of miles after the vehicle indicates that there’s no range left.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 28, 2021 8:00 AM PT
Teslas Traveled Further Than Other EVs When Out of Range in Edmunds' Testing

Earlier this February, Edmunds tested the real-world range of 17 electric vehicles on sale. The results were eye-opening, as the majority of electric vehicles that the outlet tested couldn't match their EPA estimated-range. Tesla's electric vehicles stood out the most in the test, as none of the automaker's vehicles matched their estimated range, despite having the highest figures from the EPA.

Empty Means Empty

This made Tesla upset, as the electric brand disputed the test results, claiming that the full range of the vehicles' batteries weren't accounted for because the automaker offers a safety buffer for when the vehicle indicates that it's out of range. So, Edmunds tested five EVs, focusing on how many miles they were able to travel after zero range was indicated.

Before we get into the results, some more background on why Tesla was so upset with Edmunds' first results. The automaker was unhappy because they claimed that Edmunds didn't include the safety buffer – the mileage once the vehicle indicated zero miles – into their first test. With the buffer, Teslas would be able to hit their EPA range figures.

To put Tesla's claim to the test, Edmunds rented a 7.5-mile-long closed-course oval in the Mojave Desert to do some testing. The outlet tested the vehicle's outside, so real-world conditions still applied, and it tested five vehicles in total: 2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, 2021 Model 3 Long Range, 2020 Model Y Performance, 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, and 2021 Volkswagen ID.4.

Two Teslas Met Their EPA Range Estimates

At a speed of 65 mph, Tesla's vehicles were able to travel further than the Mustang Mach-E and ID.4 once the vehicles claimed that range was gone. The Mustang Mach-E traveled just 7.3 miles after zero range was indicated, while the ID.4 traveled 12.6 miles. Tesla's EVs performed better, as the Model Y Performance traveled 12.9 miles, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus traveled 17.6 miles, and the Model 3 Long Range traveled 25.9 miles. Compared to the other two EVs in the test, the way Tesla's vehicles performed was impressive.

Were Tesla's engineers right? As it turns out, yes. The 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range and 2020 Tesla Model S Performance were able to match their EPA range estimates. But only with a few caveats. The vehicles have to be driven past the point where range is indicated at zero, the exterior climate is temperate, climate control settings are conservatively set, and the vehicle is charged to 100 percent before being driven, which Tesla doesn't recommend for daily use. The other vehicles that Edmunds tested, the 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus, 2020 Model Y Performance, and 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance didn't hit their EPA range estimates even when the outlet drove past the zero-indicated range mark.

The results are strange. In the real world, we highly doubt any EV owners will actually drive their vehicle after the cars say they've run out of juice. Additionally, a lot of EV owners live in climates that are colder than California's. That alone would affect how far owners would be able to travel without any range in the tank. The miles that Edmunds traveled in the test would also be difficult for owners to duplicate, so we wouldn't count on the extra range on a regular basis.

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