Among many topics covered during Tesla’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk revealed that a fumble by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might have cost the Tesla Model S its 400-mile range rating.
After Tesla released the “Long Range Plus” variant of the Model S earlier this year, the company’s flagship vehicle came within striking distance of the elusive 400-mile electric range threshold. Testing from the EPA revealed that the new longer-range Model S was capable of 391 miles in a single charge, making it the company’s longest-range vehicle.
However, Musk stated during the company’s Q1 2020 Earnings Call that when the EPA came to test the Model S, the government agency made one small mistake that inevitably ended up costing Tesla’s flagship sedan nine miles of range.
“It should be said that the real Model S range is 400 miles,” Musk claimed during the call on April 29. “But when we did the last EPA test, unfortunately, the EPA left the car door open and the keys in the car.” This meant that the Model S effectively “ran” overnight, and depleted 2%, or around nine miles of range, from its battery in the span of the evening.
However, Musk is confident that when the EPA inquires about testing for Tesla’s vehicles in the future, the car will achieve a range of 400 miles or higher. The new round of testing will not take place until after the current social distancing restrictions end in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Tesla’s Fremont production facility is located.
Musk reiterated at the tail end of his statement that the “true” range of the Model S for the past two months had been 400 miles. Even though the EPA estimated the range at 391, drivers who own the Long Range Plus configuration will experience 400 miles of range per charge. The EPA guidelines simply state that the vehicle is capable of only 391 miles, however.
Tesla has undoubtedly been the electric car maker who has led the industry in battery performance and range. While many other companies struggle with the range of their electric vehicles, Tesla has managed to separate itself from the pack. The company’s development of battery cells and constant work to make its vehicles’ power source superior to competitors has led to the company’s flagships’ unmatched range today.
Tesla is not done developing its batteries either. Recently, Tesla applied for a patent for a new electrode makeup and heating process. Tesla claimed in the patent that its new system for batteries eliminates a large number of impurities from the cells, which become present during the heating process.
Tesla has made strides towards the development of its own battery cells. Not only did the company obtain the help of battery researcher and expert Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University in Canada, but Tesla also acquired battery companies like Maxwell Technologies and Hibar Systems. With the assistance of these new companies under Tesla’s wing, the electric automaker has obtained knowledge and technologies that have established it as a leader in the EV segment.