Tesla Model Y efficiency exceeds Model 3 in real-world winter driving test

(Credit: Jerry Rig Everything)

The Tesla Model Y is designed to be one of the most efficient electric vehicles in the market today, with the crossover being extensively winter-tested in the electric car maker’s Alaska facility. But inasmuch as the Model Y is equipped with a heat pump that would allow it to maintain its efficiency in frigid weather, questions still lingered about whether the vehicle’s efficiency is actually better than its predecessors, which are equipped with resistive heating systems.

Fortunately, tests from Calgary-based Tesla enthusiast @kkvr2823 have provided an answer to these questions, at least to a point. The Tesla owner currently owns a Model Y Long Range Dual Motor AWD, and he previously owned a Model 3 as well. The purpose of the test was simple, though it should be noted that both the Model Y and the Model 3 have advantages in the harsh cold winter weather.

The Model 3’s smaller size gives it an advantage in aerodynamics, but Tesla added a heat pump in the Model Y that makes the all-electric crossover better-suited for winter weather. For the recent test, the Tesla owner compared his Model Y with 20″ Induction wheels with the efficiency numbers of a Model 3 Standard Range Plus and a Model 3 Long Range.

At the beginning of the Model Y’s efficiency test, temperatures were at -8°C (17.6°F). The vehicle was charged up to 90%, and over the course of the evaluation, the Model Y’s HVAC system was turned on and set to a comfortable 22°C (71.6°F) to prevent the vehicle’s windows from fogging up. Autopilot was also heavily utilized, with the driver-assist feature being engaged for about 95% of the trip.

As noted in a Drive Tesla Canada report, the Model Y consumed a total of 21 kWh of energy in its 103.1km (64.06 miles), or about 205Wh/km (330Wh/mi). This translates to an overall efficiency of 66% as per data from TeslaFi. While a 34% loss is still notable, the all-electric crossover’s efficiency still proved about 2% better than the Model 3 Long Range and 4% better than the Model 3 Standard Range Plus.

This is quite remarkable considering that the Model Y’s aerodynamics are likely not as good as the Model 3 considering its hefty frame and heavy weight. This, if any, makes Tesla’s recent updates to the Model 3 even more exciting. With reports hinting that the “refreshed” Model 3 now come equipped with a heat pump, the winter performance of Tesla’s all-electric sedan will likely be far better than before.

Maria Merano: Veteran writer and editor, who believes harmony between tech and nature is achievable. We just need to learn to compromise.
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