Tesla Model S Is the First Electric Car With 400 Miles of Range, Says EPA

That’s a gain of 100 miles in four years.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo


When it comes to electric vehicles, there are many give-and-takes compared to a traditional gasoline-powered car. There are differences in acceleration, top speed, and overall vehicle dynamics—but above all, range is king. To combat long charging times, many consumers want electric cars to be able to cover long distances, despite commutes generally being significantly less than a vehicle's stated range. Now, Tesla has collected yet another crown as its Model S has broken the 400-mile range barrier—a first for any EV.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the news along with a company blog post on Monday. Despite the official EPA site for the Model S not being updated, Musk says that the company's flagship luxury sedan has officially tipped the scales in its favor, offering a grand total of 402 miles of pure electric range.

Tesla says the 2020 Model S Long Range's rating of 402 miles is a 20-percent increase when compared to the 2019 Tesla Model S 100D. Despite using the same battery pack design, the automaker has revised several facets of the Model S to maximize efficiency, carrying over a number of lessons it has learned since the car first launched in 2012.

First and foremost is weight reduction. Tesla has applied a number of weight-saving techniques from the Model 3 and Y, effectively retrofitting the engineering into the older Model S platform. The automaker also increased the efficiency of its new drive units, replacing mechanically driven parts (like the motor's oil pump) with electric variants, and modifying its regenerative braking to return more energy to the battery pack. Tesla also introduced more aerodynamic wheels, which it says contributes to the higher range.

But more than anything, this news is an "I told you so" moment for Elon Musk.

Earlier this year, the EPA certified the Tesla Model S Long Range for 391 miles of range. During Tesla's quarterly earnings call, Musk claimed that this number was bogus, mentioning that the EPA had improperly tested the car and—without knowing—accidentally stated an incorrect maximum range just short of 400 miles.

"The real Model S range is 400 miles, but when we did the last EPA test, unfortunately, [the EPA] left the car door open and the keys in the car, so the car—and it did this overnight," Musk said during the call. "And so the car actually went into waiting for driver mode and lost two percent of its range. And as a result, it had a 391 test." 

Musk doubled-down his claims by noting that Tesla's internal tests achieved more than 400 miles since February 2020. An EPA spokesperson later disputed Musk's claim with The Verge and indicated that it had properly tested the car; however, it seems the Model S's updated range may be the result of re-testing.

This may not even be the biggest news we hear from Tesla in the coming months. The automaker has delayed its long-awaited Battery Day where it is expected to reveal details about its future million-mile battery. In any case, electrification is in its infancy and a 400-mile range may just be the tip of the iceberg.

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