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400 Miles With A Tesla Model S? EPA Denies Claim That Testing Was Faulty [Updated]

Elon Musk says the Model S should have a range of 400 miles or more but officially, pending a retest, the car has an official EPA rating of “only” 391 miles.

Elon Musk seems to enjoy being embroiled in controversies these days. It seems the latest flap is over the official EPA range of the Tesla Model S. During last week’s quarterly Tesla conference call, he said the latest iteration of the Model S is capable of 400 miles (644 km) or more of range on a single battery charge and that the EPA would soon confirm the achievement — once Tesla could get another test run. That would make the Model S the first production car with more than a 400 mile range rating, a significant achievement.

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At present, the EPA says the Model S has 391 miles (629 km) of range. That’s close to the magic 400 mile (644 km) number, but not close enough for the redoubtable Mister Musk. He told his audience last week the EPA rating would already be 400+ miles except someone at the agency accidentally left the driver’s door open overnight with the key fob in the car. That caused the car to go into “waiting for driver” mode, which drained 2% of the power available in the battery.

Not so, a spokesperson for the EPA tells CNET RoadShow. “We can confirm that EPA tested the vehicle properly, the door was closed, and we are happy to discuss any technical issues with Tesla, as we do routinely with all automakers.” Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from CNET, but Musk indicated last week the company is pushing for a retest, saying he is confident the official range rating will tick up to 400 miles (644 km) or more when that happens. It seems the idea that the key was in the car overnight with the door cracked open must have come from something Tesla HQ picked up, not just a hunch, but we don’t have any details beyond what Musk said last week.

Update: Musk has responded to this article/the EPA’s claim:

Is this fight worth it? Does anyone seriously care whether a car can go 391 (629 km) or 400 miles (644 km) without recharging? Does anyone say, “Oh, I would buy a Tesla Model S today if it only had 9 more miles (14.5 km) of range?” Of course not. That would be ridiculous. But people buy on emotion and justify their decision later with facts.

Metrics like range, miles per gallon, and 0 to 60 times are the “facts” people use to convince themselves they made a smart choice when the decided to buy Brand T instead of Brand F, Brand GM, or Brand VW. Meanwhile, car companies for generations have cheated and lied about their fuel economy in order to try to make that process easier or appeal to the customer who do count beans, going as far as taping all the seams between body panels, riding on bald tires inflated to 100 psi, and hacking braking systems to eliminate friction, all so they could eke out a few more tenths of a mile per gallon in fuel economy tests.

There is little doubt Tesla will soon have a car rated at 400 miles (644 km) or more of range. Elon has a way of getting what he wants. But officially? That day has yet to arrive.

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