The Tesla Model S Long Range Plus is the first EV to receive an EPA range rating of over 400 miles.
Since 2012, Tesla has been perfecting its Model S electric supersedan (a CleanTechnica term). The original version had only 265 miles of range. Tesla has noted that it has revisited every aspect of the design to bring about the longest-range and highest-performing EVs it can.
As of today, all North American Tesla Model S Long Range Plus vehicles have the official EPA-rated range of 402 miles. This is a 20% increase in range compared to a 2019 Model S 100D with the same battery pack design.
All Model S cars made since late Jan have 402 mile range. This is just making it official.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2020
Tesla noted in its blog post that this achievement reflects Tesla’s “obsession with efficiency and energy frugality,” which is shown through changes in the hardware and design. These new changes went into production in 2020 when Tesla started manufacturing the Model S Long Range Plus in its Fremont factory. Tesla also explained some new things about the car on its blog which I’ll discuss further below.
Significant Mass Reduction
Tesla explained that many lessons from the creation of the Model 3 and Model Y have been added to the Model S and Model X. This has opened new doors to mass reduction while keeping the look and feel that Tesla is known for. Tesla has also reduced its weight by standardizing its in-house seat manufacturing and using lighter-weight materials in its battery pack and drive units.
Tempest Aero Wheels & Tires
Tesla has new 8.5-inch aero wheels that reduce aerodynamic drag in comparison to previous wheels on the Model S Long Range. When paired with a new custom tire that is specifically engineered to reduce rolling resistance, that adds another 2% improvement to the overall range — one that the EPA clearly noticed.
Increased Drive Unit Efficiency
Tesla replaced the mechanical oil pump in its rear AC-induction drive unit with an electric one. This new pump “optimizes lubrication independent of vehicle speed to reduce friction.” In other words, Tesla has created a way to reduce friction regardless of how fast the vehicle is going.
Another improvement is to the gearbox in the motors shared with Model 3 and Model Y. These improvements resulted in another increase of 2% more range while driving on the highway.
Maximizing Regenerative Braking
Tesla introduced a new feature, HOLD, that blends the motor’s regenerative braking with physical brakes to easily bring the vehicle to a stop by easing off the accelerator pedal. To do this smoothly, Tesla’s regenerative braking is now working at a lower speed and deceleration rate. This sends more energy back to the battery while also keeping the driving experience at the Tesla standard. Tesla is known for its driving experience — no messing with that.
Continued Investment in Supercharging
Tesla wants its customers to have that sense of freedom to go anywhere, and this is why the Supercharger network exists. Tesla keeps building out its network at a fast pace. In fact, there’s now one 5 minutes from my apartment. Check your area via the map at the link above if you haven’t done so before (or haven’t done so recently).
Tesla has deployed it’s newest versions of Superchargers, V3 Superchargers, on three continents. This helps one charge their car faster, by giving up to a 50% decrease in charging times when compared to Tesla’s previous V2 Supercharger technology.
EPA & Tesla Soap Opera
You may recall there was a bit of controversy a little more than a month ago after Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted that the original test of the Model S Long Range Plus was faulty, would be redone, and would then show 400+ miles of range. The EPA denied that the testing had been faulty for some reason, which appeared to confuse Elon Musk.
Weird that EPA would deny this. We have precise car logs that confirm it happened. Happy to provide them.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 4, 2020
— 💎🐾Esteemed Earl of Frunkpuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) June 16, 2020
More specifically, when the EPA first tested the Model S for its range rating, the tester reportedly left a door open. When Elon Musk mentioned that on a conference call, the EPA denied it, and many headlines followed. Some writers claimed Elon lied and worded their articles around the assumed idea that it was going to remain a lower rating. It turns out, though, that Elon Musk was right on the money and that the range was above 400 as he predicted.
This is just one of many successes that Tesla has secured despite the claims of naysayers, critics, and boldfaced headlines that hound Elon Musk and Tesla. With its 402 EPA range rating, Tesla exceeds the goal of 400 and is continuing to reshape yesterday’s auto industry into one that is worthy of the 21st century.