Tesla CEO says that an EPA testing error means the official range rating is lower than it should be.
Manufacturers are obsessed with statistics, but depending on the segment, the focus on which numbers get the attention shifts rather drastically. For Ford and Chevrolet, it's all about which of its trucks has the most extreme towing capacity. BMW M and Mercedes-AMG are engaged in one of several horsepower wars, and over at McLaren, no conversation can be had without an elaborate story of how 10 pounds of weight was saved. At Tesla, it's all about range.
And, due to the intricacies of human psychology, the difference between 391 miles and a nice, round 400 miles matters. The latter figure is what Tesla CEO Elon Musk now claims the Model S Long Range Plus can achieve after all. The current 391-mile rating, he says, is only because during testing, the EPA left the Model S' door open and the car powered up at some point, causing it to lose two percent of its battery power - the extra juice would have extended the range to 400 miles.
Earlier this year, both the Model S and Model X saw a big increase in range. With Musk's latest claim, the Model S would finally breach the magic mark of 400 miles on a single charge - the statement was made upon the release of the automaker's Q1 2020 results. Musk further claims that, while the EPA can't retest the Model S right now due to the ongoing pandemic, the luxury EV will have an official range of 400 miles or greater when it is tested once more - hopefully with the door closed this time.
Until a retest happens, Tesla will have to leave the Model S Long Range's 391-mile range as the official number on its website. Of course, it's worth bearing in mind that real-world testing often falls short of EPA claims, with factors like driving style and the climate affecting total range. So, new Model S customers should view the 400-mile range as a best-case scenario, not the norm.
If Musk's claim turns out to be true, though, it will be another feather in Tesla's cap. After all, even Porsche's much newer Taycan can't get to 300 miles on a single charge. The upcoming Lucid Air luxury EV has been tested achieving over 400 miles on a single charge, but unlike Porsche, Lucid Motors is a largely unknown entity and will require more time to build consumer confidence. All of which means that even late into its life, the Tesla Model S is still managing to keep competitors at bay.