Edmonds tests Tesla range

The Edmonds test team recently published the results of an actual range test of an electric vehicle. In particular, all Tesla tested by the team in 2020 did not match the EPA’s range estimates. Almost all other EVs tested by Edmonds meet or exceed these estimates.

As a result, as you might expect, some feathers were rippling at Tesla’s headquarters.

Challenge from Tesla

Due to poor results, car makers have contacted the Edmonds test team. Tesla engineers disagree with our numbers and we underestimate the true range of their vehicle by stopping the EV range test at miles indicated by zero, rather than pushing until the battery runs out. Claimed to be evaluating.

Tesla said the vehicle has a safety buffer that allows the driver to continue driving even if the specified range displays zero miles. Tesla argued that taking this buffer into account would allow the vehicle to match estimates in the EPA range that would normally be measured when the battery is completely depleted.

That was a challenge at Edmonds, so I rented a 7.5-mile long closed-course oval at the test site of an unaffiliated car manufacturer in the Mojave Desert, California. This equipment allowed five EVs to operate safely until the battery was completely depleted. Tesla has provided a Model 3 long range for us to test. We also brought in two non-Tesla (Ford Mustang Mach E and Volkswagen ID.4) for comparison, in addition to the Edmonds-owned Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Model Y performances used in the original range test. .. These were also provided by the manufacturer.


Most in-car rangefinders take into account recent driving habits when predicting the remaining distance. Edmonds editors needed to drive the vehicle in the same way to normalize the rangefinder and provide an equal arena.

On the test track, we set the automatic climate control to 72 degrees, turned off the audio, did not connect any accessories, rotated the driver in an hour shift, and up to the battery, 5 cars at a typical highway speed of 65mph. I drove an EV. It has been exhausted. Once each vehicle’s distance estimate showed zero miles, we measured how much we could move to a complete stop.

Miles traveled beyond zero

Ford Mustang Mach-E Expansion Range: 7.3 miles

Tesla Model Y Performance: 12.6 Miles

Volkswagen ID.4: 12.9 miles

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus: 17.6 miles

Tesla Model 3 Long Distance: 25.9 Miles

Notice how the buffer changes within the same brand. The long distance of Model 3 is now twice that of Model Y. In addition, all vehicles only read 0 miles left, so I didn’t know how far I could keep going. As far as we know, a car can stop at any time.

Strengthening results

We also ran control tests on the Edmonds EV range route using the Model 3 Long Range and Model Y Performance to end battery life on public roads. Model Y passed Zero 11 miles and Model 3 traveled another 17.5 miles. Both were less than the buffers experienced on the test track.

I asked Tesla about this discrepancy in reserve range. Automakers said the buffer is based on a combination of past and momentary conditions, essentially weather and terrain changes. So, “the buffer cannot be defined exactly as a number every time.”

EV shopper points

Some Tesla can meet EPA estimates in Edmonds’ actual range testing, including a spare battery range, or distance traveled beyond the remaining 0 miles.

However, even in this scenario, even if Tesla recommends this only for long-distance trips, there are requirements such as driving conservatively in warm climates and using Tesla’s maximum battery charge.

Most of the Tesla tested so far (4 out of 6) do not meet the EPA estimate, even considering the safety buffers. In addition, almost all other EV Edmonds meet or exceed EPA estimates without the need to include safety buffers.

Potential Tesla shoppers need to know that in order to use the full range as advertised, they need to feel comfortable beyond the mile mark indicated by zero. Not only is this dangerous, it also requires the owner to discharge the battery deeply. This is not recommended for the long-term health of the battery.

EDMUNDS Comments: The Edmunds EV Range Test is not a vehicle range determinant, but a real complement to the laboratory-based EPA test. We never advise our customers to rely on unpredictable buffer ranges, so we will continue testing to the specified zero.


This story was provided to the Associated Press by the automotive website Edmonds.. Ronald Montoya is Edmonds’ Senior Consumer Advice Editor. twitter: @ ronald_montoya8..

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