Comparing Tesla Model 3 EPA Ratings: Tested Versus Advertised
The Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD and Performance models aren’t as efficient as the RWD model. But yet they have received the same advertised range.
We’ve known for a while that the “Dual Motor” All Wheel Drive (AWD) and Performance (P) models of the Model 3 would likely be less efficient than the standard Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) model. Earlier this month, documents from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) were leaked. They showed that the RWD model has an extended driving range over AWD under the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS) testing cycle. The AWD/P models earned a 455-mile rating compared to 495 miles for the RWD model.
The UDDS has a lower average speed to simulate primarily city driving. Typically, the EPA advertised range is rated at ~70% of the UDDS range. Here are the current EPA ratings for the 2018 Model 3:
The higher range for the RWD model surprised many since the opposite was true of Tesla’s other models. Interestingly, the 2018 Model 3 RWD rating has actually seen a minor boost in efficiency over the 2017 model:
Since the EPA and CARB documents indicate lower efficiency for the AWD and P models, why is the EPA range identical across all 3?
For the Model 3 RWD, Tesla voluntarily reduced the EPA advertised range to the current 310-mile combined range. Based on the UDDS range, the EPA range should be about 340 miles. This reduction is not unusual and is encouraged by testing agencies. It is not the first time Tesla has done this and InsideEVs has reported this reduction in the past regarding the Model 3.
The AWD/P Models were not voluntarily reduced to the same degree. Based on the UDDS range, the EPA range should be around 315 miles. So why are all models rated at 310? It is possible Tesla did not want to make the AWD/P models seem in any way “inferior” to the RWD model. It also puts the differentiating factor on the performance of the vehicle rather than the range. Under-reporting the lower-priced Model 3’s might also be a smart move since more of the buyers will have less experience with electric vehicle ranges.
So for Model 3 buyers: RWD is the most efficient and will result in the longest real-world driving range. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you would get the most benefit out of the “Dual Motor” AWD models. Finally, if money is no object and you “gotta go fast” then the Performance model is a no-brainer.
While researching for this article, we came across an excellent chart from Tesla Motors Club user Troy. It lists reported ranges from CARB and EPA testing cycles and estimated ranges based on driving speeds. He updates the chart regularly so it is worth checking out. Elsewhere on the site, Troy also explains how Tesla voluntarily reduced the range on the RWD model.