Detailed Look At City, Highway & Combined Range Rating For All Versions Of 2016 Model S


Tesla Model S Before Front License Plate Delete - Image: Michael Beinenson / InsideEVs

Tesla Model S Before Front License Plate Delete – Image: Michael Beinenson / InsideEVs

With the release of the refreshed 2016 Tesla Model S, we exclusively learned that Tesla finally had a car with a rating that exceeded 300 miles of range. That car, the 90D version of the Model S, got EPA rated at 303.2 miles on the highway. Its city rating is 285.7, bringing its combined rating down to 294 miles, so not quite a 300-mile-rated car, but very close.

Since the release of the refreshed Model S, the EPA’s internal database has listed both the “old” (discontinued, no longer available versions) ¬†and new versions of the 2016 S, with those highly detailed city/highway/combined range ratings that we thoroughly enjoy sharing.

Below is a rundown of the versions of the 2016 Model S, both before (now discontinued models) and after the refresh.

Check out the detailed EPA listing below to see all of the range rating for the 2016 Model S.

model s range

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25 Comments on "Detailed Look At City, Highway & Combined Range Rating For All Versions Of 2016 Model S"

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30 mile difference between 90 vs 90d compared to 10 mile difference between 75 vs 75d? wonder if the D’s are running on the small front motor most of the time.

The 90 never had real its own EPA range. They just used the 85kWh Model S specs.

The heavier your car is, the more the hit to city range. On the highway, weight is less important and aerodynamics come into play.

So the reason is the front regen braking can be a lot more aggressive since the odds of slippage are lower. The difference is so high it offsets the extra weight added by the front engine. Probably why proportionally a Prius is more efficient in the city versus the highway than a Tesla is in the city versus the highway, if I’m interpreting these numbers correctly.

The EPA highway test and the high speed driving schedules are both quite slow with a lot of acceleration and deceleration. The average speeds are under 50 mph. The high speed test really simulates a commute with about a 5 minute highway portion and even that isn’t steady. When one is looking for range out of an EV, the question about range and efficiency is looking for steady state 70 to 80 mph driving.

Luckily, Idaho National Labs has done quite a bit of electric vehicle testing:

Main website:

Specifically, they’ve done extensive battery efficiency and steady state efficiency testing of quite a few EVs.

According to their testing, the least efficient Model S, the S85 and P85 has better efficiency at a steady 70 mph than an i3 or a Leaf:

Model S:

@ steady 70 mph, in Wh/mi in DC energy:
S85: 301 Wh/mi
i3: 313 Wh/mi
Leaf: 343 Wh/mi

They also test AC to DC conversion efficiency. They have quite a large amount of data.

Clearly, the Model S is actually an efficiency leader at highway speeds, as it needs to be in order to achieve realistic Supercharging jumps. It highlights the importance of aerodynamics in real world efficiency.

The i3 is not a surprise. It was not designed to be a highway car. It’s fun to drive but you have to fight it at 70+ highway speeds with its tall cross-section and light weight.

Thanks for posting this. My next EV needs to have a minimum of 150 mile range at 70MPH. Preferably 200+ miles. The Bolt and Leaf 2.0 are less likely to acheive that with their upright body style. The sleeker Model III is much more likely to hit 200 miles at that speed. Yet one more reason why I hate the trend of upright vehicles, and would rather have a low-slung, “slippery” (i.e. aerodynamic) car.

The Bolt was designed to get CARB ZEV Type III credits for very little investment cost. That’s why it is basically a Buick Encore conversion with a 60 kWh pack. The resulting aerodynamics are quite poor and the expected efficiency is likely less than a Leaf since it has both higher CDa and higher weight than a Leaf. If it were equipped with the right plug and electronics to use the Supercharger network, it would have difficulty making the 120 to 140 mile jumps at highway speeds in all kinds of weather that the Model 3 would have to be able to make.

Well that’s your opinion. On the other hand, upright vehicles are insanely popular for various reasons, while sleek sedans have fallen out of favor. It could be that GM was actually building a car that people would want to buy, and then put an EV powertrain into it.

Absolutely there are many people that want to buy a vehicle shaped like a Bolt/Encore. However, given how important aerodynamics is to a BEV, it is puzzling that they didn’t spend the time, and therefore the money on a more aerodynamic vehicle. Now, a stubby vehicle like the Bolt, with about 40 kWh of battery would be a terrific competitor against the Leaf and the i3. It would satisfy most of the same commuting patterns and be more efficient at urban travel. So why 60 kWh in a stubby vehicle? Because the CARB ZEV credit type III classification requires UDDS range of 200 miles. They need enough battery capacity to get the credits. If the credit scenario didn’t exist, it would make far more sense to put a smaller battery pack in stubby urban vehicle like the Bolt and go head to head against the i3 as an commuter vehicle. It would be both more efficient and cheaper for the consumer. This is also why GM doesn’t emphasize the DCFC in the Bolt. The realistic long distance travel scenario isn’t good for the Bolt. Now, if they took a far more aerodynamic platform to start, or custom built a BEV… Read more »

Well it’s like you said, they already had the body so to save money that is what they used.
It’s not optimum, but for a city runabout it’s fine. I still think I would rather have the Model III, but the Bolt would be alright as long you don’t go on long trips.

Real world conditions (i.e. cold and windy) will take it’s toll on the higher profile vehicle. The “low slung” (i.e. Model 3) will have a more “durable” highway range.

iow, two different EV’s (i.e. bolt vs model 3) could have the same EPA rated range, but when the going gets tough you might see very different real world results between the two.

I don’t think high or low profile would make big difference for “cold” case. It is more about heat pump efficiency and interior volume.
Most people just like high profile vehicles more – they have better visibility and your head typically isn’t banging rear window glass in a back seat like it is in aerodynamic low profile cars. Lower profile and better CdA would increase high speed range, but frankly it would still be not good enough for convenient travel longer than some 300 miles or so. “Fast” charging is slow and expensive. It may be not a big deal to top-up once, but doing it multiple times over a single trip doesn’t look attractive.

70 MPH is nice, but most people live in cities and in traffic. Except for those who live at the end of traffic-free freeway off ramp and only visit shops at the other end of such traffic-free off ramp (ie, nobody), most people will have far more efficiency with i3, SparkEV, Leaf, even SoulEV.

Indeed, my few excursions out to Los Angeles bumped my SparkEV to 5.2 mi/kWh (192 Wh/mi) with 10,000 miles on trip meter. It’ll be far, far worse with Tesla since 70 MPH is only for rare times LA is free of traffic (ie, never!)

Note that the Leaf is less efficient than a Model S 85 at a steady 45 mph. Likely the i3 is about the same at 65 mph, and wins at 60 mph. But the actual differences are slight in the overall scheme of things.

After all, we’re talking 90 MPGe vs 124 MPGe at worse case with a lot of stop lights in light traffic. The efficiency difference is much smaller in bumper to bumper traffic.

Of course, the other big difference is that the Model S can replace a 400+ g/mi CO2 emitting full sized sedan for a wide variety of use cases including long distance driving with 5 people. An i3 and a Spark EV cannot. Both kinds of products are necessary in the market.

90 MPGe (or even 100 MPGe) vs 124 MPGe is HUGE. To get equivalent energy use, Tesla would have to skip driving every 5 days.

Traffic makes situation lot worse. Regen is only about 75% efficient. See my regen efficiency blog post on how I found that figure.

Tesla weighing 4700 lb vs SparkEV at 3000 lb (both 150 lb rider), energy waste from regen on Tesla would be almost 35% more. In addition, rolling resistance would take far bigger portion of energy at low speed for heavier car. Indeed, this is probably why I get such phenomenal efficiency with SparkEV, even with sporadic trips in LA.

Considering most people drive alone in their cars and less than 50 miles a day, having a large sedan with giant battery is moot point. Far better than Tesla would be small EV like SparkEV and large SUV for rare times when you need many passengers and cargo. Heck, even Volt would be more efficient overall than Tesla.

If you want performance and luxury, there’s nothing beating Tesla. But Tesla is far from economical / efficient for normal use, at least until Tesla 3 comes out.

High traffic means less aggressive acceleration and a lot more creeping. It is much worse to be in a city with lots of stop lights and light traffic. Then it’s much more likely to have jack rabbit acceleration and regen braking to the next light. Much of the EPA testing is actually modeling light city traffic and so the 90 MPGe vs. 124 MPGe is modeling that worst case scenario for the S and it’s the best case scenario for the i3.

In heavy traffic, one creeps along and there’s a lot more near zero coasting. So difference narrows tremendously. At a mere 45 mph, poor aerodynamics makes the Leaf and likely the Bolt less efficient than the S85.

Obviously, if most of your driving is urban and you really don’t need to drive more than 50 miles, than the i3 is a great alternative at a much cheaper price than the Model S. However, once we talk about the Model 3, then things are likely very different. We’re then talking about almost the same money, much closer in city efficiency and much better highway efficiency for the 3, and the ability to drive long distances at highway speeds.

You’re creeping at 5-20 MPH, not 45 MPH. At such low speed, rolling resistance and static power (as in biasing / leakage of powerful controllers) take up far more power. Tesla’s weight combined with performance tires would make it even less efficient.

For example, SparkEV would get about 7.5 mi/kWh (133 Wh/mi) at 25 MPH, but worse at 10 MPH at 6 mi/kWh (167 Wh/mi) due to static power taking bigger share of power budget. 4800 lb Tesla that has far bigger power demand would achieve nowhere close to these figures while creeping along.

Graph below shows SparkEV’s efficiency behavior over speed without braking (creep, no traffic). If it doesn’t show, see my blog post “range polynomial”

Tesla 3 isn’t out yet, so I leave my judgement. Potentially with smaller and lighter battery, it could approach traffic efficiency of Leaf while having better efficiency than S at highway if it weighs similar to Bolt. But S definitely isn’t efficient in the real world (relatively speaking)

While what you say is true, highway efficiency is key to long-distance performance. For myself, I need my next EV to get me to family. That involves 250 miles of highway driving. I have no problem keeping my speed down to 70 (even though others zip by me at 80+). But the car needs to get me to the next QC without killing its battery.

Point is regarding efficiency. While longer range by utilizing better efficiency is preferred, one can also achieve that with bigger battery and lower efficiency (ie, Bolt).

That’s why I’m so jazzed about Tesla 3. Cd of 0.21? WOW!

I understand. My point is that efficiency doesn’t matter to everyone. What matters is range. Very few people will drive 200 miles non-stop at 40MPH. Many, many more will drive 200 miles non-stop at 70+MPH. So this says to me that highway efficiency at 70MPH is very important for any car that is supposed to be mass-market.

Why are there two rows of identical info and what makes S70D special to have “lowered to 240 miles”?

Oops, never mind. I thought before and after are on separate, not on successive rows.

The entire spreadsheet has 3x the needed rows.

It looks like this is a slice from the full spreadsheet where those rows might make sense. For this article, it would have been easier to read if it was chopped down.

People can also go to this site:
and play with the Range Per Charge estimator towards the bottom of the page. Things such as speed, temp, and wheel size can be adjusted.