But the Tesla Model Y is more efficient than the Tesla Model 3.

The recently announced EPA range rating for the upcoming 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance (Long Range and All-Wheel Drive) version of 315 miles (506.8 km) surprised many of us, as it's actually about 16 miles (25.7 km) or 5% better than the corresponding 2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance (LR, AWD) - see the range/efficiency report for the Model 3 here.

There might be some questions about wheel sizes, but in general we would rather expect the opposite (assuming the same battery capacity), as the Model Y is a noticeably bigger car than the Model 3.

Two things might explain the outcome:

  • the Model Y is more efficient than the Model 3
  • the Model 3 is now also more efficient, but hasn't yet received an updated range rating

Previous experience with Tesla and EPA updates suggest that there is a delay between actual improvement applied by Tesla and an official announcement of a range increase. Especially since the EPA seems to prefer to have a single rating for a single model year.

According to info obtained by InsideEVs recently, the other Tesla models might be better in terms of range and efficiency than their ratings from x months ago. Whether this means that the Model 3 is on par or better than the Model Y is hard to say though.

One thing that would be interesting, is whether the Model 3 Standard Range Plus will be even more efficient than before and finally beat the Hyundai IONIQ Electric in all categories (the one that's left is the city rating of 225 Wh/mile for old 2019 model year)?

Tesla Model Y vs Tesla Model 3

The quick look at the two models, in top of the line versions, shows that the Model Y is more efficient in all categories:

  • overall: by 6.4%
  • city: by 8.7%
  • highway: by 4.4%

The smaller advantage on the highway than in the city is simple to explain, as the Model Y is bigger, so will be more affected by higher speeds. However, the 8.7% gain (less if the Model 3 is also more efficient than EPA numbers) in city driving is puzzling.

At lower speeds, one of the most important things is weight, so maybe the Tesla Model Y is significantly lighter? Another thought would be powertrain improvement (at low speeds at least).

2020 Tesla Model Y Performance (Long Range, AWD) (2020) EPA rating:

  • range of 315 miles (506.8 km)
  • energy consumption (including charging losses):
    • combined: 279 Wh/mi (173 Wh/km)
    • city: 261 Wh/mi (162 Wh/km)
    • highway: 301 Wh/mi (187 Wh/km)

2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance (Long Range, AWD) EPA rating:

  • range of 299 miles (481 km)
  • energy consumption (including charging losses):
    • combined: 298 Wh/mi (185 Wh/km)
    • city: 286 Wh/mi (178 Wh/km)
    • highway: 315 Wh/mi (196 Wh/km)