Do drivers believe the range automakers inform them of for a vehicle? Most don’t. Is that the reason fuel tanks have a reserve and EVs to have a battery buffer? We have seen that happen on a recent Carwow video. The fact is that manufacturers prefer to play it safe, offering more range than they officially inform. In Tesla’s case, that is done in a peculiar way, according to this Tesla Killer YouTube video.
When the battery pack is fully charged, the company informs a given range. In this case, it was 489 km for a 99 percent charge. That range can be attained if you drive your car at the EPA energy consumption constant. The YouTube channel explains that in the video below – we have placed it in the precise moment it does that:
As you can see, Tesla informs that constant to you in an easy way. Based on that, the video presenter drove his Model 3 precisely at that energy consumption level for 421.6 km. He did not reach 0 percent, but he proved his point.
Right when he reaches 100 km on the clock, he should have 389 km left of the range. The Tesla computer says he still has 383 km to go, or 6 km less than he should have. The same happens a little further ahead.
Gallery: Tesla Creates Virtual Buffer By Adding 5 Percent More Distance To Range
The presenter did not wait for 200 km on the odometer. Instead, he waited for the range to drop more 100 km compared to the first measurement, or 284 km left. At that time, the odometer showed 192.8 km, or 7.2 km less than it should.
To sum this up, the video presenter calculates further down the line that Tesla would discount about 105 km of range for every 100 km the car runs. That is a 5 percent difference. When the battery charge supposedly reaches 0, it still has around 5 percent of charge remaining.
That leads to the conclusion that Tesla created a "virtual battery buffer" by informing the driver he had less range than he actually did so that there was some juice around when he supposedly had nothing more. Another way to put it is that the company states you have 0 percent of charge when you still have 5 percent of it available.
When we check the Carwow video, the Tesla Model 3 used in that test seems to have reached 0 percent after 261.5 miles running. It ended up with a total range of 270 mi. The virtual buffer amounted to 3 percent of the whole range, but the energy consumption was much higher: 252 Wh/mi. Remember that amount of "buffer" exists when you keep your energy consumption at EPA levels.
That explains the range loss Bjørn Nyland complained about after an update in October 2019, but it doesn’t apply to the software updates 2019.16.1 or 2019.16.2 on the Model S and Model X, which created a voltage cap.
The presenter of the video created a thread on the TMC forums to present and discuss this discovery. Feel free to join. You can also discuss it here. Should Tesla have artificially lowered the range to create this virtual buffer, or would it better offer a proper one? Would a real buffer be more beneficial to the battery pack, or would that make no difference? Let us know what you think about it below.