Some say that Tesla underpromises and overdelivers. According to Edmunds, there is at least one case in which that is right the opposite. Tesla would overpromise and underdeliver when it comes to the range: it was one of the only two companies that failed to meet its EPA numbers with all its five cars tested by the website. The other one was Polestar.
Curiously, we have mentioned on September 3, 2020, why the company presents much better numbers than its competitors: Tesla adopts a different strategy from most other car companies when it comes to measuring the range in its cars. This excellent Car And Driver article explain that.
If you have no patience or time to read it, EPA allows the companies to run three additional drive cycles to get a more favorable adjustment factor. The standard adjustment factor reduces the range obtained in the drive cycles by 30 percent. According to Car And Driver, only Audi and Tesla take these three additional drive cycles to have a less severe adjustment factor.
The Edmunds' tests had the help of Jonathan Elfalan, a vehicle testing engineer. Elfalan evaluated 15 electric cars to present his results. All cars apart from Tesla vehicles and the Polestar 2 showed better range numbers than those from EPA.
The one with the least positive result was the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It achieved 277 miles of range instead of the 259 miles on the EPA cycle, an improvement of 6.9 percent. The car was tested at 60ºF (15.6ºC).
The best car in the test was the Porsche Taycan 4S. Instead of the 203 miles of the EPA range, it reached 323 miles when tested at 73ºF (22.8ºC). That’s a 59.3 percent better range than that informed by EPA.
Edmunds' results show the best Tesla was the Model S Performance. Its EPA range is 326 miles, but it could only run 318 miles, or 2.5 percent less than expected. If we were to take Elon Musk’s words that the new normal is 300 miles, this Model S was the only Tesla to achieve that. The other three EVs above the 300-mile threshold are the Taycan 4S, the Hyundai Kona Electric, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD Extended Range.
The worst Tesla was the Model 3 Performance. It failed its 310-mile EPA range by 17.4 percent, with only 256 miles in the Edmunds’ tests, which also evaluated the Model 3 Standard Range Plus (-7.2 percent), the Model X Long Range (-10.4 percent), and the Model Y Performance (-9.6 percent).
The Polestar 2 has an EPA range of 233 miles but only ran 228 miles in Edmunds’ tests, 2.1 percent less than its official range number. Regarding Audi, which also follows the more beneficial EPA testing method, the E-Tron Sportback ran 238 miles, 9.2 percent more than its 218-mile EPA range.
These tests from Edmunds also calculated how energy efficient these EVs are. If you thought a Tesla would beat all competition in that regard, that was definitely not the case. According to Edmunds, the most efficient EV for sale among the 15 it tested was the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, with an energy consumption of only 20.8 kWh/100 miles. Norwegian tests said it is also the most efficient in cold weather.
The most efficient Tesla would be the Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which achieved 23 kWh/100 miles. The worst one was the Model X Long Range, with 35 kWh/100 miles. The Audi E-Tron Sportback is the worst of the group, with 38.2 kWh/100 miles.
More than putting Tesla ranges under scrutiny, what the Edmunds’ test did was to reinforce the need to revise EPA standards. If their goal is to present numbers that buyers can compare in a fair way, the variations Edmunds detected show the EPA numbers are anything but comparable. As Car And Driver pointed out, the fact that some automakers can choose more benign testing methods – even if more arduous – already frustrates the comparison goals.