The Cybertruck steals the headlines. However, Tesla’s most important vehicle, by a wide margin, is the Model Y crossover. The Model Y was the world’s best-selling vehicle in 2023. And it is America’s most popular EV by a wide margin. Tesla sold an estimated 109,000 of them in America in Q1 2024, making it the No. 4 best-selling vehicle behind the Ford F-Series, Chevy Silverado and Toyota RAV4. 

Perhaps the first question a prospective Tesla Model Y owner would ask — even before how much it costs to charge — is how much range it has. The EPA and Tesla offer estimates. However, the ranges experienced in everyday driving will differ from those estimates based on several factors. 

How much range does the Tesla Model Y have?

The EPA estimates a range of 308 miles for the 2024 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD and 279 miles for the Tesla Model Y Performance AWD. There’s no official number for the Model Y Long Range RWD model, which should presumably be more efficient. However, Tesla estimates a top range of 320 miles on its website.

Those numbers are significantly lower than the 2023 numbers for the Model Y. This is because the EPA changed its testing methodology for EV range in 2024, taking an average of the best-case and worst-case energy usage settings rather than using the default drive mode. 

But remember, a Tesla Model Y will have less effective range when you’re driving it.

In most circumstances, whether home charging or topping up a Tesla Model Y at a Supercharger, owners will only charge to 80%; going beyond that can result in congestion fees at a Supercharger. Charging to 80% limits the effective range to 246 miles for a Model Y Long Range AWD, 223 miles for a Model Y Performance AWD and 256 miles for the Long Range RWD (if Tesla’s estimate is correct).

Does the wheel size in a Tesla Model Y affect range?

Yes, significantly. Opting for the optional larger wheels on a Tesla Model Y diminishes the range. Tesla, per its website, estimates range drops from 320 miles to 295, putting 20-inch wheels on the Long Range RWD Model Y, and from 308 miles to 287 miles, adding 20-inch wheels to the Long Range AWD Model Y. Tesla only offers 21-inch wheels on the Model Y performance AWD.

Does cold weather affect a Tesla Model Y’s range?

Yes, significantly. In Consumer Reports testing in 2022, the Tesla Model Y earned just 186 miles of range when tested at an average temperature of 16ºF. That observed figure was 32% lower than the 274 miles the same car achieved in temperatures above 80ºF. The then EPA estimated range for the Model Y tested was 326 miles. Actual performance will vary. But it’s safe to assume a significant range reduction in cold weather for a Tesla Model Y.

Does the Tesla Model Y offer less range in highway driving?

Also yes. Combustion cars tend to be more efficient in highway driving. But EVs, which consume minimal energy while idling and can charge the battery with regenerative braking, are actually more efficient in the city. A Tesla Model Y in 2020 earned just 220 miles of range in Car and Driver highway testing, well below its EPA estimate.

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