Report: Tesla Model X Is America’s Most “Fuel-Efficient” SUV – Obviously

8 months ago by Eric Loveday 56

Tesla Model X 90D Specs

Was there ever any doubt the Tesla Model X was the world’s most “fuel-efficient” SUV?

As the only pure electric SUV sold in the U.S., the Model X is sure to be tops in the fuel efficiency category, but now Consumer Reports lays it all out for us to see is a visual way.

We’ve highlighted the Top 10 (full list of more than 50 SUVs here) most fuel-efficient SUVs sold in the U.S. and it’s clear as can be just how much more efficient the Model X 90D is, as compared to even its hybrid competition.

Consumer Reports states:

“Among Consumer Reports’ more than 50 vehicle tests are fuel economy measurements. Our fuel economy numbers come from our measurements using a precision flow meter and are rounded to the nearest mile per gallon (mpg).”

“Our overall mileage is calculated from equal portions of city and expressway driving.”

Note: * = MPGe, mile-per-gallon equivalent.

Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient SUVS – Via Consumer Reports

The Model X, at 92 MPGe overall, is nearly three times as fuel efficient as the next closest SUV, so really there’s no comparison when it comes to electric SUV efficiency versus the next sort of green thing.

Source: Consumer Reports

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56 responses to "Report: Tesla Model X Is America’s Most “Fuel-Efficient” SUV – Obviously"

  1. unlucky says:

    MPGe is not a very good number to use when driving electric. It just doesn’t have much meaning. It doesn’t compare costs in any way, doesn’t give any meaningful idea of range and it ignores energy losses when generating the electricity.

    I wish we’d just use J/Mi or J/km or something. Even kWh per Mi/km would be okay.

    1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      Yep. Comparing the 112 MPGe of a Leaf BEV that was charged with electricity derived 100% from a natural gas power plant to the 31 MPGe of a Honda Civic Natural Gas ICE completely ignores the energy losses incurred to generate electricity to charge the Leaf, making the comparison meaningless. A true comparison of efficiency would compare how far you can travel on the EPA test on 1 kilogram of natural gas that is burned in a power plant that generates electricity for a Leaf to 1 kilogram of natural gas in the tank of a Honda Civic Natural Gas.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Electricity is rarely 100% from one source of fuel. Far better comparison is MPGe$ (MPG equivalent in dollar). Not sure how much it cost for CivicGX to drive a mile, but if gas is $2.75/gal and electricity is $0.19/kWh, Leaf would be

        112/33.7 = 3.3 mi/kWh (includes charging)
        3.3 / 0.19 * 2.75 = 48 MPGe$

        Unlike nat gas, one can also use excess solar to bring that up far more, asymptotically approaching infinite MPGe$ with BEV.

        1. SparkEV says:

          It seems nat gas in gge is about 10%-15% cheaper than gasoline in SoCal. Then 31 MPGe GX would be about 38 MPGe$.

          I wonder why nat gas cars didn’t take off. It has public quick fillers and home slow fillers, which would be just as convenient as long range EV. I think it’s better than FCEV that can’t fuel at home. Maybe they didn’t make exciting ones like Tesla and SparkEV?

          1. Vexar says:

            Probably for the same reason hydrogen dirigibles didn’t persist. Things that make you go boom.

          2. Nick says:

            Natural gas cars don’t solve the CO2 problem, and require you to do another painful transition away from them later.

            EVs are nice since they are energy source agnostic. Once people are driving them they won’t need to switch again.

            Thanks!

          3. Mark says:

            The Phill CNG home refueler was originally around $3K but the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California had a rebate of about $2K if I recall correctly. But the rebate went away, and if anything, the cost of the Phill unit actually increased.

      2. Djoni says:

        Neither does the gallon of gas or the cubic feet of methane you put in your tank count all the energy needed to explore, extract it, refine, additives, shipping and pumping it in your tank.
        So basically it’s all thorn up with no basis.
        But since you just count what gets in your tank, you have to start there.

      3. TomArt says:

        I disagree. It’s about the efficiency of the vehicle itself, not “well-to-wheel” efficiency.

        Regardless, the EV still wins.

        1. Djoni says:

          And then, you agree!

    2. realistic says:

      Agreed, although some folk might think more jewels-per-mile is a good thing.

      True story:
      I spoke to a Ford cosnumer marketing guy on a long flight. Post a couple of tiny bottles per each of us, I revealed to him that I hated advertisers’ use of the term “MPGs” (pronounced “EmmPeeGees”, like “bro, the new Fiesta gets WAY more EmmPeeGees”).
      He agreed, but then shared the reason why: focus groups – a term not related to the FoMoCo model – sadly revealed that a significant minority of the car buying public did not fully understand what the term “miles per gallon” meant. IOW, the group facilitator would try such fun little trick questions like “if you can go ten miles on one gallon of gas, how many miles per gallon does the car get?” A shocking number of people would grab their phones to ask Google or in a few cases try to open an app called “calculator”.
      Not kidding.

      We will start seeing energy consumption rated in simple 1-to-5 terms or even emoji-like grades.

      Yes. It’s happened. (“It has electrolytes.”)

      Asking the general world to understand watt-hr per kilometer is like asking them to do, like, rocket surgery. And, no, I have not mastered InstantGraham or SnapTalk or any of those things, but I fu**in’ use junior high metrics without consulting a “device”.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Great story. Thanks for sharing.

      2. Dave86 says:

        Thanks for sharing. Had no idea that there was a sizable minority who couldn’t comprehend “miles per gallon”. That may explain a lot of the “poor buying decisions” we see. I.E. they buy a vehicle without really understanding how much it is going to cost to pay for gas for it.

      3. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “Yes. It’s happened. (“It has electrolytes.”)”

        Yes, one of my favorite dark comedy has becoming a documentary.

      4. TomArt says:

        #alternativenames

        Funny!

    3. BenG says:

      MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) is a fair number that answers the question of how far you can go if you put one gallon gasoline’s worth of energy into the car.

      There are other metrics like miles per dollar spent on energy for your car, but those vary by region, fuel/energy type, seller, etc …

      1. unlucky says:

        But how much energy is one gallon’s worth of energy? Do you know off the top of your head? Even if you do, do you find dividing by 33.7 to get to mi/kWh in your head to be fun?

        As long as I am “filling” the car in kWh measuring the efficiency in gallons of gas equivalent is annoying.

        1. BenG says:

          Most people don’t know what a kilowatt hour is or how much one costs or how many it would take to fill their tank. Shrug.

          1. Djoni says:

            Put them on stationary cycle and make them reach 300 watts* of power and maintain it for 1 hour.
            That would be an awesome .3 kWh of energy.
            They would figure 1 kWh is a lot more then they thought.

            *Nobody else than top athlete can

            1. Dave86 says:

              I ride the exercise bikes at the gym which shows how many watts I’m generating as I peddle.

              Yes, sustaining 300 watts for an hour is quite exceptional.

              1. If 300 watts is a bit much, shoot for 250 Watts (for 4 hours), or 200 Watts (for 5 hours), for the comparison.

                Or, X hrs of TV or Computer use, to show the value!

          2. unlucky says:

            People pay for their electricity in kWh. They know what a kWh is a lot better than a “energy equivalent of a gallon of gas”.

            I pay $0.18/kWh at night for electricity. How much do you pay for an “electric gallon of gas”?

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) is a fair number that answers the question of how far you can go if you put one gallon gasoline’s worth of energy into the car.”

        That would be nice if it was true. But if you start comparing the MPGe ratings of different cars, you quickly realize that it varies in some arbitrary and apparently random fashion.

        Even if it was applied in a manner that was consistent, it would still be a crutch that wrongly convinces people that EVs are just like gasmobiles except that they use a special type of “fuel”.

        PEVs (Plug-in EVs) really are different, and we should all stop pretending that they’re just a special type of gasmobile.

    4. realistic says:

      BTW for all you longsuffering pedants (like me) here are some good reading bargains to assuage your frustration, limited time as a celebration of Pi Day. (H/T to the fine Mr. Millikin @ GreenCarCongress.com)

      http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=eaea39b6442dc4e0d08e6aa4a&id=8e9b35efcf&e=ad965db228

      Interestingly, only with America’s lone usage of the mo/day/yr date annotation is Pi Day possible.

      There is no 14th month, nor is there a 31st day of the 4 month. Ergo, Pi Day only exists in the Good Ol’ USA. So the day/mo/yr folks (i.e, everybody else) goes wanting. Ditto for Mole Day, which is even better since we don’t use a 24 clock and you can raise hell twice on 10/23 (6:02am AND pm), which of course is a common Mole Day practice among Avogadro’s adherents.

      I have noticed that Pi and Mole Days also exist in the only country to have landed a MAN ON THE MOON.
      Coincidence?

      1. SparkEV says:

        Only logical form is yyyy-mm-dd where MSdigit is in front and LSdigit in rear. I think East Asia use this format.

    5. Stan1 says:

      MPGe confuses MPG and mileage requirements solely with efficiency. There are many reasons we care about MPG and the amount of fuel our vehicles use and they aren’t just cost, greenness, or emissions effects. Our kids will never die in foreign wars to protect electricity. MPGe should not exist as a measurement.

  2. Warren says:

    Yup. For a fat car, it doesn’t sweat much.

    1. realistic says:

      Please. The term is “it DON’T sweat much.”

  3. realistic says:

    Lower energy usage highway vs city for EV (94 hwy, 90 city)?

    Surprising and I think inaccurate. Not saying conspiracy, lying, evilness, etc…. just wrong.

    The only cases where I’ve experienced lower energy use-per-distance hwy vs city was when I was extravagant with the heater in dead-of-winter, stop-and-go traffic.

    1. Unlike most cars, the Tesla’s are more efficient on highway speeds, due to gearing ratios, aerodynamics, steady state travel, etc, while in the city, they are heavy, and have a larger mass to repeatedly accelerate, and decelerate. Even as great as their regen is, there is still more energy lost in the city.

  4. ffbj says:

    They are fairly efficient but short of theoretical limits, but of course when you are so much more efficient than ice, which is terrible, it makes it easy to win, and keep, that crown.

  5. Kdawg says:

    Saw one at the Detroit airport last night plugged in…. all covered in snow.

  6. Mike I. says:

    Even compared to the only other pure electric SUV, the Toyota RAV4 EV, the Model X comes out way ahead.

    2017 Model X 60D – 93 MPGe Combined (36kWh/100mi)
    2017 Model X P100D – 86 MPGe Combined (39kWh/100mi)
    2012-2014 RAV4 EV – 76 MPGe Combined (44kWh/100mi)

  7. DJ says:

    Except it isn’t a SUV, it is a CUV but hey what do facts have to do with anything 😀

    1. Warren says:

      I am old enough to remember the original SUV.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Wagoneer_(SJ)

      The Model X is only “compact” in comparison to the absurdly bloated SUVs of later years.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Except it isn’t a SUV, it is a CUV…”

      I’ve pointed out the same in the past, but I’ve given it up as a fight that we who prefer precision in language can’t win.

      If cars labeled “SUV” outsell cars labeled “CUV”, as I suspect is the case, then there’s no way we’re ever going to convince auto makers to use the more precise term.

      1. Warren says:

        It is hard to be precise with a marketing term. Kind of like defining a “real American hero.” I haven’t been able to find an SAE definition. The EPA has two sizes: small-under 6000#, and standard-6000# and over. If you have an official source for the precise term please provide a link.

        1. Warren says:

          Seems even the government can’t decide. In this document they list the rule above, but then show the Model X as a standard SUV. Maybe they mean gross weight?

          https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/pdfs/guides/FEG2016.pdf

          1. Warren says:

            I guess definition would be the correct term, as I don’t think they are enforcing anything.

  8. ffbj says:

    For our visual society. I blame it all on
    ‘show and tell.’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW1drKrcNOA

    1. realistic says:

      I agree. What an awful video.

      On the flip side of my rants on the topic of innumeracy, the result of our desperation to communicate numbers is some wonderfully advanced ways to display data. I highly, highly recommend fallen.io as a brilliant example of how to illustrate information beautifully. I have never used the interactive version; the vimeo version is great. I am moved to tears every time I watch it, and I’m a hardass.

      Of course we were all schooled in this almost 150 years ago by Monsieur Rinard. Once in my corporate days I used to use this chart as a “how to communicate data elegantly” lesson:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Joseph_Minard

      1. ffbj says:

        It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, though you still have to be able to read.

  9. mx says:

    Tesla shows the Utter Failure of the conventional auto industry to innovate. Or, there’s bribery payments to CEO’s going on.

    Look they all ran to Trump for protection from higher mpg requirements. If that doesn’t show the “deep state” of incompetence nothing does.

    1. M says:

      They were whining like little kids, but he denied them all. Good thing Elon is an advisor.

  10. Mike I. says:

    IMHO, Nissan Rogue Hybrid and Kia Niro Hybrid should be on this list too, pushing some of the non-hybrids off the bottom of the list.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Yes.

      But this is Consumer Report list. It only includes the cars that they have tested.

  11. Bill Howland says:

    Since they are both CUV’s I’d think the BOLT ev would be the more efficient under most circumstances.

    Also, the charging efficiency of the BOLT ev seems extremely high, even in very cold weather.

    They don’t seem to take this into account.

    Supposedly, the “X” does not have the same 24 hour drain that it used to, but I have never seen any data of it in cold weather.

    BTW, 40 deg F is not cold.

    1. Nick says:

      A bicycle is also a CUV and it’s even more efficient.

      ?

      1. Bill Howland says:

        The “X” and Bolt ev are both CUV’s or, if you don’t like the term, the EPA had rated the bolt initially as a “mid sized station wagon”. The BOLT with the rear seats down has slightly more storage space than the “S”, a car that looks quite similar to me. For those models of the “X” than cannot fold their rear seating, the BOLT is larger than these cars also.

        No way is an “X” a Body-on-frame TRUCK.

        “But, but but- the “X” is so much more expensive”.

        SO?

        1. Nick says:

          They are so different as to make the comparison laughable.

          1. Bill howland says:

            “Comparison is Laughable”.

            Of course you are correct. The initial reliability of the BOLT ev has been absolutely stellar. No noisy gearboxes here. And of course, the fit and finish of the BOLT ev proves that it is by far the PREMIUM vehicle.

  12. EVA-01 says:

    InsideEvs, please stop labeling the Model X as an SUV. It is not body-on-frame construction.

    Taking it a step further; every vehicle listed in that Consumer Report article are not SUVs, they are CUVs. Is it so hard to learn the term “CUV”?

    1. Nick says:

      SUV and CUV are marketing terms with a generally accepted definition which seems to be different from the one you’re​ promoting.

  13. Aaron says:

    “…for us to see is a visual way.”

    IN a visual way. ERIC! Proofread! Have the computer read it back to you!

    BTW: The sentence following that one is very clunky and should be revised.