Did a recent software update improve the Model Y's efficiency? The YouTube channel What Drives You attempted to find out.
Last month we reported that Tesla posted increased EPA range figures for all of its models. The Model Y now has a 326-mile EPA range rating, which is ten miles more than it had when it launched 6 months earlier.
That prompted the youTube channel, What Drives You, to conduct a highway range test to see if the software update to increase efficiency and range actually had any impact. Coincidentally, they had just done a 60mph range test on the vehicle about two months earlier, so they had good baseline data to work off of.
Unfortunately, as they would find out, it isn't very easy to reproduce the exact same conditions, and without that, these range tests will always furnish slightly different results. The colder temperatures and possible increased headwinds robbed some of the vehicle efficiency, and the results were actually worse than they were for the previous test.
We know that here at InsideEVs because we often conduct EV range tests, and have done so with most of the popular EVs available today. Because we know it's impossible to control all of the variables that will influence the range, we try to do these range tests twice, with two different drivers, usually myself and Kyle Conner. We then average the results of the two tests and use that as our final range rating.
Two months earlier What Drives You posted this 60mph range test before the software update.
Even though they used the same course for the range test, they finished the second 60mph test with a lower efficiency figure. That's not the outcome they had been hoping for or expecting and came away with an efficiency rating of 222.5 Wh/mi (4.49 mi/kWh - 13.81 kWh/100km) as compared to 216 Wh/mi (4.63 mi/kWh - 13.39 kWh/100km) that they observed on the first test that was before the update.
It's important to note that they only drive the car for about 65 miles and use the efficiency rating for that trip and extrapolate the total range based on the available capacity of the battery pack. Using that method, they arrive at a 335-mile range for the first test and 326-miles (coincidently the new EPA range figure for the Model Y) for the second test after the update.
Kyle and I drive the cars until the state of charge is zero and the vehicles go into reduced power mode; we don't extrapolate the range based on a trip that's less than "full to empty". That's a better way to range test EVs to ensure you're really documenting exactly how far they can go. However, it's not to say that What Drives You's tests aren't worth considering.
Tesla's onboard efficiency gauge is pretty accurate, more so than many other EVs, so you can rely on the Wh/mi and be confident that it's correct. We suspect if they did drive the vehicles down to zero the results would be very similar to what the limited-drive results showed.
On my 70mph highway Model Y range test, the vehicle went 275.4 miles and had an efficiency rate of 260 Wh/mi (16.1 Wh/10km). I drove it down to zero percent state of charge, but I'm sure I could have driven at least a mile further, so I rounded up the final result to 276 miles
As we mention with all of our range tests, none are perfect, and unless you can conduct the test in perfectly controlled conditions, the results will be slightly different every time. But that doesn't mean the results aren't worth considering. This is just another data point to consider, and worth watching, in our opinion.
So check out the video and let us know what you think in the comment section below.