We finally got our hands on a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid long enough to conduct the InsideEVs 70-mph highway range test. We've already published a Model S Plaid supercharging analysis, but getting a Plaid for a full day to do a proper range test has eluded us - until now.
The Model S Plaid comes standard with 19" Tempest wheels and the 21" Arachnid wheels are a $4,500 option. The vehicle we tested had the Arachnid wheel option, and that's important to note because the larger wheels with wider tires make a big difference in the vehicle's range.
Tesla's site estimates the driving range of the Plaid with the standard 19" wheels at 396 miles (up from 390 miles that they previously published). However, they never officially certified the vehicle with the 19" wheels. Only the Plaid with the 21" wheel option is listed on the EPA's website and it shows the combined range as 348 miles.
|2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21" :: EPA Range rating by InsideEVs |
[Electric Vehicle 5-cycle label]
|348 mi (560 km) |
353.7 mi (569.1 km)
341 mi (548.7 km)
|EPA Energy consumption (including charging losses):|
|101 MPGe: 334 Wh/mi (207 Wh/km) |
102 MPGe: 330 Wh/mi (205 Wh/km)
99 MPGe: 340 Wh/mi (212 Wh/km)
The highway EPA range rating is slightly lower than the combined rating and came in at 341 miles. Since we test the highway range we prefer to compare our results with the EPA highway range ratings on the vehicles we test. That said, we're not trying to achieve the EPA highway range, because our highway tests are different than the EPA highway range test; we use it strictly as a benchmark for comparison.
The Model S Plaid with the 21" wheel option is actually the lowest-range Model S available today. Therefore, even though our final result of 300 miles was 12% less than the listed EPA highway range, it still proves that the Model S, in any trim should achieve at least 300-miles of driving range on the highway at 70-mph, under similar conditions as we faced.
The weather conditions were nearly perfect with the exception of some minor wind that appeared to hurt the efficiency in the first half of the test, and help in the second half. We drove 75 miles from 100% to 75%; 70 miles from 75% to 50%; 78 miles from 50% to 25%; and 77 miles from 25% to the end of the test. The ending consumption rate was 303 Wh/mi (3.3 mi/kWh - 18.8 kWh/100km)
About our 70-mph range tests:
We want to make it clear our range tests aren't perfect. There are variables simply out of our control like wind, traffic, and weather. However, we do our best to control what we can. We always set the tires to the manufacturer's recommended pressure, we crosscheck the speedometer with a GPS for accuracy, we charge up to 100 percent and enter the highway either immediately or within a couple of miles. Then we drive at a constant 70 mph and in long loops so we end up either where we started, or very close by.