Tesla’s Incredible Efficiency Leaves Other EVs Stranded

Blue Tesla Model 3

NOV 9 2018 BY EVANNEX 71


In marketing materials and press coverage of EVs, the first spec cited is usually range – the distance a car can travel on a single charge. Now that a new generation of EVs offers enough range for most drivers’ daily needs, prospective buyers should also start looking at efficiency – the amount of energy a car consumes per mile.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Tesla’s Model S (Image: Tesla)

The EPA rates efficiency in terms miles per gallon equivalent, or MPGe. This can be useful for comparing different models, but it doesn’t give a precise picture of efficiency, as the formula used to calculate it relies on average fuel cost figures. More analytically-minded consumers may prefer to look at a vehicle’s direct efficiency rating, which can be expressed in kWh per 100 miles or in miles per kWh.

Whatever metric you choose to use, you’ll find that Tesla vehicles offer significantly better efficiency than competitors of similar size. The recently released Jaguar I-Pace has a 90 kWh battery pack, 234 miles of range, and an EPA combined rating of 76 MPGe. The larger and heavier Model X with a 75 kWh battery offers 257 miles of range, and earns a 93 MPGe rating. Fox News reports, “Tesla clearly holds a significant advantage in power management, and should continue to do so through next year when the Audi e-tron, which is similar in size to the I-Pace, joins the fray with a 95 kWh pack and a range that’s likely to be less than 250 miles.”

Efficiency is important for a car buyer because it affects the total cost of ownership. As is the case with a gas vehicle, a more efficient car costs less to drive (although the cost difference is relatively small, as electricity costs on average about a third what gasoline does).

Above: Tesla’s Model X (Image: Tesla)

Efficiency can also be a competitive advantage for an automaker (as Toyota or Honda would doubtless agree). If you consider the figures cited above, you’ll notice that Tesla’s superior efficiency allows it to deliver more range with a smaller battery pack. The company called attention to this in its third quarter investor letter, noting that efficiency is “an extremely important metric as it allows an EV to reach a long EPA range even when using a relatively small, inexpensive battery pack.”

During the earnings conference call, Elon Musk expanded on the subject, telling analysts that not only are Tesla’s powertrains the most efficient, but its batteries are also cheaper to produce. As InsideEVs noted, Tesla has been improving its battery packs and powertrains for the last 15 years, while the legacy carmakers waited to see what would happen.

It’s not just Model X that outclasses the competition in the efficiency department. Model 3 has earned an EPA rating of 116 MPGe, surpassing the 2016 Nissan LEAF (112 MPGe) and rivalling the smaller Chevy Bolt (119 MPGe). There are a few other EVs that beat Model 3 in efficiency, but as Tesla pointed out in its earnings report, none has all-wheel drive.

Above: Tesla’s Model 3 (Flickr: Markus Spiering)

The cocky Californians cocked a snook at Audi’s upcoming AWD-equipped e-tron, pointing out Model 3’s energy efficiency of 4.1 miles per kWh, and noting that “our current or upcoming AWD (2019) competition is expected to achieve 2.4 to 2.8 miles of EPA range per kWh.” But wait, there’s more (there usually is): “Model 3 has far better energy efficiency while also providing the quickest acceleration (0-60 mph in as little as 3.3 seconds) and the highest top speed (155 mph). Additionally, the curb weight of Model 3 long range RWD is only 3% heavier than its gas powered equivalents.”


Written by: Charles Morris

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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71 Comments on "Tesla’s Incredible Efficiency Leaves Other EVs Stranded"

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Not mentioned: Hyundai and Kia BEVs. Why?

Because that would not fit the Evannex narrative, they conveniently left out the rwd version being outclassed by Hyundai Ioniq.

You’re ignoring the fact that the article states “Tesla vehicles offer significantly better efficiency than competitors of similar size.”

Admittedly most or all “articles” from Evannex are more or less paid ads for Tesla, but the comparisons here are correct apples-to-apples comparisons, and not the apples-to-oranges comparison between the 3,838 lb. (minimum curb weight) Tesla Model 3 and the 3164 lb. Hyunai Ioniq Electric.

That only reason that disclaimer is there to justify Evanex’s narrative by cherry-picking of the data to exclude the efficiency leaders who are not Tesla. The truly misleading headline indicates that Tesla leaves all other EVs in the dust which is simply not true.

Kona electric weighs roughly the same as Model 3, has a more usable form factor and gets 120 MPGE combined.

The RWD Model 3 gets 130 mpge.

It also has more range and much more performance than the Kona.


Model 3 is also available. The Kona is not

BOOM!!! 🙂

“Kona electric weighs roughly the same as Model 3…”

Nope. That’s like claiming a 150 lb. man weighs “roughly the same” as a significantly taller man weighing 182 lbs. The ratio between the Ioniq Electric and the Model 3 is exactly the same.

Watsa Kona

The article describes the Bolt as a ‘smaller’ car and saying the M3 is almost as efficient. That is misleading. Smaller in dimensions? It is shorter but essentially the SAME weight. This examples DESTROYS the entire Insideev’s narrative! Which is why the Bolt is described as ‘smaller’. IN FACT, this is the CLOSEST comparison that can be made.

I have every expectation there is a background payola scheme going on in EV mags as there is a number that choose to repeatedly distort information in favor of Tesla for no reason. Factual information. ‘Fake news’.

Dude, your claim that your difference of opinion “destroys” IEVs narrative is what is fake news.

And nobody is forcing you to click on article clearly labeled “By Evannex”.

The Model 3 and Chevy Bolt ARE the same size! You didn’t catch his slight of hand. They are almost identical in weight. That destroys his entire argument. Poof! That was no accident. I smell payola.

Yep. That’s the Evannex view of the world: My world is always best because I define it the way I choose.

Better than GM’s world, were they crush your hopes of ever getting an EV, until Tesla Comes along, and, starting with a Glimmer, then a Whiff, finally offers a car, that… Maybe, Just Maybe, could replace a GAS Powered Car, for a lot more people, than a Bolt EV, apparently Ever Will!

Give up on the EV1. People talk about it as if everyone was lining up to buy one. At least GM tried. Where were all the other manufactures EV’s at the time. They all had the same mandate. GM just happened to carry through on delivering something.

Seems to be pretty common in the auto industry. Look how Jaguar keeps advertising the 5-seat I-Pace as if it’s a direct competitor of the much larger, heavier 7-seat Model X.

Not saying that Evannex’s cherry-picking is acceptable; merely that this is commonplace in marketing.

I just checked and the Ioniq Electric is only available to California residents, but not where I live in California (Stockton). I was kinda surprised to see it has just a 88kW motor which would help explain its efficiency (compare to the Bolt’s 150kW motor). It also has a top speed of 102mph, which is realistically the fastest you’ll ever want to go.

Well said, thanks! Yeah, the Ioniq Electric is specifically engineered for energy efficiency at the expense of acceleration, range (124 miles), and top speed. Despite that, people keep pointing at that and claiming its engineering is “better” than Tesla’s because it gets more miles per kWh.

That’s rather like claiming a classic VW Beetle was “better than” a Porsche 911 of the era because the Beetle got better MPG!

Alluded to: “There are a few other EVs that beat Model 3 in efficiency, but as Tesla pointed out in its earnings report, none has all-wheel drive.”, but yeah, not mentioned, and what? Better Efficiency, with Half the Range per Charge, as well!

And Hyundai / Kia have NEVER lied about efficiency — have they?!? I wonder how their battery systems will hold up in 3-5 years?

The difference with other OEM cars come down to the fact that they have heat pump (~ 3 kW) to keep the battery temperature within very narrow limit to 20-30 Celsius. This will enhance the battery life tremendously especially when using HPC charging. Additionally if you live somewhere with colder climate the range will not drop in half (like in Telsa) when using a heater. The drop off is more likely to 15-20%. It is a planned trade off, not something that they could not have done. But this does not concern you much if you live in southern California.

Yes, If there are different heating systems, one car may be more efficient in a California climate and another in more efficient in a Minnesota climate

No, the heat-pump is more efficient across the board.

Here in Minnesota… this morning… I did enjoy that efficiency on our snow covered roads with my Prime.

A heat pump is certainly not energy efficient when you get down to a near- or sub-zero Fahrenheit temperature, at which it barely puts out any heat at all.

john1701a, does it ever get too cold for the heat pump? I’m curious because my parents live in South Dakota and they are looking into getting an EV. Their friends had a 1st gen Leaf and felt the heat was inadequate. I’d really like to know how much the 2nd gen, and the M3 have improved.

Failing to use the AC as a heat pump for moderate heating needs is troubling, but Tesla have switched to using the drive motor itself as a heater in the Model 3, is a compensating innovation. I personally favor providing a propane heater as a severe cold weather option.

There are many possible solutions.
Did you see the guy who put a wood stove in place of the passenger seat of his Volvo?

Propane, even Gasoline (But, it gets stale), or maybe e85, or Ethanol? Not a perfect sollution, but uses the right energy source, for the job, it seems: Electric Power for Driving; Fuel For Heat, as required!

I don’t think it’s innovative. It’s no different than any other EV that has to cool it’s motor, inverter or battery. If you have to cool it than you have to do something with the heat it generates.

You might go with gasoline heaters like old aircooled VWs

Or, the difference with other OEM’s is their EV’s haven’t been on the market for 10 years. This is Tesla’s FOURTH iteration of it’s electric drive motor.

The other OEM’s had to pick off the shelf motors to go into production as soon as possible, and to select what was currently on the market.

Tesla has had years of real world experience with cars on the market and the improvements have been coming year after year. Being your own supplier of your own motors is a huge advantage.

I doubt it’s the electric drive motor. Those are very well understood. Normally EV motors come down to output/cost and permanent magnet/induction.

Munro seems to think otherwise. He explicitly said that Tesla has the most advanced motor.

“The other OEM’s had to pick off the shelf motors”

No, BMW, Renault, Audi, Hyundai etc. makes their own motors. For BMW they are not new to this development. Back in January 2018 BMW presented the FIFTH generation development of electric drive train.


Where is this spec, and for which car? “very narrow limit of 20-30 C”.
Are you saying these heating systems are running all the time, when the car is parked?
Because, that’s not what anyone is seeing.
The real world highway tests show range loss during optimal operating temperatures.
If your statement was true wouldn’t cold weather range be better for the iPace from Bourn Niland, and that was not the case.

Vampire drain needs to also be measured and rated and be part of the efficiency discussion.

I basically eliminated vampire drain in my Model S by turning on energy saver mode. The only downside is I have to unlock my car as I’m walking towards it so that it’ll be ready to drive when I sit inside. Plus vampire drain is directly associated with time, so there is no way to measure it without making an assumption of how many miles you drive per day.

I’m interested in this particular facet of efficiency of the model ‘3’, since some people say Vampire Drain is insignificant, while others say it is absolutely horrible. Can you quantify it? And to what extent do cold temperatures greatly worsen the Vampire Drain?

I have a Model S and since I moved to an apartment, I can charge less often so I drive less. I knew there was vampire drain (it was something like 5-10mi a day) but it was insignificant when I was charging everyday (versus accumulating range loss in between charges). That’s why I turned on energy saver mode and I think it reduced it to maybe 1 mile a day. And I have no idea if cold temperatures affect vampire drain.

Pluto thanks for that valuable information – 5-10 mile loss per day w/o energy saver, 1 mile per day with energy saver. Thanks.

Vampire Drain would not be good during a Zombie Apocalypse! 😱😞

However, for a car that is always “On” at some level, it is kind of hard to pretent this is Vampire Drain, but it seems like it, when it is basically, like a computer, “At The Ready”, not needing a “Full Boot Up” to start up! Plus, systems operate in your absense to do Data Transfer and BMS/TMS Functions! 😌😀

I haven’t studied Tesla and the amount of electricity used per 24 hours of sitting. The fact that it is enough to be noticed from a 60+ kWh battery is surprising to me.
I have a Chromebook that will operate showing videos to the kid on a car trip for 10 hours on a battery the size of a my TV’s remote control. While powering the computer, the 60 watt power supply will recharge the battery in 2 hours. What is the Data Transfer & BMS/TMS doing (assuming ambient temperature of 70 deg) to require enough energy in 24 hours to power the car for a mile?

There is no question that Tesla’s cars (on default settings) use more energy just sitting parked than other BEVs do. Whether that is a result of Tesla’s cars being able to do more without the driver present, or not, is a matter of some argument.

As Pluto noted in his comments above, you can significantly reduce vampire drain by putting a Tesla car into “energy saver” mode when it’s not being driven, at the expense of losing some of its remote controlled functionality.

I built a simple power back up using 50w solar panel with Li-on battery bank and charge controller for my home internet and security system. It works like a charm. Solar panel and charge controller cost me $150. Tesla can easily put a 100-200w solar panel on top of the car, integrate it with the glass roof to deal with vampire drain and for long term storage.

I like you’re idea. For most people, this would not be cost effective, but for some, it would. Those that park at airports for example would return with more range than they started with. This could sell as an aftermarket accessory. Thanks for the idea!

Totally agree. If, as documented, Teslas lose about 5 mi/day, with some Model 3’s losing as much as 15 mi/day, phantom drain is significant. If you leave your car for, say, 30 days, it would lose 150 mi due to phantom drain alone (at 5 mi/day). That means that without even driving the car you have to replace battery capacity for 150 mi lost while parked. It also means that you can’t leave your Tesla without plugging in for more than about 1 1/2 or so months.

Just curious – can you state under what conditions a ‘3’ loses 15 miles per day? (1.5 to 3 times worse than an “S”)? And this in moderate weather? What happens when it gets cold? BTW tesla fans, 40 deg F isn’t the cold i’m talking about.

Bolt has same efficiency as M3.
Only reason overall MPGe is slightly less is because of crappy Cd which drops freeway mileage.
Tesla’s drivetrain is no more / no less efficient than GM’s.
Let’s compare the non-existent SR M3 and we can talk about drivetrain efficiency.

It doesn’t matter to Tesla buyers anyway. The rich could care less.

Doesn’t the mid-range version of the Model 3 have basically the same size battery as the Chevy Bolt? Compare that.

True. Haven’t looked at the specs yet.

We should be celebrating BEV efficiency vs ICE in general.

BEVs are super-hybrids that a Prius can’t touch. There just is no way to regen 70 kW into a Prius battery (even the Prius Prime) because it’s current (amps) limited.

The Bolt doesn’t have crappy Cd. It just isn’t as good as the model 3. That said I wouldn’t trade the back seat of the Bolt for the Model 3’s back seat. Designing cars is more of an art than a science. There is give and take and you have to decide for your market what’s important.

The Bolt EV most certainly does have crappy Cd, as compared to other BEVs. Not so bad when compared to the average gasmobile, but the Bolt EV isn’t a gasmobile.

According to Hybrid Cars.com:

“The Model 3 is a fair bit larger than the Bolt EV in nearly every direction… The Tesla is also far slipperier, with a drag coefficient of 0.23 versus the Bolt EV’s 0.308.”


But the Model 3’s powertrain is significantly more advanced than the Bolt EV’s, too. The Model 3 has significantly better performance and top speed, while being more energy efficient. You don’t get all that in a larger, heavier BEV by merely having a lower Cd, especially when the Model 3’s larger frontal area reduces the advantage of that lower Cd.

All you do is cut and paste info and you think that makes you a big expert. It is not superior if its gas tanks leaks juice. Serious people here (like me) are trying to determine the when and where, and to quantify it. Whereas you just brag you are so much smarter, yet you can do no independent calculations on your own, which is what ‘engineers’ have to do.

Model 3 RWD has much higher performance and better efficiency (130 mpge) than the Bolt.

“Tesla’s drivetrain is no more / no less efficient than GM’s.”

That’s a jumped-to conclusion based on wholly inadequate evidence. And I’m pretty sure Sandy Munro disagrees; he is very impressed with the efficiency of the Model 3 motor. His opinion is also based on a lot more evidence than yours.

It’s also very likely, I’d say nearly certain, that Tesla’s inverters are more efficient than those in the Bolt EV, which (like the Bolt EV’s motor) are from LG Electronics. Tesla has announced improvements in their inverters more than once.

“Tesla’s Incredible Efficiency Leaves Other EVs Stranded”

What a ridiculous title. Nothing Tesla does or does not do can affect whether another EV is stranded. Most Bolt gets me where I need to go just fine, even if it is less efficient at 70MPH than a Model 3.

The OEM’s, making their EV’s less efficient, to stop the fuel savings from switching?
— Big Oil Bribery in the Auto Industry?

I don’t think we need to invoke a conspiracy theory here. Tesla has superior EV powertrain tech because they’ve devoted far more effort and resources to developing a better and more efficient EV powertrain.

Again, just like you claim you are so much smarter – you state this cut and paste stuff since a Tesla aftermarketer makes legally easy to defend claims. Almost anything can be declared an improvement. But where you fall dreadfully short is that you cannot do your own calculations for anything other than the most basic issue, and you have to have read it someplace ELSE first. For instance the Model “S” CLEARLY has superior aux battery placement (inside the right front wheel well) since it is not taking space from the FRUNK as normal placement would cause it to be and it CLEARLY shows the Sophisticated, Intelligent thinking of the Brilliant Designers. This is so CLEAR that it CANNOT be litigated otherwise since although this has the APPEARANCE of being factual, it is really just an overblown opinion. (The fact that “S” owners in the Canadian EV Society I go to all tell me the battery wears out 3 times in 12 months – and that for that reason they will only have the car while under warranty is , of course, an irrelevancy). Since you have to take the front of the car apart to change the battery… Read more »

“Model 3 has earned an EPA rating of 116 MPGe, surpassing the 2016 Nissan LEAF (112 MPGe) and rivalling the smaller Chevy Bolt (119 MPGe)”

The LR RWD Model 3 gets a 130 MPGe EPA rating not 113! The AWD Performance Model 3 gets 116 MPGe but I don’t know why they would use that model in a comparison to the Bolt and Leaf.

Unfortunately, supposedly that higher MPGe vehicle is not for sale. Others have complained that Tesla discontinued its farthest range vehicle.

The statement that The Model 3 is ALMOST as efficient as the ‘smaller’ Bolt. The Bolt isnt smaller. What BS. What counts is significant weight difference, at least until higher speeds where drag becomes important.

I would argue that what matters most is passenger miles per energy consumption. A school bus with 30 passengers getting 7 mpg is more efficient than a Tesla with parent making a round trip just to take the kid to school & then parent going back home (effectively 1/2 passenger).

Good grief. 🙄

I don’t know a lot of people cross-shopping a Tesla car with a school bus. Do you?

We could point out that an e-bike also gets far superior energy efficiency, in terms of kWh per passenger mile.

If you go looking for apples-to-Rubik’s-Cube comparisons, they are not hard to find. They also aren’t very useful, as apples-to-apples comparisons often are.

Writing off the Leaf to save 4mpge seems a little silly. The Leaf holds bigger items with its hatchback. Sure the Leaf costs more on electricity but the buyer is getting more utility in return for it. If the Leaf were the same car in every other respect then sure, a Model 3 would be better for saving 4 mpge.

The Model 3 on the other hand holds longer items, or more items that can’t be easily stacked. Utility depends on the use case…

Nothing incredible about it. The Bolt has quite good efficiency, and yes, it is smaller than the model 3 but it is a hatchback with poorer aerodynamics. Not everyone wants a low slung sedan, but that’s what you have to make if you want low drag force, and why all Tesla vehicles look fairly similar. I doubt there is significant difference in drive train efficiency. No more than a few percent. There are quite a few makers of very efficient inverters and electric motors. I think it is mainly drag force and mass. The Teslas will shine mainly at highway speeds, not so much in city driving due to the large mass.

You can doubt it all you want, but Tesla doesn’t achieve a much better performance and top speed in a larger, heavier car merely by improving the drag coefficient. Especially not when the Model 3’s frontal area is larger than the Bolt EV’s.

Nope, it’s ignoring reality pretty hard to claim that Tesla cars’ battery-to-wheels powertrain efficiency is “no more than a few percent” better than the Bolt EV’s.

WRONG. Among models currently available for sale its 116 vs 119 MPGe for the Bolt ev, per this article. The Bolt ev is the more efficient vehicle – especially in REAL LIFE. While – per the commenter’s statements above, there are Model ‘3’s that lose 15 miles per day every day, the Bolt ev loses little.

Yes, the ‘3’ can fast charge better than a bolt ev, but its energy consumption is much higher, as is the case with all ‘supercharged’ teslas… The fact that Tesla is paying the electric bill and drivers don’t care just might change now that the 400 kwh freebee has been eliminated.

39kWh Kona multiple charging test: