Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Gets Official EPA Rating


Early estimates have proven to be true.

According to the EPA, the Tesla Model 3 Mid Range boasts way more electric range than the Chevy Bolt and even goes further than the Hyundai Kona Electric.

The official figures from the EPA for the Mid Range version of the Model 3 are:

  • 260 miles of rated range (city, highway, combined breakdown at bottom of post)
  • 128 MPGe city
  • 117 MPGe highway
  • 123 MPGe combined

Efficiency figures do seem a bit low when compared to the Long Range RWD Model 3, but we think this is connected to some EPA test changes.

For the record, the range of 260 miles is exactly the same as what Tesla stated when it introduced the Mid Range.

Take a look at the comparo below to see how it stacks up against the Tesla Model 3 Long Range:


And here, from the EPA’s data file, is a look at the city, highway and combined range figures for the various versions of the Model 3:

Hat tip to Arpe!

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115 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Gets Official EPA Rating"

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WTF happened? How does it go from 130 MPGe LR to 123 MPGe MR with smaller battery? Being lighter, one would expect city efficiency to be better, but even city is lot worse.

I agree, this makes no sense. I’m sure in a few months we will see one of the numbers adjusted. Unless they replaced the missing cells with something even heavier than lithium batteries. Lead? Gold?? someone rip one of those packs apart.

It is important to understand that most of the tests done for EPA range are performed by the manufacturer or its contractors, not by some independent govt agency. See Kia Nira case just recently conducted.
Tesla obviously has interests in showing the LR has long range, over 300. It’s not too unlike the diesel gate.


You think VW is being forced to buy back all those diesels because the voluntarily gave their TDI’s less optimistic emissions numbers than required under law, and then over-delivered with even better emission numbers than they stated?

how is it that Tesla under promising and over delivering on range is a violation of the law? Exactly what law do you think they violated? (either provide a link to the law or don’t bother)

Nevermind. I forgot you were a fuel cell fanatic who is against Tesla, and are easily confused. Carry on. Don’t let a little thing like facts get in the way of your ranting.

Maybe because it isn’t lighter? The dummy cells could have same weight, thus no need to do other certifications. Other possibility is that it is being downranked on purpose.

Maybe it’s not even dummy cells at all. Possibly just a software-locked long-range pack, and eventually, Tesla might have the option to unlock that extra capacity…

That makes no sense since they are cutting edges on manufacturing costs.

Tesla’s main limitation are cells, so there’s no way they’re packing in actual cells they aren’t selling. Plus, the 60/75 software lock didn’t go incredibly well, so I don’t think they’re likely to revisit that idea.

They did this in the past why wouldnt they do it again?

Because cell production is a main bottleneck today!

Because (1) the reasons Tesla did that in the past don’t apply here, and (2) Tesla is trying hard to shave every bit of cost from the Model 3 that it possibly can.

No. Tesla has done that in the past where the company say a cost advantage (MS40) or marketing advantage (MS60/75), but that doesn’t apply here. A Tesla spokesman has clearly said that it made the modules for the Mid Range TM3 by shortening the Long Range battery modules.

Musk said it was “a long range battery with fewer cells”. Nothing about shortening it.

Mid range stated curb weight: 3,686 lbs
Long range stated curb weight: 4,072 lbs

4072 is AWD. Long range RWD was 3838 (I’ve also seen 3818).

So 152 lbs saved, weight of a human, makes sense to me.

Musk has publicly stated this is not the case. Very clearly stated with no room for doubt.

It also might be dummy weight to keep the vehicle certification. Make it too much lighter means a requalification.

They just got a re-qualification. That’s what the EPA rating for this new version of the Model 3 means!

I really can’t understand why this bad meme about “dummy cells” or “dead cells” keep cropping up. Why the heck would Tesla, or any other EV maker, weigh down its car with dead battery cells?

All the cells in a li-ion pack need to be balanced. If you did put in one or more dead cells, it would cause the pack to be extremely unbalanced, and the pack couldn’t be charged properly.

The dumber the meme, the harder it is to kill.

Tesla/its config can downplay it, but the EPA (final screenshot) cannot…

It says right in the article this is likely due to changes in the testing process.

Yes, apparently some people can’t read. 🙄

I was stunned by this with the Kona electric, 64kWh has better range per 1kWh than 39kWh… One would think that lower weight would result in better efficiency ergo more ranger per kWh but on the contrary

I am thinking that there is something like a phenomenon called the perfect ballance between energy density/weight/more range

Nope, lighter is always better for range. It’s just physics. Just like more aerodynamic always reduces resistance and will increase range with all else held equal. Otherwise, it’s magic.

Remember Basic Electricity: a “Stronger” Battery will hold Voltage better at a given load

“lighter is always better for range”

Unless the two vehicles you are comparing have different regen levels. Consider these two wildly theoretical cars that are otherwise completely identical except 200lb of weight and the amount of regen programmed into the drivetrain:

Car A (200 lb heavier): 30 kWh over distance X with 10 kWh of regen.
Car B (200 lb lighter): 28 kWh over the same distance with 5 kWh of regen.

Net winner is the lighter car. 20 kWh vs. 22 kWh net energy consumption over the same distance. No magic.

Larger battery = better regen.

Potentially, depends how aggressively it is implemented.

A lot of things don’t make sense here:
1) The AWD version has 116 MPGe vs the RWD 130 MPGe. Yet both of them have the same range with the same battery – 310 miles!
2) If the stated consumption for the MR of 27kWH/100 miles was correct then on a 65kWh pack it should have 241 miles of range, not 260.

Makes you wonder how they pull these numbers out.

EDIT: It would all make sense if we just ignore the numbers for the Model 3 LR, RWD, and assume they are nearly identical to the AWD

The manufacturer has some say on the range numbers and can adjust them by a certain percentage. From initial reports, Tesla lowered the range rating on the rear wheel drive Model 3. That makes sense if they want both rear wheel drive and all wheel drive versions to list the same range and they knew the AWD version would have lower range. So in practice, the RWD version would be expected to have a longer range than advertised, while the AWD version would be closer to advertised.

Would also explain why many have found 75D Model S generally carries a bigger gap (like 10-12 miles) to its 259 advertised range, after a short time.

27kWh/100 mi is from wall, not from battery. You take 27kWh from utility to put something less than that into the battery which gives enough power to drive 100 miles. Ususlly 5-10% from wall is “charging losses”.

More like 15% charging loss.

That would include grid loss and battery conditioning. Yes, real loses, but most chargers alone aren’t that bad.

Less efficiency due to a higher C rating per cell.

The faster you pull the amps out of a battery, the less efficient it is.

Nope. That difference would be negligible.

what you are referring to is called the Peukert effect. However lithium batteries seem not to suffer from it as much or at all https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peukert's_law

Peukert’s Law doesn’t apply to Li-Ion cells because it mainly has to do with the chemical reactions in the cells not working as efficiently or as completely at high discharge rates independent of heat loss. What’s probably happening with the Model 3 MR is actual loss of energy due to ohmic heating, which is more pronounced with the high energy cells that Tesla uses.

The EPA doesn’t fast charge with a Supercharger, they charge with a wall charger. And there are no WOT runs in any EPA driving tests. The amount of energy pushed and pulled from/to the battery is much less than the C rating.

Excellent range numbers, points to Tesla being able to make their Standard Range Model 3 figures rather easily by shaving another 10-15 or so KWH on this upcoming SR Model/battery pack.

Don’t forget that this Medium Range model uses the existing LR pack with some module deletions whereas the upcoming Standard Range will use a different pack designed expressedly for the SR.

This is spot on. I’ve had my Mid Range for 3 days now, 201 miles at 249 wh/mi. Almost all highway miles going about 70mph. Not too bad.

I forgot to add, I was driving it pretty hard and I have Aero wheels with 47psi tire pressure. If I go 65mph and drive like a grandma, I think I can easily get 220 wh/mi (range of about 282 miles). I did a odometer test and for local driving for about 13 miles, I got 198 wh/mi (range of 313 miles). I think the efficiency is about par as LR RWD.

Bonus thumbs up for all the details! Thanks!

Eric, can you clarify what EPA test changes made for the lower efficiency?

The Model 3 MR battery is rumoured to have a 65 kWh capacity. This is slightly over 8% more than the Bolt EV.
The EPA range is also 8% more than the Bolt EV.

Nothing unexpected here.

Actually, the Bolt likely has a 63/64 kWh battery and 60 kWh usable. Markings on the battery say 57 kWh. They market it as a 60 kWh battery, and the BMS uses 60 kWh usable according to MyChevy App. So the difference in capacity between the two is very slim.

Why would the pack be marked 57 kWh if it has 60 kWh usable and 63-64 kWh full (nameplate) capacity?

Makes no sense.

Bolt is as aerodynamic as Model 3?

Not even close.

I wonder if this is due to the lower amperage L2 charger. It is 32A, not 48A. The EPA rating takes charging into account, so maybe the difference is all in the charging with a lower efficiency and cheaper L2 charger.

IIRC, the EPA fully charges the battery the day before the test, which would take into account one day’s Vampire Drain. Perhaps the the Mid Range Model 3 has more Vampire Drain losses than the Long Range Model 3 when the battery is sitting charged to 100%. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Vampire drain is a possibility – people have reported significantly different rates of vampire drain.

But then again – the EPA usually just reports what the manufacturer tells them, so it seems unlikely that Tesla would submit a test result where the car experienced higher than expected vampire drain. An increase in vampire drain would also result in less range which would not be favorable.

It seems more likely that Tesla tested with 19″ wheels for some reason with the LEMUR and 18″ wheels with the LR – 5% would be at the low range of what I’d expect in terms of efficiency between the two wheels.

Edit: But 32A vs 48A charging seems like a more likely cause, though 5% more energy use because of that seems like a lot.

Edit: Oops – it does appear the LEMUR has a 32A, not a 48A charger. The reduction in charging rate can certainly result in a loss in overall efficiency. 5% seems to be pretty high, though.

The mid range 123 MPGe takes a bit of a hit, dropping down from the 130 MPGe long range figures, with “some new EPA test changes”.

Hopefully there will be some EPA adjustments, in the EPA MPGe, if and when the EPA retests both of the long range Model 3’s.

There is no more M3 LR RWD. Maybe they will bring it back but not sold now.

Still more than 400 kms

In perfect summer conditions..

In perfect summer conditions, it would easily be 450 km.

Indeed enough to take a trip in Europe and for normal usage. If everything turns out okay this year we will order one in a month or two. Or buy a used model S

My Leaf 2016 30kWh ate 30% of the battery in 40,3km/25m and driven distance is 30km/18,6m highway 110kmh/68mph and 10km/6,2m urban 90kmh/55mph.

This distance is to work. From work it eats around 40-45%, the temperature is 2°C – -6°C / 35 – 21°F

So for roughly $10k or more you can get ~20miles more range than the Bolt.

Right. It doesn’t have quite the utility of the Bolt, but it certainly has long distance travel figured out.

Now that I have both a Model 3 (LR, Rear Motor) and a Bolt EV I can assure you that the 2 vehicles are in completely different classes.

The Bolt is basically an expensive hot hatch and has a very nice drivetrain but the Model 3 simply blows away the Bolt in both performance/range/recharging capabilities and all other metrics like driving dynamics and interior quality and ergonomics as well as technology.

It is like comparing an economy car with a luxury performance car.

I’ll be able to compare soon too!

Of course there are other factors the TM3 MR offers for that $10k, but the article was purely talking range.

The value shopper would spend less for similar range and maybe get a great lease deal on the Bolt.

Bolts sell at a discount, Tesla sells at list plus $2k for a color. The real price difference is larger than it appears.

Why the downvotes? Ok. Let’s look at TM3 MR vs SR. That’s also a $10k difference. 260miles vs 220+. And Musk has indicated that the new pack design will offer better range. My guess is redesigned to be very close if not over the Bolt EV range. So again $10k for somewhere between 20-40 miles extra range. Another way to put it:
$/miles of range.
Bolt is about $157.5/mile ($176/mile if using premier trim with driver assist package and red paint, unless you buy the one I saw online for only $35k).
*TM3 long range is about $158/mile
*TM3 mid-range is about $173/mile
*TM3 SR possibly from $182/mile to as low as $167/mile depending on its final EPA range.
(*For calculating I am using TM3 PUP prices as that is currently the only trim available).

So $10k more for TM3 MR vs SR miles range is a premium of $250 to $500 per mile of range. That’s crazy.

I don’t see the value proposition there. My guess is the Mid-Range Model 3 goes away when the SR comes out.

Any time you compare the PUP TM3 to a base Bolt, you’ve already made a distorted comparison. Try a similarly trimmed Bolt, and even then the Bolt can’t compare on performance or charging rate, etc. Essentially all you have done is the ICE equivalent of saying a VW Passat base is cheaper than an Audi. AKA: Cheaper cars are cheaper.

You’ll note I added in the costs for the premier trim with the driver assist for comparison. But as others (and myself on multiple occasions) have pointed out, the Bolt and Model 3 are not in the same class, other than being long range EVs. So I added an apples to apples comparison of PUP based TM3 with various battery options. I used PUP pricing becuase currently that’s all you can get, and I suspect when SR battery comes out, it will first be with PUP.

And my point still stands that $10k is an obscene premium for 20-40miles of extra range.

If you use pricing people actually pay for the Bolt base trim and not MSRP, it looks even worse.

You are using the old “Yugo’s are the best cars ever, because they are cheap” argument.

If the Bolt were so great, GM wouldn’t have to throw thousands on the hood on every deal, only to sell fewer and fewer.

Must be why they are increasing production. Becuase they are selling fewer?

You Get to Drive a Real Car …Not a Clown Wagon…~ 🙂 ~

Bottom graphic says the MR still takes 10 hrs to charge just like the LR?!? Should be shorter to charge shouldn’t it? Or did they limit the charging rate because the battery is smaller?

Charge rate on MR is lowered to 32 amps. From charging mine the other night the 25-100% charge estimate is about 6 hrs at 32A, 240V. I did 25-80% in around 4 hrs. I am guessing 0-100% is little more than 8hrs.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

32A v 48A charger.

“Should be shorter to charge shouldn’t it?”

Should be shorter to charge if they’re charging at the same voltage and amperage. But if they’re charging at the same C rate, then the charging time should be identical, since the different sized packs use identical cells.

No, it has a slower charger

“Efficiency figures do seem a bit low when compared to the Long Range RWD Model 3, but we think this is connected to some EPA test changes.”

What EPA test changes are you referring to? I wasn’t aware of any such changes…

I have not seen any announcements on EPA test changes. The most likely explanations are a less efficient charger and/or normal variance between tests.

Yeah, that’s the most interesting thing about this article. What changes, if any, has the EPA made to its testing procedures?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

If the test “changed”, why in the world would you compare the old test results of other cars/models to the new test results of this new model?
How about they re-test the other cars/model then compare?

Nothing has changed with the EPA ratings since 2017.

It’s rather surprising (almost *shocking* lulz) that the MR Model 3 barely has better efficiency ratings than the “aerobrick” Bolt (123 vs 119).

If a high performance gasmobile had better MPG than an economy car, wouldn’t you think that was surprising, and an indication of much better engineering in the high performance car?

Why do you see it as different in BEVs?

Well for one reason, an ICE efficiency is best with a small motor so that normal driving uses a higher percentage of its power. An electric motor has a reasonable flat efficiency curve. Now we know that different electric motors have different efficiencies for sure but the actual increase in power matters little.

Model 3 MR is faster and has wider tires for performance.

MPGe combined rating uses 55% city and 45% highway combination. Even just the highway testing alone only has an average speed of less than 50 mph. It doesn’t really reflect cruising at 70-75 mph on the highway, unfortunately, where range is critical.

When you look at the highway ratings, the Bolt is 110 and the Model 3 MR is 117. Ratchet up speeds and the difference would be much more.

Where the Bolt falls flat on it’s face compared to the Model 3 MR is recharging rate. So when you take a roadtrip the efficiency ratings are completely dwarfed by how long it takes to recharge a Bolt at 50 kW max (and then only on 80 kW chargers that are so rare in the US they are meaningless) vs. supercharging a Model 3 MR.

Because while the MR charges 320-350 miles per hour, the Bolt is only going to charge at 150-180 miles per hour.

Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t know. Your horror stories about bad roadtrips in your Bolt are well documented in your own words on the web.

And forget it if your Bolt didn’t come with the “optional” 800 dollar DC “fast” charging option!!! You will still be in the middle of your Thanksgiving road trip come Christmas!!

Sad to say the November Edmunds video comparing the Bolt to Kona didn’t have a mid-range Model 3 in the mix. Of course some of the I-Pace advocates were disappointed too.

Looks like the mod3 MR will demolish sales figures for 4qtr, people chasing,the full tax credits . Shorts: ouch-Ouch-OUCH

Hasn’t the TSLA short “interest” dropped drastically since the end of the 3rd quarter? The amount of anti-Tesla FÜD certainly has, and the two seem to be strongly coupled.

Short interest still seems surprisingly high, with 22.6% of the float shorted (I suggest clicking on the %float header to sort by float to get the most meaningful comparison). Keep in mind that this is a trailing statistic, where publicly available numbers are about 2-4 weeks behind on any given day.


I still want the RWD LR version. Sometimes producers do listen to potential customers, don’t they?

I would bet on it coming back when cell production is no bottleneck anymore.

i guess you should have bought it

I think he would if he could have. I think the “EU” in his name likely indicates he resides in the EU……

I’m glad they created this model. This car can still do cross-country drives and is getting closer to affordability.

The SR model will be even more affordable but it really won’t be very good for long trips due to shorter range AND slow charging rate. You will be able to take it on long trips but it will be kind of annoying doing all those stops & charges.

SR will have an „improved“ pack, so not so sure about slower charging yet.

But yes, this will be part of my magic formula when order day comes.

I can only imagine how much worse MR D version would be by that association. And if we extend it to SR D version, it will be probably worse than Ioniq and Bolt… LOL.

Doesn’t the SR Model 3 have a theoretical EPA of 220 miles compared to the Bolt’s 238? I daily drive a Bolt EV right now and get 200 miles on average at highway speeds. That’s likely the same range at the same speeds as the SR Model 3 I guess.

So, MR has the same efficiency as Bolt in the city (128) and 117 vs. 110 on the hwy. That is so close considering the 0.23Cd for the Model 3 and 0.3012 Cd for the Bolt. What happened to all that hwy aero advantages?

EPA highway testing only has an average speed of 48.3 mph. Even the “high speed” version of the test has an average speed of 48.37 mph and barely spends time above 65 mph.

Real world 70-80 mph highway cruising will show a bigger difference.

“Real world” highway driving around here is 30mph stop-n-go traffic. Long road trips over 100miles are less than 1% of trips. Over 200miles even less. So ultimate impact is very little. Very few highways have legal speed limits of 70-80mph. And driving 70mph vs 60mph doesn’t really get you there that much faster. So just slow down, and chill.

And “around here” is not everywhere.
In NC, 70 MPH is our de facto rural interstate limit.
1% of trips is probably right but that 1% still matters.

a few notes/questions:

1: Mid Range and Long Range RWD range figures were “voluntarily lowered” … so, are the MPGe values based on the actual, or lowered combined miles?

2: Are the kwh used to get those miles measured from the car’s battery, from between the charger and the car, or from between the main and the charger?

2a: If it’s anything besides ‘battery usage’ then it’s an unfair number, since we don’t include any upstream losses of energy getting a gallon of gas to a tank when measuring MPG… I want to know how efficient the car is at using energy, not how efficient a particular brand of wall charger is at converting voltages.

3: Would fewer cells change the operating voltage? perhaps the motor / inverter software are highly tuned for the LR pack voltage, but the MR is less than optimal and has higher losses? (possible to optimize further in software?)

EPA testing methodology includes charging the car. The wall charger with AC isn’t actually a charger.. the charger itself is built into the car. Only with DCFC is the charger outside the car.

The operating voltage is the same for all Model 3s: 4v nominal per cell * 96 cells in series = ~384v. LR cars hav 47 cells in parallel, MR have 39 in parallel, SR will have 31 in parallel. The MR has a smaller charger (32Amp) compared with the LR (48Amp), because it has fewer cells to feed. The input to the onboard charger is the same for all: AC at 120 volts for level 1, 240 volts for level 2.

The EPA doesn’t actually do the test, people. The manufacturer does it per specified test guidelines.

If you’re not happy with the numbers, go ask Tesla.

If the Model-3 LR has 130 MPGe, then the MR which has lesser weight should have higher MPGe. How come it is 7 less MPGe. Something very fishy.

“” we think this is connected to some EPA test changes. “” and what exactly has been changed there ?!?
Those EPA ranges can be adjusted from the manufactures downwards as they seem fit.

I think it’s more that those EPA ranges for the Model-3 ‘LR’ were adjusted from Tesla for marketing purpose, so that the single motor does not show a longer range than the double price Models-S100D for example, or the more expensive dual motor and performance Model-3 show the same range like the single motor version = all 310 miles.

according to the Insideevs published range estimates : https://insideevs.com/estimate-tesla-range-highway-speeds/

Single motor 18″ aero : real range = 332 miles (published as 310)
Dual motor 18″ aero : real range = 309 miles (published as 310)
Performance 18″ aero : real range = 309 miles (published as 310)

The Chevrolet Bolt EV should have lower scheduled and unscheduled maintenance costs then the model 3. Can’t wait to see the competition of the Model Y, Rivian R1S, and anything GM electrifies next year.

I don’t have any inside information to back this up, but if I were to make an educated guess, I would bet my money on differences in regenerative braking.

Regen braking may be programmed to be more conservative with the smaller battery to reduce stress across fewer cells. Less total regen would have this exact kind of impact on City more than Highway. The heavier weight of the larger battery pack would also HELP the bigger car get more regen even if everything else were identical in the drivetrains. Even if the acceleration takes more energy, throwing away energy slowing down would have the net impact of reducing total range.

We saw how big an impact turning down regen had on range, when Consumer Reports tanked one of their range tests by intentionally setting regen to less powerful than the default setting. So we already know that reduced regen negatively impacts range (duh, that’s why EV’s have regen….)

Since the MR has a smaller onboard charger, then I would imagine that the available regen would also be reduced. As you said, we do know how much of a difference regen makes on range.