Tesla Model 3 MPGe, Efficiency Improves For 2018

blue Tesla Model 3 front



Tesla Model 3

Which likely means that range is up too, though Tesla often reduces the range figure just to be on the under-promise, over-deliver side.

The official EPA site now has a listing for the 2018 Tesla Model 3 and one figure is worthy of mention. For 2018, MPGe of the Model 3 improves from 126 combined to 130. Only the Hyundai IONIQ Electric is more efficient at 136 MPGe.

This is still for the long-range version of the Model 3, which remains rated at 310 miles of total electric range, so no changes there.

Model 3 MPGe Improves To 130 Combined For 2018

As the graphic notes, MPGe for the 2018 Model 3 is now:

  • 136 MPGe city
  • 123 MPGe highway
  • 130 MPGe combined

As expected from those improved figures, the 2018 Model 3 consumes slightly less kWh per 100 miles. the 2018 version is listed at 26 kWh/100 miles, whereas the 2017 model is at 27 kWh /100 miles. So, we can say with relative certainty that the 2018 3 has improved range, though as noted above Tesla generally understates that figure and that’s likely why the automaker and EPA aren’t listing a slightly higher range.

Hat tip to Arpe!

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97 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 MPGe, Efficiency Improves For 2018"

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Impressive. Guess only Hyundai Ioniq is more efficient at 136MPGe? Of course that doesn’t have a very big battery to drag along, a car like Bolt that does have a big battery manages a rather lower 119MPGe. Looks like Tesla’s religious focus on aerodynamics makes the difference here, though it’s not a very substantial difference.

What makes it even more impressive is that the Ioniq also has a much smaller power output which helps with efficiency. If you reduced the Ioniq’s power output even lower to like 80 hp then it would get a phenomenal MPGe rating.

The Model 3 almost matches the Ioniq and it is a 5 second to 60 car. It would be like a BMW 3-series matching a Prius in fuel efficiency.

I don’t think big motors have the same effect (if any) on efficiency as big engines.

There is a moderate trade-off in efficiency vs peak power or peak torque in electric machine design, though as you said it’s nowhere near like that of combustion engines. Think a couple of percent, or a couple of miles of range. If the Model 3 came with the motor the Ioniq has it might get maybe 315 miles EPA instead of 310, but is that tradeoff worth it? Not at all in my mind!

A Model 3 D will have better millage. We saw that with the S

Yes. Even electric motors are not exactly the same efficiency in all conditions. When you have two motors you can optimize each for different speeds and allow the more efficient motor to do most of the cruising (cars don’t accelerate hard most of the time, you know) at any given time. It’s a simple trick and leads to perhaps five percent range improvement on average.

Just as long as Tesla follow the same design philosophy with the 3 of using two smaller motors over one big motor.

“There is a moderate trade-off in efficiency vs peak power or peak torque in electric machine design, though as you said it’s nowhere near like that of combustion engines. Think a couple of percent, or a couple of miles of range.” There is a significant difference in energy efficiency between a high-performance car and one designed for energy efficiency in mind, even among BEVs. That difference comes from the fact that if you put in a motor which will allow fast acceleration, then it’s going to tend to get used for that. A car with very limited ability to accelerate, such as the Ioniq Electric, simply can’t use that much power all at once. It’s designed not to. I dunno how great a difference it is, but it’s certainly more than a mere couple of percent. That Tesla has been able to make the TM3 nearly as energy-efficient (in EPA ratings) as the much lower-performing Ioniq shows how very far ahead Tesla is in its EV engineering. Some people say that EVs are all peas in a pod; that moving from gasmobiles to BEVs means there won’t be any place for auto makers to show the superiority of their engineering.… Read more »

@Chris O, “I don’t think big motors have the same effect (if any) on efficiency as big engines.”

What are the differences between Model S 90D and P90D ? The rear motor of the 90D is 193 kW vs P90D with 375 kW. Both models have 193 kW front motor. Model P90D is slightly heavier than 90D with larger/heavier rear motor.

What are efficiencies of the 2 models ? 90D: City/Highway/Combined: 102/107/104, P90D: 92/100/95

Do the P models have different tires in their stock configuration?

Using softer, stickier rubber will definitely lose efficiency.

@Mint, higher performance tires do negatively effect energy efficient but only at a very small percentage, especially during EPA test cycles. I am 100% sure that the difference would not be 10% as shown in the EPA numbers.

I read sometime back in InsideEVs forums that EPA testing is done at standardized acceleration. This way, cars that are able to accelerate faster are not penalized. 130 MPGe lugging around a big battery is still very impressive.

That is correct. There are no wide-open throttle runs in the EPA test. Above the dyno they have a screen with a line on it for target speed. As the line goes up and down, the operator accelerates and decelerates to keep the car at the target speed to match the line on the screen. There is a little pointer that they try to keep following the line. So every car repeats the exact same test.

This is a likely reason why Tesla voluntarily reduces their range numbers. Tesla expects a few WOT runs that reduce real world range that are not captured in the EPA tests.

This also seems to affect a lot of modern turbo cars too. They get great MPG until you get into the boost, and then MPG sinks like a stone. They never get into full boost in the EPA test, so Turbo car owners who do get deep into boost report MPG numbers well below EPA estimates.

Nix said:

“Tesla expects a few WOT [Wide Open Throttle] runs that reduce real world range that are not captured in the EPA tests.”

I didn’t realize BEVs have a “throttle”. Is that connected to the “gas pedal” in such cars?

😛 (j/k)

There are other factors that include gearing for efficiency rather than speed that effect MPGe.

Also as HN mentioned above the performance versions of each Tesla model have the same battery pack size as the standard model with the only difference being a more powerful rear motor and it gets an appreciably lower MPGe.

And smaller wheels.

Wasn’t Hyundai caught a few years ago for inflating their MPG numbers? How can if be trusted that their far above average MPGe holds true?

How about trusting the reports of all the customers on the roads getting those great numbers and more?

Most other EV’s report getting similar miles per KW, real world. So is Hyundai inflating their numbers or are others under-reporting?

This report about winter driving shows Ioniq outperforming its competitors and even its own EPA numbers even in winter conditions.

Pretty impressive


Thanks for sharing.

This is by far the best challenge under real-life winter conditions I have ever seen.

41F is not what many would call winter conditions.

Hyundai did cheat on MPG figures several years ago, but paid fines and compensation to many owners for that mistake.

They’ve since repented, and I doubt there is much interest in returning to those practices.

A settlement without acknowledging any wrongdoing or violations, is not what I considered a remorseful or repentance. It’s more like the cost of doing business.

They got expensive personal lesson that cheating this way doesn’t pay off, if you want to put words this way.

I don’t think there is reason to believe they are idiots to push the line too far again and repeat the same expensive lesson.

Showing “remorseful or repentance” or whatever other hype campaign may be handled by public relations department if deemed useful for bottom line. It is just corporation, do not imagine it is some live person with feelings :/

$56M for a manufacturer that makes $78B in revenue. That would be a parking ticket for you and me.

No, 56M was small part of all the bills.
It was reported 745 million total and I don’t know if it is really full total.

That is for just mostly around extra 1-2 mpg of quarter of the vehicles of 3 model years.

Where is Tony Williams and his 62 MPH (100 km/h) range / efficiency test?

What is a little funny about that is Tony Williams does own a Model 3 even. He posted briefly about ordering it on the LEAF forum but I haven’t seen any post/reviews from him. Maybe he will do one as he is listed as InsideEVs contributing writer.

Hi people what you think about this coal powered jeep wrangler?



I think it is great and best of all in states like Wyoming, where almost all electricity comes from coal this wrangler is less polluting then tesla cars.
There are no loses while converting mechanical energy from powerplant engine to AC also there are no loses in transporting AC electricity and no loses in converting AC to DC for battery storage, no loses related to battery, and no loses in converting DC back to AC for electric engine, and no electric engine loses,

Only energy loses this wrangle have is when converting thermal energy of coal to mechanical energy, and those loses coal powerplant has to.

If this monstrosity’s steam engine powers a generator that in turn powers an electric motor it would technically be an EV.

Well…by the definition the hydrogen lobby uses to pass off its hydrogen powered vehicles as EVs. It’s more customary to use the energy a car uses to categorize it ( so only those that have plugs are EVs) and this bizarre vehicle graphically illustrates why that makes a lot more sense.

“Well…by the definition the hydrogen lobby uses to pass off its hydrogen powered vehicles as EVs. It’s more customary to use the energy a car uses to categorize it ( so only those that have plugs are EVs)…”

I don’t know where this bizarre notion comes from. Obviously most people are using a definition of “EV” different than yours, or we wouldn’t have the terms “HEV” or “FCEV”.

The term “electric vehicle” refers to a vehicle designed and build so that it can be propelled by electric motors alone. It says nothing about the source of power for those motors.

For example, a diesel-electric train locomotive is an EV; it’s a serial hybrid EV. And like it or not, “fool cell” cars (FCEVs) are EVs also. Heck, there’s even a huge dragline excavator that pulls a giant power cable behind itself as it moves, which is an EV altho it has to remain “plugged in” to run.

From Wikipedia:

An electric vehicle, also called an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion.

I thought you were serious until I saw the photo. Pretty funny, but you forgot to add /s for sarcasm tag.

For those who don’t know, thermal efficiency is commensurate with surface area, so having bunch of small “steam power” is going to be awful due to huge surface area compared to large power plant.

My sarcasm comment was regarding his efficiency comment. I thought maybe there’s some fantastic revolutionary steam engine, but the photo (and video) shows just the same old 18th century contraption. That has to be sarcasm by comparing to modern electric generating stations.

It wasn’t “sarcasm”; it was a joke or a tall tale.

It was also IMHO a test of critical reading; a test to see if the reader is alert, which is also similar to the interaction between storyteller and listener/reader for a tall tale. His statements:

“There are no loses while converting mechanical energy from powerplant engine to AC also there are no loses in transporting AC electricity and no loses in converting AC to DC for battery storage, no loses related to battery, and no loses in converting DC back to AC for electric engine, and no electric engine loses…”

…are all true (if we overlook misspelling “losses” as “loses”), but of course rather irrelevant as the strictly mechanical losses in a steam engine vehicle are massively greater than those in a BEV!

And if his intent was, at least in part, to test for reader alertness, then putting in a smiley or some other indication he wasn’t serious would have spoiled the purpose.

Po tay toe, Po tah to. Either way, efficiency story is not real.

I missed the part where you documented that the thermal efficiency of this small coal/steam engine matches that of a large powerplant.

And you believe that a small coal plant at about 200 kW have the same efficiency as a big on one several Gigawatts? There is a reason why US have about 600 coal plant and not several million small, because it’s a lot easier to get high efficiency on a big one.

Gee I don’t know, maybe the silliest idea ever?

According to this: http://www.thedrive.com/truck-stop/15732/this-jeep-wrangler-has-six-wheels-and-a-steam-engine

“A full 55-gallon tank of water can move the Loco Hauk 1 to 1.5 miles at 30 to 35 mph”

Some quick googling and math shows that it takes about 65,000 BTU to boil 55 gallons of water. That is equivalent to about 19KwH of electricity. That amount would power a Tesla Model S for about 60 miles.

A Tesla therefore is 50-60x more energy efficient that this novelty vehicle. It is not less polluting that Tesla or any EV nor is that the point. It’s a novelty vehicle, not a practical one.

You may also want to read: https://electrek.co/2017/11/01/electric-cars-dirty-electricicty-coal-emission-cleaner-study/

Darth: Hey Chief, don’t quit your day job o.k? There are 458 pounds of water in 55 US Gallons. It takes over 970 British Thermal Units to boil each pound of 212 degree fahrenheit water into 212 degree steam at atmospheric pressure. So even assuming you are starting with ‘near boiling hot’ water, it STILL takes over 444,000 BTUs to boil this water. 444000/65000 (what you claim)is off by over 6.8 times, almost an order of magnitude error. There’s plenty of additional complication here, as for instance, a 200 PSI steam engine would only be theoretically about 8.3 % efficient and practically only around 7%. – This is the big reason we don’t drive around in steam-powered cars since any modern technology (lets say, post – 1920 ish) has found much more efficient ways of doing things. Ev’s at their worst were never this bad, even at the turn of the LAST century since all that heat was used for district heating.. So although not great for making electricity it at least was very efficient overall in the wintertime, and could also be used for Adsorbtion refrigeration units in the summertime. Such equipment is heavy and expensive, making it a… Read more »

Yup, what Darth describe is taking water at roughly room temperature to 212F in liquid form. Too often, people forget the enormous latent heat of vaporization when talking about steam. Worse, to get useful work out of steam means you have to have high pressure, which necessarily means even more energy is needed. Essentially, energy to turn water to steam is “waste”, because that energy cannot perform any work.

Steam returns the heat to work when it is used in a steam engine or turbine.

Speaking of hydrogen, I wonder what the efficiency would be if 10,000 PSI steam is used. It might actually approach ICE car efficiency in converting fossil fuel heat to work.

There are quite efficient steam engines:

Anyway, other considerations, i.e. TCO, win in practice over some theoretical efficiency points of cherry picked energy conversion chain.

If H FCEV TCO works at 10K PSI, I don’t see why steam power TCO wouldn’t work if energy efficiencies are comparable, especially since lower pressure (eg. half) might still be decent with steam power.

A lot of things works technically, nobody is surprised by that. The question is what is most convenient at acceptable cost.
FCEV in particular has all the advantages of electric drive with zero tailpipe, refueling advantage of gas cars, and eliminates giga-battery specific disadvantages of too much weight/cost/pollution to increase range, slow charging, sensitivity to temperature and dependence on availability of electric grid at charging place to access coal & gas burning power plants.

Valid point about where electricity comes from. However you must not know that North American is generally divided into 3 grids – Eastern Interconnect, Western Interconnect, and ERCOT (Texas).

So even though Wyoming as you point out produces mostly Coal fired power, they are also effectively consuming a lot of the hydro and wind from the west coast.

Conversely the opposite is also true – tree huggers on the West coast who plug their car into the grid are also consuming a bit of Wyoming Coal generation.

Over 50% of BEVs sold in the US are sold in CA. About 5.5% of CA’s electricity comes from coal. Almost all of that comes from NGS in Arizona or SJGS in New Mexico. The NGS contract and NGS itself expire next year. SJGS’s contact is up in 2021 and SJGS goes out in 2022. Ther insignificant fraction of a percent of coal power coming into CA is coming from the NW.

Your model of the grid should be updated to have CA as a sector unto itself.

Interesting. Do you have a source for that info? According to the EIA California imports about 26% of its energy.


“The Northwest region of WECC, which includes most of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Washington, and a small area of northern California, supplied a daily average of 122 million kWh”

If California is importing 26% of its energy, you can’t really pretend it’s a separate grid. So since CA is a net importer most every incremental KwH you consume when you plug in comes from out of state.

California has made a lot of great strides in being Earth friendly. But let’s not pretend your EV’s run on a combination of wind power and fairy dust.

@ericonline, in state coal power is 0.2% all sources(includes import from other states) is 4.1% as of 2016. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_California

@HN Thanks. Interesting that chart shows that about 45.3% of the imported power (14.4% of total energy useage) comes from unspecified out of state sources. One can only guess where it comes from.

You can always take some gated neighborhood and say it is powered by 100% renewable energy. All generators inside would be PV only. Any “imports” by thick underground cable are 100% renewable as well, because you can buy cheap Renewable Energy Certificates to offset any energy, or make contract with windmill operator 2000 miles away to provide you with the energy (electrons are all the same).

What is wrong with this approach indeed? /s California does it and it works perfectly well. No new contracts with coal plants anymore, they can sell coal electricity to somebody else, and California gets perfectly green hydro electrons from over the country. Everybody is happy, coal workers get work (until fracking kicks them out), and California can be perfectly green, virtuous and holier than everybody else :/

To be fair, Californians are better than everyone else.

Thanks HN. My numbers were based on EIA’s data from CY 2015. I believe the delta is from the early closure of two of the four plants at SJGS. The unspecified does not include coal. It may be news to some that CA passed a ban on coal in 2006. When we buy from other states we pay a premium to ensure we’re not buying coal power and that specified percentages are renewable. According to the California Energy Commission we’re on schedule to be coal free by the end of 2024. As previously mentioned NGS shutters in 2019, the SJGS contract is up in 2021, and the two plants inside CA each generating 0.1% even with essentially free lignite will cease to be financially viable as their carbon subsidies evaporate. They should shutter by 2021. That will leave only intermountain Power’s Delta Utah plant which will convert to NG by 2024. @ericonline The link you provided is EIA’s 2016 data. 2016 was hydro power’s nadir due to drought. 2015 had hydro at 6% and 2016 was likely less. The point being that 2017 and 2018 are like significantly less than 26%. Also if your link shows the WECC broken down… Read more »

Wind power has incresed rapidly in Wyoming in the last 10 years and as of 2016 accounted for 10% of net electricity generation.

Yay for Wind Power!

And ignoring of course that emissions control at a power plant is easier/better than in a small car (in addition to the other points made above).

Question for you though… does trolling for the oil companies pay well? Is it a full time gig or just consulting?

Lighten up Francis. It was obviously a joke. No need to go all paranoid conspiracy nut on us.

Sometimes people are not all Paranoid, they are just ‘noid!’ They just ‘Anoid’ us! ?

Wasn’t at all funny, hope they don’t quit their day job.

It’s quite funny. You just didn’t get the joke, son. It sailed right over your head.


You would better go to EIA and EPA websites and try figure out what are real life emissions for power plants and cars. OK, I understand reading is hard and repeating old advocacy points is much easier :/

Just to be clear, there isn’t a difference between the 2017 and 2018 vehicles. Tesla is just being less conservative on the efficiency number ( but not the total range).

Wrong. The switch to a textile headliner from the much heavier Alcantara headliner is the reason for the improved efficiency of the 2018 Model 3.

Isn’t Alacantra from a Neighboring country to Chile, Where the Alpaca hails from?? :÷) ?

Being so high up used more Energy, than Georgia Cotton, Right? ?

Robert Weekley:

Nah, Alcantara really originates from Al Qantara (القنطرة).
The Commander in Chief clearly said nothing is needed from these … countries, so you can only obey now :/

“Just to be clear, there isn’t a difference between the 2017 and 2018 vehicles. Tesla is just being less conservative on the efficiency number ( but not the total range).”

I think that’s right, altho I doubt anyone posting here can state as a definite fact that Tesla didn’t tweak the engineering of the TM3 powertrain after the original EPA tests were done.

If Tesla voluntarily lowered the reported MPGe rating, then it can voluntarily raise it back up nearer to what the EPA tests actually show.

True. I don’t have any inside info.

Just didn’t want people to get the misconception that there was a Model year change happening.

Tesla also doesn’t do “Model years”. The year is just the date of manufacturing. Most people here know that, but some people might not be aware of that.

I sure wish Tesla’s efficiency in production and delivery was equal to it’s cars’ MPGe…

I suspect your “relative certainty that the 2018 3 has improved range” is a lot less certain than you might think.

MPGe could go up due to improved charging efficiency and have zero impact on range. Or, since EPA figures rely on lots of calculations and correction factors, it could be due to any number of revisions to these calculations and not related to actual changes to the car.

I also suspect this is the case. The calculation for MPGe per the EPA for EVs is fixed:
MPGe = (0.7*(Charging Efficiency)* 33.7kWh/gallon)/(0.55*City Wh/mi + 0.45* Highway Wh/mi)

The one factor there that can change and affect MPGe but not the vehicle’s range is the charging efficiency. To add to this, when you look at the “Specs” tab of fueleconomy.gov, the charging time at 240V has gone down from 12 to 10 hours on the “Standard charger”, whatever that means. All this points to a new, more efficient charger. Interestingly, the other change is luggage volume has decreased from 17 to 15 cubic feet…

But what is the justification for the 0.7 coefficient?!? Paranoid me starts to wonder if somebody wants to make EVs look bad!

If the highway and city efficiency measurements are real, the real range with a 45/55 mix of highway and city miles would indeed be correct by omitting this coefficient. Are the Wh/mile numbers totally wrong??

“…when you look at the ‘Specs’ tab of fueleconomy.gov, the charging time at 240V has gone down from 12 to 10 hours on the ‘Standard charger’, whatever that means.”

That certainly does suggest a real change to the car, not just fiddling with the EPA calculations. But as others have said, that could just mean an improved onboard charger, which wouldn’t indicate better range for the car, nor improved powertrain efficiency.

This is the most likely reason for the change – a charger with higher efficiency and higher current available.

Question is – what are the specs of the old and new charger?

Or it could be as simple as changing some minor alignment settings to reduce rolling resistance, or a change in tire compound, etc.

I think Tesla just has more driving data on Model 3 and updated the efficiency to be more accurate.

They are still under rating the range at 310 even with the better efficiency number.

This is either to make sure new owners aren’t disappointed or to keep margin between the 3 LR and the S 100D.

Regardless, Model 3 range and efficiency combo is second to none.

Interesting that the Prius Prime still is more efficient at 25kwh / 100 miles during those paltry 25 miles on pure electricity. Too bad Toyota doesn’t seem to want to come out with an all electric Prius.

But this is great news as every kwh not used is one that doesn’t need to be generated, likely with fossil fuel.

@ekutter, lighter car with weaker motor is more energy efficient than heavier car with much stronger motor for much faster acceleration and higher maximum speed.

Nice find on the mpge. I can’t wait to see what it is on the base car.

This is amazing considering my rav4ev from just a few years back only gets around 70mpge.

With such a small, unannounced increase in efficiency, I tend to believe it is just an updated testing method or something. There may not be any difference in the actual hardware.

I’d be kinda surprised if there is any significant mechanical difference between the 2017 and 2018 Model 3s.

Bingo. You and I are thinking the same.

The efficiency of the long range is surprisingly good. Will the short range beat the Ionic? I think it will come very close.

Increase in mpge is likely due to the weight saving switch from alcantara to premium textile /s

Better to underestimate vs overestimate. Some car manufactures are known to exaggerate on horsepower and mpg vs some that are more humble. All EV’s are good. All the ice car companies are slow to transition because of all the investments in ice. China and other countries are forcing the USA to go EV as air pollution is killing people. We all end up breathing the same air

Hate to break it to you, but in fact we all end up not breathing at all. We just want to breathe better while we can.

Looking at the test car list, they did actually retest the car in December for the 2018MY vehicles. Raw, unadjusted, EPA mileage went down from 333.83 to 330.01 miles with the new test. As they had already voluntarily lowered the rated mileage to 310 miles, there was no necessary changes to the Monroney “range” number.

As can be seen in the date files available here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/download.shtml
in fact, range has slightly decreased (from 334 to 330 miles). With efficiency being up, that could mean that the battery capacity has slightly decreased.
Notice that the charge time with the standard charger has decreased from 12h to 10h which is kinda suprising

As someone else posted above, a new charger with higher current capability is the most likely reason. Though I suppose it’s possible that the first test was run at a lower current than what is possible as well.

As far as the slight reduction in range – 4 miles is barely more than 1% – probably within the margin of error, so I’d assume that there is no change in efficiency of the drivetrain or change in battery.

Oh, no! We don’t want better range and efficiency! We want fake suede on the inside! /S

P.S. The different numbers are probably due to updates on the battery management or other software…

Better aero dynamics on the model 3
Lower RR tires?
Better fear ratio?
There are lots of factors but little information on either new car. We can’t even get a IONIQ Electric in Arizona.

Interesting that Tesla managed 2nd place in efficiency given the inductive motor choice. My understanding is that permanent magnet motors are more efficient, and those are used on cars like the Bolt. I wonder what percentage gain could be realized if they went permanent magnet.

Supposedly Model 3 is also using the permanent magnet motor.

I wonder if they picked up the extra by having a better charger/motor inverter?