Tesla Model S P85D Gets Rated At 242 Miles* Of Range

DEC 9 2014 BY JAY COLE 64

If You Are Looking For Those 285 Miles Of Range In The P85D Model S ... Look To The Highway, Not The City

If You Are Looking For Those 285 Miles Of Range In The P85D Model S … Look To The Highway, Not The City

When the Tesla Model S P85D debuted, the headline number from the company was that the performance all wheel drive version of the car would get 275 miles of range, a figure that was revised upwards a few weeks later to 285 miles, with the 85D getting 295 miles.

Now to be fair these were not EPA rated miles, but Tesla’s promoted miles at speed (65 mph).


It turns out the way the EPA rates electric cars for range is a little different than Tesla – specifically the testing is more weighted to city driving than the highway.  Also of note, Tesla has recently introduced a 80% and a 100% charge setting for the Model S which could be affecting how the car is rated as a blending of the two.

As such, the combination of those factors, has the rating agency coming up with a number less than even the 265 mile figure the government agency currently has on the standard 85 kWh Model S and significantly less than the 285 miles promoted by Tesla earlier.

The P85D has been given an official range of 242 miles when the car is equipped with the 21″ wheel package.  Tesla notes an EPA estimated 250 mile range on the website when the P85D is equipped with 19″ wheels (and without the summer sport tires).

Tesla Now Notes EPA Electric Range For The P85D - Sub Out The 21" Tires For 19" And Get Some Miles Back

Tesla Now Notes EPA Electric Range For The P85D – Sub Out The 21″ Tires For 19″ And Get Some Miles Back

Tesla Model S P85D Doing The Promo Tour In Berlin In November

Tesla Model S P85D Doing The Promo Tour In Berlin In November

Jerome Guillen, who is VP of Sales and Service replied to a P85D customer about the upcoming EPA shortfall last month on Tesla’s website (before the exact number was known) via email.

Mr. Guillen noted that on the highway the P85D performs similarly to the S85, but the EPA’s combing of different cycles hurt the performance overall, while suggesting the 85D was the best way to go for maximum range overall.

“The P85D and the S85 have about the same range at constant speed on the highway. However, in EPA range testing (combination of cycles), the P85D is expected to have a lower rated range than the S85. If you want to maximize range, I would recommend the 85D, whose deliveries will start in February 2015. That’s our vehicle with the longest range.”

Sure enough, when looking at the specific city vs highway driving profile, the new P85D falls short in the city (that is what happens when you add almost 300lbs to the package after all), but the P85D more than makes up the difference on the highway, leading to an identical 89 MPGe rating overall.

The EPA states on the P85D are as follows (current 85 RWD in brackets):

  • Range: 242 miles (265 miles)
  • MPGe: 89MPGe (89MPGe)
  • City: 86 MPGe (88)
  • Highway: 94 MPGe (90)
  • 38 kWh/100 miles for both vehicles

Basically, through a quirk of the system, both Tesla and the EPA are correct.  Yes, the P85D will travel further on the highway than the RWD version of the car, but overall in mixed driving the net range will fall as more of a city component is introduced.  Too much city = less range than the S85.

Hat tip to Michael B!

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64 Comments on "Tesla Model S P85D Gets Rated At 242 Miles* Of Range"

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This dead horse has been beaten repeatedly on Tesla only forums.

The 2012 RWD Model S was tested from 100% full battery.

New test, which was used for the AWD Model S, the EPA test a 100% full battery cycle then an 80% full battery cycle. Then averages the two. Since Tesla recommends a standard 90% for everyday driving and only a Range charge at 100% full for occasional road trips.

Hence the EPA wants typical every day range on the Monroney sticker or range from roughly 90%. As if people with gasoline cars drive from top off to empty gas tanks.

I can’t parse some of your sentences. You seem to insert periods where they don’t belong.

Are you saying that, because Tesla recommends a 90% charge for everyday driving, the EPA tests an 80% charge and then a 100% charge, and averages them?

Going forward, is the EPA going to rate all EVs using this 80/100 mix of tests?

Also, when testing an EV, why does it matter what people with gasoline cars do?

Yes, this is well known. When a car has different charge levels, especially when the car defaults to a lower level, the EPA averages the two levels. This was done on the 2011-2012 Leaf and the 2012-2014 RAV4 EV to name a couple of prior instances.

Then why doesn’t the EPA test the Model S at 90% and 100% and average THAT. Why test at 80% and 100%?

So does this mean the 85 rwd model S will have a lower EPA sticker going forward? That would mean no new Tesla gets 265…

..and yet, without asterisk, Tesla reports S85 range at 265 miles.

Sorry, Rob Stark, I don’t think Tesla would put up conflicting values. They can be optimistic, but have been respectful in always qualifying their numbers. Here, both S85 and P85D get straight up EPA values (242/265). If Tesla could give P85D more credit, with an asterisk explaining what you and others suggest, I’m sure they would have.

I’m surprised that the EPA would be so fast to come up with the right solution. Yes range should be listed based on the recommended charge. Don’t think it matters much in this case but for other EVs it matters quite a bit. Looking at you Nissan Leaf. LOL

This is the price you pay for overdoing it; using a track-like car for daily commutes and grocery shopping. For ICE cars, the gas tank size and range with one tank isn’t a concern. But for EVs, and in particular long range EVs like Tesla Model S, it is supposedly thee biggest selling point. And now, the most expensive and hyped up ‘D’ gets a big hole in its value proposition.

The EPA changed the rules due to electric vehicles entering the market place. Why? They wanted to account for a loss in range due to heater and A/C use. With the new way to rate cars many vehicles lost range, not just electric ones. I believe the EPA should just put real data ratings instead of trying to tell me how far I will go with a full tank/charge. If you drive at 35mph in a factory setting you will go XXX miles at xxx MPGE. If you drive at 70MPh you will go XXX miles at XXX MPGE. Then add in the ratings with A/C running and with heater running. All cars would far exceed real world driving ratings with these tests, but that is really how it should be to encourage people to drive more efficiently. Right now it is easy in an electric assisted vehicle to beat the EPA numbers. Not sure if that is true in gas cars. These numbers should be something to achieve they should not be dumbed down to the least efficient drivers.

As mentioned, the new “D” cars are rated with a 90% charge, whereas the older Tesla’s were rated using a 100% charge. On a 100% charge, the EPA would agree the P85D can travel 265 miles.

This is why the efficiency rating for the P85D is the same as the 85 RWD (89 MPGe), but the range is only 90% (242 miles is ~90% of 265 miles).

This new method is unfortunate, because (1) it makes comparisons with the RWD cars misleading and (2) anyone heading on a road trip is going to charge to 100% before leaving, so it’s not a realistic number for the circumstances in which the range figure is relevant.

“anyone heading on a road trip is going to charge to 100% before leaving, so it’s not a realistic number for the circumstances in which the range figure is relevant”

This is exactly the problem with the EPA range ratings. ALL EVs should be rated from 100% charge to empty. That’s what most people will assume the range is, anyway. Most car buyers are intelligent enough to know that an 80% charge will have less range than a 100% charge!

I agree, but then again there are instances where the auto manufacturer is basically saying you should rarely charge to 100%. If that’s the case, then listing a 100% range is a misleading number, especially if your capacity is adversely affected from using 100% charges so often that you end up with a much lower usable range.

It would be way clearer for EPA to state 2 numbers; the default charge followed by the full charge.

Agree the EPA should post two numbers: 100% charge and the manufactures recommended daily charge, listing both % and miles.

The current situation is a confusing mess with no way to compare cars or to know the range at 100%.


Now I’m totally confused….

Does this mean you can go further with the 60 than the 85D just by changing the tires?

Makes sense – assuming the charger efficiency is the same, which is included in the MPGe calculations I believe.

At 100% charge that gives the P85D:
256 miles city (EPA)
265 miles mixed (EPA 5 cycle)
280 miles highway (EPA)

My understanding of what you say is that the 242 miles is 90%. However if as Tesla previously stated the car gets 285 miles then on a normal 80% charge you would only be getting 199 miles. And if the battery degrades by 30% after eight years you are left with only 139 miles of range on a freshly charged pack. So a Model S at the ten year mark will probably be getting only 139 miles to a charge. Is this right?

And if you do normal freeway driving take off another 20%, see http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/range-vs-speed-graph, and you get a range of about 111 miles to a charge on a 10 year old P85D.

Typo in my first reply. I did the math correctly however I said 80% was 285. I meant 100% was 285.

Seems TM buyers are attracted with superlatives like 285 miles to a charge but instead will be getting 80% of that range. 80% is 199 miles. And if they drive at normal 80 mph speeds will only be getting 160 mile range. And as battery capacity dwindles by close to 20% to 30% they may feel cheated. Though I think the Tesla is the only car I would ever like to own I also want a little honesty on what to really expect.

As the rest of the world sees it.
85 kWh Performance

460 km range at 105 km/h
515 kW motor power
165 kW front, 350 kW rear
3.4 seconds 0-100 km/h
250 km/h top speed
High performance Dual Motor all wheel drive with specially designed suspension for exceptional power and handling
8 year, infinite kilometer battery and drive unit warranty

Thx for the explanation. I kept looking at the numbers wondering how in the heck the cars could have different range but the same MPGe.

This should be some concern to those wanting to drive 240+ miles per charge with a majority of city driving. Thankfully, for the 99.9% of the driving population that doesn’t drive this way, the higher highway efficiency actually means more practical range for the P85D not less. That should have been the headline for this article and what Tesla should be featuring on the specs page. The other values should be mentioned too but they are of lesser importance.

If you need to drive more than 240 miles in a city in a day, I do not envy you!

I drove as profession for many years. A typical day was 225 on average. This was like 10 hours a day, probably at least 9 on the road. I did 5oo miles going out of town, and a few 15 hour days. Those days are gone forever.
Long way of saying, you are correct.

ffbj is right, the average speed in city driving is around 20, so to go that far it is a very long day. Add to the fact that in city driving it is really easy to beat the EPA numbers as those drivers have no clue how to drive an EV efficiently. One Tesla S owner drove over 420 miles at city speeds and making limited stops. I think the EPA has a lead foot and hits the brake to stop, something that Model S drivers know is not needed.

Larger wheels and AWD always gives you less efficiency but the larger motors mean that at higher speeds you get better efficiency from the drive train.

The most interesting and important rating would be on US06, which more approximates freeway driving. The D would probably do considerably better on the cycle.

Actually, it’s the ability to gear the two motors differently where the advantage comes in. One can be geared for low rpm torque and the other for highway efficiency. It’s the same reason the Volt uses both motors at highway speed in EV mode to bring the main motor RPM down to a more efficient level.

There’s something really iffy with these numbers. First of all the combined MPGe is the same for both cars, so you would expect the range to stay the same.

Next is that the city 86 MPGe and 88 MPGe would only result in 259 miles vs 265 miles. So the 242 miles must represent range lost somewhere else (could it be that 90% rating pointed out by others).

While seeing simiar efficiencies between 85P and 85D at constant speeds on highway highway is great news.

The differences in ‘city’ efficiency IMO are likely due to differences in how much energy is captured during regen. The single large motor of te 85P can grab lots of energy. Now sure how regen is handled in the 85D, but combine regen power from two smaller motors has to be more complex to extract the most energy.

But the again the 85D is likely to be more efficient when 4×4 drive is needed … something that is beyond EPA testing. No need to consider the closest EPA ratting for the next lower 4×4 on EPA’s list! Oh, or the EPA of any other vehicle capable of sub-3.5 second 0…60 mph!

Looking forward to Tesla Motors posting efficiency curves for all Model S editions. (60, 85, 85P, 85D)

A comparison of original 85S and Roadster from May 2012.

The real-world test the EPA will never use is time to climb Pikes Peak. Expecting a 85D to set a world record in 2015 for production vehicles! 🙂

…now, a road course.

P85D has the highest weight thus it should have the least efficiency at lower speed.

Didn’t the Leaf run into this confusion the other year when the EPA changed it’s calcs. Didn’t Nissan switch to 100% default charging the following year to clear it up. Am I remembering this right?

You are correct. Many mugglers believed that the Leaf suddenly got a better/larger battery when in fact they only switched to 100 % charge by default… Stupid way of rating since mugglers tend to not understand as much…

LEAF EPA Range Worldwide:

All current LEAFs will drive about 80-ish miles of REAL WORLD range when at 62mph (100km) ground speed on a level, no wind, hard surface roadway with no heater and a new condition battery at 70F/20C or above temperature.

Here the LEAF official government rated range worldwide:

124 miles = 200km Japan “EPA” rating for 2011-2012
142 miles = 228km Japan “EPA” for 2013

109 miles = 175km UK / Euro 2011-2012
124 miles = 199km UK / Euro 2013-2014

Here the LEAF official government range:

73 miles = EPA-USA 2011-2012 (EPA LA4 “city cycle” @ 19.59mph average, minus 30%)
75 miles = EPA-USA 2013 (EPA “5 cycle”, average of 66 EPA miles range for 80% and 84 EPA miles for 100%)
84 miles = EPA-USA 2014 (EPA “5 cycle” test, 100% charge only)

Who cares about stupid EPA ratings

EPA doesn’t drive the car every day for years, they have no valid say

In case of the Model S they might actually 🙂

We should all care about the ratings because that’s the number that gets put on the sticker. Like it or not, your typical car buyer will look at the sticker when buying a new EV.

Crazy talk, for an industry that’s just dying to throw sugar on its own efficiency numbers. That includes Tesla.

Who cares — I’ll take one….

So, 2015 Tesla will be reporting under two methods simultaneously? 265 S, 242PD EPA? I don’t buy that and take it as suggested the weaker City figures. The car was built to use more energy, and that leaks out during the city test cycle. This is what makes sense to me.

…After Q3 buyers witnessed their values drop 5k-15k in just 30 days, this is a second reprieve. The first was going from December, to March, on new S85/60 deliveries. On a daily, semi-urban basis, its good to know the ol’ RWD will get you further. A 23 mile P85D range hit takes your daily, out of the garage, dash board miles down to 210 (rated). Want more? Nay, nay. You’d have to range charge every day. At the ceiling of the daily charge, you then have to correct for the miles you are actually going to get. In 25-45 degree weather, that’s about 1 mile for every 1.5 EPA “rated” Tesla mile, in my experience (when its 25-45 degrees), 70 deg cabin, 115 miles. P85D goes down to 140 miles of range you can count on, using the above. No, most will never do this daily. The point is recognizing these “242,265,285,etc” figures can ultimately wash out to something much less. I’ve grown to like the Volt’s algorithm, and not “SOC”, or Tesla’s “Rated” range. You climb in and the ~3 day rolling calculation comes very close to telling you how far you’ll get. Otherwise, if you fail to correct… Read more »

The city driving explanation makes no sense if you think about the numbers for even a second.

The city rating for the P85D is 2.3% lower than the regular 85 RWD (86 vs 88 MPGe).

So if the EPA test was 100% city driving, the P85D would have 2.3% less range, or 259 miles. In reality, this minor deficiency is offset by the superior highway efficiency, leading to similar overall range (note overall MPGe is 89 for both cars).

What’s really going on here is that the P85D by default only charges to 80%, so the EPA tested its range on that 80% charge (215 miles) and on an optional 100% charge (269 miles) and then averaged these to get 242 miles.

Charging to 80% by default extends the life of the battery, but the capability is still there for 269 miles of range.

I think there may be confusion over range, versus miles per kwh. I wouldn’t expect the drops to be proportionate. Just as the EPA highway test changed in ~2008, to reflect lower values from slower moving freeways, it probably isn’t safe to assume range is an equally weighted byproduct of the Highway and City efficiency values.

That’s true but the combined figure would already factor that in. Plus the numbers don’t work out even if the entire range was figured from the city cycle.

Why aren’t ICE cars range tested with a 90 percent filled gas tank?

Two reasons:
-It isn’t going to hurt a gas car, to consistently fill it.
-EPA is shooting for out of the box, default, settings.

Tesla shouldn’t get 265 @90% (range charge), any more than the current 38 mile Volt should get 53 miles @90% (instead of 65%). Golly, using that metric Volt2 could score almost 70 miles. Maybe GM has decided to allow, say, an 80% discharge, by default, and we’re all wet to think it will ONLY have 50 miles.


1) It will hurt a gas car to consistently drain it though.
2) Your Volt comparison is a false equivalency. The Volt can NEVER use 90% of the battery pack without a manufacturer change. While for the other examples, it’s a simple change that the user can do. When they need the max range they can access it, but if they don’t, they just use the default. The EPA number should represent the max range the user can get.

“The EPA number should represent the max range the user can get.”





As the S is delivered direct to customer after purchase is the sticker on the window at delivery?

Federal law requires the Monroney sticker on any new vehicle.

Have an option to turn awd to rwd for city drives. And then turn on awd for hwy. Also, what mode is the epa driving on?

Its not the AWD mode that affects the range in the city, its the additional weight of the vehicle with the 2nd motor etc.

On the highway they are able to overcome the efficiency loss associated with the weight penalty by taking advantage of the efficiency curves of the two motors.

The computers in the Model S will automatically use both motors to maximise efficiency. Don’t offload tasks to drivers that a computer can do 100x better.

1. Range is nearly always only important for highway driving (unless you’re a cabby).

2. Anyone concerned about range will fill the tank, i.e., charge the battery to 100%.

3. Therefore, is it foolish for the EPA to publish a range that is not a product of a 100% charge driven at highway speeds.

The Tesla (and every EV) should be range-rated at whatever value is produced when using 100% of the battery on the EPA highway cycle: here is the link to the (kinda odd) EPA highway cycle testing criteria .http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fe_test_schedules.shtml.

RE: 3 – Your highway driving is probably between a perfect 65, and this:

Thanks for the link. If you tab over to ‘Hwy’ and then the new tests to its right, you can see what’s been true since 2008. Highway ratings have featured more accelerations. It looks like 9 of them, in one ‘High Speed’ cycle, over about 22 minutes (including both tabs), starting from less than 10mph. This is back when many gas cars lost ~2mpg HWY, as retested.

MPGe I dunno, but I believe the above is is why P85D sinks to 242, where without these accelerations every 22 minutes, there is still room for Tesla’s 275-285 claim. I also wonder how well EPA testers control for just how quickly a car like P85D is accelerated across those bumps in the graph. If not careful, even at the same weight, we can expect the P85D would do worse.

So, in summary, Model S didn’t really lose that much range (if any)? The EPA just changed how they rate range (again) in a way that doesn’t turn out the best numbers?

Except if you are a taxi driver or pizza delivery guy, who really cares about the range in city? With an EV, you charge every nights, and it’s so cheap, so it is not relevant how much miles you can drive in a city. For 99% of people, you have enough so you can stop thinking about that.

What people want to know, is how far they can go on a single charge before stopping. And when you are in such a situation, you have 99% of chance to be on an highway.

To me, in such a case, Tesla rating is more usefull than EPA.

“What people want to know, is how far they can go on a single charge before stopping. And when you are in such a situation, you have 99% of chance to be on an highway.

To me, in such a case, Tesla rating is more usefull than EPA”

What busy interstate highway do you drive on that flows at 65MPH? On most you get run over if you are not above 80MPH. Tesla is just misleading by using 65MPH.

In NY, speed limit is 65 mph. I don’t think Tesla neither EPA wants to advertise a speed that is over the law.

0-200 miles = 30 minutes

Coffee? Rated Range…

Chademo @150 miles per hour