We can all agree that the Tesla brand has gained momentum over the years, mainstreaming the market for electric vehicles (EVs), but as a young company Tesla’s oldest model has barely hit the nine-year mark. In 2012, the automaker, based in Palo Alto, Calif., released their second model, the Tesla S. This was a model designed to offer fewer luxury features but more functionality. It had a larger battery pack with a capacity of 85.0 kWh to drive a distance of 265 miles with a single charge. The automaker has made better battery packs from the first Model S to give you an even longer range.
Tesla Models and Their Range
Tesla Model S
The Model S is a sedan with a long and low styling. This was the car that placed Tesla on the EV map, and for years after, the automaker has continued to update the car. Today, it is available in three models: Long Range, Plaid, and Plaid+.
• Long Range is an all-wheel-drive sedan that drives up to 412 miles on a single battery charge. The car accelerates to 60 mph in only 3.1 seconds.
• Plaid also features an all-wheel drivetrain and offers a range of up to 390 miles. This model is even faster and accelerates to 60 mph in only 1.9 seconds.
• Plaid+ is another fast car that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in less than 1.9 seconds. This trim drives for longer than 520 miles in a single charge.
Tesla Model 3
Tesla unveiled the Model 3 in 2016. It is more affordable compared to the Model S. This four-door sedan is available in a few different models including Standard Range Plus, Long Range, and Performance.
• The Standard Range Plus is a rear-wheel-drive model that drives for up to 263 miles on a single charge. This model can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
• Long Range is an all-wheel-drive model that offers a range of 353 miles. It accelerates faster than the Standard Range Plus and achieves 60 mph in only 4.2 seconds.
• Performance drives for 315 miles on a single charge with a 75kWh battery pack. It accelerates from 0 to 60mph in 3.1 seconds.
Model X seats seven passengers. It is available in two models: Long Range and Plaid. Long Range offers 360 miles on a single charge, while Plaid offers 340 miles. These two models accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 2.5 seconds, respectively.
Model Y is a compact SUV that offers space and affordability. It seats seven passengers and is available in Long Range and Performance.
• Long Range drives for 326 miles on a single charge
• Performance drives for 303 miles on a single charge
Cybertruck is one of the newest additions to Tesla’s lineup of EV cars after it was unveiled in 2019. It is a pickup truck but with a sleek design. It is available in the following trims:
• Single Motor RWD, which drives for more than 250 miles on a single charge
• Dual Motor AWD, which offers a range of more than 300 miles
• Tri Motor AWD, which drives for longer than 500 miles in a single charge
Production for the Dual and Tri Motor variants started in 2021.
Tesla might also release the Semi, which for now is a prototype of a Semi-trailer truck. When released, Tesla plans the truck to offer 500 miles on a single charge.
Why Do Tesla Models Offer a Longer Range Than Competitors?
More Powerful Battery Packs
The first Model S started with a large battery pack with a capacity of 85.0 kWh. Tesla upgraded the battery pack four years later to 100.0 kWh. Unlike other automakers, Tesla offers car owners the entire battery pack capacity without holding some for battery longevity.
With Tesla, if the battery pack has a capacity of 100 kWh, you get the entire capacity of the battery. This is unlike models such as the Audi e-Tron whose battery pack has a capacity of 95.3 kWh, but the usable capacity is only 86.5 kWh.
Tesla works closely with Panasonic and LG Chem to ensure that each battery cell offers maximum efficiency. The automaker also works with other battery makers, such as CATL of China.
Reduced Waste in Powertrain
While Tesla’s battery packs are larger and more powerful, the cars are also more efficient. Tesla focuses on the efficiency of its motors to ensure that the car drives longer. The motor in the Model S, for instance, has gone from offering 80% to 90% efficiency.
Tesla estimates that a motor efficiency improvement of between 8% and 10% leads to up to 18% in range.
Extensive Supercharging Network
Tesla has more than 1,000 supercharging stations in the US and 1,900 stations all over the world. The first Supercharger the company designed offered a 70-mile charge in only 15 minutes. Since then, Tesla designed another Supercharger that offers a 160-mile charge in the same time.
How Can You Improve Tesla’s Range?
Tesla achieves a longer range through improved motor efficiency and a larger battery pack, among other features. Two main factors determine how far your Tesla goes; your driving style and environmental conditions.
Tesla offers an Energy App that offers you details to help improve efficiency. The app analyzes how you drive and offers personalized range estimates. It also forecasts your charging needs.
According to Tesla, there are several factors that decrease the range of your Tesla, including:
• Stop-and-go driving
• Short trips
• Driving uphill
• High driving speeds
• Extreme weather conditions such as rain, headwinds, and snow
On snowy days, the energy demand on the battery pack increases. This is because the battery uses more energy in a bid to achieve optimal operating temperature. You can achieve more range by keeping your Tesla plugged in, limiting the use of your car’s heat and air conditioning, and preconditioning the battery before driving.
To keep your battery performing optimally and enhance its longevity, Tesla recommends the use of a low-voltage charger and observing a daily charging routine. The automaker also notes that the battery should not charge above 90% and not go below 20%.
Other tips to maximize the range you get include:
• Park your Tesla in a warm area
• Set vehicle regenerative braking to standard
• Maintain the tire pressure of your car
• Remove unnecessary cargo
• Remove roof racks when not in use
• Reduce aerodynamic drag
How Does Tesla Range Compare to Competitors?
Tesla is still miles ahead of the competition when it comes to range. Its closest competitors are Chevrolet, Nissan, and Jaguar. Most of these models offer about 240 miles, with some models topping out at 260 miles. There are even models that barely offer 200 miles.
Most of the other EV models offer the same battery and motor technologies, but Tesla has chosen a different route. Their batteries have different construction materials and different chemistry to make them better. They have also taken so many risks to offer a longer range, but so far, there are no complaints about the efficiency and safety of the battery pack. Inside EV estimates that nearly 60% of all EVs sold in the US are Teslas. When you pick a used model, you are sure the battery will serve you right.
Tesla is still improving their battery pack range, but their current ranges are impressive.