Telsa announced last night that the Model S Long Range Plus now has an EPA-rated range of 402 miles, adding 11 miles to its range estimate and placing its front wheels over a magical barrier. The FuelEconomy.gov site doesn't list the accomplishment yet, but it didn't list the Model S Long Range Plus even at its previous 391 miles, either — the site is two iterations behind now, and at the time of writing, the 373-mile Long Range trim is as good as it gets. A year ago, the 2019 Model S Long Range was rated at 370 miles.
This announcement has been bubbling near the surface since Tesla's analyst call at the end of Q1. When the EPA rated the Long Range Plus at 390 miles, later updated to 391 miles, Musk said the sedan should have done at least 400 miles. He accused the agency of having left the key in the car and the door open overnight, siphoning off 2% of the battery's charge while the Model S adopted its Waiting for Driver mode. The EPA refuted the claim. The brouhaha is apparently over, pending official confirmation.
Tesla engineered its way to the accomplishment without altering the battery pack chemistry. "Significant" weight loss came from "standardization of Tesla’s in-house seat manufacturing," which we'll take to mean adopting the seats developed for the Model 3 and Model Y. The weight weenies extracted further mass from the battery pack and drivetrain. An electric oil pump replaces the mechanical pump in the rear AC induction motor, decreasing friction. Tweaks to the front motor's gearbox help extend range at highway speeds. A redesigned set of Tempest aero wheels and a new custom tire with lower rolling resistance combine to add another 2% to overall range. A new Hold feature for regenerative braking blends regen with physical brakes, invoking regen braking at lower speeds and deceleration to send even more energy to the pack while bringing the car to a stop.
MSRP revamp in May saw Tesla drop the price on the Model S Long Range Plus to $74,990 before incentives, a $5,000 discount compared to the Long Range. That price doesn't change with the extra range, nor do specs like the 3.7-second squirt to 60 miles per hour and the 155-mph top speed. The 402-mile EV is available throughout North America as of today.
Now that Musk has left every other EV — notably the Rivian twins and the Lucid Air — battling for second in the race to 400 miles, let's see what he can do about the two-horse race to an electric semi.
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