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Tesla lowers Model Y range estimates by around 20 miles

There has been plenty of scrutiny suggesting the company exaggerates metrics.


Tesla has lowered range estimates for two Model Y vehicles, the Model Y Long Range and the Model Y Performance, by six percent. This brings the range of the Model Y Long Range down to 310 miles from 330 miles and the Model Y Performance to 285 miles from 303 miles. The recently-launched and budget-friendly Model Y Rear-Wheel Drive was not affected and retains its 260-mile range rating, according to reporting by Electrek.

A range estimate for Model Y.

There’s no official reason why Tesla lowered the range estimates, but it’s long been something of an open secret in the industry that the company tends to exaggerate these metrics. As a matter of fact, South Korea issued a hefty fine to the company for just that reason. There have also been accusations that Tesla keeps a “diversion team” on staff to cancel or minimize range-related service complaints.

In other words, the company likely made this move so its range estimates more accurately reflect reality and not some pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s not that the old estimates were flat-out lies. The range calculations just assumed perfect weather conditions with a perfect driver operating the vehicle with maximum efficiency. In the real world, that’s very rarely the case.

The EPA conducts many of these tests and acknowledges that the pristine driving conditions will very rarely match up to real-life variables. To that end, the agency gives manufacturers some leeway with raising or lowering range estimates after conducting their own tests. Many manufacturers choose to voluntarily lower the range estimate to better match driver expectations. It looks like Tesla went in the other direction.

Even Tesla’s algorithms acknowledge these inaccuracies. If you fully charge a Model Y and set a destination that’s 260 miles away, the navigation algorithm will automatically route you through a Supercharger, as indicated by Electrek. If the range was truly, say, 330 miles, it wouldn’t have to do that.

For now, these changes only apply to the Long Range and Performance Model Y releases. We don’t know if Tesla’s other vehicles will get revised range estimates. The company doesn’t have a PR/communications department, in typical Elon Musk fashion, so there’s not really anyone to reach out to for more information.