Not so long ago, Elon Musk claimed the EPA mistakenly left the door open on their Model S test vehicle, depleting the battery by 2% overnight. According to Musk, this resulted in a range estimate of 391 miles (629km) instead the range he believed it would achieve, 400 miles (643km).
The EPA issued an official statement later, saying no such mistake was made, and that their number was accurate.
Turns out both Musk and the EPA were wrong (ok, mostly the EPA), as the Model S Long Range Plus has now been re-certified with an official range of 402 miles (649km), beating even Musk’s initial estimate.
The new range number isn’t all that new, as all Model S vehicles manufactured since late January will be able to travel this far on a single charge.
How did they do it? According to a blog post on Tesla’s website, a number of factors went into the improved range, including weight savings thanks to Model 3 and Model Y developments, changes to aero wheels and tires, and drive-unit efficiency. The full details of those changes are below.
The Long Range Plus starts at $105,990 CAD, several thousand dollars less thanks to a recent price drop across Tesla’s lineup of vehicles.
Significant Mass Reduction
Mass is the enemy of both efficiency and performance, and minimizing the weight of every component is an ongoing goal for our design and engineering teams. Several lessons from the engineering design and manufacturing of Model 3 and Model Y have now been carried over to Model S and Model X. This has unlocked new areas of mass reduction while maintaining the premium feel and performance of both vehicles. Additional weight savings have also been achieved through the standardization of Tesla’s in-house seat manufacturing and lighter weight materials used in our battery pack and drive units.
New “Tempest” Aero Wheels and Tires
Our newest 8.5 inch-wide aero wheels reduce aerodynamic drag compared to the previous wheels on Model S Long Range, and when paired with a new custom tire specifically engineered to reduce rolling resistance, add a 2% improvement to overall range.
Increased Drive Unit Efficiency
In our rear AC-induction drive unit, we replaced the mechanical oil pump with an electric oil pump that optimizes lubrication independent of vehicle speed to reduce friction. Further improvements to the gearbox in our front permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motors shared with Model 3 and Model Y have resulted in a further increase of 2% more range while driving on the highway.
Maximizing Regenerative Braking
Our newest drive feature, HOLD, blends the motor’s regenerative braking with physical brakes to bring our cars to a stop by easing off of the accelerator pedal. To bring the car to a stop smoothly, regenerative braking now works at a lower speed and deceleration rate, sending more energy back to the battery pack while simultaneously enabling a driving experience like no other car.