Range improvements
Daniel Cappo's picture

New Range Ratings Only Scratch the Surface Of Tesla’s Potential

The EPA just released the official range statistics for the Model S Long Range. The EPA has not released range data for the Model S Plaid which debuted last week at the delivery event.

Tesla has been making efforts to try to improve the range on their cars. Tesla has been successful at making these improvements. Their range numbers are at a point where a driver can go on a day long road trip and not have to worry about recharging the battery. However, Tesla is also working to bring the time it takes to charge the vehicle down.

The raw numbers

The base Model S Long Range saw some very noticeable range improvements. The 2020 Model S Long Range had a range of 372 miles. The 2021 Long Range now has range of 405 miles. The improvement was smaller for the Model S Long Range Plus. The 2020 Model had a range of 402 miles. The 2021 Model has a range of 405 miles.

The Model S plaid range numbers are not out yet. It has been estimated the Plaid has a range of around 395 miles.

Software Updates could improve range

Better range on the vehicles can be obtained through software updates. It is not exactly clear how much Tesla’s range could be improved through software updates or better battery technology. Today’s cars are more fuel efficient than ever before, but there are no cars in existence with a 2000-mile range.

Tesla’s other tricks

Tesla has done some important things to build their vehicles to go further on a single charge. The first thing Tesla has done is something called Project Palladium which was a project that involved the re-tooling of production lines to build new battery modules for the Model S. The Model S also has a new body, so that usually affects the range.

Tesla has made it clear that they are investing many of their resources into the Model 3 and Model Y. The innovation behind Mega casting has been showcased already. However, the technology that has been put into the Model Y needs to trickle over into the Model S. Mega casting is said to greatly improve range.

Lastly, the Model S Plaid, the Cybertruck, and the Semi will be using the 4680 cell battery pack. Tesla has so many ways they can improve the range of their cars. The question is not whether Tesla can make range improvements. Instead, it remains to be seen exactly how many more miles can be added to Tesla’s range figures.


Daniel Cappo reports Tesla developments at Torque News. He has had a passion for cars ever since age five when his grandparents let him drive their old golf cart around their property in Upstate NY. He has attended numerous auto shows, and even got the chance to drive a Ferrari California on the track. Ever since Tesla opened up a dealership at his local mall, he's been an avid follower of their cars and technology. Dan has a B.S. in Public Communication from U Vermont. Follow Daniel on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily Tesla News.

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Tesla's Model S Long Range capabilities are impressive considering that they still use the Panasonic 18650 batteries (although with modified chemistries) as they have for almost 10 years. The Plaid model will likely get similar range results on the base tire and wheel setup despite it's 1000HP capabilities, but there will be a range hit for both models when using the larger, high performance wheels and tires. In addition to faster charging for the Model S (and upcoming refreshed Model X), Tesla has improved their heating and cooling system, Octovalve, and heat pump. This will likely have the greatest impact on Tesla's real-world range capabilities because in the past, heating and cooling processes were less efficient, especially in extreme weather conditions.