Tesla Could Have Made a 600 Mile Range Model S 12 Months Ago
Elon Musk just stated that Tesla could have made a 600 mile range Model S, 12 months ago. He also said that the vehicle would not have handled as well, weighed down by extra battery and would cost more. Do customers want a 600 mile range EV? Let's discuss this and more.
The 600 Mile Range Model S
With Elon Musk stating that Tesla could make a 600 mile range Model S, it makes me wonder what Lucid Motors did to get a 520 mile range Lucid Air Dream Edition. Did they create a superior tech with their battery, or did they simply cram more battery in the car to get that kind of range?
I think the most likely outcome is that Lucid Motors crammed more battery in the car to get the extra range. Tesla has been making EVs since 2007, and I would be surprised if Lucid somehow came up with a way to make a superior battery. However, I could be wrong, but the evidence seems to suggest Lucid just put more battery in their car.
A 600 mile Model S sure would be nice. You could drive for a long time without having to charge your vehicle. You wouldn't get as much acceleration or performance due to the battery weight, and the car would cost more - those are two negatives to that high of a range.
With Giga Texas opening up soon and the 4680 batteries coming, I think Tesla will eek out range and performance by virtue of this new battery pack. Let's wait and see what the specs of the new Model Y vehicles out of Giga Texas are!
Do Customers Want a 600 Mile Range EV?
I think that some customers do not care as much about performance, handling, and cost. They just want a super long range vehicle. Those customers are in the minority, I believe. The reason being is that an EV is already a fairly expensive car at base value - if you add more to that, it takes more people out of the range of affordability.
Customers with a lot of money (a small % of the population) are those who want a super long range EV. I think eventually EV's will get there at an affordable cost as battery technology improves, but it won't be for a while. What year will a 600 mile range EV cost $25,000? I'm not sure, but it won't be until supply chain challenges and chip shortages are solved.
Most customers can handle a 250 to 300 mile range EV for day to day activities. For me personally, I mostly commute to the gym, to the store, and occasionally to other people's houses, but nothing is more than about 30 minutes away. Eventually, I'll get my Model 3 RWD with LFP batteries and this vehicle should be pretty efficient for the battery it has. That's what I want - an efficient EV that will last a lifetime. We'll see if the Model 3 RWD is it.
How Much Extra Cost Would 600 Miles of Range Be?
In order to figure out how much extra a Model S would cost to get to 600 miles of range, I did some digging. Let's assume the base battery for the Model S costs around $15,000. This is according to an article where Tesla quoted someone to replace their battery for their Model .
I will then take the miles of range divided by the total cost of the battery to get a cost per mile for the battery. Going to Tesla's website right now (as of March 2, 2022), shows me that the longest range Model S has 396 miles of range (with the most range efficient tires - the 19 inch tempest wheels).
The range of this is 405 miles, just a little bit higher than the Model S Plaid at 396 miles (with its most range efficient tires). The cost of the base Model S is $94,990, and the base cost of the Model S Plaid is $129,990. That means the Model S Plaid is $35,000 more than the base Model S. I think you pay for the speed and performance of the Model S Plaid and that's why it costs more.
Let's take this 405 miles and put it into $15,000. You get a cost of $37 of battery for every 1 mile of range. I think there is more to the cost here, such as the motors, design of the vehicle, and labor, but let's just use this as our example for now.
If we wanted 600 miles of range, we simply would need to multiply that by $37 - not factoring in any of the extra work needed for the extra battery. You get a $22,200 battery. Let's add on $5,000 for the necessary complexity of making this a new manufacturable battery and the extra cost of labor for it (along with any extra motors, power train work, etc...). That's an extra cost of $12,200.
Tesla could theoretically make a 600 mile range Model S for $107,190. But does it make sense to do so? Tesla is all about manufacturing scale and making things simple. If Tesla introduces this long range model, they now have to add additional parts and processes in order to make this work. And the price point is more expensive. And the 405 miles of range on the base Model S is likely more than enough for 99% of people.
Still, it's interesting to put the numbers in to see what the costs are. What I think will happen is that we'll see gradual improvements to range over time and that eventually, there will be a natural progression to 600 miles of range at an affordable cost - even the base Model 3 will get there given enough time and innovation.
We could’ve made a 600 mile Model S 12 months ago, but that would’ve made the product worse imo, as 99.9% of time you’d be carrying unneeded battery mass, which makes acceleration, handling & efficiency worse. Even our 400+ mile range car is more than almost anyone will use.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 2, 2022
Will Tesla ever make a 600 mile range Model S? Do EV owners truly only need 250 to 300 miles of range for most day to day activities? Will EVs get to 600 miles of range eventually at a low cost?
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.