Tesla would have lied about the autonomy?

A recent report reveals that Tesla would have created a team dedicated to calming the enthusiasm of customers around the autonomy of their new car. Let’s try to clarify the particularities of the manufacturers who are definitely never like the others.

The Reuters news agency has just published an article dedicated to a supposed team hired by Tesla to close requests for intervention from customers, about an autonomy lower than the manufacturer’s promises.

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In reality, everything is probably normal, and there is nothing to worry about. In any case, this is what Tesla says, and we will come back in more detail to what makes the cars of the firm of Elon Musk special in terms of the autonomy displayed.

A displayed autonomy that is anything but real

As much to say it from the beginning: the display of range in kilometers on a Tesla does not reflect the actual range you will have while driving your vehicle. More detailed explanations are offered on , but in essence, the display is based on a constant set by the EPA, and it’s not based on your driving habits.

Many manufacturers choose to display a more realistic autonomy, which is based on the consumption history of the vehicle.

Thus, a new Tesla Model 3 Grande Autonomie will display around 570 kilometers of autonomy, and if you think you can cover this distance on the highway, you will certainly have a very bad surprise.

Fortunately, the on-board route planner makes it easy to visualize (and fairly accurately in most cases) the level of charge you’ve reached, and if necessary directs you to Superchargers to fill the battery sufficiently.

This is far from being the case for the majority of vehicles on the market, and in this little game, we can even say that Tesla is an example. The integration of charging stations in navigation combined with the ease of use of its planner make it one of the current references.

Some manufacturers don’t even have an on-board scheduler, while others offer a solution so imperfect that it’s useless.

Winter, unfortunately, hurts electric vehicles

This is an open door for most people familiar with electric mobility, but as the Reuters report shows, it is important to remember.

With the drop in temperatures, it is normal to see a drastic drop in the autonomy of your electric car, Tesla or not. According to the report, some drivers claim to lose more than 50% of the advertised range, which would mean, for example, considering a Tesla Model Y Propulsion as having around 210 kilometers of range only.

Having this vehicle, I have no trouble believing this statement, since in difficult conditions, we sometimes lose a lot of battery. However, I absolutely do not consider the vehicle to be defective, because this phenomenon affects all electric cars.

Tesla chooses to keep a display in kilometers based on a constant set by the EPA, which is of course confusing. The manufacturer has also had to modify its display on several occasions to better respect the autonomy approved by the American environmental agency.

Part of the battery hidden below 0%

What allows Tesla to display a greater range in kilometers than what drivers notice before arriving at 0% also comes from the fact that a small part of the battery is hidden under 0%.

In practice, 4.5% of the battery pack is available when the display is at 0%, which can save you from running out of fuel if you miscalculate your shot (or if you like to enjoy all of your battery).

The last 0% in Model 3… I had to 💔 pic.twitter.com/EGWMZa0wwv

— Bob Jouy (@bobjouy) December 4, 2022

This means, for example, that for a Tesla Model Y Propulsion to travel the announced 455 kilometers on a WLTP certification cycle, it must not be content to start at 100% and arrive at 0%.

It must also go so far as to completely drain the battery and stop, which therefore consumes the 4.5% hidden under 0%. We have already talked about it, but WLTP autonomy is only useful for comparing electric cars with each other, possibly helping to make a decision before purchase. It is not intended to represent the range in real conditions of a particular car.

Is Tesla cheating on the autonomy of its cars?

It is false to claim that Tesla cheats on the range of its electric cars. What is real is that achieving the promised range (whether WLTP, EPA, or displayed via a constant on the on-board computer) is utopian in the vast majority of situations.

Reuters chose to do an “incriminating” story on Tesla, where the opposite angle might have been considered. Indeed, there are people who manage to travel more kilometers with a single charge than what is promised by the manufacturer. However, they do not consider that they have an exceptional car.

Reuters also claims that below 50%, the range display would become more pessimistic. This is not a particularity that has been noticed elsewhere, which leaves us quite skeptical about the reality of the thing.

However, this would not be the first time that an autonomy or charging speed calculation algorithm has treated cases differently, depending on whether one is close to 100% or 0%.

The autonomy displayed on the on-board computer is of little use, and we can only advise you to switch the display to percentages when possible.

Moreover, in Tesla, the on-board planner only offers you a battery level in percent at each stage, and is free from the autonomy in kilometers. And this is the most useful thing during long trips.

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