Tesla Range Scandal Isn’t A Scandal… Because You Shouldn’t Have Believed It In The First Place…

When I said our Model 3 SR+ had a real world variety of 192 miles +/- about 10 miles, y' all lost your minds, however it wasn't a scandal then and it isn't now. Rather it's just a textbook example of why the "EPA variety" is not a "real world" number. Newsflash: the EPA testing created in 1978 isn't a terrific real life example for ANY brand-new vehicle, truck or SUV in America today. Join me as I pick apart the scandal and speak about how fuel economy works. What it's good for and why you ought to ignore that range number if you're not going to look deep enough to know what it is really telling you.

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0:00 – Intro
1:49 – The "Scandal".
3:37 – My Design 3 story.
5:45 – Absolutely nothing gets the numbers.
7:39 – How the EPA cycles work.
11:22 – variety estimation is bonkers.
15:50 – You're thinking of variety wrong.
20:39 – Some difficult facts, aka blame the EPA.





38 responses to “Tesla Range Scandal Isn’t A Scandal… Because You Shouldn’t Have Believed It In The First Place…”

  1. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
    EV Buyers Guide

    For the record, the real scandal might be Tesla’s customer service handling, but at the same time: how is this different than anyone taking any car into a dealer and trying to get a service appointment for your Silverado 1500 not getting the rated fuel economy…

    1. Tacoma98 Avatar

      The Silverado branding doesn’t center on its superior fuel economy. Tesla brand is all about their superior range.

    2. alex cole Avatar
      alex cole

      I think one of the issues with giving the epa range instead of GOM range, is how much data Tesla has. They would easily be able to factor in climate alone into that number just using the current temperature and UV index, and the high or low for the day. If you include a hill elevation change factor for the area, the GOM would be even better.

    3. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
      EV Buyers Guide

      I don’t think you’ve seen some of Ford and GM’s marketing pushing pickup truck fuel economy LOL

    4. Britt Gayle Avatar
      Britt Gayle

      @Tacoma98but what if their range is still superior? That’s possible if all of the estimates are equally inaccurate.

    5. Jeff Taylor Avatar
      Jeff Taylor

      I think Tesla would be better served by quoting range closer to what is realistic driving range in the real world. I’m an engineer and it drives me crazy how far off my Model 3’s range display is compared to the number of miles driven. So I switched to charge percent instead. 😂 Car and Driver has done quite a few range tests on the highway in various electric vehicles and the Tesla’s range is actually pretty close to other manufacturers claims which are much more realistic.

  2. Vancity23 Avatar

    Awesome video Alex! Totally agree, many people need to be educated about this topic. We need mandatory wording such as; Range up to x Your results will vary…

  3. Sam Weiner Avatar
    Sam Weiner

    The EPA numbers are best used as a reference point nothing more or nothing less. The lawsuit is not winnable. Making the EPA range numbers more accurate is an entirely different question and issue to solve.

    1. nev co Avatar
      nev co

      It means the state of California will foot the legal bill for lost suit? I would blame not only EPA but also legal system and those high paid lawyers each corporation hires for not forcing the companies to disclose on the stickers with much higher print: your mileage will vary, do not start a law suit since you are going to lose it.

  4. Sylvan dB Avatar
    Sylvan dB

    The reason why so many reviews don’t understand this, is because they have almost no real world experience. It shows in more ways than EV range complaints.

  5. Keiichi S Avatar
    Keiichi S

    I didn’t know EPA testing costs that high. Thanks for sharing this.
    Do you think we have seen different numbers if the test were like $10k/cycle?

    1. EV Buyers Guide Avatar
      EV Buyers Guide

      I would be willing to bet that if the test was less expensive, everyone would do it

  6. daleq22 Avatar

    Even when Alex is “fired up” and “spicy” he’s still more logical and thoughtful than most.

  7. Duc Hotan Avatar
    Duc Hotan

    Great job Alex. The EPA range should be renamed to Grandma range.

  8. Daniel Gross Avatar
    Daniel Gross

    Dear Lord. Muffy….. I’m clutching my pearls!! Good video Alex. Agree with virtually everything you said. And I cannot believe that ANYONE would ever trust the EPA estimates…. YMMV (your mileage may vary)😂

  9. Nick S Avatar
    Nick S

    I appreciate the unbiased accurate information. This is really hard to come by nowadays sadly.

  10. Kevin Henderson Avatar
    Kevin Henderson

    The best response commentary on this subject! Well done Alex, as always!

  11. LearningFast Avatar

    Great video Alex. You just nailed it with this one. I agree with everything you said in this video.

  12. Ely J. Avatar
    Ely J.

    Just FYI, Consumer Report did a range test side by side with the most popular EVs in the US market, and find out that the Tesla was the one farther away from the EPA rating. The Mustang Mach-E, the VW id4 and the Ioniq 5 were all very close to the EPA rating, while the Model Y, rated at 326 managed a maximum of 274 miles in the best temperature and conditions possible, while the Id4 in the same test over achieved the EPA rating. It seems like Tesla is really over optimistic in the numbers they report to the EPA, not with one model, but ALL and each model they sale.

    1. Yiding Zhou Avatar
      Yiding Zhou

      If they are cheating, EPA should be after them.

    2. Crissa Kentavr Avatar
      Crissa Kentavr

      …They didn’t run them to when they stopped, but that’s what the EPA’s terms are. They ran them until they range was zero.

    3. T.G. Avatar

      ‘…furthest away…’

    4. Narcissist86 Avatar

      @Yiding Zhou It’s addressed in the video. It’s due to Tesla using the 5-test cycle instead of the 2-test one. The former gives higher range estimates.

  13. 205 rider Avatar
    205 rider

    Thanks Alex. You are the best auto reviewer on YT. Thanks for your accuracy and bluntness. Need more people like you…not worrying about offending anyone!!!

  14. Norman Vadeboncoeur Avatar
    Norman Vadeboncoeur

    Tesla vehicles do definitely fall short of their EPA numbers to a greater degree than other brands. In Edmunds testing, a lot of EVs get really close or exceed their EPA numbers, but Teslas always fall short.

    1. Raitzi Avatar

      Yeah. No reason to defend Tesla in this. Makes me think these guys hold stock In Tesla that rush to defend Tesla in comment section.

    2. Noah_E Avatar

      @MrRaitzi  Tesla fanboys defending the cult, and that’s what it is for a lot, a religion.

    3. Narcissist86 Avatar

      @Noah_E Did you even watch the video? He explains clearly the difference between the two EPA test cycles and how they give different ranges.

      Assuming anyone discussing objectively as a “fanboy” – i.e., being anti-Tesla – is as much of a cult or religion as being idiotically pro-Tesla.

    4. Noah_E Avatar

      @Narcissist86 Tesla has consistently put out numbers they knew weren’t realistic to a higher degree than any other EVs on the market. Defending them isn’t beneficial to the EV cause just as much as people defending VW after dieselgate because the vehicles got better MPG and required less maintenance by cheating instead of actually spending the time and money to honestly pass emission standards. It shows a lack of objectivity.

    5. Narcissist86 Avatar

      @Noah_E If that’s a test cycle allowed by the EPA and one uses it – like Audi did as well – it’s not the manufacturer’s fault.

      Educating consumers is the most beneficial thing to the EV cause, not blaming an automaker for a flawed test cycle.

      It’s not directly comparable to dieselgate because that was nefarious programming to specifically defeat regulations – THAT is cheating the rules. Tesla is following the rules and you’re hating on the player rather than the game. THAT is lack of objectivity.

  15. Edward Pennington Calderhead Avatar
    Edward Pennington Calderhead

    Thanks for your realistic look at this issue. At 26k miles on my Model 3 LR RWD my Lifetime Wh/Mi is 251. That’s 3.98 miles per kWh. My car was EPA rated for 234 Wh/Mi, which is 4.23 miles per kWh. That’s pretty amazing in my book. But I generally drive pretty conservatively, the speed limit or 5 over. Through experience I know what charge levels I’ll need.

  16. Hans Avatar

    The only problem I have with Tesla, and I admit that I don’t know if that has changed, but they used to show the EPA number when charged at 100% in the instrument cluster. Then I prefer the guessed range as that will be more accurate.

    And at the end of the day, it is your right foot that controls how much your car consume. And yes, people can beat the test numbers, I do it all the time, even on roadtrips.

    1. Zobeid Zuma Avatar
      Zobeid Zuma

      They almost have to do that. If somebody buys a 300-mile EPA rated car, and take it home and charge it to 100%, then they expect to see 300 miles on the dash display. If they don’t see that, they could immediately decide something is wrong with their car, or that they’ve been ripped off. “I was told 300 miles, I paid for 300 miles. Where’s my 300 miles?”

  17. r k Avatar
    r k

    Great video Alex! Yes! The EPA numbers work for me in a F150 Powerboost Hybrid in moderate weather, on 10 mile trips, in city driving averaging 20 something mph, on rural highways averaging 48mph. I have hundreds of trips like these, often beating the EPA estimates! By the way it is relatively flat here. Most trips are less than 4 miles one way.
    Averaging over 10,000 miles and all seasons, the mpg numbers are lower. Since it has turbo chargers, high octane of 91 to 93 does help on interstate driving even across Montana on a recent 5000 mile round trip to Mt. Rainer. The trip started and ended in the mid west. A second trip 1200 round trip miles to the Atlantic across the Appalachians also using premium fuel was very close to EPA estimates.

    1. Noah_E Avatar

      I live in central VA with mountains everywhere. My own property changes 150ft in elevation. I consistently beat EPA hwy ratings on long trips. Especially with my F350. It gets a solid 25% higher than its rating on the trip to the Chesapeake Bay and back, while hauling four adults and their gear.

  18. fordcontour Avatar

    It was such an informative video! Thank you for taking the time to deep dive in the EPA calculations instead of simply sticking to the headlines, this is why I like your channel so much!

  19. Kip Amore Avatar
    Kip Amore

    That was some damn fine commentary. Informative, explanatory, insightful, and useful. Well done.

  20. Evan Morse Avatar
    Evan Morse

    To the point of why buyers might care more about EPA estimates for EV’s vs ICE cars … I think it mostly comes down to range anxiety when paired with a less-than-great charging infrastructure. Getting below the rated MPG in your Forester is less impactful day-to-day because it’s so easy to fill it up and get over that frustration in the moment. Falling short in your Model 3 (or any EV) will lead to this kind of upset a bit quicker because those estimates on paper translate more directly into the decision behind which car you buy based on your driving needs. When buying an ICE vehicle, your MPG rating is measured on scales like “environmental impact” and “economy”, but when buying an EV, that range estimate is measured on a scale of “where you can drive this car”. I don’t disagree with anything in this video, just sharing my thoughts as to why this is getting so loud.

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