Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says that the Tesla Model 3 will be an exceptional electric vehicle, not only because big sister Tesla Model S and big brother Tesla Model X are awesome, but also because it will be endowed with exceptional range, over 200 miles in the real world.
The idea behind the Tesla Model 3 is simple, an electric vehicle for the masses, which means that it has to be affordable. With a starting price around $35,000, it comes in around the middle of the road for affordable sedans, but surely there is a sacrifice, yes?
The closest thing we can think of is the 2015 Chevy Volt, which has an EV-Mode range of 38 miles and costs, before incentives, about $34,000. To deliver the kind of range that would really grab people’s attention would require a much bigger battery, which would add a lot to the price of the car.
The Tesla Model 3 range, Musk says, will be around 200 miles and cost about the same as the Chevy Volt does right now, but there’s something interesting about that range estimate. Musk said, during an interview, “anything below 200 miles isn’t passing grade, and most people are looking for at least 20% more than that.
We need over 200 miles range in the real world, not 200 miles in ‘air-conditioning off, driving on flat road’ mode.” Given how much Tesla Motors has managed to deliver, hypermilers could expect to see upwards of 300 miles in the Tesla Model 3. After all, without even trying that hard, one father and son team managed to push the Tesla Model S over 400 miles!
True, one can hypermile an electric vehicle, which is kind of the same way that automakers have been getting away with some pretty interesting fuel economy figures. One can turn off the air conditioning, inflate the tires a little more, drive only in a tailwind, remove the seats and the radio, and tape up all the body seams, all to get a few more miles range for the paper, but “real world” range is a bit different.
We can’t wait to see what Musk comes up with!