Update: This model has yet to appear, but the standard range Model Y is back — but getting one has some caveats.
The Tesla Model Y may be about to get an important range upgrade in the form of a “super-long range” version of the EV.
That’s according to a report from The Driven, which cites "documents filed with Chinese authorities." If true, it means that Tesla, even with range performance that far exceeds that of the competition, is not getting complacent about it — in fact, far from it.
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The Model Y is currently one of the least impressive Tesla models in this regard, to the extent that Tesla scrapped the standard-range model of the car because it could only manage 244 miles. For context, Tesla boss Elon Musk has previously declared that anything less than 250 miles of range is “unacceptably low.”
For that reason, in the U.S. you can only buy the more expensive Long Range and Performance Model Y models, which come with 326 miles and 303 miles of range, respectively. Currently, the only place you can buy a Standard Range Model Y is Hong Kong.
According to The Driven’s report, this new Model Y is set to come out of China, and will be good for 640km (397 miles), based on NEDC testing. Apparently that will likely be closer to 550km of real-world driving range, or 565km/351 miles on the US-based EPA scale.
While that may not seem like a huge boost, it’s worth pointing out that this is the real-world driving estimate — which will be lower than the advertised range. And since EPA range is often higher than NEDC, we can probably expect the model to offer around 400 miles, should this car ever come to the U.S. and should the report be accurate.
That's a major increase over the Long Range Model Y’s 326 miles, and indicates that Tesla plans to continually push the range limits of its cars.
The war against range anxiety
Musk has previously stated that there’s little point in EVs offering more than 400 miles of range, stating that “What we are seeing is that once you have a range above 400 miles, more range doesn’t really matter. There are essentially zero trips above 400 miles where the driver doesn’t need to stop for restroom, food, coffee, etc. anyway.”
But that said, it makes sense for Tesla to try to get as close to 400 miles as possible, because range anxiety is a real thing. And, as Tesla increases the stamina of its own cars, other automakers will be doing the same with theirs; whatever your opinions on Tesla, it’s fair to say that they are the trailblazers in the EV world, so when they do something, everyone else takes note.
It’s also worth pointing out that, as a whole, the Tesla Model Y has the worst range of all Tesla vehicles. After all, the Long Range and performance Model 3s offer a respective 353 and 315 miles of juice. They also cost $4,000 less than their Model Y equivalents.
So, if Tesla could give a Model Y 400 miles (or so) of range, then who knows what it could add to its other cars? We’ve already seen it go beyond 400 before: the Tesla Cybertruck can go for more than 500 miles without charging, while the now-shelved Tesla Model S Plaid Plus was set to offer 520 miles. The incoming Tesla Roadster is even supposed to have a crazy 620 miles per charge.
There’s only so much space for a battery in any of these cars, meaning there’s a limit on how big they can be. But we do know from Tesla's Battery Day presentation that it has been working on squeezing more energy into smaller batteries.
Sadly, The Driven’s report says that there’s no word on how big the battery in the ‘Super Long Range’ Model Y is likely to be, so we don’t know if this has actually happened here. And the size of the Model Y means there is more room for a larger battery pack anyway.
In any case, the report paints a rosy picture for Tesla’s future, and one that will only encourage other automakers to follow suit.
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