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Tesla could be underselling Model 3’s range and charging capacity, reveals EPA document

A newly released document submitted to Environment Protection Agency (EPA) by Tesla in order for Model 3 to be accredited by the agency reveals a few new details about the new electric car.

It indicates that Tesla might be underselling the Model 3’s range and charging capacity, among a few other interesting tidbits of information. 

Tesla advertises the range of the Model 3 with ‘Long Range’ battery pack as 310 miles (499 km) on a single charge.

The advertised range of an all-electric vehicle in the US is generally the EPA-cycle range.

In the case of the Model 3, the document reveals that the vehicle achieved an EPA-cycle range of 334 miles (537 km), but Tesla asked the EPA to lower the official range to 310 miles.

The change is referred to as “Tesla Desired Range” and while it isn’t explained why they requested it, it will likely increase the accuracy of the advertised range for most owners.

Depending on the driving style, temperature, and route, the range of any vehicle can change significantly, but it becomes even more obvious with the extra focus on range that electric vehicles are facing.

Some Tesla drivers have a hard time reaching the EPA-rated range on their vehicles, but that should be less true for Model 3 owners due to this change made by Tesla.

They performed the dyno test for the EPA cycle at their Fremont facility – picture from the document:

Another interesting tidbit of information from the EPA document:

“The vehicle is also capable of accepting DC current up to 525A from an off‐board charger (Supercharger)”

That’s especially interesting considering Tesla’s advertised charging rate for Model 3 is actually a bit slower than Model S and Model X.

Yet, a DC charging current of “up to 525A” at 400 volts would be mean a charge rate of 210 kW, which is significantly higher than the current Model S/X’s Supercharger charge rate of 120 kW.

It would be an important jump in capacity – though nowhere near the expected 350 kW+ system enabled by the anticipated Supercharger version 3 announced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year.

The document also confirms the weight of the battery pack at 480 kg (1,058 lbs) or just over a quarter of the entire curb weight of the vehicle: 1,740 kg (3,837 lbs).

We shared more details about the Model 3 battery pack in our report: ‘Tesla Model 3: Exclusive first look at Tesla’s new battery pack architecture’

Another interesting tidbit of information from the document is the expected self-discharge rate, also known as “vampire drain”, of Model 3’s battery pack. Tesla wrote in the document:

“The self‐discharge rate of the battery is likely to be less than 4% per month.”

If true, that’s actually really impressive and a significant improvement over Model S and Model X.

When Tesla first introduced Model S in 2012, the vampire drain was as high as 1% per day – meaning a vehicle could discharge about 30% of its capacity in a month of being parked.

Tesla has since improved on the issue for Model S and Model X, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s still nowhere near as low as 4% per month.

It’s not clear what would be enabling that, but Model 3 is using new 2170 battery cell and an all-new battery pack architecture, as previously mentioned.

Here’s the EPA document in full:

[scribd id=362674734 key=key-8U9t5AshPA2w397Yh7aO mode=scroll]

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