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EPA refutes Musk’s claim that it botched Model S range testing

Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier this week claimed that the “Long Range Plus” version of the Model S was robbed of achieving a 400-mile range rating by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the Q1 earnings call, Musk said that the EPA left the car’s door open and the key inside when stopping during range testing, resulting in the car losing 2% of battery capacity. The EPA now refutes Musk’s claim.

An EPA spokesperson told the Verge:

We can confirm that EPA tested the vehicle properly, the door was closed, and we are happy to discuss any technical issues with Tesla, as we do routinely with all automakers.

Musk said someone had left the keys in the vehicle, and the door open overnight, causing the Model S to enter into a “waiting for driver” mode. That’s what caused the range estimate to fall below 400 miles.

The EPA said, not true, the door was closed.

The Verge reached out to Tesla for comment but did not get an immediate response.

Electrek’s Take

The difference between 391 miles (as rated by the EPA) and 400 miles comes mostly down to bragging rights. But with so much controversy stirred up by Musk this week, does it really make sense to have a pissing contest now with the EPA over those extra miles?

Some would argue that any fight with Trump’s EPA is one worth fighting. The agency’s leadership under Andrew Wheeler (and Scott Pruitt before him) deserves maximum scrutiny — especially for its opposition to California emissions rules and for rolling back efficiency standards.

But the rank-and-file EPA technicians running fuel-efficiency tests are another matter.

Regardless, it appears that Musk will not be giving up the fight or the quest for the 400-mile-range estimate.

He said that as soon as the EPA returns after pandemic restrictions are lifted, Tesla will retest the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus. And it will achieve the 400 miles. So expect to hear more about the spat.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.