EPA denies Elon Musk’s claims over Tesla Model S range test

The race to 400 miles of range is already over, according to Elon Musk.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The Environmental Protection Agency has rebuffed comments Tesla CEO Elon Musk made concerning what he calls an error during the Model S Long Range’s testing process, which the executive says cost the car a 400-mile range estimate. The agency tells Roadshow it conducted the testing properly.

Let’s back up for a moment. During Tesla’s Q1 investor call this week — which also included some colorful language surrounding stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic — Musk said the Model S Long Range should boast a 400-mile range estimate, but instead, the EPA gave it a 391-mile estimate.

Why? According to the CEO, at some point during the testing process, someone left the keys inside the car and the door open overnight. The Model S entered a “waiting for driver” mode, which depleted 2% of the EV’s range, hence the sub-400-mile rating. Musk added that the company plans to retest the Model S with the EPA and is “confident” the test will produce a 400-mile car.

The automaker did not return Roadshow’s request for comment on the situation, but an EPA spokesperson said in a statement, “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.”

It could very well be that Tesla estimates show the Model S Long Range returns a 400-mile range, but for now, the 391-mile estimate sticks with the EPA. To Tesla’s credit, that’s still the highest range rating of any electric car currently on the market, and just nine miles off the coveted 400-mile mark.

If a retest does occur and confirms Musk’s predictions, Tesla will be the first company to sell an electric vehicle with 400 miles of range. There’s been a race to 400 miles in recent months: Lucid thinks its Air will crack the figure, for example.

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Update, 1:09 p.m. PT: Adds EPA’s comments.

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