Tesla cuts driving range claims in Australia

The real-world range estimates for Tesla electric cars have been trimmed in Australia overnight after the US start-up switched to a more realistic testing formula.

Tesla cars have among the longest driving range compared to most electric cars on sale in Australia.

However, a discreet switch to the Tesla website this week downgraded maximum driving range estimates to a more realistic level.

Tesla has voluntarily started displaying driving range predictions based on the latest International standard known as WLTP, or World harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure.

All car makers are gradually shifting to this new testing method which aims to better reflect real-world driving scenarios rather than basing forecasts solely on laboratory tests.

The subtle change was spotted by Australian electric-car specialist website EV Central, who reported the revised figures cut estimated driving range by 12 per cent.

EV Central cited figures that showed the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus – which priced from $67,800 drive-away is the most affordable Tesla on sale locally to date – now has a claimed maximum driving range of 448km in ideal conditions, versus 508km previously, a reduction of 12 per cent.

The middle of the line-up, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range – priced from $83,500 drive-away – now has a maximum driving range of 580km rather than 657km previously, EV Central reported.

The flagship Tesla Model 3 Performance – priced from $99,800 drive-away – now has a claimed maximum driving range of 567km between recharges, compared to 628km previously.

It is important to note the battery capacity of each Tesla Model 3 variant has not changed, but there are new testing methods used to derive estimates for maximum driving range.

The Tesla Model 3 line-up has among the longest driving ranges of all electric cars sold in Australia to date.

Tesla’s move to WLTP testing protocols is in line with the latest industry standards.

Japanese car maker Nissan and South Korean car maker Hyundai also quote WLTP figures for the driving range of their electric vehicles sold in Australia, even though they are still permitted to advertise more optimistic figures based on outdated testing methods.

The voluntary switch to more realistic maximum distance estimates has been done to alleviate range anxiety among those who are new to electric car ownership.

While there is still no guarantee of being able to achieve the maximum distances advertised on a single charge – because driving styles, driving conditions, and geography can affect battery power consumption – customers are now more likely to get closer to the claims.

A statement on the Tesla website says: “Range figures shown are based on the WLTP standard which may be useful in comparing ranges among electric vehicles. Your actual vehicle range will vary depending on the vehicle configuration, battery age and condition, driving style and operating, environmental and climate conditions.”

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