Tesla Owners Get Only 64% Of EPA Range After Just Three Years: Study

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

One of the first questions I get asked about my Tesla is, “What happens when you need to replace the battery?” It’s easy to brush off because there are plenty of facts regarding failure statistics, warranty, and even the cost should it happen. What people don’t typically ask about is battery degradation.

It’s a real thing with EVs, just like that iPhone you’re reading this article on. As batteries age and go through charging cycles, they lose capacity. A new study by Recurrent digs into that data by studying 12,198 Teslas, and the report shows the cars are only achieving a fraction of their advertised EPA range well before most people pay off their loans.

The data from Recurrent shows that after approximately three years (right around the 1,100-day mark), the average Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are achieving just 64% of their original EPA-rated range.

Recurrent can pinpoint battery life using the data it collects from 7,078 Model 3s and 5,120 Model Ys. It used nearly 1.6 million observations (around 130 observations per vehicle) to determine average fleet-wide battery degradation statistics used in its report.

It’s important to point out that the Teslas observed in Recurrent’s study never actually appear to hit the advertised EPA range. Even at 0 miles, the cars only achieve between 70% and 72.5% of their advertised EPA range. That means a 2023 Tesla Model 3 Performance, rated by the EPA as having 315 miles of range, may be observed hitting around 230 miles on a single charge out of the box.

This isn’t a problem unique to Tesla. As Recurrent says, “The basic EPA testing protocol gets it wrong for all EVs.” It doesn’t factor in temperature changes or driving above 60 miles per hour, plus it allows for manufacturer adjustments.

The relevant factor to consider here is the delta between a fresh car and how much range it still has after three years. This appears to be between 6% and 8.5% before leveling off at the three-year mark—not too shabby.

Recurrent’s data also shows that Teslas don’t appear to be as affected by DC fast charging as some other brands, which is a plus for people who like to take long road trips or don’t have access to Level 1 or Level 2 charging at home.

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