Real world range for Tesla owners and how we're helping

Co-founder & CEO
July 27, 2023

Real world range for Tesla owners and how we're helping

The range of an electric car is never constant. Each of the thousands of owners currently connected to Recurrent knows that there is a range estimate from the EPA, a range estimate displayed on the vehicle dashboard, and an actual range. These three ranges rarely overlap, and only get more complicated as the battery ages. 

Tesla seasonal range in Northern US
Example: 2021 Tesla Model Y with an EPA rated range of 326 miles

The basic EPA testing protocol gets it wrong for all EVs, as it is performed in a laboratory at room temperature without exceeding 60 MPH and allows for manufacturer-determined adjustments. That means the EPA range estimate almost never matches the distance that a vehicle typically drives between charges. 

It is even more complicated for a Tesla owner because the range displayed on the dashboard does not factor in the effects of temperature, driving efficiency or post-sale modifications. It is only when driver requests directions to a destination that the vehicle begins accounting for temperature and driving conditions. 

Tesla Model Y real world range
Tesla Model S real world range

Even though Recurrent can generally predict a Tesla’s range under normal temperature conditions, there is a noticeable range variability in high and low temperatures – something we have heard about often from the thousands of Tesla owners on our platform. They know their range drops in the heat and cold, but they don’t see that on their car’s dashboard or in the battery reports that they receive each month from Recurrent. 

That’s why we released a new Real-World Range feature that allows any Tesla driver that signs up for our free platform to better understand those variances in reality. 

Over the past year, we’ve been collecting Tesla data with a new methodology, using distance between charging sessions and local temperatures, instead of the top-line dashboard range displayed to drivers. With over 360,000 charging cycles from over 12,000 Teslas on the road, and with feedback from thousands of our active Tesla drivers, we’re ready to pull back the curtain on Tesla’s range performance in hot and cold weather. 

The reality is that the laws of physics apply to Tesla, too – Tesla is not much different than other automakers. When you need to heat and cool your car – and your battery – in hot and cold weather conditions, you can’t drive as far. That impact is substantially lessened when a car is equipped with a heat pump and advanced thermal management, which many newer Teslas (and other cars) are.

It’s also worth noting that it’s not like other manufacturers have perfected accurate range estimates either. Actual range varies according to all kinds of different factors, like speed, temperature or use of climate control. Every other automaker has a different approach to sharing those estimates, but it often tends to be closer to reality than Tesla’s approach. 

Ford Mustang Mach-e real world range
Chevy Bolt range in different temperatures

We’re proud of this new capability as it continues to build on our mission of providing transparency to drivers, buyers and sellers of EVs. For connected owners who have questions about this new feature, you can visit our support site or send a note to our team.