Whether or not Tesla ever comes out with its Model S sedan seems to be a non-question to the electric startup. Whether or not it gets its expected 160-, 230-, or 300-mile expected per-charge range is much more pertinent to Tesla, despite other doubts.
Tesla anticipates its top-spec 85-kilowatt-hour battery in the 2013 Model S will achieve 265 miles of range in the federal governments five-cycle fuel economy testing. That’s down some 35 miles on original estimates, but then again, the government changed up its testing procedures a little over the last few years.
In 2008, the government stopped certifying cars with a two-cycle test and began using five cycles, testing its standard procedure, a highway loop, cold testing in 20 degrees Fahrenheit, air conditioning on in 95 degrees, and aggressive driving to 80 mph. The latter three tests are the newest additions.
Automobile Magazine says the respective ranges for the 40-, 60-, and 85-kilowatt-hour battery packs were initially based on the Model S being driven 55 mph consistently. The five-cycle test’s effects can also be seen with the 2012 Nissan Leaf, whose range was estimated to be up to 100 miles before testing. Afterward, it was certified at 73 miles with the five-cycle test.
Tesla has said it’s planning to create a series of super-chargers across the U.S. so its buyers don’t feel limited by range anxiety. It’s also said the 2013 Tesla Model S will start finding homes next month. But as the car has neither been certified by the EPA for fuel economy (range) nor undergone federal crash tests, we’re not sure how it plans on meeting that deadline. Color us a little skeptical. Hopeful, but skeptical.
Source: Tesla via Automobile Magazine