As Tesla Boosts Range, a Mileage Comparo With Porsche Proves Interesting

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Tesla Model S sales have taken a backseat to the electric sedan’s hot-selling Model 3 sibling, but the model remains a valuable asset for the automaker. For one thing, it offers the most range of any Tesla vehicle. Now, buyers of both the Model S and X can expect greater driving distances, all thanks to a product upgrade added several months ago.

Real-world range is another matter, and on that front there’s reason for Porsche Taycan buyers to smile.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the upgrade late last week, saying the Model S Long Range Plus now delivers an EPA-estimated 390 miles of range, up from 373 miles. The additional range will soon be unlocked in existing vehicles via an over-the-air software update.

The pricier Model S Performance retains its 348-mile rating.

Like the Model S, the long-legged version of the Model X sees its range grow to 351 miles, up 23 from before. While no version of the Model S or X can be described as a range slug (or slow), adding extra miles is one way to keep these now aging models fresh as competition gathers around the Palo Alto automaker.

One of those competitors is Porsche, with its Taycan sedan. The slinky EV comes in performance-minded Turbo and Turbo S guises, though its EPA rating falls far short of its U.S. rival.

While the hottest Taycan’s 192-mile range earned the vehicle both jeers and sympathy, Car and Driver set out to discover whether the differences between the hottest electric Porsche and brawniest Tesla Model S were really all that great in real-world driving. A comparo test ensued between the Turbo S and Model S Performance, performed on a California track at interstate cruising speeds.

Recall the two range ratings: 192 miles, and 348.

The simulated road trip did not see the test vehicles driven to the point of drainage. In the interest of longevity, EV battery packs halt the vehicle, or at least slow it, before the pack can become too depleted. Under optimal conditions (and time constraints) at Hyundai’s flat California City test loop, both models were put through their paces.

The results, after 100 miles of 75 mph driving (which most certainly is not how the EPA tests average range), showed that battery depletion was not in line with the stated ranges. Especially not in the Tesla’s case.

From Car and Driver:

At the conclusion of our 100 miles, the Tesla was sitting at a 55 percent state of charge, and the Porsche was just behind at 52 percent. We then used the rate of battery depletion and range reduction—which, given our idealized test conditions, was extremely stable—to extrapolate out to a predicted total range figure.

The results were far closer than we expected: 209 miles for the Taycan, and 222 for the Model S.

Although that number might seem low for the Model S, it’s between our other Tesla highway-range results. The last Model S we tested, a 2018 100D, achieved 270 miles to a 335-mile EPA rating, and the first Model 3, a rear-drive Long Range, got 200 miles versus its 310-mile EPA figure at the time. That means at a steady 75 mph, the 100D achieved 81 percent of its EPA range, and the Model 3, 65 percent, while the figure for this latest Model S is 68 percent.

It’s food for thought for any prospective EV buyer. Certain models make more efficient use of their battery capacity, and everything from speed to terrain to temperature to driving style will impact how far you can go on a charge.

[Images: Abu hasim.A/Shutterstock, Porsche]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Vvk Vvk on Feb 19, 2020

    Taycan has a two speed automatic -- that is why it has good relative efficiency at high speed.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Feb 19, 2020

      Makes sense. If GM EVs ever get this feature, will they call it a powerglide?

  • Civicjohn Civicjohn on Feb 19, 2020

    Is this the same company that recently adjusted their battery warranties downward and range-lowered older Model S and X? No way, must be a different outfit. The Tesla I’ve read about doesn’t have any problems.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.