It's not a good look.

Range Anxiety

Looking into data from nearly 13,000 electric cars, a new report has found that the batteries of Tesla vehicles degrade significantly in a matter of just three years.

Electric vehicle analytics startup Recurrent —which is not, we should mention, related to Futurism's owner, Recurrent Ventures — found that Teslas, alongside the offerings of other major EV makers, never actually reach the ranges determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, even when they're brand new.

After three years of ownership Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y achieved just 64 percent of their EPA-rated range, Recurrent found. Even at 0 miles, the cars settled at around just 70 percent.

Put another way, as InsideEVs helpfully calculates, that means that a 2023 Model 3 with zero miles on it will only be able to drive 230 miles on a single charge when, per EPA estimates, it should be able to go 315 miles.

While we're aware of the well-documented shortcomings of EPA ratings — Recurrent's findings shouldn't exactly come as a surprise — it's nonetheless a worrying finding that could have considerable implications for the long-term ownership of EVs, including Teslas.

It's particularly damning, considering Tesla has already been caught faking battery range.

Rosy Numbers

To determine how far a given electric vehicle is supposed to be able to travel on a fully-charged battery, the EPA puts cars through a battery of lab tests meant to simulate different driving conditions.

As many in and around the industry have pointed out, this simulation of road testing is likely to differ substantially from real-world figures — though in the case of Teslas, at the very least, the in-house numbers are still pretty damning.

However, not everybody agrees with Recurrent's conclusion. Shortly after InsideEVs published its summary of the Recurrent study, former Tesla investor relations executive Martin Viecha pointed out on X-formerly-Twitter that the EPA's numbers differ from the company's own.

Although Tesla uses the EPA's range estimates in its marketing— which is, notably, the sticking point in a recent class action lawsuit brought by irritated customers who allege false advertising — the company conducted other studies that show far better range retention, with its outputs showing that the battery only degrades about 20 percent after 150,000 miles.

It's unclear why Tesla isn't using those in-house numbers if they would make the company look better and potentially shield it from lawsuits. Regardless, the numbers tell a damning story. To those at the startup that conducted the study, that's not on Tesla alone.

"The basic EPA testing protocol gets it wrong for all EVs," Recurrent CEO Scott Case explained in a white paper last year, "as it is performed in a laboratory at room temperature without exceeding 60 mph and allows for manufacturer-determined adjustments."

More on Tesla: Elon Musk Begs Tesla Shareholders to Vote for His $56 Billion Pay Package

Share This Article