Tesla has announced that their long-awaited and finally forthcoming Model S sedan is expected to have a real-world operating range between 250 and 350 miles.
Those numbers come from computer models of Model S battery performance, and appeared in a post on*Tesla’s blog*co-authored by founder and CEO Elon Musk and Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel. They only apply to the Model S equipped with an 85 kWh battery, which carries a price tag of $69,900 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.
“With the 85kWh Model S battery we set a goal of delivering a range greater than 300 miles using the 2-cycle EPA test procedure that we used with the Roadster,” Musk and Straubel wrote. “This is a goal that no EV in history had ever achieved. We are thrilled to say that we exceeded this goal.”
Of course, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. Musk and Straubel’s models depend on several assumptions that may not fit your daily commute. For the model that predicted the 250-350 mile range, it was assumed that the Model S would be traveling at a constant speed between 50 and 70 mph on flat ground with no wind, that heat and air conditioning would be turned off and the sunroof and windows would be closed, that the driver and cargo would weigh under 300 lbs. and the tires would be properly inflated. Most importantly, it assumes a battery pack with less than a year or 25,000 miles worth of service on it.

That said, even if the Model S reliably topped 200 miles in real-world driving it would be an impressive feat. We got 189 miles out of a fully-charged Roadster with a promised range of 244 miles, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a Model S could manage more than that.
Tesla even says that models show that it’s theoretically possible for Model S drivers to get more than 400 miles from a single charge, and are offering a prize to the first person to do so. From the looks of the graph shown above, we wouldn’t want to be stuck behind them.
Compared to the Roadster, the Model S adds seating for seven, plus many of the creature comforts lacking in the lightweight, Lotus-derived Roadster. It also features a drag coefficient of 0.24, which helps it achieve such an impressive range in spite of its size.
After a three year wait, the first 1,000 “Signature” editions of the Model S are expected to go on sale in the middle of this year, with full sales starting this fall.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired.com, Graph: Tesla Motors


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