It has all the appearance of an open and shut case. Did the US Environmental Protection Agency leave the door open overnight of a Tesla Model S it was testing for its range assessment, as CEO and co-founder Elon Musk alleged last week, or did it not, as the EPA now insists.
The debate has been raging for nearly a week. Tesla had expected the updated test to rubber stamp a range of 400 milles (643 kms), but the EPA only awarded it a range of 391 miles (629kms).
Musk says the EV maker has the logs to prove that EPA made a mistake when it last rated Tesla’s premium Model S sedan that led to a 2 per cent reduction in the battery state of charge when it was submitted for re-testing. The EPA insists it didn’t.
“Weird that EPA would deny this. We have precise car logs that confirm it happened. Happy to provide them,” said Musk on Twitter.
Musk made is claim about the EPA error in last week’s first quarter earnings call.
“The real Model S range is 400 miles, but when we took the last EPA test unfortunately the EPA left the car door open and the keys in car overnight so the car … lost 2% range,” Musk said.
By achieving an official rating for 400 miles range, Musk will have met his promise made at the annual shareholders range in June 2019 that the Model S would soon be able to drive 400 miles on a single charge.
But according to the EPA, a mistake was not made. In comments made to the Verge, a spokesperson for the EPA said, “We can confirm that EPA tested the vehicle properly, the door was closed, and we are happy to discuss any technical issues with Tesla, as we do routinely with all automakers.”
Musk, however, is not bothered. According to him, the Model S will pass the next test with flying colours proving the Model S can drive 400 miles on a single charge.
“Anyway, we’re just talking about 2% here, so not much. Confident Model S will get 400+ miles as soon as retest is allowed,” he said on Twitter.
Anyway, we’re just talking about 2% here, so not much. Confident Model S will get 400+ miles as soon as retest is allowed.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 4, 2020
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated in the first paragraph that it was the Model 3 that was being tested by the EPA.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.