Model 3 achieves record low energy consumption in driving efficiency test

Tesla has reduced the energy consumption of the Tesla Model 3 to just 11.9kWh per 100 kilometres, testing by German motoring site Motor1 has shown.

The figures, derived from averaging city and highway driving, along with a hill climb and a long distance “energy saving test”,  was conducted by Italian motoring journalist Fabio Gemelli, and suggests that the Model 3 can reach efficiency figures much lower than the US-based EPA rating of 15kWh per 100 kilometres.

That makes it the most economical electric vehicle tested so far, says Motor1, which had previously given that title to the Hyundai Kona Electric for achieving 12kWh/100km energy consumption under similar tests.

It also means the Model 3 it beats Renault Zoe (which Motor1 says achieved 12.7 kWh/100 km) and the Nissan Leaf with 40kWh battery (which got 13.1 kWh/100km according to the auto news site).

In terms of power costs, the 11.9kWh energy consumption would equate to $3.06 to drive the Model 3 for 100 kilometres based on average NSW electricity prices. The average Australian combustion passenger car that uses 10.8 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres at say, 119 cents per litre, would cost $12.85. That delivers some serious savings.

Extrapolate that to 15,000km a year and the Model 3 costs about $1,500 less to power (based on $1,927 for the average combustion vehicle to the Model 3’s potential $459).

Of course, better efficiency also means even less carbon emissions, even if powering the vehicle off a coal- or gas-fired grid, further improving the already drastic improvement in energy efficiency that electric vehicles already have over combustion vehicles. And no tailpipe emissions of damaging particulates.

“Obviously, the moderate temperatures of 18 to 26 degrees have made our Model 3 with an air-conditioned battery much more economical,” Motor1 notes (translated from German).

“The extraordinary and surprising result, which was confirmed by tests in various driving situations, was primarily made possible by the low power consumption of the battery air conditioning.”

The vehicle tested would not have the Model Y heat pump which was confirmed by Tesla on Friday, either – so future models are likely to be even more efficient.

Motor1 says the 11.9kWh/100km figure was recorded by the vehicle’s on-board computer averaged over a series of city, urban and highway drives, and double-checked by comparing to the power consumption recorded charging stations.

Other figures recorded by the site include:

Consumption and costs

City traffic (Rome): 15.0 kWh / 100 km, 330 km range
Mix urban / extra-urban: 14.0 kWh / 100 km, 355 km range
(Italian) motorway: 19.2 kWh / 100 km, 260 km range
Energy saving test: 9.2 kWh / 100 km, 540 km range
Maximum consumption: 81.4 kWh / 100 km, 60 km range

On-board computer display: 11.9 kWh / 100 km
Consumption determined at the charging station: –
Average of these values: 11.90 kWh / 100 km

From the official data sheet

Model Fuel Power Power Consumption Range Empty Weight
Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus power n / a n / a 409 km 1,684 kg
Test vehicle data

Vehicle: Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus
Test date: October 9, 2020
Weather (departure / arrival): clear, 26 degrees / clear, 18 degrees
Total driven: 1,045 km
Average speed on the Rome-Forlì route: 78 km / h
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 – 235/45 R18

The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus is the Californian car maker’s base model and is on sale in Australia from $66,900 after the EV maker dropped its price by $7,000 on Friday.

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