Tesla could be readying to add a Long Range Model Y with rear-wheel-drive (LR RWD) to its electric offerings following the publication of orders by the California air board, bucking news that it had cancelled plans for the variant.
The new document brings another chapter to the Model Y saga in which Tesla boss Elon Musk indicated a LR RWD would be added to the line-up after saying the Standard Range (not Plus) Model Y’s range would be too short to be a viable product.
We have reduced pricing on Model Y LR dual motor & will offer a LR single motor Y in a few months, which improves affordability, while still keeping the product excellent
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 13, 2020
But in February, Teslarati reported that customers who had pre-ordered the LR RWD had been told by Tesla to change their orders because the variant was no longer available.
The Driven reached out to Tesla for confirmation that the LR RWD would return but the EV maker did not respond to the request.
Currently, only dual-wheel-drive Long Range and Performance variants of the Model Y are available through Tesla’s US website. The Model Y is not yet available for order in Australia.
The California Air Resources Board published executive orders for the Long Range rear-wheel-drive version of the Model Y electric crossover on Thursday (US time), signalling that it could be available for sale within months if the company follows previous timelines for other models.
The listing under a new order number (A-374-0033) indicates this version of the Model Y has not been previously certified as a zero-emissions vehicle by the air board.
On the document, it says that the Long Range Model Y with rear-wheel-drive has a driving range of 470 miles (756km).By comparison, the latest certifications of the dual-motor Long Range and Performance Model Ys are 445 miles and 447 miles respectively.
While the air board’s UDDS – (Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule is a US Environmental Protection Agency mandated dynamometer test on fuel economy that represents city driving conditions which is used for light duty vehicle testing – range rating is always significantly longer than the EPA rating which is closest to actual driving range.
It has been previously reported that generally, the EPA range will be around 70% of the UDDS range, so the LR RWD range would likely be listed at around 329 miles (529km).
Questions around the range of Tesla electric cars were raised recently when auto research firm Edmunds published a report that said its test showed Tesla range fell short of that listed by the US-based EPA.
Tesla engineers reportedly responded to Edmunds saying that the EPA range includes the “buffer” (otherwise known as unusable capacity) built into electric car batteries for use in emergency, or for energy requirements of auxiliary components.
Edmunds subsequently reported that further testing showed this to be true in the case of two models, admitting that range tests can be influenced by many external factors.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.