Analysis

Tesla’s Efficiency Edge Speaks Volumes For Its Engineering Lead

Legacy automakers struggle to catch up with Tesla’s vehicle efficiency.

Tesla is aware that new all-electric cars coming, but notes in its 3rd quarter report that more than 15 years of battery pack and powertrain development give it an edge over established carmakers, most of which engaged in EVs significantly later.

Tesla’s advantage could be worth at least a few more years of lead and the Californian company says that proof lies in efficiency.

As an example, the all-wheel-drive Tesla Model X from 2016 is rated at 3.1 miles of range per kWh according to the EPA. It’s very good for such a big and heavy vehicle with fancy doors (that delayed the project a few times) and strong performance.

Tesla Model 3 all-wheel drive raises the bar even higher to 4.1 miles of range per kWh.

In the case of the competition, current and upcoming all-wheel drive electric cars (think Jaguar I-Pace, for example) vary between 2.4 to 2.8 miles of range per kWh according to EPA. That’s not even on the level of the Model X.

We do believe that the Tesla battery and powertrain package is the best on the market and that’s what we also hear from Munro & Associates, which on the other hand notes that the body in white of the Model 3 was poorly designed (here lies the advantage of companies that existed way before Tesla).

In the longer term, Tesla and legacy automakers will improve weaknesses and become more similar to each other, just like many ICE models and brands become similar to each others over the years. But for now, Tesla is leading on the side of efficiency, battery and powertrain.

From Tesla’s Q3 earnings report:

“Battery pack and powertrain are at the heart of our vehicles. Over the past 15 years, we have worked hard to make the best powertrain anywhere on the market. By 2016, Model X energy efficiency was 3.1 miles of EPA range per kWh. This is an extremely important metric as it allows an EV to reach a long EPA range even when using a relatively small, inexpensive battery pack. With Model 3, energy efficiency improved dramatically to 4.1 EPA miles per kWh, the highest efficiency for any all-wheel drive EV. To put this in context, our current or upcoming AWD (2019) competition is expected to achieve 2.4 to 2.8 miles of EPA range per kWh. Model 3 has far better energy efficiency while also providing the quickest acceleration (0-60 mph in as little as 3.3 seconds) and the highest top speed (155 mph). Additionally, the curb weight of Model 3 long range RWD is only 3% heavier than its gas powered equivalents.”

This article originally appeared on Inside EVs.

GSP

Member
Dec 28, 2007
2,573
804
Tesla has done a great job of reducing aero drag and have terrific looking designs at the same time.

Now, if they would just crack down on the "vampire drain." My Model 3 loses about 4.5 miles per day when not plugged in. This is not efficient. Tesla is not even close to any other EV, all of which have negligible losses.

GSP
 
Jul 28, 2018
17
11
Northern California
I solved my phantom drain problems by eliminating the use of third party apps and online software that checks on the vehicle too frequently, thus awakening its systems each time, thus draining the battery. Just use the Tesla app and you'll be fine. I now average about 1 mile/day of loss. However, when I was using TeslaFi.com, RemoteS, Stats, etc...I was losing 5-8 miles/day.


2018 Model S100D owner
AP2.5
 

Joel 3

Member
Aug 14, 2017
6
10
Swampscott, Massachusetts
One thing on the range front too, is we aren't always comparing apples with apple in terms of vehicle size. As Elon mentioned, Tesla produces 50% of the world's battery capacity, produce cells at a lower price than the competition, and have a more efficient power train design.

Looking at the cargo size of the vehicles, you really see how well they have designed their vehicles, A significant market advantage.

upload_2018-10-26_19-12-49.png

(The mid range 3 has similar miles/kwh numbers. )
 
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Reactions: john85775

JasonH81

New Member
Oct 29, 2018
1
0
United States
It's weird, they say the body design of the Model 3 isn't good, but it's the safest car available on the planet by all crash metrics. I would think that's another glowing point towards the engineering of the vehicle; not just the powertrain and battery.
 

StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,498
1,345
Pacific
Tesla has done a great job of reducing aero drag and have terrific looking designs at the same time.

Now, if they would just crack down on the "vampire drain." My Model 3 loses about 4.5 miles per day when not plugged in. This is not efficient. Tesla is not even close to any other EV, all of which have negligible losses.

GSP
Your car is never truly "off". Some power is always in use for checking itself, linking to your wi-fi and the Tesla network, etc..and keeping the battery happy. Also, there is a natural loss of power in any Li battery even with there is no load on it. If don't believe me, charge your cell phone to a certain level then shut it off all the way and let it sit for a few days. When you turn it back on there will be less charge available. That's the nature of the beast.
 

StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,498
1,345
Pacific
One thing on the range front too, is we aren't always comparing apples with apple in terms of vehicle size. As Elon mentioned, Tesla produces 50% of the world's battery capacity, produce cells at a lower price than the competition, and have a more efficient power train design.

Looking at the cargo size of the vehicles, you really see how well they have designed their vehicles, A significant market advantage.

View attachment 347335
(The mid range 3 has similar miles/kwh numbers. )
I wouldn't expect the eTron to be very efficient. It's a box moving through the wind from the pictures I've seen.
 

Pluto

is a Planet
Nov 17, 2015
404
674
Auburn, AL
I turned on Energy Saver mode because I moved to an apartment and it makes a world of difference in vampire drain. At this point, I've kept it on for probably a month. If you unlock your vehicle manually when approaching from far enough away, the issue of waiting for the MCU to start up is drastically improved. Then again I also use PIN to drive and put my seatbelt on before attempting to start it, so that buys me additional time where others might have to wait.
 

woodisgood

All your cell are belong to us
Jul 26, 2018
2,411
11,818
San Francisco
It's weird, they say the body design of the Model 3 isn't good, but it's the safest car available on the planet by all crash metrics. I would think that's another glowing point towards the engineering of the vehicle; not just the powertrain and battery.

If you're talking about Munro & Associates saying the body design isn't good, what they're referring to is that it's not designed well for manufacturing efficiency/cost. It's hard to put together, uses a lot of different fasteners, has too many parts, etc. Not that it's not safe or anything else negative, just that as designed it's difficult to produce quickly and cheaply.