Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded today to a tweet from one of his prominent supporters – Whole Mars Catalog – related to the range of electric cars.
Whole Mars Catalog wrote that Lucid delivered the first series-produced electric car with a range of roughly 500 miles (EPA range), but Tesla “will be the first to mass-produce one.”
The longest-range version of the Lucid Air has an EPA Combined range of 520 miles (837 km). The longest range Tesla Model S has an EPA Combined range of 405 miles (652 km).
Well, Elon Musk responded that a 600-mile (965 km) Tesla Model S could’ve been made 12 months ago (let’s assume February 2021), but “that would’ve made the product worse.”
Elon Musk pointed out that it would essentially require a higher battery capacity, which would mean a bigger, heavier, and more expensive battery pack. This battery would be “unneeded” on a daily basis, as even the current 400+ mile range is more than enough. Handling and efficiency would be substantially affected too with a bigger battery.
It’s not the first time when Elon Musk cooled down expectations, which exceeds rationality and we fully agree with that.
Electric cars are already quite heavy (usually heavier than internal combustion engine counterparts) and expensive, so the right way to do this is to address those issues first, instead of increasing the range to such high values. Especially since the fast-charging networks are growing nicely.
Tesla appears to be on the right path in terms of range balance and weight-reduction approaches through the introduction of a structural battery pack (the weight of the remaining structure of the car would be lowered).
This is one of the most important directions for the mainstream electric car market, in terms of costs, performance, and also the environment.
After crossing 400 miles (300 miles in many cases), the race to extend the range is not the priority. It might be in some niche segments, including luxury cars like the Lucid Air, but even in the case of Lucid, many customers preferred the Performance version of the car (with about 50 miles less EPA range) instead of the Range version of the car.
Some range race probably is ahead of us in the case of vehicles that have to tow – they really need bigger batteries to work in challenging conditions.
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