Tesla dominated the electric car market when the Model 3 was introduced in 2018 as a budget luxury EV with ample range. Now they’re building on that dominance with the addition of the Model Y crossover. The Model Y has proven possibly even more popular than the Model 3 due to its higher seating position and storage capacity. With the recent release of the much more affordable standard range and rear-wheel-drive Model Y, Charlie and Alissa added one to their own garage to challenge its usability. Naturally, many Tesla Model Y range and efficiency tests were in order, the first of which being this cold-weather, high-cabin-temperature test.
After completing the electric route of our highway Tesla Model Y range test, Charlie found his long-term Model Y SR to travel 3.1 miles per kWh, or 104 MPGe. This sub-par result is at least partially due to the outside temperature being about 24 degrees Fahrenheit and the car’s automatic climate control being set to 73 degrees. This resulted in a very warm cabin, even compared to all the other cars we test. An average EV driver could easily set their cabin to a lower temperature and likely squeeze out more range—we will be testing this soon. However, 3.1 mi/kWh is not shabby for an electric vehicle at highway speeds. For this car, the EPA’s estimates an efficiency of 119 MPGe on the highway, or about 3.5 mi/kWh.
As of right now, Tesla does not have an official battery capacity listed anywhere for the standard range Model Y. Based on some research and analysis of our usage, we estimate it holds about 50 kWh. With this assumption, this least-expensive Model Y should be able to manage 150 miles with a toasty cabin in freezing temperatures while averaging 70 mph.
How We Test the Tesla Model Y Standard Range
This Daily Motor real-world highway range test of the 2021 Tesla Model Y range consists of 100 miles of consistent highway driving. We first charged the Model Y SR to just over 90% then drove about 50 miles on public highway in one direction and then back in the return direction, attempting not to draft or drive aggressively. We set the cruise control at GPS-indicated 73 mph in an attempt to achieve a moving average speed of 70 mph over the entire test. Unlike other EVs, we are able to track our precise electricity usage using Teslafi, a web-based software that provides a wealth of detail about Tesla cars. Miles per kWh is determined by dividing total miles traveled by kWh used.
We plan to retest this Model Y’s range in identical weather with a cabin temperature of 66 degrees. We will also be testing many other variables such as outside temp, tire pressure, vehicle load, and wheel/tire combinations. Stay tuned to Daily Motor for all these scientific tests.