Just as Tesla is set to start the delivery of the 2012 Model S customer cars this week, the Environmental Protection Agency finally released final fuel economy equivalent and total range numbers. The public and the automaker had been anticipating EPA’s confirmation since the Model S had already undergone crash-testing and cleared to be sold to the public. The EPA said that the top-of-the-line Tesla Model Ss with an 85 kWh battery will get the equivalent of 89 miles per gallon. This makes it have 10 lower miles per gallon equivalent when compared to the 2012 Nissan Leaf, which is the most popular battery electric vehicle in the U.S. However, the Model S has a more spacious interior and much more power. It can reach 60mph from between 4.4 and 6.5 seconds, depending on the specs.
On the other hand, the Leaf can accelerate in 9.7 seconds. Tesla has been saying that it was designing its 85-kWh models to travel 300 miles on a single charge. EPA estimated its range at 265 miles. As was reported in the past, Tesla said that this is due to varying testing methods. Tesla’s range estimates are at 55 mph while the EPA’s methodology is a lot more rigorous and combines city and highway driving.
As the 85-kWh model could achieve an estimated 265 miles of range, it’s still uncertain what the more affordable models will do. The initial production run of the Model S would only be 1,000 units, which would all be 85-kWh Signature Series models. However, the models that will arrive later will have available 40- or 60-kWh battery packs that will enable the Model S to run at about 160 or 230 miles, respectively. Both Tesla and the EPA have not released their figures but it’s likely that EPA testing will vary from those estimates. Nevertheless, the Model S is, without question, the electric-only car with the highest range. The Mitsubishi i has a range of 98 miles while the Nissan Leaf can go 100 miles.