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TESTED: 2021 Tesla Model Y Long Range Falls Just Short of EPA Range

We're 0 for 7 on Teslas tested to date

  • The 2021 Model Y Long Range falls just short of its EPA-estimated range of 326 miles, covering 317 miles on Edmunds' real-world EV range loop.
  • That total puts the Model Y Long Range in 5th place on our EV range leaderboard, 54 miles ahead of the Model Y Performance.
  • To date, no Tesla has matched its EPA range estimate in our test.
  • Edmunds' EV range leaderboard is embeddable and dynamic, meaning it will update in real time whenever we add a new electric vehicle.

The 2021 Tesla Model Y Long Range has an EPA-estimated range of 326 miles on a single charge. While 326 miles is well above the luxury EV norm, it's still just an estimate. We wanted to see how the Model Y Long Range would perform on our standardized EV driving loop.

Would the Model Y Long Range become the first Tesla to match or exceed its EPA range estimate in our testing? Here's what we found.

Testing the Model Y Long Range in the Real World

Edmunds tests every new electric vehicle on the same real-world driving loop to see just how far it can travel from a full charge down to zero miles remaining. If you look at our EV Range Leaderboard, you'll see that most EVs have matched or exceeded their EPA range estimates in our testing. No Tesla has done so yet and (spoiler alert) the Model Y Long Range didn't manage to buck that trend.

Specifically, we traveled a total of 317 miles in our Model Y Long Range, which is about 2.8% less range than the EPA estimate of 326 miles. That's a close enough margin that we believe the Model Y Long Range is technically capable of matching its EPA number if you take into account the emergency buffer past zero. This is the extra distance an electric vehicle can go after its range meter indicates zero miles left. While the EPA factors this distance into its testing, we find it unrealistic to expect anybody to drive that way. So we look for EVs to match their EPA number without the buffer — and as noted, most non-Teslas have been able to do so.

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The average ambient temperature while driving the Model Y on our loop was 62 degrees F. It shouldn't have had much, if any, negative effect on the Model Y's range capability. In general, the farther away the ambient temperature is from an ideal 70 degrees F, the more a vehicle's range may be affected.

It's worth noting that Tesla advises against charging to 100% on a daily basis for the sake of battery longevity. Full charges should be reserved for when you anticipate a longer drive ahead. But for testing purposes, Edmunds will always charge to 100% to determine the car's maximum potential.

But How Much Did Those 317 Miles Cost?

Although total range is at the top of most people's minds when it comes to EVs, energy consumption is an important factor as well. This determines how much your miles will cost you. The unit of measurement for consumption, the kilowatt-hour, can be thought of as the EV equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. Just like gas, the price of electricity varies depending where you live. For example, you'll pay about 8.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in Oklahoma as of this writing, whereas in Hawaii it'll run you about 33 cents.

So, what can Model Y owners expect to pay at "the pump"? After charging the battery back to full, we calculated an Edmunds consumption rate of 26.2 kWh/100 miles, which is 3.0% more efficient than the EPA estimate of 27 kWh/100 mi. That means that if we lived in Hawaii our 317-mile jaunt in the Tesla would have cost us $27.41, whereas if we lived in Oklahoma, that same charge would cost just $7.39.

How does that compare within the EV world? Consider the Ford Mustang Mach-E, a key rival to the Model Y. In our test of a 2021 Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 — the range champion among Mach-E variants — we measured a consumption rate of 28.9 kWh/100 mi. So that same 317 miles in the Ford would have cost $8.15 in Oklahoma and $30.23 in Hawaii. Not a massive difference, but the Tesla scores a clear win by the numbers.

Either way, a gasoline-powered rival would have cost significantly more. Running a 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 for 317 miles on premium fuel would have set us back roughly $56 in Hawaii and $41 in Oklahoma at current prices, assuming we got the GLC 300's EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined.

For more information on how we test EV range and how each vehicle performed, we invite you to visit our Real World vs. EPA testing page, which includes both our EV range leaderboard and a table with detailed test results. Our EV range leaderboard is embeddable and will automatically update every time we add a new vehicle.

Edmunds says

The Model Y Long Range returned a better result than the Model Y Performance model in our testing, coming closer to matching its EPA range — much like the Model 3 Long Range we tested in March. But it still falls just a bit short, meaning we still have yet to see a single Tesla hit its advertised range without dipping into its emergency battery reserves. For our latest comprehensive ratings of all electric vehicles, head over to Edmunds' EV rankings page.

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