Reuters: Tesla rigged in-car driving range projections and established team to suppress complaints

Originally published at: Reuters: Tesla rigged in-car driving range projections and established team to suppress complaints | Boing Boing


I definitely do not want to defend Tesla or (god forbid, Elon Musk), but ICE cars often have terrible disconnects between advertised MPG and real world MPG.

In my experience with my new Ioniq 5, the full range only happens under perfect conditions, but after a couple months, I know what normal conditions are like and plan accordingly.

NOTE: The dashboard is usually pretty accurate once it gets dialed in. If I’m highway driving, the range is lower and it takes a little bit to realize that’s what I’m doing.

EDIT: This doesn’t excuse the shitty customer service described though! Makes me doubly glad I bought my Ioniq!


I recently bought a Toyota PHEV. EPA advertised range is 68 km (42 miles) on a charge. In my particular real-world driving case, the estimated range is going up. It’s now at 76 km. I am, as you might imagine, rather surprised and pleased.


Gosh I’m shocked that a company helmed by the 2nd largest Manbaby in America would do something so douchy. Just absolutely shocked.


Bad behaviour by customer service is bad behaviour.

First thing to note, there is no such thing as a “real range”, just like any car if you accelerate hard you’ll use up the battery/fuel very quickly. Drive at a careful 40 mph and you’ll probably get a better than advertised range.

Range wise, I’ve got a model 3 and people might be curious. There’s basically three different places you’ll get range information.

Theres a little number that is like a fuel indicator, you can set that to be either a percent or a remaining range. It seems to take no account of current driving style and just does a simple % to miles calculation. Its not very useful so i usually put it on % mode. This thing is mostly useful when you get in the car to get a sense of “do i have a full tank or not” rather than something useful on a journey. Also, its possible that these are more accurate on average than they seem as electric cars are more effecient on slow journeys than on motorways, but its only on those longer less effecient runs that i have any concern about range.

More useful is if you have a trip in the GPS it gives you a predicted battery level at destination, which updates based on current driving - that seems pretty reliable. This also gives you extra warnings like “stay below 65mph to reach your destination without charging”. This system has always been reliable in my experience.

Finally there is a power consumption screen that gives you full details on power usage and battery states and can give configurable predictions based on last x mins of driving (much like ICE cars often have). I’ve played around with this, but I rarely find a need to use it.

Anyhow. Bad customer service is bad, but from my perspective, the bad range predictions are not something i have personally found to be a real issue.


Early adopters will put up with a lot to justify their novel purchase. Mainstream customers less so.

As other companies enter the EV market, and assuming they manage things like proper fit and finish, and accurate range numbers, Tesla is going to be less and less popular. It has already started, but if they don’t fix their issues, they will be made irrelevant.


My cars have all been pretty much spot on about mileage. How often is often?


well, according to a aaa commissioned study:

On average, the fuel economy display of the vehicles tested showed a relatively low error of 2.3% compared to the fuel economy measured by in lab testing. However, individual vehicle error varied greatly

and the epa?

Before 2008, the EPA tests overestimated fuel efficiency quite significantly. They didn’t account for the fact that real-world driving tends to be more aggressive… than the defaults built into the EPA test protocols.

What may be surprising to many is [since 2008] its ratings aren’t really all that far off the real-world mpg that consumers get. While there are lots of people who cannot under any circumstances get their vehicles to come close to the official ratings,

so individual cars and drivers may vary, but these days ice estimates are pretty close.


But the average range for an EV was 12.5 percent worse than the window sticker numbers, the magazine says.…

But when the same testing is done on Tesla models, the results are “on average two times as far off the window label value as most EVs. 400 miles of stated range for a Tesla and 300 miles for a Porsche is pretty much the same number at real highway speeds,” VanderWerp said.

25% below the stated mileage is no way to go through life son.


25% below the stated mileage is no way to go through life

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Every company selling things with batteries is as optimistic about reported battery life as it thinks it can legally get away with.

This I get. It is a ‘feature’ of late-stage capitalism.

Highly erroneous live data on a dashboard is something else and if true should result in class actions.


Yeah. I’d definitely buy an ev from another company.

I’m amused by people going into dissertations about their teslas & all the various minutiae of driving them. When I get in a car I just want to drive and not have to bother with that shit.

But - a hobby is a hobby. And they don’t have to be one that I would care to pick up.


Like a gas gauge on “E”, an EV on “0” charge has some miles* left on it. Not that it excuses the lies or bad customer service. Lots of YouTubes on people driving their EVs past zero to “dead” (and regretting it).

*Your mileage may vary.


Thanks, this is a helpful real-world-usage report.

I have a Y and I only use the first measurement that you identified. I don’t think it is particularly accurate but I don’t think it is noteworthily inaccurate either. We charge the car every night and use it for in-town driving so it isn’t generally an issue for us… it’d be like if we had a ICE car we gassed up every night before we parked.

I will take this opportunity to complain about how Tesla wants me to use their navigation, mapping, etc and I absolutely don’t want to do that. I sure wish they’d let me use Android Auto to drive the display via my phone like my other car does.

Indeed. And a person who, if you manage to get their attention in the wrong way, will absolutely remote-brick your vehicle.

An offline EV is looking better and better every time I turn around, but no one makes those, so I guess I’ll have to make one myself…


Most EV makers (not just Tesla), love to give a single range figure. And, invariably, that number is based on city driving. My Ioniq can absolutely get the 266 mile range they advertise if I’m city driving and never getting above 50 mph. But if I’m highway driving at 70-75mph, that range drops by a solid 25%.

ICE cars almost always give a city/highway joint number (51/53 for a camry hybrid, for example), but EVs don’t do that. And it is misleading.


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