Electric cars have come an awfully long way in a short space of time, haven’t they? It was that long ago that anything that scraped a three-figure range seemed impressive, but now, you can buy a plug-in car that’ll keep going for up to 402 miles on a single charge.
The EV in question is the updated North American-spec Model S Long Range Plus, which can travel around 20 per cent further than the old one, according to EPA-estimated figures.
Myriad changes were made to eke out the extra miles. Although we’re not given figures, Tesla is citing ‘significant mass reduction’ as a big driver, with the fat trimmed via engineering lessons learned from the smaller Model 3 and Model Y. Also, Tesla says it’s dropped the weight further by standardising its seat manufacturing process, and by using lighter materials in its battery packs and motors.
There are also new ‘Tempest’ aero wheels with new lower rolling resistance tyres, which account for a two per cent improvement in range. A more efficient drive unit, which has an electronic oil pump replacing the old mechanical one, adds another two per cent.
The final piece of the puzzle is the new ‘Hold’ feature, which combines the regenerative braking effects of the motor with the physical disc and calliper stoppers. This enables regen braking to take place at lower speeds, kicking back more juice to the battery pack.
There will already be 402-mile range Model S vehicles out there, too, with Elon Musk stating on Twitter that any Long Range Plus examples built since the end of January have the capability. “This is just making it official,” he added.