Tesla just continues to exceed expectations, as the latest news from the Environmental Protection Agency will give electric vehicle nay-sayers something to chew on. The face-lifted 2016 Model S 90D has scored a 303.2-mile rating, exceeding the 300-mile holy grail for EVs. Tesla’s vehicle is the first production model to hit the goal, according to the EPA’s 2016 Green Vehicle Guide.
While the new rating is reserved for Tesla’s 90D version, improvements have also come to other Model S derivatives . The more potent, “ludicrous-mode” P90D gets a bump from 253 miles to 270 miles, which is actually a bigger jump from the previous generation Model S than the 90D.
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The range increases can be attributed to a couple factors. The brand’s move to a grill-less front fascia for all its cars, including the Model 3, Model X, and Model S improves aerodynamics considerably. Also, to the fault of the EPA, this is the first 90kWh Tesla they’ve tested, despite the larger battery being available for months. Until now, the EPA had just been giving the Model S range a “percentage increase” based on estimated improvements over the 85kWh battery.
In addition to having a longer range, the 2016 Model S recharges faster thanks to a new 48A system (compared to the 40A unit found in older models). European buyers will also be pleased to learn that Tesla has added 150 “Destination Chargers” to its recharging network.
Tesla may be the first to the 300-mile marker, but with other automakers on the EV hunt, including GM, BMW, Audi, Ford, Jaguar, Nissan, and Volkswagen, their exclusivity won’t last long. Tesla may have the momentum for now, but before the Model 3 even hits production (which is scheduled for 2017), there may be new, more affordable electric vehicle players.