When Elon Musk talks about the Tesla Model III, there are really only two points he keeps bringing up; the $35,000 price tag, and a driving range of at least 200 miles per charge. That’s 200 “real world” miles, by the way, not merely an estimate under ideal driving conditions. Could that translate to a 250 mile EPA rating? It just might. Musk reportedly said that the Tesla Model III will have a 250 mile range per charge, according to NOLA.com.
Now without video, or an actual quotation, it’s hard to confirm that Musk did indeed say this, and he wans’t misquoted or misheard. However, it also wouldn’t be totally out of line with Musk’s previous commentary on the Model III’s range, including the quip about “real world” driving. Keep in mind that the base Tesla Model S 70D is now rated at 240 miles per charge, up from just 200. More range is always welcome, but it could also be that Tesla owners are finding that 200 miles isn’t quite enough to make it from one Supercharger station to the next. That extra 50 miles could be the difference between making it to the next Supercharger station, and waiting for a lift from a tow truck.
It would also definitely give Model III owners at least 200 miles of driving range, even with only an 80% charge. Cold weather or excessive heat can also affect battery range negatively, so having that extra range could ensure that even on the chilliest days, the Model III still has close to 200 miles of range. 200 miles seems to be the magic number for electric cars, and Musk may want to ensure that drivers always have at least that much range on a full battery. We won’t know for sure until the Model III is unveiled sometime next year.
The Model III was at the heart of Musk’s visit to the Edison Electric Institute, where he and co-founder J.B. Straubel discussed why electric vehicles aren’t just for wealthy people. In addition to falling battery prices and a growing number of places to plug-in (though they aren’t needed everywhere), the two Tesla execs highlighted how utilities are already benefitting from EV adoption. Also, more and governments are seeing climate change and air pollution as a serious problem, with government policies helping speed the adoption of plug-in vehicles.
A 250-mile, $35,000 electric car might be the tipping point for mass EV adoption. Can Musk do for electric cars what Apple did for smartphones? For all our sakes, let’s hope so.