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Tesla Model S breaks through the 400-mile range barrier

Tesla’s Model S has officially broken through the 400-mile range barrier, giving it the best mileage in the electric-car market — meaning you can turn the Autopilot on and relax for just a little while longer.

“Starting today, all North American Model S Long Range Plus vehicles have an official EPA-rated range of 402 miles, representing a nearly 20% increase in range when compared to a 2019 Model S 100D with the same battery pack design,” the electric-car company led by Elon Musk said in a message on its website.

It should be noted that the Environmental Protection Agency conducts testing in labs, so its listed mileage may not be achieved in real-world driving scenarios. Its ratings offer a useful guide when comparing different vehicles, however.

Tesla has gradually increased the range of the Model S since it first hit the road in 2012 with a single charge offering a potential 265 miles.

The EPA last rated the $75,000 Model S Long Range Plus in February 2020, 10 months after the model launched. The EPA put the range at 390 miles, though Musk later disputed this, claiming an error by the EPA meant that some of the car’s battery power got used up prior to testing, preventing it from registering a range of 400 miles.

In a tweet posted on Monday, Musk hinted at this error again, saying that all Model S Long Range Plus vehicles made since late January have in fact offered a 402-mile range, adding that today’s message from the company simply makes it official.

The company said the mileage boost has been made possible “through several changes, both iterative and transformational, in core hardware and system architecture development by the Tesla engineering, design and production teams.”

Specifically, the improvements came by minimizing the weight of the vehicle’s components, including the use of lighter materials in its battery pack and drive units. New “Tempest” Aero wheels and tires help to reduce aerodynamic drag compared to the previous wheels, while improvements to the air conditioner, gearbox and braking have also had a positive impact.

And with ongoing work to expand Tesla’s network of Superchargers, anyone still experiencing range anxiety may now feel a little easier when they set off on those longer trips.

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