Elon Musk said that Tesla could have made a Model S with 600 miles of range a year ago, but the CEO says that it would have made the electric car worse. It doesn’t look like Tesla plans to make cars with more than 400 miles of range.

When Tesla first unveiled the new Model S last year, the company introduced a new Model S Plaid+, which replaced the previous Plaid as the new top performance version. The Model S Plaid+ was advertised as having over 520 miles of range on a single charge and 0–60 mph acceleration in less than 1.99 seconds.

As for the Model S Plaid, it replaced the Model S Performance, and Tesla said it would get 390 miles of range and 0–60 mph acceleration in 1.99 seconds.

However, Tesla ended up canceling the Model S Plaid+ as Musk said that people don’t really need more than 400 miles of range.

This gave Lucid the opportunity to be the only automaker with an electric car with over 500 miles of range. While Lucid is having issues ramping up the Lucid Air, the company is delivering the vehicle with over 500 miles of range.

This week, a Tesla superfan acknowledged that Lucid was first to market with a 500-mile EV, but he added that Tesla “would be the first to mass produce one.” But interestingly, CEO Elon Musk responded to the tweet to indicate that Tesla doesn’t plan to make a car with more than 400 miles of range, even though he said that it could have made one a while ago:

We could’ve made a 600 mile Model S 12 months ago, but that would’ve made the product worse in my opinion, as 99.9% of time you’d be carrying unneeded battery mass, which makes acceleration, handling and efficiency worse. Even our 400+ mile range car is more than almost anyone will use.

In a comment to Electrek last year, Musk clarified how Tesla is looking at long-range electric cars now:

What we are seeing is that once you have a range above 400 miles, more range doesn’t really matter. There are essentially zero trips above 400 miles where the driver doesn’t need to stop for restroom, food, coffee, etc. anyway.

The CEO never said how this would affect the new Roadster, which Tesla has been advertising at over 600 miles of range.

You can see those results first hand with Lucid Air vs. Model S Plaid. The Lucid has more horsepower but because of the heavier battery pack and car structure needed to hold them, it is slower off the line than the Plaid.

Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen recently said that the production version of the new Roadster would be better than what Tesla originally unveiled, but he didn’t comment on the range which was originally over 600 miles.

With Musk’s recent rhetoric about long-range EVs, it looks like Tesla might focus on other aspects of the car instead of the range.

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Fred Lambert

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