Tesla appears to have given its Model X electric vehicle an increased range with the recent release of its 2021 model. The new model is rated for a range of up to 371 miles, compared to a range of 351 miles in previous models.
The increased rating was noticed by a member of the Tesla Motors Club, who spotted it on the Monroney sticker of a Model X that had been delivered to its new owner. Monroney stickers are the “window stickers” that show the fuel economy rating of new vehicles. They are required by the Energy Independence and Security Act. The Tesla Motors Club member known as ColdWeatherEV said of the increased rating,
“I wonder if the 371 mile rating is due to a chemistry change in the 18650’s cells from Japan. I haven’t charged to 100%, but when I extrapolate my current state of charge % to miles, it should give 351 miles at 100%. I’m hoping that a future software update will unlock additional range.”
Tesla has recently announced new battery technology that is more efficient to manufacture and can charge faster than its existing batteries. During its Battery Day event, Elon Musk said that the batteries will make their first public appearance in a planned $25,000 model that is slated to be released in three years.
The increased range on the Monroney stickers is more likely to reflect recent increases in the Japanese battery’s energy density. The battery in question is manufactured by Panasonic, which has said that it has plans to improve the energy capacity of the batteries used for electric vehicles within the next five years. Panasonic may already be making progress in that regard.
Recent acquisitions by Tesla like the buyout of a German battery assembly plant indicates that it is interested in making more of its batteries in-house. However, it still relies on third party battery manufacturers until it can increase its manufacturing capacity with the completion of factories like the Gigafactory being built in Germany and its planned Terafactory.
Would it be possible for updates to Tesla software packages like the Full Self-Driving software to increase range? Tesla plans for Full Self-Driving to rely on a neural network that uses data sent from its electric vehicles to improve its performance. It would not be too far-fetched to imagine that the neural network will eventually be capable of planning for traffic, road, and weather conditions in real-time to increase safety on the road, create more efficient routes and improved driving performance, which would increase range.
The increased range of the 2021 Model X has not yet been confirmed by FuelEconomy.gov, though it may be that Tesla simply has not submitted the information yet. Tesla has also not yet updated its website to reflect the increased range. So the information provided by the user known as ColdWeatherEV might still be regarded as unofficial or perhaps even a typo on the Monroney sticker. If true, however, this may be a positive sign of progress being made toward Elon Musk’s prediction that electric vehicles will be able to replace gas-powered vehicles for most driving needs.