Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range Comes With a Surprisingly Small Battery

Tesla has avoided advertising battery capacity sizes for the Model 3, but a new report claims to reveal the actual size of the pack used for the company’s new mid-range model. The car, which launched last week, is the cheapest electric car Tesla sells with a starting price of $46,000.

An Electrek report on Thursday states the new mid-range model, which offers 260 miles of range, comes with a 62 kilowatt-hour pack. CEO Elon Musk explained that it’s essentially a stripped-back version of the pack found in the 310-mile long range edition, which costs more versus a battery built from the ground-up for its size but works as an effective stop-gap while work continues toward the 220-mile standard range edition. The long range version has a pack of around 74 kilowatt-hours. These figures are surprising as the Model S gets around 200 miles from its 60 kWh pack and 260 miles from its 75 kWh pack.

The Tesla Model 3.


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This discrepancy between the two vehicles can be explained by the Model 3’s variations in makeup. As an example, the Model 3 has a drag coefficient of 0.23 versus the Model S’s coefficient of 0.24. A lower coefficient means a vehicle that slices through the air easier, but it’s important to note that the figures don’t factor in measurements like the surface area that can affect drag. On that front, the Model 3 also comes out top, measuring 185 inches long by 73 inches wide by 57 inches high, versus the bigger Model S at 196 inches long by 77 inches wide by 57 inches high. This also means half the storage space in the frunk and trunk of the Model 3.

The Model 3 also sports 18-inch “aero wheels” as standard. These aerodynamic covers offer around a 4.3 percent efficiency boost versus standard wheels, a boost that’s factored into the advertised range. All these changes enable the Model 3 to move further with less energy, which saves on the cost of the battery and allows Tesla to sell the car at a cheaper price.

Tesla could move further in this direction with the Model Y, an upcoming entry-level sports utility vehicle set to act as a companion to the Model X, that could launch in March.

Once that’s out of the way, Tesla’s next car could be the second-generation Roadster supercar.