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Tesla Model S electric sedan rated at 89 MPGe

Consumer Reports News: June 21, 2012 04:38 PM

The Tesla Model S was rated at 89 MPGe overall, 88 in the city and 90 on the highway, according to EPA tests. (MPGe measures the energy usage of cars based on the equivalent energy they would have used if they ran on gasoline.) This gives the Model S electric sedan a maximum range per charge of 265 miles, disappointingly short of Tesla's previously claimed 300 miles for the Model S with it's top-of-the-line 85-kWh battery pack.

The car is also available in with two smaller battery configurations, 40 kWh and 60 kWh, which weren't rated. (The company originally claimed ranges of 160, 230, and 300 miles for the three models, respectively.) Models with the smaller batteries should also use slightly less energy.

Electric cars are rated in MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) calculated based on the same amount of energy in one gallon of gasoline. At 89 MPGe, the Model S should cost about 4 cents per mile in energy costs to drive. That compares with about 3 cents per mile for the Nissan Leaf, about 9 cents per mile for the Toyota Prius, and about 12 cents for a Toyota Corolla.

While the 89 MPGe rating is a little lower than the Nissan Leaf's EPA rating of 99 MPGe or the Mitsubishi i's 112 MPGe, the Model S is a much larger luxury sedan with an optional (rear-facing) third-row seat.

The Model S tested for the EPA figure will retail for $69,900. Tesla expects to start deliveries tomorrow.

Eric Evarts

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