Not just the new models, but the ones manufactured in recent months will also receive this upgrade at no extra cost via over-the-air updates

Earlier this year, Musk said that Tesla will focus on its technologies instead of rolling out new products, and it looks like we’re already seeing glimpses of it. Tesla updated the Model S and Model X offerings and now offer better-than-before range figures.

The Model S now delivers an estimated EPA range of 390 miles on a single charge, whereas the Model X delivers 351 miles. This is an upgrade of 17 and 23 miles respectively over the previous update. Well, Musk suggested that the Model S will soon deliver over 400 miles of range, so, this is a good start, to say the least.

Only The Long Range Trims See An Increase In Autonomy

When asked about what changes helped increase these figures, Musk tweeted that “many small hardware improvements throughout the car that have been introduced gradually over the past several months.”

But it gets better. Musk made this announcement AFTER delivering the vehicles with an increased range. He then tweeted again, saying that "all S/X cars made in recent months have actually been above stated EPA range. Will be unlocked soon for free via a software update.”

If you recently purchased a Tesla Model S or Model X, keep an eye out for this update. However, the Performance trims of the Model S and X remain unchanged and continue to return 348 and 305 miles of range, respectively.

It’s Not Just The Range

Tesla Model S and Model X Long Range Plus - What You Need to Know
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Apart from this, the Model S Long Range Plus now comes with 19-inch Tempest wheels as standard.

The Model X, however, will be offered with the same 20- or 22-inch wheels as before. The new 19-inch wheels Tempest wheels might be slightly more aerodynamic when compared to the previous wheels. They’re also a little flatter, thus adding some extra miles to the overall range through better air flow management. Tesla is considering adding more wheels and tires options to its portfolio. These will most probably play a big role in achieving the company’s 400 mile-range claim without making major changes to the powertrain.

The Top Three Highest Range EV Offerings In The U.S. Are All Teslas

Tesla Model S and Model X Long Range Plus - What You Need to Know
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The “Plus” badge doesn’t bring in any other changes. Since the recently manufactured Model S and Model X Long Range are anyway going to get this update, Tesla could’ve continued with the same variant badging. But Musk again tweeted about this stating that “regulations require calling it something else, so we added +”.

The Model S and Model X are now the most range-efficient cars available in the States at the moment. Third place is also taken by the company’s Model 3 in the Long Range avatar that offers a range of 322 miles on a full charge.

In April 2019, the company made some changes to the powertrain of both these cars that added about three miles of extra range. The company did not intimate anything about the charging rates, so it must be the same, with both cars still capable of a 200-kW max charging speed. What’s more, the Model S and Model X still qualify for free supercharging.

Will The Million-Mile Battery Be Any Better?

2016 Tesla Model X Drivetrain
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Tesla is working on developing its own battery cells and we could see them put to use in the near future. Musk has mentioned on previous occasions that the present battery modules last between 300,000 and 500,000 miles.

However, the new Tesla battery pack, that’s still in development, could do the unexpected - last almost a million miles.

Jeff Dahn, the leading battery researcher at Tesla, said that the new unit is a Li-Ion stack with a next-generation “single crystal” NMC cathode and a new advanced electrolyte. After testing these cells extensively, Tesla thinks that the battery could power an electric car “for over 1.6 million kilometers [1 million miles].”

We’re sure this will see a significant improvement in range as well.

Final Thoughts

2017 Tesla Model S Exterior
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If you use your Model S or Model X solely for urban commutes, then this range improvement makes a big difference. If you use it for long distances, an increase of 17 and 23 miles – the real-world difference will be even lower – won’t matter much.

But, an increase is always a good thing and it’s good to see the company make improvements to battery and range constantly. Now, it needs to be seen what’s the time frame of these “made in recent months” Model S and Model X cars that will benefit from the increased range. We also hope to hear more about the Plaid Powertrain. Share your thoughts about this update with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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