Elon Musk Believes 500-Mile Range EVs Possible Soon

Elon Musk.

Elon Musk.

Not content to let Tesla rest on its laurels with the highest 265-mile EPA-rated range of the Model S 85, company CEO Elon Musk figures making an electric vehicle with over 500 miles of range wouldn’t take long to develop.

Musk, who was being interviewed by Auto Express, said Tesla could do it “quite soon, but it would increase the price. Over time you could expect to have that kind of range.”

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One reason Musk is reasonably sure of that success has to do with Tesla’s proprietary lithium-ion batteries, which he says are have the greatest energy-density of anything yet on the market, and nearly twice the density of the popular Nissan Leaf. But beyond batteries, other factors like wind- and rolling resistance, and other efficiencies play a big role in getting more than double the range of the 24-kwh Leaf.

The easy suggestion would be to simply add more cells to the system, but the radical weight gain as a result would work against itself in acceleration, handling and braking.

Musk also said flat-out that any kind of hybrid — like the range-extenders in the Volt or i3 — is completely off the table, and that Tesla’s growing “supercharger” network will be more than capable of handling charging duties in the meantime.

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“We’ll always be pure electric,” he said. “We’re going to keep improving battery technology, and even with Model 3 we’ll expect a range of over 200 miles with a price of around $35,000.”

Speaking of battery technology, Tesla is still mulling which of five U.S. states will be the future home of the company’s planned battery-pack factory.

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