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Tesla’s most impressive feat with the Model S isn’t actually the car itself

Tesla Battery Packs

No one would argue that Tesla’s Model S and Model X are short on innovative and forward-thinking features. From gargantuan 17-inch displays on the dash to futuristic Autopilot software, Tesla has firmly established itself as a company willing to push the technological envelope and completely re-imagine the way we interact with cars.

But at the core, Tesla is and remains a battery company. Indeed, it’s hardly an exaggeration to state that the company’s advanced battery technology is what truly separates them from a growing field of competitors.

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Today, a Tesla Model S 90D can travel up to 294 miles on a single charge. That’s undoubtedly impressive, but because Tesla’s run on lithium-ion batteries, it’s only natural for some skeptics to raise concerns about battery degradation and how prolonged vehicle use over time can ultimately affect range and performance.

With the Model S now in its fourth year, it’s finally possible to take a close look at how vehicle performance varies over time. To this point, Electrek points us to an interesting survey put together by Plug-in America, a non-profit organization that promotes the widespread adoption of EVs.

“Data shows that the Model S’ battery pack generally only loses about 5% of its capacity within the first 50,000 miles and then the degradation significantly slows down with higher mileage,” Electrek notes. “Plug-in America’s data shows several vehicles with over 100,000 miles driven and less than 8% degradation.”

All in all, that’s rather impressive. As evidenced by the chart below, you can tell that battery capacity does go down with increased mileage, but only slightly.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.