It’s All In The Range: How Far Can You Really Go In An Electric Car?

If you don’t want an electric car, it’s probably because of range anxiety. This is the fear that you won’t be able to reach your destination without running out of charge. But how far can contemporary EVs really go?

How Much Range Do They Really Have?

Just like stated mpg rating for petrol and diesel cars, the reported ranges of electric vehicles are often inaccurate. This isn’t necessarily because automakers want to mislead us, it’s just a challenging figure to produce. Why? Because there are an enormous range of variables. Anything from driving style, weather and road conditions can affect how much juice you can get out of a battery. Consumers, sensing this, often distrust WLTP claimed ranges. If a car has a stated range of, say, 200 miles on a full charge they expect the reality to be substantially less. Motivated by the fact that 35% of motorists claim that fears of being stranded puts them off going electric, Carwow decided to get to the bottom of the issue.

Putting Them To The Test

It decided to test some of the most popular EVs in the UK, including the Jaguar I-Pace, Nissan Leaf, Kia e-Niro, Audi E-tron, Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model 3. It charged all of them to 100% and left them overnight. Some of them lost charge during this period, although all remained over 95%.

The Model 3 managed to travel the furthest with 270 miles; although that’s only 78% of its WLTP range of 348 miles. The I-Pace covered 223 miles, which is 76% of its WLTP range of 292 miles. The Mercedes EQC performed the worst, covering 194 miles; just 75% of its claimed range of 259 miles. Nissan did well with it’s Leaf, it covered 208 miles. That’s 87% of its WLTP range of 239 miles. The Audi E-tron travelled an impressive 255 miles. But it was the Kia e-Niro that stood out. It covered 255 miles, that’s 90% of its WLTP range of 282 miles.

Carwow tested all of the cars with their air conditioning set to 20 degrees. A mobile phone was plugged in and cruise controls were set to motorway limits. That’s significant, as motorway conditions aren’t considered ‘ideal’ for testing batteries; in other words, manufacturers know they can produce less favourable outcomes. All of the cars were driven until they ‘died’ or, rather, came to a stop. Interestingly, five of the six vehicles tested actually continued for a significant period of time after they alerted their drivers that they were out of power.

The Bottom Line

Mat Watson, speaking for Carwow, welcomed the test’s findings. He said, “our test showed you could drive an average of 226 miles and all of the cars were able to keep going after their systems claimed their batteries were totally flat”. However, he did concede that manufacturers overstate their maximum range of their vehicles. He said, “on average, only 81 percent of the manufacturer-claimed range was achieved and, if you allow a battery to run truly flat, electric cars can be difficult to move! But that’s a similar figure to the percentage of potential range you’d get in a petrol or diesel car”.

Ultimately, WLTP-stated ranges are somewhat overstated; you can usually take 20% off when trying to gauge the real-world figure. Still, petrol and diesel drivers will be lucky to get the stated mpg ratings out of their own vehicles. What is clear is that many popular EV models are perfectly functional and possess ranges that far exceed the needs of most drivers. After all, the average commute is less than 30 miles. So unless you’re a business driver or regularly drive to the Highlands, you’ll almost certainly be fine. In addition, new battery technology and a constantly improving charging network will only make it easier to own, and use, a zero-emission vehicle.

Debunking Electric Car Myths –

The End Of Range Anxiety: New EV Batteries Can Cover 600 Miles –

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