Currently reading: The electric cars with the best real-world range
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UPDATED: Range estimates are exactly that - estimates. We show you what you can expect from an EV in the real-world
Autocar
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7 mins read
3 April 2020

Battery technology and charging infrastructure is constantly improving, quickly turning EVs from niche vehicles to a viable replacements to combustion-engined cars. But how far you can drive between top-ups is still a valid concern.

Manufacturer range estimates vary wildly, and aren’t always achievable in everyday driving conditions - so how far can you really go on a single charge? Our sister site What Car? puts every electric car through a range test, measuring exactly what kind of distance you can achieve in the real world.

The ten cars listed here have the longest range capability of all the electric cars we have tested to date.

1. Hyundai Kona Electric, 259 miles

Our current long-distance champion for electric range isn’t the car with the biggest battery, and nor is it the most expensive. That it comes from a mainstream brand rather than a luxury one and can be had for under £35,000 speaks volumes for EV adoption.

When we road tested the Kona Electric last year, we said it offered “the most compelling blend of usability and affordability yet seen in an EV,” and with a real-world range of over 250 miles from a 64kWh battery, it bests premium names like Tesla, Jaguar and Audi.

In fact, its combination of price, performance and popular compact crossover bodystyle have proved so in demand that Hyundai is struggling to meet demand.

Read the full Hyundai Kona Electric review here

=2. Jaguar I-Pace, 253 miles

As the first European carmaker to release a premium model to challenge the likes of Tesla, Jaguar beat its closest rivals to the punch, while also setting a high bar for them to follow. It is a true driver’s car that happens to be powered by electricity, with impressive amounts of acceleration and the kind of handling you expect from the brand.

With a 90kWh battery powering its twin electric motors, the I-Pace achieves a real-world range of 253 miles. That narrowly puts it into second place behind the Kona Electric, but with support for faster DC rapid charging, it may spend less time plugged into a compatible charging point to regain any lost range.

Read the full Jaguar I-Pace review here

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=2. Kia e-Niro, 253 miles

Sharing the second row of the podium with the I-Pace, the Kia e-Niro also manages 253 miles of range - despite having a significantly smaller battery than the Jaguar. It shares its powertrain with the Hyundai Kona Electric, but has a slight weight penalty on account of its larger body.

When we road tested the e-Niro, we decided the slight reduction in total range was worth the gains in usability, refinement and ride quality, earning it a higher overall score.

Read the full Kia e-Niro review here

4. Tesla Model 3, 239 miles

The long-awaited mainstream Tesla model only recently arrived in the UK, after a year of massive sales success in the USA. The Model 3 is available in Standard Range Plus specification, or with BMW M3-baiting power and acceleration in Performance guise, managing the 0-60mph sprint in 32 seconds and a 162mph top speed thanks to an electric motor on each axle. It was this version we tested, with the optional performance pack adding larger 20in wheels over the standard, aero-optimised 18in alloys.

In our tests, the Model 3 Performance achieved 239 miles of real-world driving. That puts it beyond the longest range Model X, which costs significantly more, and comfortably ahead of the Audi E-tron electric SUV.

Read the full Tesla Model 3 review here

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5. Tesla Model X, 233 miles

The second Tesla car to make it to the UK in volume numbers, the Model X combines seven seat practicality with attention-stealing gullwing doors and near-supercar levels of acceleration once the optional Ludicrous Performance mode has been added. It also demands a near £100,000 asking price, making it one of the most expensive EVs on Britain’s roads.

When we tested the X in P100D guise, before the company shook up its model naming conventions, it managed a competitive 233 miles of range. While this puts it below the very best, Tesla’s supercharger network promises some of the fastest destination charging times currently available in the UK.

Read the full Tesla Model X review here

6. Nissan Leaf e+, 217 miles

The first generation Nissan Leaf was among the first affordable electric cars, but it wasn't a distance champion. The second-generation model made gains, but it was the e+ version that made the biggest leap, thanks to a 62kWh battery. Compared to the 40kWh battery seen in the regular car, it allows for an extra 90 miles of real-world driving.

The e+ also has more power than the regular leaf, with 214bhp making it much more responsive. It does, however, suffer from a less refined ride than the standard car, so using that extra power through the corners isn't quite as entertaining as it perhaps could be.

Read the full Nissan Leaf e+ review here

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7. Mercedes-Benz EQC, 208 miles

Experiments with electric Smart cars and a battery powered AMG SLS sports car aside, the EQC is Mercedes’ first production EV. It’s a premium SUV with familiar yet different styling, so it doesn’t stand out too dramatically from the rest of the Mercedes line-up, and delivers the kind of interior we’ve come to expect from the marque. 

An 80kWh battery pack has to power two motors, one for each axle and producing a combined 402bhp and 561lb ft of torque, giving it more accelerative thrust than either of its two mainstream rivals, the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-tron. It may have more power than the Jaguar, but it depletes it battery faster too: used for everyday driving, you can expect to see a typical real world range of more than 200 miles, narrowly besting the similarly-priced Audi.

Read the full Mercedes-Benz EQC review here

8. Tesla Model S 75kWh, 204 miles

The original electric luxury saloon, the Model S proved that Tesla could turn its hand to volume production and set new standards for the distance an EV could travel on a single charge when it first made its debut back in 2012.

It is now available in a choice of different battery capacities, with the current entry-level 75kWh model managing 204 miles of real-world range. That no longer puts it at the top of the list, but with access to a plentiful network of Superchargers, owners may find themselves spending less time recharging than they might in a rival EV.

Read the full Tesla Model S review here

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9. Audi e-tron, 196 miles

Audi had experimented with electric versions of its existing models before, but the e-tron is the first of a new generation, and potentially one of the brand’s most important cars for years.

It’s a luxury SUV first and an electric one second, but with styling that doesn’t set it far apart from combustion-powered models. It is heavy, however, and even though it has a large 95kWh battery pack, drivers can expect a real-world range of around 196 miles. On the plus side, support for 150kW charging (when it arrives in greater numbers) should speed up any downtime.

Read the full Audi e-tron review here

10. Renault Zoe R135, 192 miles

The new generation Zoe arrived with a more powerful powertrain than the original car, which remains in the line-up as a new entry-level model. Exterior styling hasn't changed dramatically, but Renault has made real gains inside the cabin, with elements shared with the new Clio greatly raising perceived quality.

The Zoe's 52kWh battery is officially capable of 238 miles on the WLTP test cycle, but our real-world testing showed the car is really capable of 192 miles in regular use. That puts it among cars costing significantly more, but falls behind the likes of Kia and Hyundai.

Read the full Renault Zoe R135 review here

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11. Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, 181 miles

Tesla’s most attainable model had already proven itself a capable electric tourer in more powerful Performance guise, but this Standard Range Plus model is capable of fewer files between charges. It has one motor powering the rear wheels only, rather than the two found in the Performance version, and it has a smaller battery pack, but it still landed in the upper echelons of distance-driving EVs under our Real Range tests. 

Our testing produced a real-world range of 181 miles, putting it ahead of the similarly-priced BMW i3, but behind the capable Hyundai Kona EV and Kia E-Niro.

Read the full Audi E-tron review here

12. BMW i3 120Ah, 165 miles

The i3 was one of the first modern electric cars, and a demonstration from BMW that they didn’t need to follow the same formula as the combustion vehicles they are expected to replace. An unusual design, minimal interior and the kind of handling expected of the brand helped earn the i3 a five star road test verdict when it first arrived back in 2013.

A mid-life facelift and a higher density battery pack have helped keep the i3 relevant today as a premium compact EV, but a real-world range of 165 miles may rule it out of intercity journeys without also factoring in a charging stop along the way.

Read the full BMW i3 review here

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Ski Kid 5 April 2020

do not forget diesel and petrol would be 2p per mile

Ev's are benefiting unfairly from no duty and 5%  vat compared to approx 58 p litre duty and 20% vat on diesel and petrol so without that fuel would be approc 27p per litre ie £1.23 per gallon 2p to 3p per mile and withoout the horrendous cost penalty associated with ev's approx £15k more expensive and high depreciation,never mind the 500kg extra weight,like towing a laden trailer behind you. Only company drivers gain as no benefit in kind from this month,all private buyers would be stupid to buy one just now 5 to 10 years time when solid state arrrives and costs are on a par with combustion engined cars I may alter my view.All ev's on the market now will be obsolete when these solid state systems arrive with reduced weight,cost and increased range and shorter charge times.the Toyota hybrids look a good alternative in the meantime.

lambo58 5 April 2020

Cobblers- you could then say

Cobblers- you could then say that about any new and forthcoming battery tech thats just coming along. There is always something better coming around the corner, doesnt mean you stop buying the best tech available right now. Unless its Nuclear fusion which we have been promised for most peoples lifetimes and has never emerged

 

lambo58 4 April 2020

To get a real idea of the

To get a real idea of the ranges, visit Harrys Garage on youtube and it will give you an insight into why Harrys mind was changed when he trialed a Model 3 and was stunned by its ease of charging and usage. Ipace and Audi dont even come in the running

pikkoz 4 April 2020

While it's true that mileage

While it's true that mileage may wary  but the "we show you what you can expect from an in real world "it's not really credible  with  EVs like the Model 3 with abysmal range (211mi) and the  i-pace with too good to be true range (253.

The proof is that we have actual real world and real range test like what Carwow that drove few EVs until empty battery on highway and UK winter condition (lights and heater on) the model 3 LR  achieved 270miles and the i-pace 223.

Another real word test made by the Norvegian Automobile Federation  tested 20 EV's in their  highway,city and mountain passes during  winter with snow and ice  and even in those unfavourable conditions  then the model 3 still managed to achieve a respectable 251 miles with the ipace  trailing behind at 207miles.

 

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