Electric vehicle range - how far can an electric car go?
There are still some common misconceptions about electric cars that can put people off making the switch over to clean, green transport.
When it comes to the difference between charging a car vs fuelling a car with fossil-fuels, it can seem like there’s a lot to get your head around. Some drivers put off making the switch because they’re worried about whether they’d have enough range to get them from A to B, especially on long journeys.
So, how much range does a driver really need? And what can the makes and models on the market offer? Let’s take a look at EV ranges to find out.
What is electric vehicle range?
Electric vehicle range is simply the number of miles an electric vehicle can travel on a single charge. Car manufacturers used to provide the range as the maximum distance possible in perfect driving conditions, but it’s now more common to see ‘real’ ranges that better reflect real-world driving.
Vehicle range is influenced by many different factors, like the size and age of the battery, the car’s weight and design, driving style and conditions, and other efficiency factors which would also affect a petrol or diesel car, like tyre pressure, suspension, and weather conditions.
How far can an electric car go?
The most cutting-edge, newer models on the market can go up to a 400–500-mile range on a single charge. For early 2009-2010 electric car models, reaching a range of around 100 miles was considered pretty good, but nowadays modern electric vehicles reach ranges in the region of 200-300 miles.
So what’s the average range of an electric car?
The average range of an EV is estimated to be 211 miles and most cars on the market have a range of anywhere between 100-300 miles.
Anything with 200+ miles is considered a good range but, depending on your needs, a range of around 100 miles might be more than enough. For reference, a 100 miles would be driving all the way from London to Bath - a lot longer than your average commute. And on average, most people only drive 20 miles per day, so 100 miles is plenty of range to get you around in daily life.
Which electric car has the longest range?
Internationally, the current range leader on the automotive market is the Lucid Air Dream Edition R. It boasts an impressive 520-mile range, but does come with the luxury price tag to match and isn't yet available in the UK.
There are plenty of other long-range and more affordable models on the market. Take the Audi e-tron GT showcasing a 260-mile range, the 2020 Car of the Year, and the Tesla Model 3 offering an impressive range of 285 miles.
To take a look at the different ranges EVs can offer, simply check out the cars we have available and sort your results by high to low range. Our personal car lease comes as a package including your fully maintained electric car with all servicing and repairs included, a smart home charger and smart EV tariff with the first 4,000 miles included.
What factors affect driving range?
Let’s crunch some numbers and see what affects driving range. Just like with petrol and diesel cars, there are many factors that can affect the efficiency of EVs. Things like tyre pressure, suspension settings and the way you use air-con and electric windows can help you improve your range.
A few things to consider though, especially with EVs are:
The size and age of your car battery are really important for your range. The more kilowatts (kW) your battery holds, the further your car will travel in a single charge.
You might notice some EV models are available in different battery sizes. The bigger the battery, the more expensive the car is likely to be, but the further it will travel on a single charge.
We know that all batteries lose some capacity over time. A typical lithium EV battery is expected to last around as long as 15-20 years. As your car battery degrades over time, you’ll lose some range, but it’s not likely to be a significant amount. Although with technological advances, battery life is continuing to improve all the time.
2. Electric vehicle weight and design
Did you know that vehicle size, weight and design all have an impact on a car’s range potential? A heavier car will use more kWh per mile than a lighter car, so bigger cars that use heavier materials, or are loaded with passengers and bags, won’t travel as far.
Design also determines how much range you’ll get out of your charge. Cars designed with better aerodynamics and lower air resistance will use significantly lower energy than those that are less aerodynamically designed.
3. Driving style
Remember, the road is not a race track! The more economically you drive the more you’ll get out of your charge. This means if you accelerate fast and brake hard, you’ll use more energy. Motorway driving at high speeds will also sap your kWs. Similarly to any petrol-powered car, smooth and steady will get you further. You’ll achieve maximum range if you drive at a steady and constant rate, and make the rate at which you change speeds as smooth as possible.
Keep in mind that temperature can play a key role too. In winter, cold temperatures can make your battery less efficient because it needs to use more energy to get it going and keep it moving. Using heaters and AC will also use up kWs and reduce your range. Heating or cooling a car is much more energy intensive than keeping it at a steady temperature. You’ll get further distances out of a single charge in warm summer weather, as long as you don’t have the air con on all the time. Heating or cooling your car while it’s still plugged in to charge is the best option.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is constantly getting better and the number of rapid charging points is increasing all the time. With even the lowest range cars offering around 100 miles, there is ample range for the average driver on their daily commute.
Don’t let range anxiety put you off enjoying the benefits of a cleaner, greener, more sustainable car — make the switch to electric today. With an average 200-plus mile range, today’s modern electric vehicles provide more than enough range for most drivers. Take a look at the electric cars coming to Octopus EV in 2023 for some EV inspiration.