How Far Can Electric Cars Go? Your Guide To EV Range
If you’re considering making the switch to an electric car then there’s a phrase you may have come across more than any other as you do your research: ‘range anxiety’.
It’s been a part of the electric vehicle dictionary for as long as EVs have been sold but, finally, the words that have probably cast more doubt into the minds of potential owners than any others are soon to be destined for the automotive scrapheap.
Why? Because the fear that a modern electric car doesn’t offer you the range you need is increasingly an outdated concern that simply doesn’t apply to the latest EVs on the market.
So What Do You Need To Know About Range Anxiety?
The good news is it’s increasingly a phrase that belongs in the past. There’s no doubt that early electric models lacked the sort of range that people had become accustomed to from a car with a combustion engine.
The range of a first-generation Nissan Leaf, which went on sale in 2010, was an anxiety-inducing 73 miles. Not great on paper and even less so in real life, when you consider that the charging infrastructure in 2010 was non-existent compared to what we have now.
Fast forward a decade and the latest-gen Nissan Leaf e+ give you up to 239 miles of range from its 62kWh battery. And if you plug it into a 50kW rapid charger at a charging station, you can boost your charge in minutes rather than hours.
The simple fact is, as technology continues to improve and the charging network grows and grows, electric cars will increasingly offer us the sort of range comparable to even the most fuel efficient diesels.
Not only that - but charging costs are a fraction of the price of fuel.
There Are So Many New EVs To Suit Your Needs
Of course, just as with conventional cars, the range and fuel efficiency of electric vehicles will still depend on their spec, size and performance. So it pays to get a good understanding of your daily driving habits to find the car that’s perfect for you.
Remember that the average car journey in the UK is little more than 8 miles, and that figure has remained relatively unchanged for many years. It’s clear, then, that even the shortest-range electric cars are more than capable of fitting in with most of our lifestyles, particularly if you have access to daily charging at home or work.
The ability to top up your car with charge whenever or wherever you park means that the fear of running out of juice is really no more relevant than the fear of running out of petrol. If course it CAN happen, but when is the last time it DID?
What Electric Car Has The Longest Range?
There is now a big selection of electric cars on the market with range in excess of 250 miles. And that selection is growing almost by the week.
At the top of the tree sits the company that has done more than any other to help the world convert to electric: Tesla.
Still the most famous ‘EV-only’ carmaker by a country mile, Tesla has long set the standard for cutting-edge battery and charging technology.
The latest spec Model S offers a hugely impressive 398 miles of range from its 98kWh powerpack.
Reassuringly long range can also be found in a range of new models from more established car industry giants like Volkswagen, Porsche, Ford, Jaguar and Kia to name just a few.
So whether you’re looking for a long-range limo, a more familiar family hatchback or something with real sporting credentials, Vanarama can sort it for you.
The Electric Cars With The Longest Range*
- Tesla Model S Long Range – 398 miles
- Ford Mustang Mach E Extended Range – 379 miles
- Tesla Model X Long Range – 371 miles
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range – 360 miles
- VW ID.3 Pro S – 336 miles
- Skoda Enyaq iV – 333 miles
- VW ID.4 – 323 miles
- Hyundai Kona – 300 miles
- Polestar 2 – 292 miles
- Jaguar I-Pace – 292 miles
- Porsche Taycan 4S 93kWh – 287 miles
- Kia e-Niro 64kWh – 282 miles
*available from Vanarama
Does Weather Affect Electric Car Range?
You might not know it but the outside temperature has an effect on how a car’s batteries can both charge and deploy the energy they hold.
If the temperature drops near to freezing or hits a real heat wave (above about 35 degrees Celsius) then the performance of the batteries can be affected and your range can drop with it. Studies show that sub-zero temperatures will reduce range by 12% on average.
Why? Because cooler temperatures slow down the chemical reactions needed to release electrical energy inside the batteries. This can lead to less output from your battery and hence less range.
However, modern cars are well equipped to deal with temperature variations thanks to onboard software that can monitor how your car is charging and even heat the batteries to improve their charging time.
So it’s just as likely that a range drop-off during cold weather is down to you turning the heater up!
There are, however, tips to running a car in cold weather that can help you go further.
What Happens If You Run Out Of Battery In An Electric Car?
If the very worst happens and you literally drive your EV until the battery is flat, what do you do next?
Well first of all, we REALLY don’t recommend you do it. And not just because no one enjoys sitting at the side of the road waiting for the breakdown truck.
Just like on your mobile phone, it’s not good for car batteries to be discharged to empty or ‘deep discharging’ as it is known. If you do it too often, then you can begin to damage the cells and permanently reduce their performance.
That’s why manufacturers advise that you always try and charge when your battery is down to about 10-20% – think of it like the orange light coming on your petrol gauge… Time for a top up.
Low Power Modes Kick In
Most new EVs will already have given you a polite nudge that it’s time to charge well before you get too low and will often be able to point you to the nearest network charger using the onboard satellite navigation.
But if, despite all offers of help, the worst case happens and you hit 0% on your gauge then modern EVs will eventually switch into low power modes that allow you to drive safely but slowly to a halt.
Then it’s time to call for roadside assistance and the good news here is that many electric cars come with free roadside assistance that will include a tow truck to take you safely to the nearest charging point.
It’s not something we recommend you try and use but it’s there if you need it! That said, it’s about as likely these days as running out of petrol or diesel.
Above All, Relax And Enjoy The Ride!
The reality is, electric car range anxiety is easily overcome with a modern EV and by applying the really simple tips we’ve given you to help get even better mileage from your new machine.
Sure, you’ll always be able to find some know-it-all who says electric cars won’t work in the cold. If you do, just ask them why Norway has bought more EVs per head than any other country on the planet? If electric cars work in Scandinavia, they are going to work just fine in Britain too.