How to compare electric vehicles: EV buyer's guide
Last updated 11/21/2019
Choosing the right electric vehicle can be difficult, and electric vehicle comparison isn’t always straightforward. In order to choose the best EV option, these are some essential comparison points you will want to consider.
Electric car range
An electric vehicle’s range refers to the distance it can drive on a single full battery charge. In traditional combustion engine vehicles, this number is equivalent to the range of a full tank of gas. Knowing your EV range is important for mostly geographical reasons. Depending on your commute to work, school, or wherever you need to go, you will need a certain vehicle range to get you there. Additionally, depending on the availability of charging stations near your home, choosing a car with the right range to safely get you between stations is essential.
Learn more about the range of popular electric cars on the market in our electric vehicle range comparison guide.
Miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe)
When electric vehicle manufacturers talk about miles per gallon (MPG), they aren’t referring to the classic definition of MPG, as all-electric vehicles don’t run on gallons of gasoline. Instead, the metric MPGe is used. MPGe, or “miles per gallon equivalent,” puts a value on the distance an electric vehicle can travel on the electricity equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. That is, a gallon of gasoline can generate a certain amount of energy when burned, and the distance an electric vehicle can travel on that same amount of energy is its MPGe rating. Higher MPGe ratings correlate to higher vehicle efficiency, and thus lower electricity usage and environmental impact.
Learn more about the relative efficiency of popular electric cars on the market in our electric vehicle MPGe comparison guide.
Battery life and warranties
Like any battery-powered electronic device, electric vehicle batteries don’t have an unlimited lifespan. As a battery ages it degrades, and thus will hold less charge when “full.” High temperatures and overcharging, among other factors, contribute to faster battery degradation over time.
Most electric vehicles come with a battery performance warranty, generally guaranteeing anywhere between five and eight years of use, or around 100,000 miles of driving with the car battery maintaining above a certain percent of its original capacity. Depending on how much you drive and how long you plan on owning your vehicle, warranties on battery life and degradation are an important metric to consider.
Learn more about the battery life and warranties of popular electric cars on the market in our electric vehicle battery life & warranty comparison guide.
Perhaps the most obvious metric of electric vehicle comparison is price. Depending on the above attributes, along with many other factors and vehicle specifications, manufacturers determine the price they offer to consumers for their product. It is important to determine what you’re paying for in each vehicle you consider, and to determine what paying more or less money will or won’t get you in your car.
Learn more about popular electric cars on the market in our electric vehicle manufacturer guide.