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MPG for electric vehicles

Last updated 11/15/2018

Miles per gallon for electric vehicles (MPGe, or “miles per gallon equivalent”) places a value on your car’s energy efficiency. A higher MPGe indicates a higher energy efficiency rating; a lower MPGe indicates a lower rating. MPGe is independent of factors such as range and battery life, so it remains important to examine your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

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Typical electric car MPGe ratings

What can you expect for your electric vehicle’s efficiency? Below are the MPGe ratings for some of the top EVs on the market.

MPGe of popular electric cars

Electric car model (base level) Efficiency (miles per gallon equivalent)
Nissan Leaf 114 MPGe
Chevrolet Bolt 119 MPGe
Tesla Model S 99 MPGe
Tesla Model X 92 MPGe

A higher efficiency rating will mean lower electricity costs per mile. Of the above vehicles, the Chevy Bolt boasts the highest efficiency rating. The Tesla Model X has the lowest efficiency of the list, with a rating that is 26 MPGe lower than the Bolt. This means that, completely separate from range, horsepower, or any other metric of comparison, you would end up paying less per mile to drive a car like the Bolt than a car like the Model X.

Interestingly, the cars generally seen as the highest quality (both Tesla models) have the lowest efficiency ratings. This might come from higher internal energy usage in the Tesla vehicles, as they are known to have some of the most robust software running within. It could also be a factor of vehicle weight. As you look into purchasing an electric vehicle, it is important to keep in mind the impact certain features (or lack thereof) of the car will have on statistics such as MPGe.

Maximizing your electric car’s MPGe

How can you get the highest efficiency out of your electric vehicle? Like traditional cars, driving style and habits can affect how far you can travel before refueling, and how efficiently your car uses its fuel. Here are several recommendations for getting the most out of your vehicle’s battery, as suggested by the U.S. Department of Energy. These tips will help to improve both range and MPGe.

Use accessories wisely. Using features of a car like air conditioning and media systems impacts EV range greatly. Instead of using the cabin heater, try using seat warmers to maximize your efficiency.

Use the economy mode. Electric cars commonly come with an “economy mode”, which will automatically try to save battery life by reducing energy use around the vehicle.

Plan ahead. If you need to climate control your car, consider pre-heating or pre-cooling while it is still plugged in to avoid excess power usage on the road.

Anticipate braking and avoid hard braking. Hard braking circumvents the EV’s regenerative braking system, and wastes energy. By braking more gradually, you charge your battery on the go.

Follow the speed limit. Vehicle efficiency is known to decrease rapidly above 50 miles per hour.

Lastly, you can also improve your car’s efficiency by removing excess weight and keeping your tires inflated properly. These practices can help you to maximize your electric vehicle efficiency, saving you money and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

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