What is the electric car with the best range? Different models of electric vehicles claim different driving ranges or how far one full battery charge will get you (miles per charge). Knowing an electric vehicle's range is essential for planning purposes. If a car has a range shorter than the distance you might drive on average, that car may not be the correct choice for your lifestyle.
To get an idea of the ranges you might see when shopping for an electric vehicle, we will compare ranges of some of the top EV options: the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, and two Tesla vehicles (Model Y and Model X). For comparison, each car being considered is the basic, entry-level version of that vehicle model of the most recent model year. Many manufacturers offer upgraded options that have a longer range.
Electric Car Model (base Level)
Range (miles Per Charge)
|Nissan Leaf||150 miles|
|Chevrolet Bolt||247 miles|
|Tesla Model Y||279 miles|
|Tesla Model X||348 miles|
Like conventional combustion engine cars have different gas tank sizes and miles-per-gallon ratings (leading to differing full-tank ranges), EVs vary widely on the distance they can travel on a fully charged battery. The Tesla Model X has the best range rating of the above vehicles, meaning it will travel the farthest on one battery charge. The Bolt and the Model Y have slightly lower ranges, and the Leaf comes in with less than half the range of any other vehicle.
Electric cars with a higher range tend to be more expensive, so it's important to consider your driving habits when shopping. If you plan on making long commutes, a car with a relatively low driving range, like the Nissan Leaf, may not be the best choice. Instead, you might want to look into higher-range vehicles like a Tesla or the Chevy Bolt. Conversely, suppose you have a quicker commute to work or are looking for a car to run errands around town; a vehicle like the Leaf may be a more economical and logical purchase. In that case, it has a lower price tag and a more modest range rating, while EVs with a higher range may be unnecessary.
Additionally, it is always important to consider EV charging station locations when buying an electric car. Charging stations can be a limiting factor in where you take your vehicle. If you live in an area with abundant charging stations, a lower-range car would make for an intelligent purchase, as the battery range would be less limiting. For those who don't live in an area with charging stations, your options are more limited, as you need significantly more driving range to survive without constantly being able to recharge.
How can you get the most travel distance out of your electric vehicle? Like traditional cars, driving style and habits can affect how long you can last before refueling. 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 car features like air conditioning and media systems impacts EV range significantly. Instead of using the cabin heater, use seat warmers to maximize your range.
Use the economy mode. Electric cars commonly come with an "economy mode," which will automatically try and 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, reducing the range you can travel.
Aside from the above, you can improve your car's range by removing excess weight and properly inflating your tires. These practices can help you maximize your electric vehicle range, saving money and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.