Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006
electric cars

Electric Car Range

Find answers to your questions about electric car range…

What is the driving range of an electric car?

The range of electric cars varies considerably depending on the size of the battery. The latest plug-in hybrids will commonly have a pure electric range of 20-50 miles before transferring to running on the petrol or diesel engine. Modern pure electric cars can achieve ranges of 100-400 miles before requiring recharging.

The new WLTP energy consumption figures are more accurate and give a good idea of real-world summer ranges, but be aware that electric cars use more power in winter if the heating is on, so always check the winter range is sufficient. Most manufacturers provide real-world range estimates, in addition to the official WLTP range that they are required to publish, to give you a better idea of the range in different conditions and speeds.

The driving range of a typical electric vehicle on sale today exceeds the daily mileage of more than 95% of vehicle journeys in the UK. For longer journeys, public charging points (including rapid chargers, which can charge an electric car to 80% from empty in around 20-30 minutes) can be used. However, with real-world ranges of 177 miles and 279 miles on £30,000 electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF and Hyundai Kona respectively, many medium to long range journeys can be achieved without charging midway.

The key to thinking about electric car range isn’t your weekly mileage but rather thinking about how far you will normally travel between charging opportunities. If you drive a petrol or diesel car you might think about how many miles you can get out of a tank. If you can currently drive 400 miles between filling up once a week it’s tempting to think that you need a 400 mile range in your EV. However if your 400 miles a week are made up of driving 50 miles a day, and you can recharge every day, a 100 mile range will be fine. You may be able to recharge at home, at your workplace, at a shopping centre, or on route. With more than 30,000 public charge points in the UK you’re likely to find one that fits in with your daily routine.

For longer trips you can either make use of the rapid charger network which will give you a quick top-up, or if longer trips are very occasional, how about hiring a car? Alternatively a plug-in hybrid might meet your needs perfectly.

Does the payload affect range in electric vans?

Studies have shown that payload can have a significant effect on the range of electric vans, with a fully laden vehicle losing almost 50% of its available range.

However, as the typical payload for most uses is nearer 50%, a much smaller range reduction would occur. Most electric vans are currently popular for urban delivery solutions, with generally shorter journeys, therefore the potential loss of range will be less of an issue.