Electric Cars for Range

One of the biggest concerns we hear from people about all-electric cars is the range. How far can an electric vehicle go before it runs out of charge? Will you be stranded somewhere on a country road with an empty battery, or in unexpected traffic? We've analysed the cars in the market and found the best models offering the longest range. We also discuss how to interpret the misleading NEDC ranges published on car marketing materials. To learn more about extending range, see our article on Top 5 Tips to Maximize Electric Car Range.

Longest Range All-Electric Car

Tesla S 100D

Key Features

  • 340-mile range
  • £90,000 starting price
  • 894 litres of boot space
  • 100kWh battery
  • 0 - 60 mph in 4.1 seconds

The Tesla S 100D offers, by far, the longest range of any all-electric car in the market. While stated NEDC ranges of 393 are unattainable under normal driving conditions, you can expect to get around 340 miles out of a full charge. The large 100kWh battery offers more than twice the range of competing all-electric car makes. This type of range doesn't come cheap though. The 100D will leave a £90,000 hole in your finances

Affordable Long Range All-Electric Car

Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 R90

Key Features

  • 155-mile range
  • £23,770 on-the-road starting price
  • Battery hire from £59/month, mileage dependent
  • 0 - 62 mph in 13.5 seconds
  • 41 kWh battery
  • £18,170 starting price without battery
  • 338 litres of boot space

The Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 R90 is the best all-electric car for both range and affordability. While the stated NEDC range is 250 miles, expect to get a realistic range of 186 miles in summer and 124 miles in winter, for an average of 155 miles per full charge.

You can get the Dynamique for a starting on-the-road price of £18,170 if you hire the battery. Then you'll pay £59-£110 per month for the battery hire. Hiring the battery brings the upfront cost down and also provides optionality for upgrading the battery in the future. Buying the battery outright will bump up the price to £23,770. For an additional £2,250 you can upgrade to the Signature model, which adds to following features: Bose sound, TomTom Live navigation, Bluetooth hands-free calls and voice control, rear view reversing camera, heated front seats, etc.

Understanding NEDC Ranges: What is the Real-Life Range?

When you're looking at electric car ranges online or in marketing materials, you'll see that most often the range shown is an "NEDC range." NEDC stands for New European Driving Cycle and is used for calculating car emissions, fuel/electricity consumption and range of electric cars. Beware that these NEDC ranges are widely criticized as being unattainable in real life. Expected ranges can be up to 40% shorter, or more, depending on conditions and driving style. You can learn more in our article about Average Electric Car Ranges

NEDC ranges are determined after testing in ideal conditions. There are loopholes that car companies can use to get a higher range result, such as performing the test with:

  • Low accelerations
  • Heated windows off
  • Optional economy settings switched on
  • Constant speed
  • Passenger door-mirror removed
  • Low speed (no sustained motorway driving)
  • Air conditioning off
  • Tyre-pressures can be set higher than recommended

How far will your all-electric car go?

Most electric cars can drive between 100 and 150 miles on a single charge. Range depends on many factors, such as battery capacity, temperature and driving style (e.g., quick accelerations will use more battery, just like they use more petrol in a traditional car). We researched estimated real-life driving ranges for the all-electric vehicles in the UK market. Where possible we found data on official car websites. Where not available, we surveyed car dealers to get the information. Remember, these are just estimates.

In the table below we show the summer, winter and overall real-life ranges, as well as the NEDC range and the percentage of overall range to NEDC range. ~On average, you'll only achieve about 60% of the stated NEDC ranges.

Summer RangeWinter RangeOverall RangeNEDC RangeReal-Life Range/NEDC Range
Nissan Leaf 24 kWh90708012465%
Renault Zoe 22kW R90106718914960%
BMW i3 90Ah13211112519564%
Nissan Leaf 30 kWh14012013015584%
Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 Q90 Quick Charge17411214325057%
Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 R9018612415523067%
Tesla S 7521420621038555%
Tesla S 75D23522523039558%
Tesla S P100D30629430048562%
Tesla S 100D34733334050567%
Average193167 ****180** 287 64%**

In the chart below, we show the estimated real-life ranges you can expect for UK all-electric cars.

estimated ranges for all electric cars
How Far Can You Drive?