Longest range electric cars
Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, but there’s one factor that often puts people off: ‘range anxiety’. The fear of running out of power before you’ve reached your destination is the single biggest barrier to going electric for many, with limited charging infrastructure in the UK making matters worse.
Fortunately, things are improving quickly with advances in technology continually pushing the boat out. Some electric cars are now capable of the kind of range you’d expect from petrol and diesel models on a single tank of fuel, with the promise of much lower running costs making them a far more tempting prospect.
To show just how capable the best electric cars are today, we’ve drawn up a list of the top 10 longest range electric cars that are either on sale right now or on the verge of arriving in showrooms.
However, be advised that this isn’t quite a definitive run-down: car manufacturers are in the process of moving from the old NEDC efficiency testing procedure to the latest WLTP one. The latter is meant to be more representative of real-world driving conditions, and therefore tends to produce lower range figures.
Most carmakers have made the switch, although others have used a formula to estimate their new WLTP figures based on existing data. With that in mind, we’ve chosen to keep things simple by stating the ‘official’ range claimed by each manufacturer, until the conversion to WLTP is complete across the industry.
However, the numbers should still give you an idea of how far the longest range electric cars will go between charges, and the benchmark is set to get higher and higher over the next few years…
10. Renault ZOE - 186 miles (WLTP)
The Renault ZOE is one of the most affordable electric cars on sale, and its 186-mile range from a 40kWh battery makes it a great package as an everyday runabout. The quickest it will charge is 22kW, meaning a 0-80% top-up on a public rapid charger will take just over an hour and a half. An updated ZOE is due to arrive later in 2019. Read our full review.
9. BMW i3 - 193 miles (WLTP)
It’s not pretty, but the BMW i3 still somehow manages to be a trendy little car. An updated version with a 42kWh battery arrived at the end of 2018, increasing the car’s range to 193 miles. And despite the i3 approaching the end of what would be a conventional, seven-year lifecycle, the company says further improvements are planned. Read our full review.
8. Nissan Leaf e+ - 239 miles (WLTP)
Nissan’s offering was in danger of falling behind its rivals, but the introduction of a larger, 62kWh battery in the new top-spec e+ model has galvanized the Leaf. It now boasts 239 miles of range, and still looks like an affordable prospect for families. In March 2019 it became the first electric car ever to surpass 400,000 sales; the company expects to exceed half a million in 2020. Read our full review.
7. Audi e-tron - 248 miles (WLTP)
Audi’s first fully electric car is the firm’s answer to the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X. With prices starting in the region of £70,000 it certainly isn’t cheap, although the 248-mile range from its 95kWh battery should help minimise any reliance on rapid chargers. It’s capable of charging speeds of up to 150kW too, so it’ll be ready when such infrastructure is rolled out in the UK. Read our full review.
6. Hyundai Kona Electric - 279 miles (WLTP)
The Kona Electric was one of the most exciting cars on sale when it came out, because it delivered the kind of range that had previously only been achieved by high-end, premium vehicles. There are two versions: one with a 39kWh battery and another with a 64kWh unit: the latter delivers 279 miles of range. It’s a shame that it’s sold out in the UK for the rest of 2019. Read our full review.
5. Kia Soul EV - 280 miles (WLTP)
The new Kia Soul EV is set to arrive in the UK at the end of 2019, replacing the second-generation model that’s no longer on sale. Using the same 64kWh battery found in the Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, it will officially return 280 miles of range, while its 201bhp electric motor delivers a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds. Read our full review.
4. Kia e-Niro - 282 miles (WLTP)
The Kia e-Niro is our 2019 Car of the Year, and it’s easy to see why: it’s practical, affordable, and the 282-mile range is one of the best you can get from an electric car right now. However, like the Kona Electric (with which the e-Niro shares a drivetrain), this compact family SUV is sold out in the UK for the rest of 2019. A waiting list is already in operation for sales in 2020, such is the e-Niro’s popularity. Read our full review.
3. Jaguar I-Pace - 292 miles (WLTP)
The Jaguar I-Pace has swept up several accolades since its launch, earning our ‘Best large electric car’ prize at the 2019 DrivingElectric Awards, as well as the prestigious 2019 World Car of the Year gong. The I-Pace has it all: performance is rapid with a 0-62mph figure of 4.5 seconds, while 292 miles of range is squeezed from the 90kWh battery. It looks spectacular, too. Read our full review.
2. Tesla Model X Long Range - 315 miles (WLTP estimate)
The Tesla Model X has undergone several line-up changes lately, but in April 2019 Elon Musk’s company announced significant improvements to the drivetrain in order to boost performance and range. The Model X Long Range - as the name suggests - has the longest range of the current variants, with Tesla estimating a return of 315 miles from its 100kWh battery when WLTP testing is completed. Read our full review.
1. Tesla Model S Long Range - 375 miles (WLTP estimate)
The gap to the competition has been narrowing lately, but the Tesla Model S remains the longest-range electric car on sale today. And updates announced in April 2019 have boosted the Model S’s range again, with the Long Range model predicted to return around 375 miles from Tesla’s 100kWh battery. Using a Tesla Supercharger, the Model S should achieve a 0-80% top-up in around 40 minutes. Read our full review.