Although the buzz around electric cars only started last decade, they have already been around much earlier. The first e-car was built in 1832, but it wasn't practical at the time. It took a while to perfect the electric car technology. Today, you can find electric cars in almost any make.
Although these cars come with different features, one key element that has always been debated is their range. Sure, other things such as battery and charging technology matter, but the question that is often raised is how far one can go between top-ups.
Carmakers estimate the range based on tests, but this is not always realisable in everyday driving conditions.
WLTP, EPA, and NEDC: What's the Difference?
The automakers’ official ranges are usually calculated via testing in an environment regulated by the worldwide harmonised light vehicle test procedure guidelines. These are referred to as WLTP ranges.
The WLTP came into force in 2017, replacing the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) that was established in the 80s. Although both WLTP and NEDC use controlled environments to determine the range, the former is more realistic because it factors in real-driving data collected from around the world. It also accounts for other aspects such as gearshifts, road types, and other actions that happen in normal driving conditions.
However, it doesn’t consider variables such as traffic, driving styles, and weather conditions. This is why there are discrepancies between the WLTP and real-world ranges occasionally.
In the United States, a different body called the Environmental Protection Agency calculates the range and fuel economy of electric vehicles. EPA ratings are popular in cars from automakers based in the US, whereas the WLTP ratings are common in Europe.
The 10 Electric Cars with the Longest Range
As you read through this article, keep in mind that the ranges listed are only estimates from the automakers.
Tesla Model S Long Range Plus
The Model S long-range battery EV from California-based automaker Tesla has the longest range currently. The car has an EPA range of 402 miles (NEDC range 722 km) and a top speed of 250km/h after Tesla updated its drive units in April this year. Tesla claims that the Model S long-range can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds.
The car's real-world approximate range, however, stands at about 325 miles (523 km). Although the Model S Long Range has been in the market for a while now, it remains to be one of the best performing electric cars. The Performance variant from the same line has an EPA range of 387 miles (NEDC range 704 km) and only needs 2.5 seconds to move from 0 to 100km/h.
Tesla Model X Long Range
Following the Model S and Model 3 long range variants is another EV from Tesla. It has an EPA range rating of 371 miles (NEDC range 633 km) and a top speed of 250km/h. The car can move from 0 to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds.
It is often left out in discussions involving range because of its SUV body. The Performance variant of the Model X has a slightly shorter range of 619 km and a longer acceleration time of 2.8 seconds from 0 to 100km/h.
Tesla Model 3 Long Range
Tesla's Model 3 long-range EV has an EPA range of 353 miles (NEDC range 657 km) and a top speed of 233km/h. According to Tesla, the car can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds. Its Performance variant boasts of an estimated range of 628km and a higher top speed of 261 km/h.
As of March this year, the Model 3 is the best-selling electric vehicle worldwide in history with over 500,000 units having been delivered. It was also the highest-selling plug-in worldwide in 2018 and 2019. It has ranked highly in other markets such as Europe, making Tesla the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles with the longest range.
The Jaguar I-Pace is the first all-electric SUV from Jaguar. It boasts of a WLTP cycle of 470 km and an acceleration of 0 to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. The all-wheel-drive car has won several awards since hitting the market, including the World Car of the Year (WCOTY) in 2019.
Jaguar entered the EV world in an unconventional way with an all-electric offering. This was unlike other automakers that made their first step into the EV world with hybrids before moving to all-electrics. The automaker has managed to compete with Tesla despite lacking its own charging network.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric might be a small SUV but don’t be fooled. It delivers an excellent performance that includes an electric driving range of up to 449km. The Kona Electric uses the same all-electric drivetrain as the Kia e-Niro except for a shorter range. Its 365-volt electric motor has maximum power and torque of 150kW and 395 Nm and comes with a 5-year warranty and a further 3 years on the battery.
Renault Zoe R135
The Renault Zoe is a five-door supermini car that entered the market late in 2012. It has been the all-time highest-selling fully-electric car in the French market where Renault is based since 2013. It was the top-selling electric car in Europe for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016. The Zoe R-135 announced in 2019 has a 55kWh battery and a 100kW motor. The new model has a WLTP range of 245 miles (394 km).
The Niro EV is an affordable SUV from Kia with an estimated EPA range of 239 miles (384 km). It is available in two trim levels - the EX and EX Premium. It features a tech that Kia calls Lane Follow Assist, which controls the accelerator and brakes in congested stop-start traffic situations to tread on the heels of the car in front. It comes with a seven-year warranty. The Kia Niro shares the same powertrain as Hyundai Kona Electric.
Nissan Leaf e+
The Nissan Leaf has been around for some time now even longer than the Tesla Model S by two years. Its second-gen was released in 2017, and after its latest update, the vehicle can now deliver an estimated range of 239 miles (384 km). The long-range model, dubbed e+, is one of the most popular electric cars. It was the first EV to sell over 400,000 units globally.
The EQC entry may surprise many considering how it looks, but hey, looks don't tell everything. The SUV is based on the Generation EQ concept and was unveiled in September 2018. It packs an 80kWh battery and features two asynchronous electric motors.
The motors fitted on the front and rear axle deliver 300kW of power. The EQC has a top speed of 180km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 100km/hr in 5 seconds. WLTP estimates its range to be 220 miles (354 km).
The e-Tron was the first fully-electric crossover SUV by Audi. It was unveiled as a concept car before being launched officially in 2019. It packs a 95kWh battery and has a power and torque output of 300kW and 664Nm respectively.
The e-Tron has a top speed of 200km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds. It has a current EPA range of 222 miles (357km) that was updated from 204 miles. A sportback variant that will reportedly have a range of 218 miles (351km) is in the works this year.
By Sam O.