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How Far Can An Electric Car Go On One Charge?

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As prices of electric vehicles decrease and charging stations become more prevalent, many eco-conscious individuals are now considering purchasing an electric vehicle. In fact, it is expected that by the year 2030, a massive 145 million electric cars will be on roads around the world.

Before buying an electric vehicle, or what many now call an EV, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs; for example, how far can an EV travel on one charge. After all, nobody wants to run out of power when they’re mid-journey.

This question, and not knowing the answer to it, is one of the reasons many choose not to invest in such a vehicle, often due to the misconceptions surrounding it. 

However, most electric vehicle owners don’t run into any problems in terms of the range of their vehicles.

In this article, we address key questions surrounding range, charge, costs and various other factors - all of which will put your mind at rest when it comes to range, what affects it and how you extend it to ensure your EV operates at its full potential.

What Is The Average Range An Electric Car Can Drive on a Single Charge?

In terms of an EV’s range and an overview, the following figures will give you an idea of the shortest and longest ranges available on the market right now, based on stats taken from the Electric Vehicle Database

  • Shortest range: 95 km (59 miles - Smart EQ fourfour)
  • Average range: 322 km (200 miles)
  • Longest range: 640 km (398 miles - Mercedes EQS 450+)

When electric cars were first introduced to the market, one of the most prevalent EVs, the Nissan LEAF, boasted a range of around 109 miles. Today’s Nissan LEAF offers an impressive 285 miles.

Other popular models include the all-new Volkswagen ID.3 Tour, Hyundai Kona and Kia EV6 (all of these models come with a pocket-friendly price tag) with batteries that offer a range between 186-300 miles on a single charge.

The main reason for this improved range? 

The improvement of battery technology has made most EV batteries more affordable and more powerful.

When designing and producing an EV, batteries are one of the most costly components. Thankfully, their price tag has dropped dramatically over the last ten years. These lower-priced batteries ultimately equate to more cost-efficient EVs and a longer mileage. 

Factors That Affect How Far An Electric Car Can Go On One Charge

Battery size, although important, isn’t the sole thing that affects the range of an EV. 

The faster you drive, your acceleration rate, whether you ramp up your heater or AC regularly, and the outside temperature all affect the distance you can travel on a single charge.

Battery size

Usually, the larger the battery’s capacity, the longer the vehicle’s range on a single charge. 

However, a bigger battery often means a heavier car and this is often why smaller EVs such as the Honda e or Mini Electric will have smaller batteries fitted, given that the weight of the car also affects it’s range.

Your driving style

The more you accelerate, and the faster you drive, the faster your EV battery will drain. 

This is one reason why it’s important to drive consistently, given that this can affect the range.

Regenerative braking

Regenerative braking is when the wasted kinetic energy from slowing down the car by braking is used to add charge to the car’s battery.

This otherwise wasted energy is sent back to the battery and becomes usable power. In simple terms, braking in an electric vehicle regenerates power and can contribute to an increased range.

Temperature

Did you know that the outside temperature can affect an EV’s range? 

EV owners can expect to experience a 20-30% drop in range during the winter, and the optimum temperature for an EV is between 15 and 35 degrees celsius. 

Below this, the lithium ions in the battery slow down and reduce the amount of power they provide, and similarly too high temperatures can increase the speed of reactions, causing the battery to degrade faster

Charging habits

Should you charge your electric car every night? The simple answer is no. 

Charging your battery each day can lessen its lifespan. Read your car’s handbook or user manual to determine how to charge your battery for the best results.

How Is An Electric Car's Range Calculated?

To calculate your car’s range, divide the power used by the distance travelled and times this figure by the battery’s remaining charge. 

This equates to the distance to fully drain your electric vehicle’s battery. 

How To Maximise The Range Of Your Electric Car

Even though current electric vehicles have, on average, a range of over 200 miles when fully charged, range anxiety still undoubtedly exists amongst EV owners, especially first-time owners.

Many will find they drive with an eye on the vehicle’s state-of-charge gauge and the range, which can be hugely nerve-wracking.

But it’s understandable.

The last thing you want is to end up with a depleted battery, stranded on the roadside.

Here are our top tips for maximising your car’s range:

Switch on Eco mode

The “Eco” mode is a driving mode that can be adjusted on most electric vehicles. The aim of this mode is to lower energy usage by reducing engine power.

This mode is ideal for daily trips, such as popping to the shops or going to work and back, where you don’t need as much power from the engine.

Tyre pressure

It has been suggested that over 25% of vehicles have improperly inflated tyres, and having underinflated tyres lead to higher rolling resistance and poorer battery economy. 

Ensuring your tyres are properly inflated can increase your EV range from 3-5%

Keep your battery between 20 and 80% charged

When your electric car is parked, whether that’s at home, work or even down the local shops where there’s a charger available, it isn’t necessary to place it on charge every single time.

This is down to the fact that most electric vehicle batteries will begin to self-discharge once fully charged. Perfectly timing the charging period may help you recover a few extra range miles.

Doing so will ensure the battery is at top strength before hitting the road. As well as the current range, this method is beneficial to the battery’s health in the long run, and it can save you money if your electricity supplier boasts a lesser rate for off-peak electric usage.

Remove anything non-essential from the outside of your car

You may want to refrain from permanently installing external accessories such as cargo carriers and roof racks on your electric vehicle. The aerodynamic drag of these items can result in unwanted, added energy consumption, especially when driving at higher speeds.

Don't drive too fast

Whenever possible, aim to ensure your electric car's speed is under 60 mph as this will help prolong the lifespan and range of the battery.

Maintaining a lower speed can result in using a reported 14% less energy, even when lowering it by just 10 mph. If your electric vehicle boasts an “Eco” mode, use it when engaging with a more gentle acceleration.

Similarly, keep your sports mode switched off when it isn’t needed.

Reduce the weight

The heavier the car, the more battery power your vehicle will use. 

As most skilled automotive engineers will tell you, lowering your vehicle’s weight is the best and most efficient way to heighten its efficiency, so removing unwanted items from your car is a prime way to increase the range you get.

Turn off the AC

Using the air conditioning runs down the battery’s life at a faster rate. Try using the fan over the compressor, or better still, keep the windows down if necessary.

But always remember that driving with your windows down can strain your vehicle’s aerodynamics at higher speeds, resulting in less operating range. 

However, using the car's aircon will still deplete electric car batteries faster than driving with open windows. Where possible, parking in the shade or a covered area will reduce the car's interior temperature and keep it cool while charging.

How Does An Electric Vehicle's Range Change Over Time?

There is a type of wear that can cause the battery’s capacity harm over time, as such affect the vehicle’s range.

This is usually down to successive charging cycles. This is why the battery’s capacity, and the range it boasts, lessens throughout the years.

FAQs

How long does it take to fully charge an electric car?

A standard EV with a 60kWh battery can be charged in under eight hours. This is based on charging an empty battery using a charging point of 7kWs.

However, it is usually less to charge an electric car, as most electric car drivers will top up their charge before it is empty. For most electric cars, you can increase the range by up to 100 miles in just 35 minutes when using a rapid electric vehicle charger of 50kW.

Which electric car has the longest range?

The Mercedes EQS 450+ has the furthest range, boasting 398 miles. Second to this comes the Tesla Model S Long Range, promising 364 miles between charges. 

What is Distance to Empty (DTE)?

The DTE or Distance to Empty showcases the average distance the EV can travel before running out of fuel.

The DTE is displayed upon the mounted instrument cluster, which sits in a central position on the LCD and is revealed throughout ignition ON or engine RUN modes.

How often do you charge an electric car?

Most electric car suppliers state you should stick between 20-80% in terms of battery charge. This, however, is determined by your specific driving habits. Most owners find that they will plug their EV in to charge a couple of times a week.

Final Thoughts

An EV is an excellent investment for the eco-conscious and the perfect alternative to petrol and diesel cars. However, many have range anxiety when first investing in an EV.

The range of an EV is something that’s usually the highest priority for motorists but also something that causes the most confusion when considering the available options. 

Why? 

Range (or the perceived range) is one of the most common reasons why people don’t switch to an EV, as they believe they will run out of battery and be left stranded by the road. But as batteries improve and reduce in cost, the range continues to increase. 

To ensure you choose the right electric car for you, ask yourself questions such as: “Which electric car has the greatest range?” “What’s the standard EV range?” and “Which electric car features the shortest range?”. Considering the answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of what’s available in today’s EV market, and help you to pinpoint which model suits your needs. 

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