Electric Car Ranges in the Real World

The range estimates of electric vehicles (EVs) are often different (sometimes vastly so) then the range that drivers can expect to get from their vehicle in the real world. In many cases, the actual range of your car is unlikely to match its rating – it’s not unusual to find that certain models achieve much more or less mileage than estimates would have you believe.

The range figures often quoted by manufacturers are usually derived from three testing standards:

  • NEDC (New European Driving Cycle)
  • WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure)
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

With the US sharing similar conditions and driving patterns to Australia, many Australian drivers and car dealers look to EPA quoted range figures for their vehicles when researching and figuring out what ranges are achievable here. NEDC ranges are often regarded as being approximately 30% too high for real-world driving conditions in Australia, whilst the general advice is to subtract around 10%.

The Test Procedure

So how are range numbers formulated in the first place?

When looking at EPA ranges, cars are tested by being charged and left indoors overnight. The following day they are placed on a dynamometer and run through a series of simulations of city and highway driving. Once the car’s battery is depleted, they are fully recharged with the time to recharge and the amount of electricity required being carefully measured to find out how efficient the car is.

Unsurprisingly, laboratory conditions rarely match real life driving conditions and so ranges are not often an accurate reflection of what you can expect from your car. Factors like climate, accessory use and high speed driving can lower the range you can expect from a vehicle significantly when driving it in the real world.

Real-World Matters

Whilst there’s no doubt range estimates can vary wildly when compared to reality, Australian’s have less reason to suffer from range anxiety than ever before. Battery technology and charging infrastructure has rapidly improved and EVs are now a viable replacement in Australia for traditional combustion engine cars. Research on Australian driving habits suggest that most people commute on average around 40km each day and with most EV models easily achieving ranges of more than 200 km’s between charges its feasible that drivers might get through an entire working week without needing a recharge.

That being said, in a country of huge distances driving ranges are still a valid concern, especially since uptake on infrastructure has been much slower than in other countries. Nobody wants to run out of battery on a long drive.

To help demonstrate how range estimates and real-world performance differs, we’ve summarised the comparison of the range of estimate of a number of popular EVs with their actual ranges when they were test driven. It’s interesting to note that some models exceed estimates, whilst others fall short and although results will always be different depending on real-world conditions, it’s useful to see the range of variation for some of the popular EV models on the market.


Range Estimate

Real-World Range

Hyundai Kona Electric

415 km (EPA)

417 km

Jaguar i-Pace

377 km (EPA)

407 km

Kia Niro EV

385 km (EPA)

407 km

Tesla Model 3 Performance

481 km (EPA)

385 km

Tesla Model X P100D

375 km (EPA)

465 km

Nissan LEAF e+

364 km (EPA)

349 km

Mercedes-Benz EQC,

416 km (WLTP)

335 km

Tesla Model S 75kWh

417 km (EPA)

328 km

Audi e-Tron

328 km (EPA)

315 km

Renault ZOE R135

383 km (WLTP)

309 km

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

402 km (EPA)

291 km

BMW i3 120Ah

246 km

266 km

(Source: Autocar)

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