Why can’t I get better range from my electric car?

Jaguar I-Pace owner asks why he can't get close to the official or real-world range for his car...

Jaguar I-Pace charging

You claim that a Jaguar I-Pace can do up to 292 miles on a full charge. I have owned an I-Pace for six months, and it never gets above 240miles on a full charge.

I have taken it back to the dealer three times because, until the latest return, the best it could do was 225miles. The dealer always gets the range up to about 245 miles, but it slowly goes back to around 225 or less. They claim 225 or so is not bad, so how do you claim 292? 

Anthony Morse

What Car? says...

The official range of the i-Pace is 292 miles, however, in our more realistic tests we managed 253 miles, which is similar to the range your dealer is getting.

Our Real Range range testing is a more accurate indicator of the range you're likely to get because all driving is done at What Car?’s private test track, so traffic conditions don’t affect the result. The 19.4-mile test route simulates a mix of stop-start urban traffic, rural roads and motorways. The route is driven twice for cars with batteries that accepted more than 60kWh during the preparation stage and three times for cars with batteries that accepted more than 100kWh. We follow the same strict regime for every test so the results are comparable. 

There are a number of factors that could be adversely affecting your car's range, including the type of roads you drive on, whether you drive in traffic and what speed you are doing. We'd recommend that you try out some some eco-driving methods as this could improve your car's range by 10 percent.

Plan ahead while driving so that you keep the car moving as much as possible and use the brakes infrequently, instead letting the car's regenerative braking system slow the car down. Press the accelerator gently rather than putting your foot to the floor. Use the car's aircon system sparingly and stick to speed limits; driving a conventionally engined car at 70 rather than 80mph is estimated to save one litre of fuel every 20 miles, so it's sure to help improve your electric car's range. 

What Car? Real Range: which electric car can go farthest in the real world?

Many electric car owners find that they can't match the official range figures printed in brochures, because these are often unrealistic. That's why What Car? conducts its own real-world range tests – called Real Range – so we can give you a figure that's both achievable and repeatable, so you can be confident how far your electric car will go between charges. Here we count down the results we've collected so far, from worst to best.

20. Smart Forfour EQ

Smart Fourfour EQ
  • Real Range 57 miles
  • Miles per kWh 2.9
  • Full charge cost £2.42*
  • Cost per mile £0.042

With an 80bhp electric motor, the Forfour EQ feels much quicker than its 0-62mph time of 12.7sec would suggest. Plus, it handles well because the bulk of its weight is positioned lower down than in the petrol models.

Sadly, the electric ForFour travelled just 57 miles between charges – the smallest Real Range figure of any car we’ve tested.

19. Smart Fortwo EQ Cabrio

Smart Fortwo EQ Cabrio
  • Real Range 59 miles
  • Miles per kWh 2.9
  • Full charge cost £2.43
  • Cost per mile £0.042

The two-seater Fortwo travelled two miles farther than the four-seater Forfour, but range anxiety is still likely to be a major problem.

It’s a shame, because the EQ is cheaper to run and more composed than any conventional Fortwo.

Read our full Smart ForTwo EQ review

18. Volkswagen e-Up

Volkswagen e-Up
  • Real Range 66 miles
  • Miles per kWh 3.5
  • Full charge cost £2.28
  • Cost per mile £0.035

Volkswagen’s smallest electric car is a version of the Up city car, meaning it’s great to drive and smart inside, but not all that roomy.

The e-Up is also a lot more expensive than its petrol-engined sisters, despite having a very limited range.

Read our full Volkswagen e-Up review

=16. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  • Real Range 181 miles
  • Miles per kWh 3.9
  • Full charge cost £3.57
  • Cost per mile £0.030

The Ioniq is really three cars in one; it’s available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric car. In the latter form it has a Real Range of just 117 miles, but enough torque to make for brisk acceleration around town.

The Ioniq also benefits from a smart interior, and our recommended Premium trim gets sat-nav and heated front seats as standard. However, the ride is unsettled at low speeds.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review or see how much we could save you on an Ioniq

=16. Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf front - 19 plate
  • Real Range 117 miles
  • Miles per kWh 3.3
  • Full charge cost £4.27
  • Cost per mile £0.036

Unlike purpose-built electric car rivals such as the Nissan Leaf, the e-Golf is based on a conventional hatchback. However, this is no bad thing because it means it has most of the good points of the regular Golf, along with greatly reduced running costs.

What lets the e-Golf down is the distance it can go on a full charge, with it limited to the same 117 miles as the Ioniq in real-world driving.

Read our full Volkswagen e-Golf review or see how much we could save you on an e-Golf

Next: more Real Range results >

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