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

With demand for electric models soaring, What Car? has developed a test that shows their Real Range between charges. Here we reveal the best and worst performers...

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Steve Huntingford
03 June 2019

Volkswagen e-Golf

=14. Volkswagen e-Golf

  • 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

13. BMW i3 94Ah

BMW i3
  • Real Range 121 miles
  • Miles per kWh 3.1
  • Full charge cost £4.67
  • Cost per mile £0.038

The i3 is a prestige electric hatchback whose futuristic styling helped it to stand out from the crowd when it was launched in 2014.

Its relatively high price and impractical rear door arrangement mean it hasn’t been a class leader for some time, but a larger battery version was recently introduced and features higher up this list.

Read our full BMW i3 review

12. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf
  • Real Range 128 miles
  • Miles per kWh 2.8
  • Full charge cost £5.40
  • Cost per mile £0.042

In its first iteration, the Leaf became the world’s best-selling electric car, while we crowned the second-generation version as our 2018 Electric Car of the Year for its punchy performance, generous safety kit and big boot.

Its range in official WLTP tests is 168 miles, but our Real Range figure shows that 128 miles is more realistic.

Read our full Nissan Leaf review >

11. Renault Zoe Q90

New Nissan Leaf vs Renault Zoe vs Volkswagen e-Golf
  • Real Range 132 miles
  • Miles per kWh 2.7
  • Full charge cost £5.80
  • Cost per mile £0.044

The Zoe was one of the first mass-market electric cars and set out to prove that zero-emissions motoring could be both practical and cheap.

You can either lease the Zoe’s battery on a monthly basis or buy the whole car outright; do the former and it’s one of the most recommendable electric cars around.

Read our full Renault Zoe review

10. Renault Zoe R110

Used Renault Zoe 2013 -
  • Real Range 146 miles
  • Miles per kWh 2.9
  • Full charge cost £6.03
  • Cost per mile £0.041

This more powerful version of the Zoe has brisker mid-range acceleration than the Q90 and a slightly longer range, making it a better choice for motorway drivers. 

Prices for the R110 start at around £16,500 after the Government's £3500 electric vehicle grant is factored in. 

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