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...

BMW i3 94Ah

17. BMW i3 94Ah

  • Real Range - 121 miles
  • Miles per kWh - 3.1
  • Full charge cost - £5.45
  • Cost per mile - £0.045

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 or let us help you buy an i3

16. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf
  • Real Range - 128 miles
  • Miles per kWh - 2.8
  • Full charge cost - £6.30
  • Cost per mile - £0.042

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

Things have moved on significantly in the last couple of years, however, with plenty of cars able to beat its 128-mile Real Range, including another version of the Leaf itself.

New Nissan Leaf vs Renault Zoe vs Volkswagen e-Golf
  • Real Range - 146 miles
  • Miles per kWh - 2.9
  • Full charge cost - £7.04
  • Cost per mile - £0.048

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.

The latest version of the car features a bigger battery and a smarter interior, but this original Zoe still makes plenty of sense as a used buy.

Read our full used Renault Zoe review

14. Hyundai Kona Electric 39kWh

Hyundai Kona Electric 39kWh
  • Real Range - 158 miles
  • Miles per kWh - 3.6
  • Full charge cost - £6.15
  • Cost per mile - £0.039

Hyundai’s small electric SUV was initially offered with 134 or 201bhp, but even in its less powerful form (which has since been discontinued) it outperformed most of its mainstream rivals, with a Real Range of 158 miles.

The Kona also has a smart interior, sophisticated infotainment system and fine driving position on its side.

Read our full Hyundai Kona Electric review

13. BMW i3 120Ah

BMW i3 120Ah
  • Real Range - 165 miles
  • Miles per kWh - 3.3
  • Full charge cost - £6.94
  • Cost per mile - £0.042

While the 120Ah version of the i3 has a bigger capacity than the 94Ah, helping it travel an extra 44 miles between charges, its battery takes up no more space, so doesn't impinge on practicality.

An 80% charge from a 7.4kW BMW i wallbox takes 4.9 hours, while a 50kW motorway fast charger will do the job in 42 minutes.

12. Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

Tesla Model 3 front three quarters
  • Real Range - 181 miles
  • Miles per kWh - 3.1
  • Full charge cost - £8.20
  • Cost per mile - £0.045

This is the cheapest Tesla yet. And while it isn't as good to drive as the Performance version of the Model 3, because it misses out on four-wheel drive and generally feels less agile and controlled, the Standard Range Plus makes a much cheaper company car than petrol and diesel alternatives.

Tesla is still to confirm how long it takes to charge the car using one of its Superchargers, but typically these are faster than regular public charging points.

Read our full Tesla Model 3 review or let us help you buy a Tesla Model 3

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