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...
11. Renault Zoe R135
- Real Range - 192 miles
- Miles per kWh - 3.1
- Full charge cost - £8.75
- Cost per mile - £0.046
The latest Zoe is our reigning Small Electric Car of the Year, because it's great value, classy inside and has a big range between charges.
We reckon the range-topping R135 GT Line is the best version, although the R110 Iconic is also worth a look – especially if you mostly drive in town.
10. Audi E-tron 55 quattro
- Real Range - 196 miles
- Miles per kWh- 2.0
- Full charge cost - £13.43
- Cost per mile - £0.069
The Audi E-tron doesn’t feel as sporty to drive as the rival Jaguar I-Pace, and it has a shorter range. However, it’s the classier of the two inside and the quieter cruiser.
In a first for a production car, buyers can improve the aerodynamics by opting to remove the E-tron’s door mirrors and replace them with cameras that feed into small screens inside.
9. Tesla Model S 75D
- Real Range - 204 miles
- Miles per kWh - 2.4
- Full charge cost - £11.77
- Cost per mile - £0.058
The Model S transformed the image of electric vehicles when it arrived in 2014. A luxury car with plenty of space for five adults, it’s capable of sports car performance and has a long range.
It can be charged at home in an average of 11 hours, while Tesla’s Superchargers will give you 80% in half an hour. However, it should be noted that our Real Range test was carried out in 2018, before Tesla upgraded the Model S's power unit.
8. Mercedes EQC
- Real Range - 208 miles
- Miles per kWh - 2.2
- Full charge cost - £13.05
- Cost per mile - £0.063
A rival to the Audi E-tron and Jaguar I-Pace, the EQC is closer in character to the former, being exceptionally quiet and comfortable but not particularly agile.
Its Real Range, meanwhile, treads the middle ground, with it managing 208 miles on a charge in our test.
7. Tesla Model 3 Long Range
- Real Range - 211 miles
- Miles per kWh - 2.6
- Full charge cost - £11.55
- Cost per mile - £0.055
Logic would suggest that the Long Range version of the Model 3 would manage more miles between charges than the range-topping Performance model. After all, although the two cars officially have the same size battery, the Long Range has the advantage of smaller, more aerodynamic wheels.
Sadly, Tesla decided against providing a Model 3 Long Range for testing, so we sourced one from elsewhere and found that the battery of that particular car actually had a smaller capacity than the one in the Model 3 Performance tested previously.
This could have been down to the way the car had been recharged during its life, but whatever the reason, it contributed to a Real Range figure on the day of 211 miles, which is actually less than the Performance managed.
Our test of the Long Range was also blighted by heavy rain, meaning extra battery power would have been required to push the tyres through the standing water. Tesla has been asked to supply a car for retesting, but has so far declined.
6. Nissan Leaf e+
- Real Range - 217 miles
- Miles per kWh - 3.1
- Full charge cost - £9.78
- Cost per mile - £0.045
With 214bhp, the e+ is 66bhp more powerful than the standard Leaf, and absolutely feels it. However, more significantly, it has a 62kWh battery, compared with the 40kWh battery of the standard car, which allowed it to travel an extra 89 miles in our Real Range test.
Sadly, this is largely where the plus points end. While you might imagine the e+ would ride and handle similarly to the regular Leaf, in reality it leans far more dramatically in corners and rocks you this way and that even on straight roads that look reasonably smooth. It's also much more expensive to buy.