Longest range electric cars

Electric cars are green, fast, and cheap to run; these are the electric cars with the longest range

Murray Scullion
Jul 6, 2018

If you're running low on fuel in a petrol or diesel car, it's rarely a big deal. You just need to go to a fuel station and fill up.

It's not always that simple with an electric car. For now, charging locations aren't as common as petrol stations; they aren't always working; and, if occupied, you could be in for a long wait - before you factor in the charging time.

On a long-distance journey, it's so common for electric car drivers to worry, as they continually check their remaining charge and the distances to nearby charging points, that the syndrome has a name: range anxiety. One cure is to get a car that doesn't need to stop very often; the best models can travel more than 300 miles on a single charge, although this depends on factors including driving style, outside temperature and use of air conditioning or the heater.

 

We've ranked the ten longest-range electric cars below, based on official figures, as calculated by a standard laboratory test. It's not unusual for your range in real-world driving to to be a third lower than these. All cars benefit from a government grant when brand new, which is included in the prices.

 

Electric cars with the longest range

Tesla Model S

 Official new price from £68,650 Range up to 393 miles

If you’ve not heard of Tesla, reading this article must be the first ever thing you’ve read on the internet. Headed by famed tycoon Elon Musk, the company currently makes the longest-range electric cars sold in Britain. 

The mid-range Model S 100D is able to travel furthest of all. Its large battery packs will theoretically get you from London to Leeds and back on a single charge (you'd need to drive at around 55mph) but do have an impact on its price, which is close to £95,000. Owners can also use Tesla's Supercharger network, which takes around 30 to 40 minutes to charge the battery to 80 per cent capacity.

More expensive still is the range-topping P100D model. with its "ludicrous" mode and a supercar-rivalling 0-62mph acceleration time of 2.5 seconds but the extra performance results in a slightly lower official range of 381 miles. The cheapest option is the 75D version, which starts at less than £70,000 with an official 304 miles range.

 

Tesla Model X

Official new price from £71,350 Range up to 351 miles

Like the Model S above, the Model X comes in a few different variations, including a staggeringly-fast P100D that will get to 0-60mph in just under three seconds. And just like the S, you’ll have to go for the mid-range £88,000 100D if you want maximum mileage of 351 miles. this can be extended quickly using Tesla's Supercharger network.

The Model X can't offer quite the same range as the S because it's taller, with a huge amount of interior space. This includes a boot that that's six times larger than that of a Volkswagen Golf (although this is reduced substantially if the optional third row of seats are being used). There's also a little boot in the front, with 187 litres of space.

 

Jaguar I-Pace

Official new price from £58,995 Range up to 298 miles

Jaguar's first mainstream electric car combines the Tesla-like convenience of a long range, with space and sporty performance. If you've got the ability to charge it at home, then it's a realistic alternative to a petrol or diesel family car - as long as you can justify the £63,495 price, which increases to more than £80,000 for high-end models.

Even so, that's cheaper than the entry-level 75D versions of the Tesla Models S and X. The Jaguar has a similar range to the Model S 75D and 39 miles more than the Model X. In reality, the Jaguar may have a greater advantage, as its official range has been calculated using a more up-to-date test than used for the Teslas.

 

Renault Zoe

Official new price from £18,420*  Range up to 250 miles

The little Zoe is one of the cheapest electric cars available, and an upgraded battery pack means that it also has one of the longest ranges. The latest Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 is the latest model, with an impressively high 250 miles range, which represents around 180 miles in real-world driving. It's a big step up from Zoes built before 2017, which had a smaller (22kWh) battery with a real-world range of around 100 miles . 

It’s very quiet, and has zippy and immediate acceleration. Apart from that, it’s much like any other small car, albeit even easier to drive thanks to a lack of gearbox. A word of warning though, most Zoes are sold without their batteries (only cars badged ‘i’ have them included). You’ll need to lease the batteries separately, which will cost from £49 a month.

*excludes battery hire

 

Nissan Leaf

Official new price from £22,790 Range up to 235 miles

A new Nissan Leaf joined us in 2018, bringing with it an innovative e-Pedal, which slows the car down and charges the battery without the need to press the brake. Its official range was also improved considerably, easing range anxiety, as our tests show that it will cover around 140 miles without the need to drive particularly economically.

The Leaf is the best-selling electric car globally, and the ones we drive in the UK are made in Sunderland. It looks less gawky than the previous generation Leaf and it’s a solid all-rounder, delivering space, comfort and modern technology.

 

BMW i3

Official new price from £28,840 Range up to 195 miles

The i3 certainly looks the part. It was designed to look futuristic, and despite the fact that it’s been around for nearly five years, that's still the case today, with its wavy window line, rear-opening "suicide doors" and airy, spacious interior.

It was designed to be an electric car from the beginning too, so the effects of installing a heavy battery pack have been reduced by installing them low down in the car, and by building the car's frame using lightweight carbon fibre. This makes the i3 more agile than you might expect, and reasonably quick too: it will accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. An update in 2016 introduced a larger battery (a 94Ah model), which substantially increased the official range from a mediocre 118 miles to the current 195 miles.

 

Volkswagen e-Golf

Official new price from £28,230 Range up to 186 miles

There's subtle - and then there's virtually invisible. For an electric car that barely whispers its environmental credentials, you can't beat the Volkswagen e-Golf. Only the most dedicated of car fans will spot the small differences between the e-Golf and the standard petrol- or diesel-powered models. All share the same understated and well-known looks.

This also means that the other bits that buyers love about the Golf - its spacious interior, straightforward dashboard design and solid feel - remain the same. The extra weight of the batteries does make the e-Golf a little less comfortable over bumps than the standard car but, in general, there's not a great deal of compromise required when choosing electric over petrol or diesel.

When it comes to range, the current Golf's is reasonable, but cars built before a 2017 update could only go for 124 miles between charges, which meant a real-world range of less than 100 miles.

 

Hyundai Ioniq

Official new price from £25,345  Range up to 174 miles

This Ioniq comes in three different types - hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric. The fully electric version costs a bit more than a Leaf, but uses higher-quality plastics on the inside, which makes it feel more expensive. It's also larger inside as well, making it more comfortable for tall passengers.

Tests have found that its on-road performance is closer to official figures than other electric cars (notably the Nissan Leaf), so you can expect between 120 and 130 miles on a single charge in normal driving conditions.

 

Kia Soul EV

Official new price from £30,495 Range up to 132 miles

Some electric cars - such as the first Nissan Leaf - looked deliberately unconventional to show that they were powered differently, but that's not the case with the Kia Soul: the petrol, diesel and electric versions all look a bit weird.

The car's tall shape and boxy design give the driver a good view of the road ahead and provides plenty of space for passengers. However, it's not a brilliant electric car: the Soul's place in this list is only down to a lack of competition. Its 132 mile official range means that you'll struggle to drive more than 100 miles between charges in real-world conditions, and it's expensive too. The seven-year warranty and reasonable second-hand prices (starting from around £15,000) make it an appealing used car purchase, though.

 

Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive

Official new price from £33,375 Range up to 124 miles

Mercedes has created an electric car in the opposite way to its main rival BMW. The BMW i3 was designed from the ground up to be an electric car, where Mercedes took a regular car (the B-Class) and turned it into an electric model.

The upshot is that if you don’t like attention being on you, the B-Class won’t draw any. It’s just as useful as a regular B-Class too, with a 500-litre boot, and thanks to the electric power, it’s also sportier than any regular powered B-Class, but the range is lacking compared with rivals. The car has recently been discontinued but is available as a nearly new model.

 

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