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

Figures are based on official rather than real-world tests. *Range calculated using older, less accurate NEDC test   

Tesla Model S

 

Official range up to 393 miles  Real-world 320 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, although in reality, you'd need to drive at 55mph to conserve power.

The Tesla is one of the few electric cars to quote official range figures from an old official test that was replaced last year. The numbers are less realistic than those for most other cars omn this page, but you can still count on a real-world range of around 320 miles, which is plenty ofr most journeys. If not, then Tesla's Supercharger network, which takes around 40 minutes to charge the battery to 80 per cent capacity.

 

Tesla Model X

Official range up to 351 miles  Real-world 233 miles

The Model X is a rare seven-seat electric car. It's classed as a sport utility vehicle (SUV) because of its extra height over the Tesla Model S (above). Arriving in one can be theatrical, thanks to the rear "falcon-wing" doors that swing upwards to let rear occupants out.

It’s expensive, though, especially now that the entry-level 75 version has been dropped from the line-up. Meanwhile, its claimed range is based on the old, discontinued , official test. When driving it like any other car, the Mocdel X should still manage around 233 miles on a single journey, though, so the average driver will rarely need to plug in en route.

 

Jaguar I-Pace

Official range 292 miles  Real-world 253 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 £60,995 price, which increases to more than £78,500 for high-end models.

Even so, that's cheaper than the Tesla Model S and Model X. The Jaguar has a lower official range than both of these cars, but that is partly down to the more accurate test that it went through to generate the figure. In normal driving, it;s a match for the Model X.
Jaguar I-Pace buying guide

 

Kia eNiro

Official range 282 miles  Real world 253 miles

A starting price of under £35,000 for an electric car with an almost Tesla-like range has created quite a bit of interest from electric car buyers - so much so that the first year's production of the eNiro is almost sold out.

The Kia eNiro is very similar to sister car the Hyundai Kona Electric (below) but while it can claim a slightly more impressive range, it’s not quite as cheap - for now. At the moment Kia is only selling an initial version, called the First Edition, which is packed full of standard equipment that pushes the price up. Expect cheaper models to follow when the initial demand dies down.

It may be closely related to the Kona Electric but it looks more conventional and is actually more practical with a 451-litre boot compared with the Kona’s, 332-litre boot. Like its sister car, the eNiro’s performance is strong but the driving experience in corners isn't quiote as nimble as conventionally powered rivals such as the Skoda Kodiaq.

 

Mercedes EQ C

Official range 280 miles  Real-world Unknown

Upmarket car makers are betting that car buyers will be tempted to go electric by tall and practical battery-powered SUVs with a range of more than 200 miles. That's why now have the option of buying the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron and this MErcedes EQ C. An alternative from BMW will arrive shortly.

EQ C is the new name for Mercedes' electric range, and this car is surprising only in its conventionality. It's spacious, with a 500-litre boot, relatively quick and has a useful electric range to match its rivals.

 

Hyundai Kona Electric

Official range up to 279 miles  Real-world 259 miles (64kWh)

The Kona Electric has two of the big obstacles to EV ownership cracked: price and range. At under £33,000 from new, with the government grant included, it undercuts many other EVs, including those with a less range than the 279 miles offered by the Hyundai and its 64kWh battery.

If both of those numbrs look too large for you, then there's also the option of a Kona Electric with a smaller (39kWh) battery. The range drops to an official figure of 180 miles but so does the cost, bringing the Hyundai down to below £28,000.
Hyundai Kona Electric buying guide

 

Renault Zoe

Official 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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