Among the significant concerns for electric cars, the range is always an issue people put up. It’s a valid point, considering people like to travel long distances. The main concern is that an electric car can die in the middle of nowhere and is something electric car manufacturers focus on.
Among electric vehicles (EV), three brands offer the longest range for a single charge. These are: Tesla Long Range Models, 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric, and the 2019 Kia Niro EV. The Tesla leads by a large margin, while the Hyundai and Kia edge their competitors by a range of 1 – 5 miles (1.6 – 8 km).
If you plan on buying an electric car, it’s best to take range into account. Why should you? What affects this range, and why do range estimates vary a lot?
Here’s a good comparison of what we have on the market and what you can expect in the coming years. Navigate through and see if one of these electric vehicles would get your interest.
Understanding Range in Electric Cars and What Affects It
There are many different electric vehicles out there, and many factors affect range. To define, range in EVs is the distance the car can travel on a single charge. Range allows you to see the distance that your electric car can go before you need to start recharging.
The range is a crucial factor on the current market. It’s a vital piece of data that people look at when buying electric cars.
The general idea is that electric cars have a lower range. When compared to traditional automobiles, their pure electric system trades off range with lack of combustion. The better the range, the more likely people will buy it.
The problem, however, is that many factors can affect the range of your electric vehicle. Some common factors that affect it include:
- Battery system and technology
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) factors
- Level of urbanization
- Current road conditions
- The topography of a region
- Climate and weather
- Driving aggressiveness
- Passenger’s comfort
- Travel type
- Methods of measurements
As you can see, there’s a laundry list of factors that can change the range of your electric vehicle. Electric vehicle studies show that among these factors, there are two considerations — climate and weather, and topography of a region have a significant impact on range.
Climate and weather can lessen or extend the range of your electric car. Extreme weather like cold snaps create a significant reduction in your EV range. It’s not even a nominal change, but rather it dictates how you can use your car.
Once the weather goes to -20 °F (-29 °C), electric automobiles lose up to 41% of their battery capacity. That means that an electric vehicle with a 200-mile range (320 km) can drop to 118 miles (190 km). That’s a difference of 82 miles (130 km), which to many, can dictate how far they can go.
Local topography can also affect how much distance your electric vehicle can handle. Areas in flat terrains and cityscapes can get better range from their EVs. US highways and outer suburbs also allow for longer distance traveled.
Regions in hilly terrains, however, will suffer a penalty from the effort the EV needs to exert. Areas with colder, rockier environments will have a lower range. The engine and the batteries need to do more to push the car further.
The route of the car, traffic conditions, and use of HVAC can affect range estimates. These estimates go wild that there is a difference of 62 – 138 miles (100 – 222 km) per charge.
Understanding Range Estimates
If you’re shopping around the internet for a car and you’re looking at ranges, there are a few issues. You’ll notice that in the category, different reviews show varied range estimates. Why are they so different?
There are at least three international testing standards accepted worldwide. These are:
- New European Driving Cycle (NEDC)
- Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
This doesn’t count some specific “real world” estimates different reviewers do. So, what’s the difference between all these and why should you care?
European test cycles, like the NEDC and WLTP tend to favor inner city and suburban driving. They try to simulate how you will use your electric car in crowded cities and paved roads. It takes into account European lifestyles that rely on living within the cityscapes.
US EPA, on the other hand, focuses on the outer suburban areas and highway driving. This focus comes from the fact that a good chunk of US households live in the suburbs away from the city. Since the US is a large land area connected by highways, US testing focuses on distance driving.
For European standards, the NEDC has its fair share of problems with its figures. For starters, the NEDC can be problematic. They tend to publish up to around 30% more of the actual range.
The standards that NEDC uses are out-of-date. Their test cycles are not rigorous enough. They don’t simulate real world driving conditions. The NEDC test, when you compare it with WLTP, is less useful in comparative analyses.
Which one should you follow? If you’re in the US, the EPA is a reliable test. If you’re in the EU, WLTP is the test that you want to look. This list follows a ranking with EPA range because it’s going to be accurate for most of you.
|Model||EPA Range||Top Speed||Motor||Charge Time||Supercharge?|
|2019 Tesla Model 3 LR||310 miles (500 km)||162 mph (260 km/h)||Dual motor AWD||8 hours||Yes|
|2019 Tesla Model X LR||325 miles (523 km)||155 mph (250 km/h)||Dual motor AWD||7 hours||Yes|
|2019 Tesla Model S LR||370 miles (595 km)||163 mph (262 km/h)||Dual motor AWD||7 hours||Yes|
|2019 Hyundai Kona Electric||258 miles (415 km)||104 mph (167 km/h)||150 kW PMSM (201 hp)||9 hours 35 minutes||Yes|
|2019 Kia Niro EV||239 miles (385 km)||104 mph (167 km/h)||150 kW PMSM (201 hp)||8 hours||Yes|
1. The Tesla Long Range Models
The Tesla Long Range models are among the top electric cars with the longest range. The truth of the matter is that the actual top three in range all come from Tesla’s Long Range line. Elon Musk’s line of EVs is something you would want for sure.
At the top of electric cars with the longest range is the:
- 2019 Tesla Model S Long Range
- 2019 Tesla Model X Long Range
- 2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range
It’s hard to pick which one works best for you, so we looked deeper into what each one offers.
2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range
The Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus base model offers a decent 240 miles (387 km) range. If you’re buying a Tesla, chances are you can afford to spend a little more. The Long Range Model 3 boasts a whopping 310 miles (500 km) — and it’s worth it.
The Model 3 LR is all-wheel drive at standard. It has a superb acceleration and a buttery smooth handling even for a luxury car.
It can go 0 – 60 mph (0 – 97 km/h) in 3.2 seconds. Its design focuses on safety, with many aspects revolving around superior passenger protection.
What makes the Model 3 LR great are features. It’s roomy, with lots of space for cargo in the back. It’s stable at high speeds too, and can go as fast as 162 mph (260 km/h) at top speed.
It works great in any weather condition and uses Tesla’s powerful Autopilot. If you’re looking to get into Tesla, this is a great starter.
2019 Tesla Model X Long Range
The Tesla Model X LR is the super powerful SUV designed for people who only want the best. Its range goes at 325 miles (520 km) on a single charge — which is crazy. It has a 5-star safety rating and can hold up to 7 people at a time.
The Model X is among the most futuristic EVs on this list, with robust features all around. Along with standard things from Tesla, you get special features you won’t find anywhere else.
Their Autopilot and safety are standard, using rear falcon wing doors for accessibility. It can go from 0 to 60 mph (0 – 96 km/h) in 2.7 seconds and offers the best support for its user. Its 17” touchscreen center console provides some of the best configuration options.
It uses an onboard 11.5 kW max charger and will supercharge 115 miles (185 km) in 15 minutes. For the power user, the Model X LR is the one for you.
2019 Tesla Model S Long Range
The Tesla Model S LR is the only EV in the world right now that can drive a longer range than some gas cars. With its range of 370 miles (595 km), it can bring you anywhere you want, no sweat.
The Model S LR is luxury at its finest. This 5-seater sedan has all the bells and whistles Tesla can offer. It’s all-wheel drive and can go 0 – 60 mph (0 – 96 km/h) in 2.4 seconds. Its top speed is a whopping 163 mph (262 km/h).
The Model S LR can supercharge 130 miles (209 km) in only 15 minutes even with its unparalleled performance. The Model S is what many EVs aspire to be because it’s the best of the best.
2. 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
Let’s say you’re not on the market for a Tesla. Let’s face it — they’re super heavy on the wallet. The next best thing is the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric. There’s nothing on the market that can compete with its range but the price is on par.
The Kona Electric is the first all-electric from Hyundai, boasting a crazy 258 mile (415 km) range. This powerful subcompact SUV is a solid 4-seater with superb cargo space to go. Its permanent-magnet synchronous motors produce a robust 150 kW (201 hp) power output for a smooth drive.
The 2019 Kona Electric does not use a gearbox but instead follows four speed modes. This includes Eco, Eco+, Comfort and Sports. It can charge anywhere between 54 minutes to 9 hours 35 minutes, depending on the charger.
As for the safety features, the Kona has almost everything that you would want. What stands out the most is its software. Its safety features include a Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.
It also has a High Beam Assist for better visibility and a Parking Distance warning as standard. It uses a 7 or 8-inch color touchscreen for its central console so you can access all the features.
So, why should you pick a Kona? If you’re not ready for a Tesla car, the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric is the next best option for you. The price competes with other EVs in the same category but for a better spec. Within this price range, you’ll notice that other competitors have a weaker performance in general.
With the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric, it’s a performance machine that goes above and beyond. There’s almost nothing on the market that comes close when considering specs and price.
3. 2019 Kia Niro EV
The 2019 Kia Niro EV is a subcompact crossover, making it a nice SUV or a big hatchback sedan. This all-electric has a range that is on par with other brands but offers the size many EVs lack. It provides almost the same range as the Chevrolet Bolt but with a better, superior space.
The Niro EV offers a sleek 239 mile (385 km) range, which is a smidgen above the Bolt. The great thing about Niro’s technology is the range calculator itself. While many EVs can leave drivers on a guessing game at what range it stops, Niro is almost always accurate.
The 2019 Niro is a reliable 5-passenger car with 201 hp and a robust torque to boot. The top speed goes up to 104 mph (162 km/h), which is nothing special but still faster than most. What blows us away with Kia’s offering, are the safety features.
For starters, its blind-spot collision detection comes as standard with all trims. It uses a Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system and it accounts for changes in the driver’s attention.
The Niro EV uses a robust forward collision-avoidance assist and lane keeping assist. These come standard, so you know you’re safe every time you drive.
The Kia Niro EV is excellent and easy to use. It’s not as luxurious to use as top executive cars, but it’s more luxurious than the most. The comfort level is high, allowing for better, longer driving times at farther ranges.
The ride comfort for this electric vehicle is stunning. The design is classic, with a satisfactory cargo utility but limited in space. Where the Niro shines the most is the features near the driver’s cockpit.
Kia uses its UVO navigation software, which is easy to use and functional enough for daily use. Adaptive cruise control comes as a standard, which is a great choice that improves safety. The design for the Niro is familiar but not old-timey.
The Niro EV is the future of mid-range car ownership. It still appeals to all the sensibilities you learned as a gas car driver. It’s traditional in performance and design, but it offers a crazy range you can’t find anywhere else. The Kia Niro EV is worth every dollar invested.
What’s the Future for Electric Vehicles?
Now that we know what we have on the present market, what’s the future for EVs? What’s the market going to be in 2020 and onward?
For starters, there’s no logical reason why you can’t find bigger and better electric cars in 2020. The EV’s upfront costs are expensive but are great long-term solution. They get cheaper to use over time, making them superb investments.
What’s hindering the adoption of more electric vehicles is range anxiety. People want something around 500 miles (800 km) on a single charge. So far, this range is impossible, and people are unsure of what they can do about it.
The growth of the industry relies on investing more on electric vehicle offerings. 2020 is the time for electric vehicles to lead in innovation. With so many questions on the mind of the driver, there’s a major industrial opportunity on the horizon for electric cars, and it’s not something to miss.
The near future is great for electric vehicles. The big-name brands are still there, but many smaller companies are fighting for position. This gives us, consumers, a wider range of choices for different budgets and lifestyles.
So far, the most obvious problem for everyone is the lack of adequate engineering progress. Everything inside EVs is still expensive, and the cost of manufacturing is slowly going down.
Many startups and big names alike are focusing on improving technology. Once everyone figures out how to reduce the cost of electric car production, the electric vehicle will pour onto the streets far and wide.
Range is an important aspect that you should use when looking for the best electric car. Among the best, the Tesla Long Range models, 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric, and 2019 Kia Niro EV are some top picks. They offer unparalleled travel distance to anyone on the market fishing for an electric vehicle.
Beyond the range, what’s essential is always to consider performance and fit. Is the EV right for your needs? Does it resolve the problems that you experience with conventional vehicles?
Electric vehicles are catching up with their gas counterparts when it comes to range. In a world concerned about the future and its survival, you can expect EVs to become better. The future is starting to become electric, and the market is growing as we speak.
People are starting to be more comfortable riding electric vehicles. Once they discover how to make their entire process more efficient and low-cost, mass adoption is the future.
Better, longer ranges will come — it’s only a matter of time for the electric car.
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