Range Anxiety: Real-world Testing Shows EV Winners and Losers

EVs are more at home in the city, and not just because of the plethora of potential plug-in points. Range drops at highway speeds; there’s more aerodynamic drag and less regenerative braking to add juice back into the battery pack. However, day-to-day activities will surely mean spending at least some of your time on the freeway, or perhaps a lonely, rural two-lane.

To get an accurate return from each vehicle, What Car? created a mixed driving route along a 19.4-mile test track, simulating stoplight-to-stoplight driving, rural cruising, and freeway travel. A speed and route profiler was installed to give each test driver the same instructions. The cars then ran the course — twice for vehicles with a smaller battery capacity, three times for the big boys. Weather at the time was “mild,” which in the UK probably means damp and fairly chilly. Cabin temperature was set to room temperature (21C, or 70F); all headlights were illuminated.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Much to the testers’ satisfaction, the Jaguar I-Pace SUV, rated for 234 miles in the U.S., slunk down the test route until it eventually tapped out — after 253 miles. Impressive abilities for this all-electric cat. The real stud, however, was not the sure-footed Brit. Rather, the best range of all vehicles tested came from the Hyundai Kona Electric, a vehicle rated for 258 miles of range. The Kona completed the test with 259 miles of real-world range.

You’ll notice that there’s a few vehicles missing in this test, at least from an American perspective. For one, the Tesla Model 3 didn’t get a turn on the track, nor did the long-ranged Model S and X in 100D guise. Same story for the Chevrolet Bolt, a popular EV rated for 238 miles in the United States. Past tests of the Bolt reveal the ability to maximize that range figure under certain driving conditions, so it would have been nice to see one put to the test.

Regardless, the publication’s testing gives would-be owners a sense of what they might expect should they sign the note on a new electric vehicle.

[Images: Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan]

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