Update: Below were the 11 electric cars with the most electric range in 2015. Things have changed a lot since then. Check out the current list here: 10 Electric Cars With Most Range — New!
People make a big deal of electric cars’ driving ranges, for good reason, so I thought it would be interesting to create a list of the electric cars with the most range (to supplement my list of the quickest electric cars to 60 mph, the most efficient electric cars, and my broader electric car list, which is organized by price).
Of course, as with almost everything, when the idea hit the real world, there was an issue. Rating systems for range in Europe, China, and elsewhere are far more lenient (read:unrealistic) than the US EPA’s rating system. So, this list is only including electric cars on the US market. As it turns out, there are only 11 fully electric cars on the market in the US, so below is a “top 11” list instead of a “top 10” list. So, have a look at this electric car range comparison:
11. Mitsubishi iMiEV = 62 Miles
If you want cheap, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is cheap, at $22,995 (or $15,495 after the US federal tax credit and $12,995 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate). It’s the cheapest EV on the US market (if you don’t count the Renault Twizy, which pops up on eBay from time to time). But it doesn’t offer much other than that compared to its electric competitors. Aside from its market-low range, the i-MiEV takes 13.5 seconds to get to 60 MPH. It does seat four people and has a decent efficiency of 112 MPGe, beating the next car on this list.
10. Smart Electric Drive = 68 Miles
The Smart Electric Drive (ED), with just ~6 miles more of range, is also just a tad more expensive — $25,000, or $19,990 + $80/month battery rental (after the US federal tax credit, $17,500, or $12,490 + $80/month). The Smart ED only seats two, of course. It has an efficiency of 107 MPGe, and gets to 60 MPH in 9.8 seconds.
9. Ford Focus Electric = 76 Miles
Jumping 8 miles and about $4,000, the Ford Focus Electric costs $29,170 ($21,670 after the US federal tax credit and $19,170 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate). It seats five, the best on the list so far, has an efficiency of 105 MPGe, and takes 10.1 seconds to get to 60 MPH.
8. BMW i3 = 81 Miles
Now we’re getting into some serious sellers. The BMW i3 (which I love) costs much more, $41,350 ($33,850 after the US federal tax credit and $31,350 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate), but it adds a lot of comfort and comes with a market-leading efficiency of 124 MPGe. It also gets to 60 MPH in 7.1 seconds, which doesn’t compare to the Tesla P85D, but is still a lot of fun. The downside, if you have a lot of fellow travelers, is that it only seats four, but this is on my list of potential vehicles to lease.
7. Chevy Spark EV = 82 Miles
We’re in a game of inches for the next several spots. The Chevy Spark EV lands just one extra mile of range on the i3. It does come in at a much lower price — $27,495 ($19,995 after the US federal tax credit and $17,495 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate) — but also with less luxury. That said, it does compete with the BMW i3 on acceleration, getting to 60 MPH in 7.2 seconds. And it is right behind it in efficiency, with 119 MPGe (#2 on the US market).
6. VW e-Golf = 83 Miles
The Volkswagen e-Golf inches ahead of the Chevy Spark EV, but is considered a better all-around drive. With an extra seat, more comfort, and more advanced tech, the e-Golf has an MSRP of $35,445 ($27,945 after the US federal tax credit and $25,445 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate). It isn’t nearly as snappy, taking a sluggish 10.4 seconds to get to 60 MPH. It does well in the efficiency category, though, landing 116 MPGe (#3 on the US market). The e-Golf has gotten good reviews, so you might want to give it a shot if you are in this range of the market (no pun intended).
4. Mercedes B-Class Electric = 84 Miles (tie)
#4 is a tie! Not that the 3 miles that separate #4 from #8 make a big difference. The Mercedes B-Class Electric generally competes with the i3. For this side of the story, it beats the i3 by 3 miles. In terms of acceleration, it is a little behind, needing 7.9 seconds (rather than 7.1 seconds) to get to 60 MPH. And it is much less efficient at 84 MPGe. However, it seats five whereas the i3 only seats four. Almost identical to the i3, though, it’s MSRP is $41,450 ($33,950 after the US federal tax credit and $31,450 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate).
4. Nissan LEAF = 84 Miles (tie)
The much more affordable (and much more popular) Nissan LEAF ties the B-Class Electric in terms of driving range on a full battery, but the similarities basically stop there. The LEAF comes in at a super affordable price of $29,010 ($21,510 after the US federal tax credit and $19,010 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate). It is #5 in terms of efficiency, with an EPA rating of 114 MPGe. Though, it isn’t Usain Bolt in a sprint, taking 10.2 seconds to get to 60 MPH.
3. Fiat 500e = 87 Miles
Fiat executives hate on electric vehicles like it’s their job to slow the revolution, but they actually produced a nifty little electric car that a lot of us would love. Aside from coming in at #3 on this list, the Fiat 500e comes in at #4 on the efficiency list (115 MPGe) and #16 on the list of fastest-accelerating EVs (8.7 seconds). Not a bad buy at $32,300 ($24,800 after the US federal tax credit and $22,300 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate).
2. Kia Soul EV = 93 Miles
The relatively new (and young) Kia Soul EV takes #2 by a good margin. It has an efficiency of 105 MPGe, seats five, takes
forever 11.8 seconds to get to 60 MPH, and costs a reasonable $33,700 ($26,200 after the US federal tax credit and $22,300 after that plus the $2,500 California ZEV rebate).
1. Tesla Model S = 240 to 286 Miles
Technically, there are various Tesla Model S options with different driving ranges. You’ve got the 70D with 240 miles of range, the P85D with 253 miles of range, the P90D with 268 miles of range, the 85D with 270 miles of range, and the 90D with 286 miles of range.
The Model S is of course the best car in the world, and there are various matters to consider when choosing which option to go with. I’ll leave that decision-making to you.