The Most Honest Electric Cars For Real-World Range

When it comes to buying an electric car, the battery's range is more than likely at the top of the list of concerns. In fact, freedom from the tyranny of the gas pump is often the reason people buy an EV anyway. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releases estimated fuel economy ratings for gasoline-powered cars. In the same way, the EPA releases range data for electric vehicles. 

How does the EPA get those figures, one may ask? According to InsideEVs, the EPA tests vehicles on a dynamometer that can at least mostly simulate real-world conditions. The EPA's results are mostly a best-case scenario for EV range as they don't factor in real traffic, weather, or good old-fashioned human error. At best, it's a helpful guideline to get a good grasp on the potential range of an EV. Occasionally, the EPA's findings are a little too optimistic. After all, it's just an estimate and not a concrete number. 

Range anxiety

Both InsideEVs and Edmunds tested dozens of electric vehicles in real-world conditions to determine what a vehicle's actual range was versus what the EPA estimated it to be. When it comes to flat-out best range, the result was unanimous. Both publications stated that the 2022 Lucid Air Dream Range had the longest range of any vehicle they drove — at 500 miles for InsideEVs and 505 miles for Edmunds. Interestingly, that range, wild as it is, still comes in lower than the EPA's estimate of 520 miles.

In Edmunds' test, the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid performed the most accurately at 345 miles of range compared to its EPA estimate of 348 miles. During InsideEVs' testing, they found that the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E's extended range version performed over the EPA's estimated range of 270 miles and went for 285 miles before it needed a charge. Interestingly, the Porsche Taycan EV performed vastly over the EPA's numbers according to both publications. In one instance, a 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S achieved 323 miles in testing, well over the EPA's estimate of just 203 miles. Trucks like the F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T performed under the range estimated by the government in InsideEVs' rounds of testing. 

As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. The EPA's estimates are certainly helpful to get a ballpark idea of what range an EV has. In real-world driving conditions, there are innumerable variables that can impact the range of an electric vehicle.