EV Highway Range Can Be Very Different from the EPA Numbers

·2 min read
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

From the September 2022 issue of Car and Driver.

The prominent range figures on EVs' window stickers aren't the perfect laboratory comparison many expect, as there is more than one method automakers can legally employ to arrive at those figures. Also, as with braking or cornering performance, tires have a huge impact on range. Some automakers, notably Tesla, undertake the expensive and time-consuming process of reporting a range for every wheel-and-tire combination on each of its models, but most do not. Take the Rivian R1T. In this latest test, it achieved 280 miles, while previously it went only 220. The difference is primarily due to the all-terrain tires on the first truck and the street tires on the second, although both wear the same 314-mile EPA-range label.

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan - Getty Images

While gas-powered vehicles often exceed their EPA highway fuel-economy figure out on the open road, it's far rarer for EVs to do so on our 75-mph range test because of the efficiency of electric motors versus internal-combustion engines in the window of speed and acceleration contained in the EPA's test cycles. Ambient temperature can also create large swings in EV range.

Who's the Range Leader?

The undisputed range champ is the Lucid Air Grand Touring sedan, the first EV to crest the 400-mile mark. That substantially betters the previous leader, a Tesla Model S Long Range Plus (320 miles), which was the first EV to exceed 300 miles. There's a broad spread in the 20 vehicles we tested this year, both in terms of miles (190 to 410) and in the percentage of EPA range achieved in our test (77 to 112 percent), with the best three going farther than their official figures. Another surprise: The giant Hummer EV held its own at highway speed, although it consumes twice as much energy as the BMW iX to go the same 290 miles. As always, range is only one piece of an EV's performance, and there's more nuance to it than a single number.

Photo credit: Infographic by DGFX Studio - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Infographic by DGFX Studio - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

You Might Also Like