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How far can an electric car go?

This is one of the most common questions people ask when they are thinking about buying an electric car – how far will electric cars go between charges.

This is also known as the electric car’s range and this distance varies depending on the car you drive, how you drive it and the conditions in which you drive it – much like a petrol or diesel car, in fact.

The range of electric cars is generally increasing as battery technology improves. When the first mainstream electric cars started to go on sale a few years ago – the original Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe for example – they had ranges of around 100 miles.

Today, the updated models of these cars have nearly double that range in their batteries, but increasingly electric cars coming on sale today will have a range of well over 200 miles. For example, the Audi e-tron SUV has a range of around 240 miles, while the Hyundai Kona EV and Kia e-Niro will go nearly 270 miles or so between charges. Tesla’s cars can go over 300 miles between charges.

Remember, though, that most electric car drivers won’t drive the car’s full range before charging up from empty to full – they will tend to stop off at a handy charger where you can top up to around 80% of the car’s power in around 30 minutes with a fast charger.

How can I increase an electric car’s range?

But just like a petrol or diesel car, how you drive an electric car will affect how far you can go in it. Plant the accelerator and slam on the brakes and you’ll soon see your electric car’s range plummet.

However, if you accelerate smoothly and use the electric car’s regenerative brakes – where the force of braking is turned back into electricity – then you’ll see the car’s range go back up. You may find yourself hardly ever using the foot brake when driving a modern electric car, as the ‘regen’ brakes do this for you. This will help improve your car’s range.

What else affects an electric car’s range?

Extreme weather can knock miles off an electric car’s range. This is because really hot or cold temperatures affect the efficiency of the car’s batteries. And the electric car will also be using the heater or air conditioning more in these type of conditions, which uses up more of the car’s available electricity. Using the headlights at night will use up battery more quickly, too, while strong headwinds can also reduce a car’s range.

Find out more…

…In our Electric cars hub page you can see the best electric cars by range where you’ll see a list of great electric cars each with a decent range.

Got more questions about electric cars? Take a look at these frequently asked questions:

How long does it take to charge an electric car?
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

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