Misleading electric vehicle range claims exposed

Some models claim up to 100 miles more range than they can deliver in reality


A new test of the ‘real-world’ ranges of electric cars has shown that many don’t deliver on their claimed maximum range – with some overstating achievable distances by up to 100 miles.

That’s according to a new test by WhatCar?, which recently launched a ‘Real Range’ test for EVs to complement its existing ‘Real MPG’ procedure for fossil fuel-powered cars.

With range anxiety already a key concern for potential electric car buyers, these numbers won’t exactly provide comforting reading.

WhatCar? tested the range of 12 electric vehicles at its test centre, running the machines to absolute zero under stable conditions before heading out onto a test track. The vehicles were run with the climate control and headlights activated, in a simulation of urban traffic, rural roads and motorways.

The testing found that the recently-released Hyundai Kona Electric was able to travel furthest on a full charge, with a real-world range of 259 miles. Hyundai claims it can cover 292 miles between charges, meaning the Kona overstates its range by 33 miles.

The second-longest range belonged to the Jaguar I-Pace, which also claims 292 miles but actually delivered 253 miles in testing.

Hyundai Kona Electric - real-world range of 253 miles
The Hyundai Kona Electric had the best real-world range of any electric car currently on sale (PA)

Tesla Model S makes most misleading range claim

WhatCar? also tested the Tesla Model S 75D, which claims the longest range of the group with 304 miles. However, it delivered just 204 miles in testing – making it the worst performer in terms of accuracy.

At the bottom of the table sat Smart’s ForFour and ForTwo EQ models, both of which claim a 99-mile range. However, they delivered just 57 and 59 miles in testing, making them unsuitable for all but inner-city users.

Britain’s best-selling electric car, the Nissan Leaf, didn’t fare too well either with a real-world range of just 128 miles as opposed to the 168 miles it claims.

Costs of charging also compared

Tests also revealed the cost of a full charge, and from that, the cost-per-mile. The Kona beats the I-Pace here as well, thanks to its smaller battery — costing £8.65 to charge versus the Jaguar’s £11.65, making for a cost per mile of £0.033 versus £0.047.

Jaguar I-Pace electric car
The Jaguar I-Pace finished second best in testing, with a real-world range of 253 miles (PA)

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttp://executivecondominium.info/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Executivecondominium, and . Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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  1. Hmmmm car manufacturers overstate the capabilities of their cars…. I’m trying, but struggling, to feign surprise here!