2013 Electric Cars: Rated Range For Each Model, Ultimate Guide Page 2

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2013 Smart Electric Drive, Brooklyn, NY

2013 Smart Electric Drive, Brooklyn, NY

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2013 Smart Electric Drive: 68 miles

This rating for the little two-seater, the shortest and least expensive electric car sold in the U.S., applies both to the coupe and the convertible--which is the sole drop-top plug-in car sold this year.

2013 Nissan Leaf: 75 miles*

There's a catch here. This year's anticipated 75-mile range rating isn't directly comparable to last year's 73-mile rating because the 2013 number is an average of the two ranges achieved at 80 and 100 percent battery pack charges, respectively. The comparable figure to last year's 73 miles would be 84 miles this year, at a 100-percent charge.

2013 Ford Focus Electric: 76 miles

While Ford claims it's serious about selling the electric Focus, the sales results for 2012 were pretty dismal: just 685 units. To our mind, it's debatable whether this is a compliance car--Ford strenuously denies it--or simply less profitable than Ford's hybrids and plug-in hybrids. For what it's worth, Focus Electric owners love 'em.

2013 Honda Fit EV: 82 miles

The electric Fit is a fun car to drive, has a lot of punch--courtesy of a powerful electric motor from Honda's FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell sedan--and is a practical package. That's why it's too bad that it's just a compliance car, with only 1,100 to be leased over three years--and then taken back by Honda afterward.

2013 Fiat 500e: 87 miles

This one's a compliance car too, but it looks sharp and cheeky, and has some neat design features that make us wish it weren't. Chrysler is quite clear, though: The company didn't want to build it and will lose money on every one it sells.

2013 Coda Sedan: 88 miles

We're including the Coda in here even though we're not convinced the company will be with us much longer, or that there are any 2013 model-year cars available. Still, it does squeak out the highest rated range of any electric car without a Tesla powertrain--and we think 100 miles might be a reasonable everyday range.

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV: 103 miles

The only plug-in crossover utility vehicle on the market, Toyota's compliance car has a powertrain engineered by Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] that's largely similar to the one fitted to the smallest-battery-pack version of its Model S luxury sport sedan. Too bad Toyota will only sell 2,600 of them over three years.

 

2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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2013 Tesla Model S (60-kWh): 208 miles

2013 Tesla Model S (85-kWh): 265 miles

We've said before that the Tesla Model S--an all-electric luxury sport sedan from a Silicon Valley startup--is a surprisingly good car. In fact, it won this site's Best Car To Buy 2013 Award hands down.

The car is now in volume production and Tesla is delivering hundreds of them a week while owners, including our contributor David Noland, are still learning how the Model S works in real-world use.

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As always, however, the rated range of a plug-in electric car will vary--considerably--with driving style, ambient temperature, and other factors.

Winter weather will reduce the distance an electric car can cover--here are six tips to maximize winter range--and aggressive driving sucks down range noticeably as well.

2014 Cadillac ELR revealed at 2013 Detroit Auto Show

2014 Cadillac ELR revealed at 2013 Detroit Auto Show

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As more electric cars enter the U.S. market, we'll update this article to keep it current.

We're still waiting to learn the range ratings of the 2013 Tesla Model S with the 40-kWh battery pack, the 2014 BMW i3, the 2014 Cadillac ELR, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, and others.

Meanwhile, tell us: What's the minimum range needed for an electric car to be practical? Is it 120 or 125 miles, as an informal survey suggested? More? Less?

(And, no, "limitless range like a gasoline car" is not an acceptable answer.)

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.,

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