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.


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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Comments (31)
  1. For my purposes, 100 miles EPA rated range would be enough for my round-trip commute for quite some time. I considered a Leaf early on {and still very much like the Leaf} but then I read that you should expect only about 70% battery capacity at best after 10 years, and you shouldn't really expect more than 70% range in cold weather. So, after the battery is aged a few years, I'd still have 49 miles. My commute is 40 miles RT, so this is what I am waiting for.

  2. Go for GM Volt. Best customer satisfaction %, better then Ferrari or Aston Martin.

    And you can do your commute almost in all electric mode.

  3. Don't half-gas it, with a 40 mile round trip the Leaf would be perfect for you. If in 8 years the battery is only giving you 50 miles in the winter, you can get a new, better battery anyway, probably cheaper than a 100 a month because of the new battery technology. I would discourage the Volt, it costs more and still has an ICE engine, which will require maintenance, and if you never use the gas engine it will not age well.

  4. I would like to have an Affordable BEV that has at least 200 miles "real world" range to be competive against other hybrids and PHEV/EREVs.

    I would also like to see PHEV/EREVs to have at least 60 miles real world full EV range as well.

    Both of them will require significantly reduction in battery cost and increase in battery energy/power density. My guess would be a factor of 2x.

  5. I find that the RAV4 delivers exactly enough mileage at an 80% charge, which is right around 100 miles. After nearly a month we haven't bothered with a 100% charge and never really found we needed one. I think a true 100-mile range really gets past a psychological barrier.

  6. Too bad Toyota will only sell 2,600 of them over three years. Sounds like a great car, but with only 867 available per year it will be very hard to find one.

  7. Regardless of "Range", EVs provide a very similar high energy efficiency. Best EVs travel ~4 miles per kWatt-hour; worst travel ~3 miles/kWh. At ~$0.12/kWh (national Avg), $/mile is a consistent $0.03-$0.04, unlike gas.

    Scion iQ EV: 12 kWh, 38 miles, 3.2 miles/kWh
    Mitsubishi i-MiEV: 16 kWh, 62 miles, 3.9 miles/kWh
    Smart Electric Drive: 17.6 kWh, 68 miles, 3.9 miles/kWh
    Nissan Leaf: 24 kWh, 84 miles, 3.5 miles/kWh
    Ford Focus Electric: 23 kWh, 76 miles, 3.3 miles/kWh
    Honda Fit EV: 20 kWh, 82 miles, 4.1 miles/kWh
    Fiat 500e: 24 kWh, 87 miles, 3.6 miles/kWh
    Coda Sedan: 31 kWh, 88 miles, 2.8 miles/kWh
    Toyota RAV4 EV: 41.8 kWh, 103 miles, 2.6 miles/kWh
    Tesla Model S 60 kWh, 208 miles, 3.5 miles/kWh
    Tesla Model S 85 kWh, 265 miles, 3.1 miles/kWh

  8. clarification: all 2013 models, miles are Range at 100% charge.

  9. Those are also ranges without heat usage or extensive hwy 70mph+ usage...

  10. I would need to get 100 miles (avg of city/highway) on a charge for me to consider buying an EV. That assumes that I could only go about 70 miles in the winter. Anything short of that range and I would be in a jam 1 or 2 days a month since there isn't much of a charger infrastructure in my city and surrounding area.

    If I buy a car this year it would have to be the Volt, but if by some miracle the LEAF can get another 20 miles per charge in next year's model, I could go for that.

  11. If Toyota e-Rav4 is available for you in your area, you might want to check it out. Other than that, Volt is probably your best bet in the near future.

    I don't see how the Leaf can get to what you need soon. You also have to include the worst case battery degradation into consideration as well. If the battery degrades to 70% capacity in 5 years, you would need 140 miles range (original) in order to meet your 70 miles range in the winter. 140 x 0.7 x 0.7 = 68.6 miles.

    I think for your case, anything with an extender is probably the best option.

  12. Leaf is ugly car i prefer imiev look but will wait for 100 miles range for imiev

  13. My next car will prob be in the '16-17 timeframe, but I'll say the same thing. My commute is 50 miles round-trip so I think 100 + miles would be where I would feel a little buffer during winter.

  14. I just took delivery of a C-Max Energi and I love it! We have driven just around town all in electric mode for 3 days now. We pay just 5.6 cents per kWh and have gotten very close to the 21 miles Fords says it will get in electric mode. Temperatures have been in the mid 20's - low 40's over the past 72 hours. Our garage stays around 52 during most of the winter season. If you buy the Volt you will pay about $6000 more. I would strongly urge you to test drive a fully charged C-Max. The C-Max has better acceleration and is much more comfortable to drive.

  15. @Barry: Curious to know where you live, if you're willing to say.

  16. Volt doesn't cost $6,000 more. After tax credit, the difference is only $2,300.

    Plus, Volt is faster than C-Max Energi in 0-60mph (while staying in the EV mode) and it is lighter and has a much longer EV range...

  17. I drive a Nissan LEAF and get something close to the EPA rated range, usually more in summer and less in winter, and much more if I stick to city streets. My commute is 32 miles and I charge at both home and work.

    I would like to see a 100 mile EPA range. It would enable me to use the car for even longer trips instead of having to take my wife's ICE car.

  18. You can buy a Volt and a Leaf... :)

  19. Just get the Volt and never look back. We're so glad we got it and love driving it.

  20. Too bad the C-Max was not available for you. February car sales show the real trend. Volt sales were way up by 59% all the way upt to 1680 sales. Now that is for a car that has been out for 2 years? Ford C-Max sales were almost double at 3108 in Feb. and over 5900 year to date!

  21. @Barry: To be fair, Volt sales shouldn't be compared to total sales of the C-Max Hybrid AND Energi. Volt buyers aren't looking at conventional hybrids as alternatives, but at plug-ins: C-Max Energi or Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

    So the appropriate sales figures through February are:
    - Chevrolet Volt: 2,766
    - Prius Plug-In: 1,567
    - C-Max Energi: 672

  22. I guess you don't see the difference between C-Max and C-Max Energi...

    BTW, Volt is actually gettting its MPG in the extended range and C-Max is NOT getting its MPG in "gas" mode... But C-Max/energi does have seating for 5...

  23. Barry,
    I test drove the Volt during the Summer of 2012 and then the Cmax a few months later. The Volt blew me away in every factor that mattered to me. The Cmax just didn't light my fire.

    When my wife saw the Cmax brochure, she said no way. When our 1997 Ford Explorer had an alternator go, we said enough of the reliable but gas guzzling hog. We arranged a weekend test drive for the Volt, just so we could play with it for a few days before we settled on a new or used Cruze. As much as I would have rather had the Volt, my wife was against it because it was only 4 seats and the cost of it.
    It took her about 2 minutes to start changing her mind after we drove out of the Chevy lot.

  24. We drove the Volt an hour away to a Car Max and test drove a nice used Cruze. The Cruze is a great car but we couldn't wait to get back in the Volt. The next morning she started running the numbers, business woman that she is, and we figured we'd break even in 3 years. All along pumping money into American Power Companies and workers and starving our good friends the Saudis. As a Desert Storm Veteran, that warms my heart!

  25. i think the sweet spot for range at an affordable price will happen late next spring with a car that gets just over 100 "real" miles. i could live with that for now

  26. For an all-around, take almost anywhere vehicle, 250 miles.

  27. I need enough range to make a 105 mile round trip to the airport, plus an allowance for HVAC/weather and 10 years of battery wear. If I assume a 30% factor for each of HVAC/weather and long term degradation then I'd need to a car with at least 200 mi initial range.

    A battery warranty would be very valuable if the manufacturer took the liability for limiting degradation. Otherwise I'd need to get a car with additional range reserve.

  28. In this case "practical range" means 'extended one-way trip range,' not the daily routine.

    EPA-100 miles with 2 DC quick chargers per 50-mile radius. As a heavy commuter with a Nissan LEAF, it's all about being able to plug-where-you-park and DC quick chargers when you can't do that.

  29. My commute is about 55km, so anything over 70km or so gives a good buffer. Of course range reduces gradually over time, so the range when new would have to be up around 100km.

    I think fast charging and/or battery swapping is more important than range once you get over your commute distance. Driving for an hour and then resting for half an hour isn't the end of the world, if it gives you "unlimited range like a petrol car."

  30. What is an acceptable range? I would say 300+ mile range. We still need more charging stations along major Interstates approximately 80-100 miles apart so that EV's can travel long distances.

  31. I can live with the 2013 LEAF's range.I Drove it. I love it. It's a great car. Will own one soon,perhaps a 2014. However; 120+ "real world" miles would be icing on a very,very nice cake... Perhaps a 32 KwH battery pack and some weight reduction?

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