The median range of new EV models sold in the United States decreased for the 2021 model year, according to the EPA.
For the 2021 model year, the median range for EVs was 234 miles, compared to 259 miles for the 2020 model year, the EPA said in a short blog post. Note that this isn't sales-weighted, nor is it an average. Rather, it's a mathematical median based on all model variants the EPA assigned a rating to for the 2021 model year.
Median and maximum range of U.S.-market EVs from model years 2011-201 (via EPA)
The median has likely dropped because of the introduction of a wide range of models with rated range of less than 250 miles but not much less than 200 miles—all the variants of the Porsche Taycan, the Volkswagen ID.4, the Polestar 2, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E, for instance.
Some of those models have already improved for 2022. The Mach-E now has a maximum EPA-rated range of 314 miles, versus the 2021 model's 304 miles. The 2022 Polestar 2 Dual Motor has a 249-mile EPA range—16 miles more than the 2021 Polestar 2. Polestar has also added a Single Motor version to the lineup, with a 265-mile range.
The top-rated EV for range for 2021 was the refreshed Tesla Model S—the car that Elon Musk said would be rated at 412 miles, but with no explanation provided was instead rated 405 miles. That's only a slight improvement over the 2020 model's 402-mile range.
The EPA data goes back 10 model years, showing how far electric cars have come over the past few years. The median range for the 2011 model year was just 68 miles, and it didn't climb above 200 miles until the 2016 model year.
The top-rated EV for the 2011 model year was the BMW ActiveE which we drove and found heavy and deliberate vs either a Tesla Roadster or other small BMW models—but rather charming. The BMW's 94-mile range also wouldn't be considered adequate today, but it was intended more as a pilot for future EVs than a full-fledged production model.
Looking ahead to the 2022 model year, the range champ will likely be the Lucid Air at 520 miles. Unless another surprise challenger emerges to topple it, that is.