Electric cars are becoming more popular by the day, but there’s one big question that keeps people from buying them: how far can an electric car go on one charge?
The average consumer electric car is capable of traveling a minimum of 149 miles, to well over 300 miles on a single charge. Considering the average driver travels less than 45 miles a day, all commercially available electric cars will complete a whole week’s worth of commuting on a single charge.
While the availability of charging stations is still somewhat limited, the good news is that electric car battery technology has improved drastically.
So much so that the average electric car on a single charge will now travel well beyond the average commute of 45 miles a day, or 225 miles a week.
Truth be told, our research shows that while battery technology and availability of charging stations has improved – range anxiety is still a thing for many. And it’s an honest concern, as there are some factors that will affect real-world driving range.
Let’s dive into the causes for range anxiety, and answer the question: how far can an electric car go on one charge.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about electric car range!
Conditions That Affect: How Far Can An Electric Car Go On One Charge?
There are several conditions that affect how far an electric car can travel on a single charge – regardless of which brand EV you drive.
Things like the weather, the way the car is driven, how much weight the car is carrying, or if the heat or A/C is running. All these factors play a big role in how far can an electric car can go on a single charge.
Let’s review each.
Cold Weather Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit
Without a doubt, weather conditions can have an impact on range. As an example, if it’s extremely cold outside, the battery drains faster, and the car doesn’t run as efficiently as it should.
In fact, it’s estimated that cold weather conditions below 40° Fahrenheit may reduce driving range by up to 25 percent. That means an EV with an advertised range of 250 miles will only travel about 187 miles in cold weather.
Additionally, when the HVAC is turned on to heat up the inside of the car, expect mileage to be reduced as well. In fact, experts say by as much as 41 percent when combined with cold weather conditions.
As you can see, cold weather and using the HVAC can have a pretty big impact on electric car range. Of course, as temperatures rise during the day, so will the traveling range of the EV.
If you live in areas of the United States that regulatory experiences winter temperatures below 40° Fahrenheit, then we recommend keeping a close eye on battery life.
The good news is however, battery technology is advancing at a rapid pace. As an example, new EV battery technology such as solid-state batteries don’t require a liquid component.
This is a big deal, as it eliminates the problem of extreme hot and cold weather all together.
Hot Weather Above 95 Degrees Fahrenheit
On the other hand, if it’s too hot, driving range can be reduced as much as 17 percent according to AAA.
While heat doesn’t have the type of impact cold weather has on electric car range, it still plays a role. Because using the air conditioning to cool down the cabin contributes to battery drain, reducing overall driving range.
In fact, air conditioning can drain the battery 11% faster compared to when not in use. Blasting the air conditioning in an electric car will consume as much as 8.3 km and 11.1 km of range per hour of use.
While that doesn’t seem like awfully much, if you are planning a road trip it will be a factor in how far you can go on a single charge.
In general, HVAC systems will have the biggest impact on how far you can go on a single charge. Keep this in mind when planning a trip that requires covering many miles outside your normal commute.
Other factors that can affect electric car range are the roads being traveled. Driving up steep hills, for instance, requires more power than flat roads.
Even dirt or gravel roads can all contribute to a decrease in range.
Accessories such as the audio and built-in navigation will draw more electric, which contributes to battery drain. While not a massive drain, it all begins to add up when you factor in the weather and terrain.
Driving an electric car on the highway will drain the battery by as much as 20 percent, compared to city driving. This is due in part to the energy required to move the vehicle at higher speeds.
This is quite the opposite of gasoline powered cars, which are more efficient when traveling on the highway than stop and go city driving.
It’s also worth mentioning for all those lead foots out there, the faster you drive or the more aggressive you accelerate, the quicker the electric car battery drains. Try to avoid jerky acceleration and aggressive driving.
Also, when pulling away from traffic lights, ease into the accelerator pedal and slowly ramp up to speed. While it might be fun racing from one traffic light to another, this driving style surely won’t conserve any battery power.
The lesson here – maintain a smooth consistent speed. Doing so will conserve battery power and increase the range you can travel on a single charge.
It’s safe to say that the more passengers and cargo you load into the electric vehicle, the less efficient the vehicle will be. And really, that’s true of gasoline powered cars as well.
Fact is, the motor has to work harder to offset the weight, requiring more energy from the battery. While it’s true, some of this spent energy can be recaptured via the regenerative braking systems. But it’s when the electric car is loaded up with passengers and cargo headed on a long road trip is when range becomes a concern.
What is EV Range Anxiety?
Range anxiety is the fear that the electric car won’t have sufficient charge to reach it’s destination. This fear is based mostly around extended highway travels, where very few highways have charging stations.
Auto industry experts have perceived this to be one of the greatest barriers to widespread EV car adoption.
Fact is, very few highways in the country currently have charging stations at regular intervals. Unlike gas stations – which can easily be found every few miles across the country.
But that is changing, as the U.S. government has committed roughly $135 billion toward electric vehicle development.
In fact, by 2030 the U.S. government has a goal of creating a national network of about 500,000 EV charging stations all across Americas highways.
If that goal of creating a vast network of charging stations can be achieved, the fear of range anxiety will surely become a thing of the past.
So, there you have it. Your complete guide to how far an electric car can travel on a single charge. As you can see, the distance an EV can travel is greatly affected by several factors.
It’s important for electric car owners to be aware of their driving habits and surroundings if they want to make the most of their battery range.
And as battery technology advances improving driving range on a single charge, so too will the fear of range anxiety.
Have you driven your electric car further than you expected? Please share your story in the comments below.
Loves anything with a motor and wheels.
Christopher is an internet technology expert and mechanical engineer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. He loves nothing more than taking something apart and putting it back together again. Email me direct, or learn more about us