In the past, electric car range was one of the primary concerns that drivers had over electric cars and the term ‘range anxiety’ became synonymous with EVs. Yet today, there are many EVs available that offer 200+ miles on a single charge, which is more than enough for a daily commute and a stint on the motorway.

Every year, battery pack technology continues to improve, with recent breakthroughs potentially quadrupling electric vehicle range in the future. There are now EVs that even offer 400+ miles on a fully-charged battery, making long-distance travel in an EV perfectly achievable.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be taking a closer look at electric car range and the factors that affect it whilst giving you practical tips on how you can maximise miles in an EV. We’ll also be comparing the range of popular models on the market which will help you to decide if buying an EV is right for you.

What is meant by a car’s range?

Electric car range is how far you can travel on a fully charged battery before you have to stop and ‘refuel’. Or in the case of electric vehicles, recharge. It gives you an indication of what your EV can do in terms of distance and an idea of how often you will have to recharge the batteries according to how many miles you drive.

Manufacturers use the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) to measure EV car range. The figures produced from this simulated test give a very good indication of the maximum driving range.

While more accurate than the previous NEDC test, it doesn’t always reflect real-world driving conditions. For this reason, the WLTP figures are most useful for comparing vehicles rather than giving an accurate idea of the total range.

What does WLTP mean?

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure measures new vehicle fuel economy, emissions and electric driving range. Every new passenger car is required to go through this laboratory test which is designed to simulate an average car journey.

The simulation includes test phases for acceleration, braking and when the vehicle is stationary, as well as factoring in rolling resistance, air resistance, different engine/gearbox combinations and any optional equipment. Every test cycle is identical and the tests will generally include the lightest and heaviest versions of a car model, allowing you to easily compare vehicles.

Sometimes though, real-world range is the figure produced by, you guessed it, taking the EV out onto British roads in proper British weather and measuring how well it stacks up. Along with official figures from the WLTP, car reviews are good for buyers who want to get a clearer picture of an EV’s true range.

What is the average range of electric cars?

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the average range of all electric cars on the market in 2023 was 236 miles.

Most electric cars currently on the market have a range between 100 and 300 miles with some offering closer to 400 miles. It has been estimated that on average most people only drive around 20 miles per day, so even EVs on the lower end of this scale would be suitable for the daily commute.

What factors affect the range of an electric car?

There are lots of factors that impact the range of an electric car and how far it can travel on a single charge. Thankfully, you have control over some of these factors. Others, however, are down to the environment and road conditions.


Electric batteries function better in warm weather, giving you more miles on average during the warmer months. The opposite is true for really cold weather, where the battery will perform slower and have to work harder, resulting in less mileage. Similarly, extremely hot weather can cause the battery to overheat, further reducing its range.

As well as reducing the range of your EV, cold weather can also increase the car’s charging time and this tends to be the case no matter what type of electric car charger you use. The ideal operating temperature for an EV battery is between 20 and 40°C. Outside of these temperatures, electric vehicles regulate themselves through what is known as a charging curve which is designed to protect the battery during the charging process.

Weather conditions

As well as extreme temperatures, weather conditions such as strong headwinds can also reduce the overall range of your EV. This is because the electric motor has to work harder when accelerating. The rain can also increase rolling resistance, depleting the battery at a quicker rate.

When driving in snow and icy conditions, taking advantage of regenerative braking will help to retain more energy within the battery, therefore helping to improve its efficiency.

Topography and road conditions

The topography of the roads you use will also influence the range. Hilly journeys with steep inclines require more power from the battery so will reduce how far your electric car can go. On the other hand, travelling downhill and using the brakes will help generate and recover power through the regenerative braking system.

Driving style

How you drive greatly affects the range of an EV battery, but the good news is you have control over this. Driving at slower speeds and accelerating slowly will increase your electric vehicle’s range, as will allowing the car to decelerate using regenerative braking.

Of course, the opposite is true too. Driving fast and braking hard will use up more energy and you’ll have less range because of it. Estimates suggest that driving 70mph could decrease your range by 25% compared to driving at a steady pace of 55mph.

Tyre condition

The condition of your tyres can have a negative impact on the range of your EV. When your tyres are underinflated, rolling resistance increases and even being low by a couple of PSI will drain the power of your battery more quickly.

Tyres with poor traction will also increase rolling resistance, further reducing range. Checking your tyres at least once a month will help you to avoid these issues.

Battery age

Over time and following lots of charge cycles, the amount of energy the battery can store will decrease. The current estimation is that a battery will last between 10-20 years before needing to be replaced – it’s why most manufacturers confidently offer a 5 to 8-year battery warranty.

To maintain the health of the battery, you should avoid charging it every day to 100%. Instead, you should keep it charged between 30% and 80% as this can help reduce stress on the battery, improving its longevity and the amount of energy it can store over the long term.


The heavier your EV, the more the battery will have to work, meaning the less range you’ll get. Carrying more passengers and luggage can reduce the range of your EV, but it likely won’t be drastic enough for you to notice.

It takes a particularly heavy payload to drastically reduce range and carrying a couple more passengers is not likely to make much of a difference.

Using interior features

Certain features such as lights, windscreen wipers, and the radio have little to no effect on range, whereas air-con, heating, and heated seats can affect the range of an EV. These particular features draw electricity from the battery, which is another reason you often get fewer miles in the winter with EVs. This is not too dissimilar to using air-con in a conventional combustion engine in the summer which also increases fuel consumption.

With all that being said, our real-world test suggested that this isn’t always the case. You can see more on this below.

The true impact of heating, air-con and payload on EV range

To bust some common myths surrounding EVs and how certain features and factors affect the range, we decided to put them to the test.

Conducting a real-world experiment, we journeyed just over 100 miles in two fully-charged Skoda Enyaq Coupes. One car had just the driver, while the other was loaded with luggage and passengers who took advantage of tech features such as the heated seats, heated steering wheel, sat nav and radio.

At the halfway checkpoint, the test car still had 72% battery life with 200 miles of range left. Surprisingly, two hours later, once the journey was completed, we found only a 4% difference in battery life between the two cars. Watch the full experiment to see how the two cars faired up.

Electric car average range comparison

As we’ve seen, the range of electric vehicles can vary drastically depending on the make and model of the car. The table1 below lists lots of popular EVs, providing their average range, alongside the sort of range you can expect from both optimal and poor road and weather conditions.

Electric Car Average Range in Miles* Optimal Conditions Poor Conditions
Smart EQ ForFour 58 65 50
Smart EQ ForTwo 60 70 50
Fiat 500e 85 100 70
Honda e 105 120 85
Mazda MX-30 105 120 90
Mini Electric 115 130 95
Volkswagen e-Golf 118 135 100
Seat Mii Electric 123 140 105
Skoda Citigoe iV 123 140 105
Volkswagen e-Up! 125 140 105
Nissan Leaf 140 155 110
BMW i3 120 Ah 145 170 120
Hyundai Ioniq 158 185 130
Peugeot e-2008 165 190 140
DS 3 Crossback E-Tense 170 195 145
Volkswagen ID.4 175 200 150
Vauxhall Corsa-e 178 205 150
Peugeot e-208 180 210 150
Volvo XC40 Recharge EV 195 220 165
Renault Zoe 198 230 165
Nissan Leaf 133-203 155-235 110-170
Mercedes EQC 220 250 190
Jaguar i-Pace 228 260 195
Kia Soul EV 230 265 195
Kia e-Niro 233 270 195
Audi e-Tron 175-235 200-265 150-205
Hyundai Kona Electric 250 290 210
Skoda Enyaq iV 205-265 230-305 170-225
Porsche Taycan 228-265 260-305 195-225
Cupra Born 170-280 200-320 145-235
Polestar 2 215-280 250-320 180-220
Volkswagen ID.3 280 250 180
Tesla Model X 273-280 310-320 235-240
BMW i4 270-290 310-335 225-240
Tesla Model 3 193-283 225-330 160-235
Ford Mustang Mach-E 205-285 230-330 175-230
BMW iX 215-315 245-355 185-265
Tesla Model S 313-323 360-370 265-275
Mercedes EQS 350-395 400-460 295-330

*The range of mileages – such as the case for the Mercedes EQS and Tesla Model S – account for the different battery options and models within the line-up.

How much range do you really need for an EV?

The answer to this will vary by person and lifestyle, but a good rule of thumb is an EV which can do three times your daily commute. On average, most people in the UK only drive around 20 miles per day, so even EVs offering 100 miles would be sufficient for most. However, it is worth factoring in any longer drives you may take throughout the year.

Before looking to purchase an EV, we would recommend tracking your average week’s worth of driving and using this calculation as a baseline to figure out the most suitable range for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Electric Car Range


1The data is compiled from the Electric Vehicle Database and NimbleFins.