It’s all about operating range when it comes to electric cars, with the best of the genre able to run for a full day’s drive on a charge, but with the worst barely able to make it out to the suburbs and back without having to be tethered to an outlet.
Tesla still leads all automakers when it comes to operating range, with its flagship Model S sedan in its top P100D version able to run for as much as a claimed 337 miles on a charge; it also includes a Ludicrous mode that affords, well, ludicrous acceleration with a 0-60 mph run at a Ferrari-busting 2.5 seconds. Even the 75D iteration that comes with the car’s smallest battery in the line nets an estimated 275-mile range.
The closest non-Tesla contender here is the subcompact Chevy Bolt EV hatchback, which is estimated to run for 238 miles per charge. The remainder of the top 10 longest-range EVs are rated at between 111 miles and 150 miles of operating range, which is still sufficient for all but long-range road trips; the U.S. Department of Transportation says the average commute in the U.S. is about 30 miles both ways.
Now, as some technology mavens are quick to point out, operating range, while important, is not the only stat EV buyers should focus on. You’ll want to also consider an electric car’s equivalent fuel economy (“mpg-e”) which allows shoppers to compare operating costs, both among other EVs, but hybrids and conventionally powered rides as well.
For example, though the top version of the aforementioned Model S boasts the longest operating range of all consumer EVs in the U.S. at an estimated 337 miles, it costs more to run (at the equivalent of 98 mpg) than the smaller Tesla Model 3 with a maximum 310-mile range at an estimated 130 mpg-e. The EPA says the Model S would cost around $150 more to run each year than the Model 3, though this figure may differ in real world driving based on local electricity rates and other factors.
While we expect a plethora of longer-range EVs to reach the market in the months ahead, including the new Jaguar i-PACE crossover SUV; in the meantime, we're featuring the 2018 model-year EVs that can go the longest distances on a charge (based on manufacturer- and EPA-sourced data) in the accompanying slideshow.