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22 March 2022

How much is the electric car range?

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5 min.
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In this article we are going to look at the distances that can be travelled by cars powered by electrical energy and what factors help make them more efficient.

The new approach to sustainable mobility, whose development will be the focus of Global Mobility Call, requires various changes in the means of transport that we have known up until now and which involve real-world improvements for the common good.

Recently, electric vehicles have become a more realistic alternative than ever before. Alongside this, the boost from financial aid supporting this mode of transport from NextGenerationEU funds have inspired more general interest in electric transport in terms of both current and future mobility.

Yet another factor providing impetus to this type of mobility is people’s interest in protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. Fossil fuel-powered transport is a major contributor to environmental harm, as we saw in the previous article, ‘what are the causes of climate change?. So, vehicles powered by electricity become a significant factor in this area, but how many kilometres is it possible to travel in this type of car?

Electric vehicles for all options

When selecting a vehicle, the choice of engine, as well as optional extras, goes hand in hand with its characteristics and its intended uses. One of the essential factors is the range that the car can travel between charges.

The use for which the car is designed is one of the key factors that determine its range. Compact cars which are used on a day-to-day basis to get around town on routes of less than 50 kilometres have a range of some 100 kilometres. And this is more than enough for the use for which they have been designed.

On the other hand, there are saloon cars and SUVs which have been designed to cover many kilometres by road. In this case, their range varies more. There is quite a broad difference between models, from around 300 kilometres up to almost 700 promised by a vehicle in the premium market.

We can see that the range of electric cars is variable, depending on different elements, and it is premium vehicles that have been developed to cover greater distances on a single charge. There are several different types and brands of premium cars that have an average range of 600 kilometres. At the same time, mid-priced models, also produced by various popular brands, will tend to have a somewhat shorter range, of around 450 kilometres.

Various factors affect range

The range of electric cars is also dependent on many different factors that can be grouped into aspects related to how the vehicle is driven, its external characteristics and its internal comfort.

It is also important to remember that tests to determine the range of a vehicle are carried out in a closed industrial space, measuring the rolling resistance at 22 levels at a temperature of between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, without taking into account wind resistance or different road surfaces - elements that can be determining factors in vehicle efficiency.

Driving modes

Currently, the vast majority of cars sold on our markets, whether electric or fossil fuel-powered, allow drivers to select different driving modes to help obtain greater efficiency from their vehicle.

This is one of the key factors in electric car range. Electricity consumption will not be the same with a sport or power driving mode and an eco mode. An eco mode will always be more restrictive in supplying power to the car than a normal or sport mode.

Roads can make a difference

Another factor affecting the range of an electric vehicle is the road on which it is driven. There will obviously be more power consumed when driving on a road where you cannot maintain a constant speed and need to brake and accelerate. Power consumption will also be higher on motorways, due to the higher speeds, although most manufacturers use limiters to avoid draining the battery too quickly. The key element here is controlled and efficient driving.

City driving is efficient

In this scenario, we can see a clear difference between fossil fuel-powered and electric vehicles. When vehicles powered by petroleum products are driven around the city, their consumption tends to be higher due to the changes in driving conditions. But for electric cars, there is greater efficiency. This is due to the accumulation of energy that occurs during braking, which increases the vehicle’s battery efficiency.

Comfort inside the vehicle

The comfort we want inside our cars also increases energy consumption. Air conditioning is a determining factor in the car’s electrical energy usage and with the A/C on, the battery drains faster. The same happens with the car’s heating.

Tyres, even more important

When we talk about vehicle safety, we have to talk about tyres. And when we talk about range or efficiency, the same holds true. This is why various manufacturers have begun to market wheels which, thanks to their design and materials, are able to enhance the performance of an electric vehicle and help extend its range.

In short, the range of an electric vehicle is a variable that can increase or decrease depending on a number of factors related to how each car is driven over its lifetime.