Advice

The range of electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars

How far can you go in an electric car or plug-in hybrid, and what can affect your range?

Words by: First published: 17th June 2018
One of the most common questions asked about electric cars is, ‘how far can they go?’. Well, it depends. Different vehicles have different sizes of batteries, each of which will give it a different amount of power to call on. Battery technology is moving on at a great pace, but currently, some of the newest electric cars boast an official range of around 300 miles.

However, there are things that can affect a car’s range that you’ll need to take into consideration.
Driving style, speed and route choices
The first thing to consider is your driving style. If you adopt a more efficient style, or take a more efficient route, you’ll be able to eke out more mileage. Don’t be too heavy on the accelerator or brakes, and anticipate the need to change speed so you use as little electricity as possible. If your route can include a motorway, this will involve far less accelerating and braking, which will improve your mileage.
Engage eco mode
Most electric cars have an ‘eco’ mode, which will limit acceleration and top speed, and increase the amount of regenerative braking, so this will give you a few more miles.
Turn off the jam, turn it off
Remember, everything in your car takes energy from the battery, so if you do a journey with the air conditioning on max, the stereo blaring, and the heated seats on full, you’ll take away power that could get you an extra few miles. Having said that, driving with the windows lowered reduces aerodynamic efficiency, so don’t feel like you can’t use your air con when it’s hot. Just think a bit about what you need on while you’re driving.
Weight
Be wary of additional weight in your car too. Only carry what you need in the car, and leave people at home if you can! Extra weight will also zap the car’s range.
Weather
The weather will also have an impact on the car’s range. In cold weather, some of the battery power will need to be used to clear the windscreen, and keep the driver warm. On top of that, cold weather hinders the flow of electrons, so the extra heat needed will zap more of your car’s energy.