Median Range For EVs At 83.5 Miles, Bigger Moves Ahead

AUG 28 2016 BY MARK KANE 17

2011 Nissan LEAF

2011 Nissan LEAF

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

There is no doubt that the range of all-electric cars is growing – just look at Tesla and the release of the new 100 kWh editions of the Model S and X.

Interesting however, is that the median range across the entire 2016 BEV model year line up in U.S. (according to the DoE) has moved up just 14% compared to all the 2011* models.

The three EVs listed from 2011 ranged from 63 to 94 miles (EPA), with the median (and only actual volume offering – the Nissan LEAF) at 73 miles (117.5 km).

Now we should note that we did a double-take seeing the range from 2011, as we didn’t recall any 94 mile EV being sold at any local dealer near us.  A quick check of the DoE data files explains the reason, that 94 mile EV was the BMW Active E…apparently any EPA rated 2011 MY car (regardless of availability) is to be included in the list.  Moving on.

Fast forward to July 2016, and 12 BEVs range from 62 to 294 miles (soon to be 315 miles in September with the 100 kWh Model S), but the median for the 12 models was at 83.5 miles (134 km) – basically a split between the VW e-Golf (83 miles) and the Fiat 500e (84 miles).

New 100 kWh option motivates the Tesla Model S to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, and travel 315 miles on a charge

New 100 kWh option motivates the Tesla Model S to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, and travel 315 miles on a charge

In other words, despite two Teslas pushing the upper limits past 300 miles, most “new” first generation models in the market have kept the median roughly in place.

With the arrival of the second generation of EVs getting underway next year, as well as several models getting battery upgrades, we expect to see the first significant advancement of this number with next year’s 2017 report.

How high could it go next?  It is hard to say, but if we lose some of the low range options as expected, and add in all those improved models already on the schedule – something like the 110 miles found in the upcoming Hyundai IONIQ BEV may be the new middle ground.

“In model year 2011, there were just three different models of all-electric vehicles (AEV) available and their ranges on a full charge (according to the Environmental Protection Agency) spanned from 63 to 94 miles. By model year 2016, the number of AEV models increased to twelve and the available ranges expanded as well from a minimum of 62 miles for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to a maximum of 294 miles for the Tesla Model S 90D. From 2011 to 2016, the median of the AEV ranges increased by just over 10 miles – from 73 to 83.5 miles.”

Breadth of AEV Ranges, MY 2011 and 2016 (source:

Breadth of AEV Ranges, MY 2011 and 2016 (source:


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17 Comments on "Median Range For EVs At 83.5 Miles, Bigger Moves Ahead"

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It would be much more interesting to see how much range the average EV sold has and had.

Shouldn’t be too hard to do, since you guys already have the sales numbers and the range figures. Tesla and Nissan, with their multiple battery versions might be troubling, but if you have some figures there…

This ! It should be by volume sold. Much clearer picture.


The real definition of median in statistics inherently includes weighting by the quantity at each range point.
This would presumably slew the median closer to the high end.
To do otherwise would imply as many iMievs as Teslas in the sample set.

Horrible thought! Gives me visions of swatting mosquitos for some reason (while stepping carefully aside for the running of the bulls).

I completely agree.

The median range was the wrong metric and the average should have been used for this article instead.

It’s pretty disappointing how small the ranges still are (Tesla excluded), after six years of mass production EVs. 2017 can’t come fast enough.

More proof that the laggard OEMs are doing virtually nothing (statistically they are regressing) to make compelling EVs.

Well in about 18 months they are going to get a big enema courtesy of Tesla the Model 3 and then as they say in the business you are going to see a lot of “elbows and @#%$&^s” from these laggards as they finally start taking EVs seriously.

Well said however it’s still regulations that will force them to go from trucks/SUVs to EVs as the TM3 segment, compacts car, isn’t a top segment…All the TM3 preorders only match the #1 best selling vehicle in annual sales, the Ford F-150…The Tesla’s TM3 will surely stir the pot by increasing the voice for anti-ice regulation…

That may be true in the US but in Europe the Model 3 is right in the best people’s expectations for a car. Once the word is really out, beyond the early reservations, the general market is going to explode. There will be no equivalent from local brands so nationalist trends will fade in face of the desire that people will have for the only car able to really be electric, compelling, gorgeous and still affordable (gas included) at the same time. 500000 orders per year, for Europe only, as soon as 2020 would not surprise me at all. Enough to start a new factory right there and perhaps gigafactory 2 as well.

What’s with the bottom end looking so… so-so? I hope that folks who are buying EVs today/soon start walking out of dealerships if the range minus a 20% pack degradation and a weather/temp. factor isn’t going to cover all their needs. The days of having a second ICE or ICE backup capability won’t go away if people don’t start shopping differently. I still recall Ford saying 100 miles of range is all anyone needs. Who drives a Mustang with a 5-gallon tank?

“I still recall Ford saying 100 miles of range is all anyone needs. Who drives a Mustang with a 5-gallon tank?”
I do remember Ford saying that and I remember General Motors saying 80% of Americans Drive less than 40 miles per day, implying that no one needs more than 40 miles of all electric range. Tesla is the only one who really understood from day one what is necessary to move Alternative Energy Vehicles into the future.

Ford did the Ford GT for the 100th anniversary in 2005/06. Apparently you got about 8 miles to the gallon and it had a 16 gallon tank giving it a range of 128 miles. Even if you got the 12 mpg stated you still only get 192 miles on a tank. I am sure there are a number of sub 200 mile ice cars on the road.

Clearly the current generation “100” mile ev’s are not adequate for the masses but, IMO, the 200 mile+ range is not necessary, I think once you pass 150 miles you are very much on the diminishing returns side of the curve. Obviously some people will need more range than others but for the masses a sub $30k (without incentives) 100-150 mile Bev would be a winner. I’d love to see a $20-25k, 30-35 kWh car. If 40 kWh was obtainable for $25k before incentives I think it would change the world and sell in numbers higher than a $40k ish 200 mile sports car.

IMO once we get past 30 kWh price is the challenge.

For one, I want to have a 400 miles range pure ev car and will only start buying one starting from 300 miles, so the Model S 100 or the coming larger battery Model 3.
And when we have 400 miles the race will be on much higher charging power up to one gigawatt at least to be literally able to charge an ev as fast as a gas car or even faster. Not only will it be really fantastic but it will also bring new capabilities as a spin-off for other fields.

100-110 miles range is the new standard. Nissan Leaf and Mercedes B250e are already there, VW e-Golf and Ford Focus Electric are announced up next. Kia Soul EV was close with 92 and will almost certainly get the bump with new cells soon.

One of the most interesting outcomes will be what happens to price on these very serviceable 100 milers when Bolt and Model 3 start shipping.

I’ll predict $8k – $10k discounts off of MSRP – before government and employer incentives, which can drop another $15k off the price if you live in a region that takes air pollution mitigation seriously.

We’re already seeing $6k – $9k off the Leaf.

Well equipped brand new 100 mile EVs for $7k-$13k is quite a bargain.

The cheapest ICEs out there – Versa, Spark – are about ~$13k (with manual transmission)

Those deals are not available in all states, but if you live in an area where they are available, kind of hard to lose if a 100 mile BEV fits your driving pattern.

You could drive those cars for 3 years, sell the car and end up even or with money in your pocket, even with steep depreciation.

I hope you are right, eci. I keep waiting to see the Chevy Volt True Car price to fall some more. For the last month it has shown the Volt selling at around $3400 below MSRP near me in Northern Virginia. Today it is showing Volts selling just $2500 below MSRP.
I can’t afford any of the BEV’s that would fit my driving profile right now so I haven’t checked them. Hopefully they are showing more flexibility on the part of the dealers.

I think the Volt will not get such steep discounts, since it is such a capable car. Since it does qualify for pretty good incentives ($7,500 Federal, most state, most if not all AQMD, employer incentives) it is a fantastic deal now.

We just leased a Volt SE for about $200/ mo and 15k mile/yr. Fuel cost savings (compared to an equivalent ICE) cover about $140 of the lease payments, making the net cost about $70/mo.

That’s less than we’re paying for our mobile phones.

Still need a battery breakthrough. The lack of one accounts for the very modest increase in range. New models with better engineering will help but until we see a breakthrough we’ll be treading water. The 100 kWh Model S is a good example of the problem and not encouraging at all — yes the range went up but the cost went up even faster.

Not really. EVs are way overpriced today, due partly because of the incentives, partly because of small series. The reason the 100 kWh Tesla is so expensive is its uniqueness, they are pushing the price up because the people who can afford it are willing to pay top dollars for “the best”.

Leave it to serial Tesla-hater Don C to try and twist a positive development into something negative.

I’m sure that eventually their will be new battery tech but what we have now works quite well once the laggard OEMS get off their ICE asses and make compelling, long-range EVS with 60ish kwh batteries.

You know, like the upcoming Bolt that I hope GM doesn’t screw up selling.