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."

source: energy.gov