Maybe 150 miles is plenty.
Range is probably one of the most thought-about aspects of electric vehicles. Especially for new buyers. Not long ago, if you wanted more than a 100-mile leash, you had to shell out big bucks for a Tesla Model S or Model X. Now, there are a handful of cars that can go 150 to 300 or so miles without raiding the retirement fund, and more are on the way. As this magic number continues to increase, it seems it might be a good time to discuss how much is range is really needed.
This is exactly the conversation Dan Edmunds, Jason Kavanagh and Calvin Kim of Edmunds have in the video above. The publication just happens to have three such EVs in its collection right now — the 151-mile Nissan LEAF, the 238-mile Chevy Bolt, and the 310-mile Tesla Model 3 — and the three auto journos have had a chance to spend some time living with them long enough to have some good insights.
Interestingly, at 90 miles, Edmunds is the one with the longest commute (we assume that includes the return trip) but is the first to claim the mere 151-mile range of the 40-kWh 2018 LEAF is plenty. Charging to full each night in his garage, it covers enough distance to get him to work and cover any side trips he may have to make. The one caveat they make to this observation is an important one. Range can drop considerably in the winter, so those in more northern climes need to also take that into consideration.
Another curious aspect they discuss is how far the cars can go above their EPA-rated distances. In this respect, the two front-wheel-drive vehicles seem capable of overachieving the number assigned to them by the government agency, while the single rear-wheel drive Model 3 seems less so. For instance, Edmunds claims that he "soft-pedaled" the Bolt 334 miles and still had 16 more miles available according to the vehicle's display. That's pretty amazing, and they attribute it to the fact that regenerative braking, which puts energy back into the battery, is more effective when the motor which does that work powers the front wheels, which also do the heavy lifting in braking. This is a thesis that will be better tested once the dual motor versions of the baby Tesla make their way into owners hands, which should be very soon.
There are lots of other great tidbits in this eight-minute video which we think you'll appreciate, so if you haven't already, we suggest you sit back and hit "play." Enjoy!