EV range. It’s the bread and butter of surveys, studies, and opinion pieces. And for good reason–nobody wants to be left stranded on the side of the road because the advertised range is out of touch with reality.
The problem is that the EPA-estimated range is based on a rather outdated laboratory testing procedure initially intended for combustion cars but subsequently adapted for battery-powered cars.
In city driving conditions, EVs usually make good on their range-related promises, but it’s on the highway where things can sometimes get more complicated. That’s why Consumer Reports put 22 zero-emissions cars to the test by driving them with a full battery at a constant speed of 70 miles per hour until they shut down.
Our own Tom Moloughney does a similar thing on his range test videos, as it’s a good indicator of what an EV is capable of delivering at a relatively high speed, where it’s less efficient. If it can deliver the promised range at 70 mph, driving at lower speeds will almost certainly produce higher range numbers.
“Range is much more important when you’re far from home and away from reliable charging,” says Alex Knizek, manager of auto testing and insights at CR. “If you run out of charge on the highway, you may need to be towed, which could be both inconvenient and costly.”
The biggest outlier was the Ford F-150 Lightning with the Extended Range battery, which ran out of battery after 270 miles, 50 miles less than the EPA estimate, followed by the Lucid Air Touring and Tesla Model S Long Range. In the case of the Air, it missed its 384-mile estimate by 40 miles, while the Model S fell 39 miles short of its 405-mile advertised range.
Ford F-150 Lightning Flash
Lucid Air Touring
2023 Tesla Model S
However, some cars did the opposite, driving for longer distances than they boast on their window stickers. The EV that drove for an impressive 72 extra miles compared to its 260-mile EPA estimate was the Mercedes-Benz EQE 350. The BMW iX M50 also exceeded its 271-mile EPA range by 47 miles, while the Rivian R1T with the quad-motor powertrain and large pack battery went 20 miles over its 314-mile estimate.
“Those extra miles can be a benefit for those who need to drive in cold weather or utilize some of the blistering fast acceleration that EVs provide, both of which can cut range considerably,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of CR’s auto test center.
All the cars tested by CR were purchased anonymously from local dealerships and vehicle manufacturers. The outside temperature was between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the tire pressure was set to factory specifications, the vehicles were preconditioned inside a garage, and the climate control was set to 72 degrees.
Here’s the complete list of EVs that were range-tested by CR:
|CR Tested Range
|Audi Q4 50 E-Tron Premium Plus
|BMW i4 M50
|BMW iX xDrive50
|Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat ER
|Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD ER
|Genesis Electrified GV70 Advanced
|Genesis GV60 Advanced
|Hyundai Ioniq 5 SEL AWD
|Hyundai Ioniq 6 SEL AWD
|Kia EV6 Wind AWD
|Kia Niro EV Wind
|Lexus RZ 450e Premium
|Lucid Air Touring
|Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4Matic
|Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 350 4Matic
|Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic
|Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV 450 4Matic
|Nissan Ariya Platinum+ AWD
|Subaru Solterra Limited
|Tesla Model S Long Range
|Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD