Plug-in Electric Car Range & Price Comparison

APR 28 2015 BY MARK KANE 27

Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

All-electric range and price are often considered two of the most important factors while deciding which plug-in electric car to purchase.

Here we have a graphical presentation of both parameters for all EVs available in the US (or formerly available), ordered by range.

All-electric range value comes from the EPA (official or expected in case of Volvo). Prices, on the other hand, include destination charge and tax credit (from few thousands up to $7,500 depending on model).


Only Tesla offers true long range of over 200 miles. Then we have a big break and a lot of models with small differences in range. Battery-electric cars ends at the i-MiEV at 62 and then we see a bunch of plug-ins with on-board engines.

Plug-In Vehicle Pricing – United States

Plug-In Vehicle Pricing – United States


Things aren’t as simple in the case of price, because we have different classes of cars (from base to luxury) with different market approaches (series production or compliance).

Exact prices for each model can be found at our Compare Plug-Ins card.


Pricing for most plug-ins (after the tax credit) are below $35,000. Plug-in hybrids are usually more expensive than the corresponding all-electric models.

Kia Soul EV with its 93 miles of range, in the absence of the discontinued Toyota RAV4 EV, offers the highest range after Tesla, yet costs less than $28,000. Most BEVs are around 80 miles of EPA range. PHEVs typically have 11-20 miles of range.

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27 Comments on "Plug-in Electric Car Range & Price Comparison"

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by eyeball, the best value here seems to be the Spark (82mi/20k); worst value is BMW i8 (15mi/$135k)

I guess it depends on what you mean by value. Getting from point A to B with least cost? Least inconvenience? Greatest safety? Most fun? Lowest depreciation? Lowest total cost of ownership? Greatest envy on the part of your neighbors?

Good point. The Spark EV is definitely a good value. Unfortunately it isn’t available in most of the country.

If I would have stretched my budget another measly $70,000 I could have had a Tesla.

I gotta call out IEV for a bit of inaccuracy and unfair treatment of the Mercedes. Here, we announced “17 more miles of range”. You hit a button, and this chart’s 87 becomes 104. For Tesla to be observed for its listed ranges, you have to do the same thing, go out of your way and “range charge” (unless your being stupid about battery life).

We can guess that Mercedes doesn’t care, and doesn’t want to sell cars, but the 2015’s have 104 available miles, as standard. It just seems inconsistent, not to control for charge settings, or available DOD, in this kind of presentation. If we don’t, we could just as well say 230 miles for the Tesla 85 (when not range charged), and 104 miles for the MB (when range charged)? That fair?

Because I believe the MB reverts to non-range charges after each full charge, where Tesla gives owners a warning not to consistently range charge, I think the EPA may hold them to report the 87 number. A Tesla will repeatedly range charge, if you let it.

I am inclined to give InsideEVs a pass here. They are going by EPA numbers only. The 2015 B class did not get re-rated according to the same method as the RAV4 EV (average of Standard and Extended Charge modes), so why should Inside EVs adjust the figures? It would be helpful to at least give the “full charge” combined EPA values for each model in the body of the story though.

Looks like the 2016 Volt will be the only PHEV in the blue!

Hey, thanks to InsideEVs! That chart is a real eye-opener.

I didn’t realize the two Ford Energi entries have only a token electric range, and the same for the BMW i8. Article bookmarked!

I’m not at all sure the 2016 Volt deserves that 50 mile rating. So far as I know, that’s only what GM is claiming; it hasn’t been rated by the EPA.

“Chevy projects that the EPA will rate the 2016 Volt at 50 miles of electric range,” according to an article at Green Car Well, perhaps so. After all, the EPA depends on the auto makers themselves to run the tests using EPA test standards. If GM has done the tests on the actual production car, then they should know the results. But has the actual production car been finalized yet? Anybody know?

Doubt that getting 50 will be a problem.

The 2014 Volt has a 16.5 kWh pack of which there is 10.9 kWh (66%) that is usable. It has an EPA rating of 38 miles which means it gets 3.48 miles per kWh. The 66% DOD is by far the most conservative of all the EVs and GM has stated that from what they’ve learned they will easily be able to dig deeper into the new pack.

The 2016 Volt will have a 18.4 kWh battery pack. To get 50 miles from the EPA even at the old 3.48 miles per kWh it would need to use 14.37 kWh of the total pack.

That means they would need to use 78% of the total pack if the new Volt weighed the same as the gen 1 volt which it doesn’t. The new Volt will weigh 240 lbs. less than the gen 1 which is a substantial weight loss meaning they will be able to have less DOD than that 78%. Wild guess but maybe 75% DOD.

To compare the Nissan Leaf uses a 88% DOD while using 80% in long-life mode.

The RAV4 EV is a bit of an oddball. First, the official calculated average but not tested EPA mileage number misrepresents its true capabilities: it’s true range in extended mode is at least 120 miles at highway speeds with no hypermiling efforts. (And 103 miles is pretty normal for its normal 80% charge mode.)

Second, Toyota set an MSRP of $50K, but then offered anywhere from $14 to $19K off on various almost-zero interest lease deals so most of us end up paying under $35K (assuming we buy out the lease). All told, such a well-kept, awesome deal! It’s like Toyota didn’t want to sell ’em. 😉

As a bonus, with just 2600 made and no comparable competition at this price and battery range, its resale value is still holding around this price. ($34K-ish). Until the next gen vehicles start coming out, of course!

Meant to say: “well-kept, awesome secret deal”

So the Spark is easily the best range per dollar, the best 0-60 per dollar and its based on a regular production car so replacement parts are readily availbe…

Sounds like a winner, maybe GM should start BUILDING MORE! and sell them across north america.

This chart should break out which EPA testing methods apply to each vehicle.

The Soul, RAV, and I believe the Teslas are tested at an average of 80% and 100% charge rates, meaning the EPA range is really 90% of the potential of the car.

The ’14+ Leaf, i3, Spark, 500e, etc. all default to 100% charging with no way to override, so the EPA grants them 100% range. This is how Nissan jumped from 73 EPA to 84 overnight with no mechanical changes that affect EPA testing.

Lensman said:
“I didn’t realize the two Ford Energi entries have only a token electric range”

The Ford Energi electric range is not “token”. If the Ford meets your needs, it provides very good value for the dollar (as indicated by the chart above) . My CMax normally gets 25 miles per charge (including regeneration). Lifetime, over 10,000 miles, I get more than 185 MPG. 25 miles per charge can dramatically reduce gas consumption for many people, especially for those operating two cars. These cars deserve more respect than they get in most of the comments on this site.

185 MPG? So, if you were to drive your Ford C-Max with exactly 1 gallon of gas in its tank, you could go 185 miles before it ran out of gas?

Of course not. Making that claim reduces the term “MPG” to nonsense.

What you actually mean is this:

Counting cumulative miles over several trips with repeated charging, it’s possible to drive a Ford C-Max 185 miles mostly on battery power, altho using some gas to get that far.

But it’s not just you. I’ve seen Volt owners make the same nonsensical claims.

You are wrong on two points. First, I can in fact travel 185 miles on a single gallon of gas. The Energi’s electric range is adequate for driving around town. I drive almost exclusively on electricity and virtually never use any gas. The mpg figure is the lifetime readout on my dashboard. The Energi, as I use it, operates as a virtual EV.
Second, my perspective (and that of the Volt owners you reference) is less nonsensical than your insistence on your exclusive definition of mpg. The 185 MPG is an excellent indicator of how little fossil fuel the Energi’s “token” electric range allows me to use. (By the way, the electricity used comes from solar.)
I stand by my post. The Energis are good PHEVs and a very good dollar value. They meet the needs of many more people than are aware of this. I will not try to tell you what your opinions or definitions should be. Please don’t tell me what I actually mean.

Since you mentioned the Volt: I’ve traveled more than 1100 miles over the last gallon of gas I’ve consumed.

I’m not sure how that qualifies as a nonsensical claim, but there you go.

Agreed. EVs and PHEVs would be more attractive to more people if they understood how beneficial these cars could be for them. EPA estimated electric range is generally important for obvious reasons. But this is only one piece of the context. People who aren’t knowledgeable about EVs and PHEVs tend to underestimate the importance of their particular needs and circumstances. They don’t focus on how far they will drive between charges in comparison with a car’s estimated electric range plus regen. (Regen adds 10- 30% to my range depending on traffic.)
Also, congratulations on your 1100 mpg! The best I ever did so far is 250 mpg. (Photos of my dashboard readout were posted on this site about two years ago.) But I know that my upside average is limited only by how many miles I drive on pure electric.

Spider-Dan said:

“I’ve traveled more than 1100 miles over the last gallon of gas I’ve consumed.

“I’m not sure how that qualifies as a nonsensical claim, but there you go.”

Of course that’s not a nonsensical claim. You didn’t claim that you get more than 1100 MPG.

The term MPG, or miles per gallon, refers to how far a car can travel using the energy in a gallon of gasoline. When you start using “MPG” to mean how far a PHEV can travel mostly on kWh of electricity plus some gas, then it becomes meaningless or nonsensical.

Does anyone know what the CA CARB rebate will be for the 2016 Volt?

All PHEVs get the same $1,500 rebate from the State of California through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. The Federal Tax credit is the only one that depends on the battery size. GM already gamed the system to get the Volt the maximum $7,500 credit.

And by “gamed the system,” you mean “put in a battery of the necessary capcacity.”

This is ignoring a few factors. For example, some states offer rebates that change the price. Also many people lease and these prices aren’t always correlative to the purchase prices.

Another point to note is that Nissan has been running a $3500 mfg rebate on the leaf for about 9 months now. Also you can walk into nearly any dealer and get another $2500 off. My 2015 Leaf S w/QC wound up costing less than $16K out the door with all the rebates and credits.

As far as the prior question on the CA CARB rebate for the 16 Volt, it should still be the same $1500 you get now (assuming you purchase or lease for 36mo+), plus you’d get the $7500 tax credit (if you pay enough in taxes). The CARB rebates will likely expire within the year if the state runs out of money in the fund. I think there’s a site online that tells you how much money is left. If I were buying a 16 Volt, I wouldn’t wait to long to do so.

I thought the Energi’s were reduced to 19 miles from 21….

Yes, that right there were reduced. Well technically, they are officially stickered 20 miles, but with a sub listing of 19+1…

As we are aware, actual results will vary.

That graph above makes the missing cars between the Model S and the others super obvious. There really is something missing there from Toyota, Ford, BMW, Honda and all the others.

Another thing is that if the range of a Leaf is equivalent to the range of a BMW i3, the price graph indicates that going from a non luxury car to a luxury car adds 60% to the price. That in reverse applied to a Tesla Model S 70D means a 240 miles non luxury car could already be made for 43000$.