WHICH ELECTRIC cars can be driven 300 miles or more between charges? When buying a new battery-electric vehicle, a long range is one of the first things a customer will look for.
At the time of the original Nissan Leaf’s launch 10 years ago, the car makers dabbling with pure-electric models were trying to convince us that its official range of 109 miles between charges (less than that in the real world) was more than enough for most drivers.
In a way, it was true — research from 2008, published in the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ 2011 Electric Car Guide, showed that the average individual journey length in the UK was 8.6 miles and the average total daily distance travelled was 25 miles, while more than 80% of motorists across Europe drove less than 63 miles in a typical day.
And yet “range anxiety” (the fear of running out of charge) was still a major talking point, with many commentators asking, “But what happens if I want to drive from London to Scotland”. Although journeys of that distance aren’t common, a long road trip — say for a family holiday — once or twice a year isn’t out of the question for many households — especially with the coronavirus pandemic forcing us away from air travel.
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, was one of the few pure-electric car advocates arguing that drivers shouldn’t just put up with a range of 100 miles or less. He knew that if the tech was going to take off, drivers would need electric cars capable of travelling at least three times as far as the Leaf. He had introduced the Roadster in 2008, which could travel 244 miles according to the American test cycle, and then the Model S (more than 300 miles) in 2012.
Now it seems, the rest of the car industry is catching up. Cars that can go at least 300 miles per charge are becoming the norm rather than the exception, and they’re becoming more affordable, too.
Here are 10 of longest-range electric cars available to buy in 2020/2021.
1. Long range electric cars: Tesla Model S Plaid — 520 miles
The most powerful and quickest-accelerating Model S yet certainly packs some impressive stats, ahead of its production beginning in late 2021.
A teaser video released by Tesla as part of its Battery Day celebrations in September claimed 0-62mph in under two seconds, a 200mph top speed, the ability to cover a quarter mile in nine seconds and 1100hp (1085bhp), intermingled with shots of the much-awaited model sprinting around the Laguna Seca racetrack in 1:30.3 minutes, 6 seconds quicker than a model that the car maker sent round in 2019.
In the era of electric hypercars like the Lotus Evija or the Pininfarina Battista, however, stats like this are nothing new. What is, is an estimated range of 520 miles, which leaves even the Tesla Model S Long Range, second in this list, in its dust. At a price of £130,980 it’s not what you’d call cheap, but it’s a fraction of the price of an Evija or Battista.
2. Long range electric cars: Tesla Model S Long Range Plus — 405 miles
This version of the Model S is already available to buy. It’s the cheapest version of the electric saloon — although, at £74,980, “cheap” might not be an apt descriptor — meaning the Model S is still the standard-bearer when it comes to how far an electric car can go on a single charge.
3. BMW iX — 373 miles
The announcement of the BMW iX was overshadowed somewhat by the red-blooded anger about its looks, which have proved, to put it mildly, polarising. However, beneath the skin is a seriously impressive drivetrain, packing what BMW claims will be a range of 373 miles.
That’s considerably more than any of the electric SUV’s current competitors, including the Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model X. How far ahead of its rivals it will be when it goes into production at the end of next year remains to be seen.
4. BMW i4 — 373 miles
The i4 electric coupé represents another step in BMW’s desire to diversify the drivetrain options in its current lineup, as part of what it is calling its “power of choice” mantra. It will share the same electric setup as the aforementioned iX, with the same range.
Read more: The Sunday Times: Driving
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