The advertised ranges of many electric vehicles can vary a lot from the number of miles they can actually cover on a highway road trip, new testing by Consumer Reports (CR) shows. When driven at a constant highway speed of 70 mph, some vehicles tested fell up to 50 miles short of their advertised ranges, while others exceeded their advertised ranges—one by more than 70 miles.
Unlike the mileage estimates for conventional cars and hybrids, which indicate separate city and highway ranges, EV range estimates combine simulated city and highway driving, based on standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CR testing shows that this estimate may not accurately reflect the range you can expect on the highway, where every mile counts. Further complicating matters, unlike gasoline-powered cars, is that EVs tend to be less efficient on highways than in cities.
Real-world comparative tests are critical to understand if an EV is right for you. That’s why we purchase our vehicles like a consumer would and drive them at highway speeds like a consumer would on a road trip.—Jake Fisher, senior director of CR’s auto test center
To find out how much range EV models actually get in highway driving conditions, CR put 22 of the most popular new EVs through a new highway-speed range test, driving fully-charged vehicles at a steady speed of 70 mph until they ran out of charge.
Even if the car indicated zero miles of range, we didn’t stop driving until the car came to a stop. Then we brought the car to a charger on a flatbed.—Alex Knizek, manager of auto testing and insights at CR
While most models stopped shortly after indicating zero range, a few—such as the BMW iX—traveled up to 30 additional miles.
Of the 22 EVs tested so far, nearly half fell short of their EPA-estimated ranges when driven at highway speeds. CR found the biggest difference in range with the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck: Its battery ran out after just 270 miles—a 50-mile difference from the EPA estimate.
A few luxury sedans also fell short. The Lucid Air missed its advertised 384-mile range by 40 miles. The Tesla Model S has an EPA range of 405 miles, but CR found it was only good for 366 miles of highway driving.
CR reached out to these automakers for comment on the findings but none had responded by publication time.
On the other hand, some vehicles from BMW and Mercedes-Benz beat their EPA-estimated ranges by more than 40 miles. The Rivian R1T and Ford Mustang Mach-E also exceeded EPA estimates at highway speeds.
The EVs tested from Audi, Genesis, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Nissan, Subaru, and Volkswagen were all within 20 miles of their advertised ranges.
The new test results will be factored into new EV scores that CR launched this year. Going forward, CR will continue to evaluate highway range for every EV it tests. CR is also asking the EPA to add a highway-speed range test and make the data available to consumers. Other organizations, including Car and Driver and SAE International, are doing the same.
EPA’s testing procedures date back to the early days of EVs, and what’s included on the window sticker is partially controlled by laws written decades ago for gas cars. CR has asked EPA to start the process of modernizing these regulations to help provide more useful consumer information about today’s EVs, including highway range.—Chris Harto, senior energy policy analyst at CR