We’ve already been wowed by the high tech features on new electric models from Tesla and BMW, but the most important question that surrounds electric cars remains their battery range. Put simply, the battery needs to let you travel as far or further than a full tank of petrol or diesel for electric cars to be a real rival to the models that still guzzle fossil fuel.
We praised the Tesla Model S previously for its beefy battery which claims to be capable of whisking this luxury car 312 miles per charge. But how does this claimed range from the battery match up to our testing? Take a look at our infographic below.
Car reviews – read our test lab verdicts on the Tesla, BMW and Renault
Claimed range vs actual range on electric cars
All fall short of claimed range figures
The Tesla Model S not only has the best range but comes closest to its official figure, hitting 83% of the claimed range. The BMW trails with 76% of its range figure, while the Renault Zoe chalks up a poor 57%.
Importantly, this means that neither the BMW nor the Renault can break the 100 mile mark, so you’ll be forced to stop for top up charges on longer journeys. The Tesla though, should offer enough real world range for most drivers of over 250 miles.
Petrol rivals offer up to seven times greater range
Compare the Zoe to an equivalent petrol Renault Clio and the petrol car can not only travel seven times further on a full tank of fuel, but it gets a full 29% closer to its official economy figure. At the other end of the scale the Tesla runs out of charge around 190 miles before an equally fast BMW M5.
For many drivers a real world range of around 75-90 miles will be more than adequate, but it’s disappointing that the Renault and BMW in fall so far short of the official figures, although both companies do publish more real world range figures as well.
The next generation of cars may be electric, but it remains to be seen whether the current batch of electric cars can travel far enough between charges to win many buyers – especially when you consider how many hours they take to charge.