Last Updated on October 15, 2023 by Kristin
One of the most common questions drivers have about electric vehicles is what is the driving range. While the range of these cars is constantly improving, there can be a big difference among brands. Still, there is an easy way to find out the driving range of electric cars.
If rent an EV for a road trip, it’s important to find out the range of your specific car model. Knowing the range lets you avoid frantically looking for a charging station as the car’s battery is on its last legs.
How the Driving Range for Electric Cars is Calculated
Before determining the range of your rental car, it’s important to know a bit about how EV range is calculated. Put simply, the range of an EV is how many miles the vehicle can travel on a fully-charged battery.
Just as fuel efficiency is tested for gasoline-powered vehicles, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines the range of an electric car by running it through a series of tests. For each EV model, EPA testers drive a fully-charged car continuously until the battery is completely depleted. The distance driven is recorded, and then the process is repeated multiple more times. The city and highway range values (adjusted for real-world conditions) are weighted to determine the combined driving range that appears on the EPA fuel economy label.
With all that said, remember that an electric car battery will not be fully charged when you pick it up from the rental company. Also, it is never advised to run the battery down to 0%. It’s also good to keep in mind that EV range is impacted by factors, like cold weather, driving speed, and whether you use air conditioning.
Finding the Range of a Rental EV
Most rental car companies will provide information on the range of your EV. But even if they don’t, the EPA has a very handy website where you can look up the range of any model.
When searching EV range, make sure you are looking at the correct model and year for each vehicle. For example, the 2023 Tesla Model 3 has a range of 272 miles. The long-range Model 3 delivers 358 miles. Depending on the version of a 2023 Polestar 2, the total range is between 247 and 270 miles.
Watch the Battery Percentage
Even if you know an EV’s range, keep an eye on how much battery power remains while driving. This can be found on the car’s dashboard.
Experts advise EV drivers to avoid letting the battery totally drain. In fact, they recommend looking for a charging station when the battery dips below the 30 percent mark.
Along with the possibility of getting stranded, it isn’t good for the health of the vehicle. Plus, as mentioned before, different factors can affect EV range significantly. In other words, don’t mistake a car’s estimated range for how many miles you will actually get between charges. The range will give you a general view of how often you’ll need to stop and charge the vehicle. Still, it’s best to monitor the battery’s percentage during the trip and plan accordingly.