Real-world highway range: UK test lauds Kia Niro EV, Tesla Model 3 – Green Car Reports

Most of today’s electric vehicles are far from range-anxiety-inducing. Their suggested charging stops and helpful range meters help keep you well short of the red zone.

But sometimes, maybe once or twice when the unexpected happens, you may find your vehicle—as well as your propensity for range anxiety—put to the test. 

Which EVs return the most range, or the closest to their rated ranges, when you’re in a real pinch? The team at the UK car-buying site Carwow set out to discover that—with a nail-biter of an accompanying video you can see at the bottom of this piece titled: “We drove these electric cars until they DIED!”

2019 Audi E-tron

2019 Audi E-tron

Carwow gathered up a Nissan Leaf Plus, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD, Kia Niro EV, and Audi E-Tron. 

The test regimen involved charging them to 100 percent, then leaving them overnight. It reports that each of the test vehicles lost some charge (like to battery conditioning features) but each of them had more than 95 percent when the cars started the test. Each vehicle was driven in the most energy-efficient mode, with the climate control set to 68 degrees F. Drivers also connected a mobile phone and then used the cruise control, set to the posted speed limit (70 mph). 

Outside temperatures were far from optimal for the batteries, at about 45 degrees F for at least part of the test. 

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance

Although the Tesla Model 3 covered the most miles on a charge, the three winners in the test that covered the highest percent of their WLTP-rated ranges—each with more than 80 percent—were the Audi E-Tron, Nissan Leaf, and Kia Niro EV.

The two models that fared the worst in the test were the Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace, with 75 and 76 percent of their WLTP range, respectively. 

Carwow also found that all six of the vehicles can keep going—some for many miles—after their systems said that their batteries were completely depleted. 

The WLTP ratings the UK crew were working with were of course lower than the EPA range ratings—which, actually, aren’t designed to be highway-specific. The EPA rating for the Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD is 322 miles, and Carwow managed 270 miles. But the Kia Niro EV has an EPA range of 239 miles and it covered 255 miles in the test. 

Jaguar I-Pace in urgent need of electrons

Jaguar I-Pace in urgent need of electrons

The Audi E-Tron also beat its EPA rating, with 205 miles in the Carwow test. And the Jaguar I-Pace was actually quite close to its 234-mile EPA rating, at 223 miles for the test. 

Although each of these vehicles ran out of energy in a different way, none suddenly lost charge in a way that would strand drivers without any advance warning. It’s worth watching the video as a measure of reassurance that, probably in most cases, running out of electrons is just as deliberate as running out of gas.