The Basics of EVs
How Much EV Range Do I Need?
How Much EV Range Do I Need?

How Much EV Range Do I Need?

Determining how much range you need in an EV can be tricky. It's not just adding up the mileage you drive, although that's a start.

If you've read our other articles on the things that can impact your EV's available range, and how critical it is to choose the right EV, you may be left wondering just how much range you should choose when shopping for an EV. After all, bigger batteries are expensive and so it's not always feasible to just buy the biggest battery you can (although, if you can afford to do that, we recommend it).

Let's start with the number of miles you actually drive on your busiest days. You can figure this number out by either tracking your mileage as you go about your day, or by using a mapping tool to measure distances between the places you might travel on your busiest days.

For example, let's say the number that you need is 100 miles.

Extreme Weather Adjustment

If you live in a very hot or very cold climate, we've discussed that this can impact your available range by more than 50%.

100 miles x 50% = 150 miles.

Degradation Protection

If you plan to keep your car for more than a few years, factor in some anticipated degradation by increasing your mileage by 10%-15%.

150 miles x 10% = 165 miles

Vampire Drain

If your car has a lot of connected features, you may want to add an additional 10% range to accommodate for power lost while the car is sitting unused.

165 miles x 10% = 181.5 miles

If you answered yes to all of these adjustments, the minimum range you'd want to look for is approximately 182 miles. Keep in mind this is just an estimate, and a rough one at that.

Everything else

Finally, consider the following questions:

  • Will my car often be packed full of people or stuff?
  • Will I add exterior accessories like bike racks of rooftop tents?
  • Do I live in a mountainous area, with a lot of elevation change?
  • Will I use this vehicle for towing on my busy days?
  • Do I drive in excess of 65 mph regularly?
  • Do I have a lead foot?

While it's hard to predict to exact impact these factors will have, for each question you answered "yes" to, we'd recommend adding at least 10-20% more range to your tally. Keep in mind, we can't guarantee that these estimates will be accurate, as every car and every situation will be unique. But knowing that these factors exist will help you better consider what your needs may actually be. If you can afford a car with even more range, that's great! It's also entirely possible that you can get away with less range, IF you're willing to charge as-needed on the go. Keep in mind that even if you use up all of your range in a single day, you might not need to sit and wait for a full charge at a plug - you may only need enough charge to get home. Of course, if you don't ever want to think about range, you could opt for a hybrid instead. Check out our article on the different types of hybrids to figure out which type might be best for your lifestyle.

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