Put forward by manufacturers, scrutinized by motorists and regularly questioned, the autonomy of electric cars is the object of all attention. It must be said that this criterion – sometimes lacking in transparency – is decisive for those aspiring to switch to electric. Brands have understood this and are competing with innovations and announcements to push the limits of their batteries even further.
To find out, let's go to the discovery of the 20 electric cars with the most autonomy at the moment. A classification dominated, without great surprise, by Tesla, but which also reserves some beautiful discoveries.
Autonomy, a strong expectation from motorists
Whether buying a used or new electric car, autonomy is the nerve of the war. Used to the performance of their thermal vehicles, motorists still find it difficult to accept being limited to 100, 200 or even 300 kilometers. The 2019 Energy Barometer illustrates this perfectly since, according to this survey conducted by L'Argus magazine, 6 out of 10 people consider that the autonomy of the batteries is not yet satisfactory (1).
And despite regular manufacturers' innovations, like Toyota which announced up to 600 kilometers of autonomy for its future models at the last Tokyo Motor Show, one in two motorists even think that electric does not embody the future of the automobile, whether because of limited performance or the environmental impact. And it is not the various charging solutions for electric vehicles that seem to be able to change the situation in the immediate future, insofar as 54% of those questioned also deplore the lack of terminals available.
The autonomy of electric cars: a subject that puzzles
If 80% of French motorists travel less than 50 kilometers per day (2) and could therefore easily travel with an electric vehicle, the question of exceptional journeys remains a thorny one. For manufacturers, there is therefore no choice but to reassure by announcing ever greater autonomy. The problem is that several elements complicate the reading of autonomy and, indirectly, cause motorists to doubt brand announcements.
- No single repository : if the WLTP cycle begins to become the norm, many electric vehicles are still announcing their autonomy with the old NEDC system. Not only do the two approval protocols still coexist for the moment, but the difference between the two is enough to scare neophytes. For example, a Renault Zoé I goes from 400 km in NEDC to only 300 km with WLTP. What easily lose potential buyers and even deter a number of crossing the course.
- Differences in use : motorists have long accepted that different elements play a role in the consumption of a thermal vehicle, such as driving style for example. Despite this, it is still difficult to accept that this observation also applies to electric cars. It must be said that more factors come into play. The driving mode can vary the range up to 10%, the consumption of electricity increases exponentially as the vehicle drives fast, the elements of comfort can decrease autonomy up to 30% (air conditioning, heating, etc.) and battery wear is more pronounced than that of a heat engine with approximately 10 to 15% less autonomy after 5 years ( 3).
- The question of real autonomy : these different elements lead motorists to question the real autonomy of the electric car. While the difference between the actual consumption and the WLTP consumption of a thermal vehicle remains reasonable (on the order of 15 to 20% on average), the same is not true for the electric. Depending on the conditions of use, some models may display a range of autonomy of up to 40%. This is particularly the case for the most powerful vehicles, such as the Jaguar i-Pace for example, for which the difference is colossal when used at full speed.
Electric car: classification by autonomy
Failing to play the transparency card on the real autonomy of their models and to be educated on existing recharging solutions, manufacturers are engaging in continuous bidding. The objective? Offer the electric car with the greatest theoretical autonomy, even if no motorist is actually using it. So let's get into their game and take a look at the models with the highest performance on paper.
Note: the classification established below takes into account the autonomy in the WLTP cycle announced by the manufacturers. The novelties being current coins, we are not however immune to miss some vehicles. As for prices, they are systematically indicated excluding the ecological bonus. Remember that its amount changes from 2020:
- € 6,000 for an electric car under € 45,000;
- € 3,000 for a model costing between € 45,000 and € 60,000
- € 0 for vehicles over € 60,000.
Tesla, the only manufacturer beyond 500 kilometers
For a long time, the bar of 500 kilometers of autonomy seemed insurmountable. It has since been hit by different models, the Tesla Model S in mind. If the daily interest of such autonomy leaves one wondering, it has at least the merit of proving that the electric car can overcome any limit.
1. The Tesla Model S
With a WLTP range of 610 kilometers, the Tesla Model S sits on top of the world. True precursor of the new possibilities offered by the electric, the vehicle so praised by Elon Musk also announces a 0 to 100 km / h achieved in just 2.6 seconds and a peak at 261 km / h. At such speeds, the famous Superchargers are not too much: they can save up to 214 km of range in just 15 minutes. Provided, of course, to have some nearby …
As with all Tesla models presented below (with the exception of Model 3), the entry ticket is negotiated at around € 90,000. Count even more than 110,000 € to take advantage of models with maximum autonomy.
2. The Tesla Model 3
Unsurprisingly, the Tesla Model 3 wins the second position in this ranking. With an announced autonomy of 560 kilometers on a single charge and a maximum speed of 261 km / h, it has little to envy its big sister. Especially since it can regain up to 270 kilometers of autonomy in just 30 short minutes.
Its price is also an asset since the compact is displayed from € 43,600 with a range of "only" 409 kilometers. Allow almost € 10,000 more to take advantage of the maximum range of 560 kilometers.
3. The Tesla Model Y
Less famous than the Model S or Model 3, the Tesla Model Y nevertheless completes the podium with a claimed autonomy of 540 kilometers. A vehicle all the more innovative since, like the other models of the Californian firm, it already offers fully autonomous driving (although such a system is not yet approved on our roads).
4. The Tesla Model X
With 507 kilometers of autonomy, the Telsa Model X asserts itself as the most efficient electric SUV in this area. If the supercharge is less efficient than for its congeners (179 kilometers recovered in 15 minutes), the vehicle has other advantages to be highlighted: up to 7 seats, a load volume of 2,250 liters and the famous Falcon s doors opening horizontally.
From 400 to 500 kilometers of autonomy, the exclusive preserve of electric SUVs
If the Tesla have no serious competitor in terms of autonomy, they have however two limits: their price and a network of Superchargers still little democratized in France. What encourage motorists to lower their expectations, especially since a theoretical range of between 400 and 500 kilometers is largely sufficient on a daily basis. But then again, these are top-of-the-range models that take the top spots.
5. The Jaguar i-Pace
Thanks to its two electric motors, developing a total of 400 horsepower, the Jaguar i-Pace is the first model that can give Tesla some shade. As proof, the British claims a range of 470 kilometers in the WLTP driving cycle, in particular thanks to its 90 kWh lithium-ion battery.
On the recharging side, it can recover 270 kilometers of autonomy in one hour thanks to the fast charger of 50 kW. However, count € 79,990 to offer you the beauty.
6. The Kia e-Niro
Thanks to its lithium-ion polymer battery, the Kia e-Niro claims up to 455 kilometers of autonomy. If that's not enough, a quick charge can recover no less than 100 kilometers in the space of 15 minutes, while it takes 42 minutes to recharge the battery from 20 to 80%.
Although the 7-year warranty on the battery is attractive, it will nevertheless cost at least € 42,500 to afford the version of the e-Niro with the best autonomy.
7. The Kia e-Soul
If the style of the Kia e-Soul has something to put off, the fact remains that it promises 452 kilometers of maximum range (with the battery of 64 kWh). We can nevertheless regret that a quick charge of 30 minutes only allows the battery to be recharged at 50%.
The Korean is however forgiven, insofar as the battery is guaranteed 7 years and that its price remains attractive for such autonomy: from 37,300 € (excluding bonus).
8. The Porsche Taycan
If the interest of an electric sports car is limited – insofar as the range melts like snow in the sun from a certain speed -, the Porsche Taycan can nevertheless play the sensitive rope of motorists.
With a maximum power of 761 horsepower (560 kW) and a top speed of 260 km / h (depending on version), the German has arguments to make. Especially since it claims a maximum range of 450 kilometers in the WLTP cycle. You still have to plan a budget of € 108,632 to afford the Taycan "entry level".
9. The Hyundai Kona Electric
In its version with the 64 kWh battery, the Hyundai Kona Electric promises up to 449 kilometers of autonomy. Much less efficient than the Tesla Model X, the Korean SUV has a top speed of 167 km / h and a power of 150 kW.
The same goes for fast charging since the electric Kona requires 54 minutes to recover 80% of its autonomy. However, it remains interesting in view of its price: from € 39,700 with the 64 kWh battery, before deduction of the ecological bonus of € 6,000.
10. The Audi e-tron quattro
Able to reach 417 kilometers of autonomy in its 55 quattro version (battery with a capacity of 95 kWh), the Audi e-tron is also a benchmark in the high-end electric SUV segment.
With its maximum speed of 200 km / h and its fast recharge allowing to recover 80% of autonomy in 30 minutes, the German has little to envy to her rivals. But, once again, such a level of performance comes at a cost: from € 83,880 for the Audi e-tron 55 quattro.
11. The Mercedes EQC
Unveiled in 2019, the Mercedes EQC promises a range of more than 400 kilometers thanks to an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery. If it takes 11 hours for a full recharge on a Wallbox, this duration increases to 40 minutes for an 80% charge on a fast charging station.
Add to that a maximum speed of 180 km / h, the characteristic style of the Mercedes SUV and a nice endowment, and you get a model that is worth the detour. Like its main rivals, the Audi e-tron and the Jaguar i-Pace, it appears at just over 80,000 € in its basic version.
Below 400 kilometers, make up for affordable electricity
To go below the € 35,000 mark with the purchase, it is necessary to fall back on a range of between 300 and 400 kilometers. The advantage is that the offer is much wider and is no longer limited to large SUVs and other supercars. The Renault Zoé and the Skoda Citigo-e are the best examples of this.
12. The Renault Zoé
With a capacity of 52 kWh, the battery of the Renault Zoé II promises a range of 395 kilometers. Capable of recovering up to 150 kilometers of autonomy in the space of 30 minutes on a fast terminal, the French is perfectly suited to its main playground: the city.
Its very soft price (from € 26,500 with the 52 kWh battery) is also a strong argument, even if we must add to that the cost of renting the battery (€ 34,600 with the purchase of the drums).
13. The Nissan Leaf
Launched in 2009, the Nissan Leaf has long been one of the leaders in the 100% electric market. If the Japanese woman gradually marked time, she offered herself a new youth in 2018 with the release of a second generation more efficient.
Promising up to 385 kilometers of autonomy with the 62 kWh battery (against 270 kilometers with that of 40 kWh), the compact puts above all on practicality and versatility. Its price can however cool for this level of performance: from € 37,700 for the Leaf E + version of 62 kWh.
14. The Peugeot e-208
Marketed since October, the Peugeot e-208 intends to become the main rival of the Renault Zoé in France. Using the configuration of the DS 3 Crossback e-Tense, the electric city car has a battery with a capacity of 50 kWh, for a total range of 340 kilometers.
In addition to its fast recharge allowing to recover 80% of autonomy in 30 minutes, the tricolor stands out thanks to its three driving modes, allowing to get its autonomy to the maximum. However, such a level of performance comes at a price: from € 32,100.
15. The DS 3 Crossback e-Tense
Delivered from 2020, the DS 3 Crossback e-Tense intends to challenge the hegemony of the German women in the high-end electric SUV segment.
For this, the Frenchwoman has a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 100 kW electric motor. With a range announced at 320 kilometers and an 80% charge in 30 minutes via a fast terminal, the Crossback e-Tense has arguments to make. It remains to be seen whether its price (from € 39,100) will allow it to convince motorists.
16. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Released at the end of 2019, the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric claims a range of 311 kilometers and a maximum speed of 165 km / h. If the Korean is pleasant to drive and offers a relatively short charging time (80% in 54 minutes on a fast terminal), its battery with a capacity of only 38.3 kWh can quickly show its limits. Especially since its price (from € 34,900) may seem excessive for such performances.
17. The BMW i3
With its range displayed at 308 kilometers, the BMW i3 is a credible alternative to the Renault Zoé. With a 42 kWh battery since 2018, the German city car claims a maximum speed of 150 km / h and 7.3 seconds to perform the exercise of 0-100 km / h.
A sporty version – the BMW i3s – is even more nervous, although its autonomy drops to 285 kilometers. Its price displayed at € 39,950 may nevertheless lead motorists to prefer it to French.
18. The Volkswagen e-Golf
Restyled for the last time in 2017, the Volkswagen e-Golf begins to lag behind the competition. With its 300 kilometers of autonomy displayed, the small electric city car remains a credible choice, even if its performance in rapid charge is relatively average (80% in 45 minutes).
In addition, it will cost at least € 33,950 for a model that tends to be replaced by the new Volkswagen ID.3, a compact expected for 2020 and which announces no less than 550 kilometers of autonomy thanks to its 77 kWh battery. .
19. The Skoda Citigo-e
Recently marketed, the new Skoda Citigo-e has a 36.8 kWh battery and thus sees its range increase to 265 kilometers. If its performance sometimes leaves something to be desired (maximum speed of 130 km / h for example), the city car differs thanks to an argument of weight: its price.
Offered from € 21,600 (excluding ecological bonus), it asserts itself as the cheapest electric car on the market.
20. The Seat Mii Electric
We could have placed the Volkswagen e-up! in 20th position since it also displays 260 kilometers of autonomy. However, we prefer the new Seat Mii Electric. True twin of the Skoda Citigo-e, the small city car also has the 36.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and an 83 horsepower engine. And it too offers a price that defies all competition: from € 21,920 (excluding bonus). What make the electric more affordable, without having to sacrifice autonomy.
(1) 2019 Energy Barometer – Argus Conseil
(2) 80% of French people drive less than 50 km per day – IPSOS
(3) The autonomy of an electric car – Clean Automobile