Electric vehicle range

Electric vehicle range

Different electric vehicles (EVs) can travel varying distances (or ‘ranges’) after a recharge, so it’s important to choose the one that will best meet your driving needs. How you drive and the road conditions will also affect an EVs range.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

The range of a BEV is currently around 100-150km, and as most motorists drive around 35-70km per day, the BEV can be a good option1.

The ranges of BEVs are getting better and better as newer models hit the market. The next-gen Nissan Leaf should be able to handle 300km on a single charge1 and the latest Tesla Model S has a range of 500km1.

If you travel longer distances in a BEV, the number of public charging outlets is growing across Australia. Here’s some examples:

  • We are working with government and industry to create an EV highway, with plans for a solar powered fast charging station in Townsville
  • Tesla recently announced plans to launch 16 high powered supercharger stations between Melbourne and Brisbane by 20162
  • Tritium is planning a string of connection points from northern NSW to Brisbane and Toowoomba3
  • The Royal Automotive Club is developing a network of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations between Perth and South West WA4.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs have an electric motor range of between 50-100km before the petrol engine kicks in1. Due to the added weight and complexity, the electric motor range of a PHEV will generally be less than a BEV.

However, in vehicles like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with the back-up of the petrol engine, range is not really an issue for PHEVs and they will suit drivers needing to travel longer distances.

Things that decrease EV range

The distance your EV can travel before needing a recharge will be shortened by:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Long mountain climbs
  • Non-stop high speeds (eg on a highway)
  • Strong headwinds
  • Extra weight (eg three passengers and luggage)
  • Loss in battery capacity (the amount of charge the battery can supply)
  • High air conditioner use.

Ways to extend EV range

You can increase the distance your EV can travel before needing a recharge by:

  • Driving less aggressively
  • City/town driving with more braking
  • Driving long descents downhill
  • Tailwinds
  • Using the air conditioner less.

Some EVs, like BMW’s i3, now come with range extenders — small petrol engines that charge the battery.

Approximate range for EVs on the market

EV model Approximate range on full charge
Tesla Model S 500km1
Nissan Leaf 151km5
BMW i3 190km5 - petrol range extender option available
Kia Soul 148km1
Honda Fit 132km1
Chevrolet Spark 132km1
Ford Focus Electric 122km1
BEV Electron 120km1
Mitsubishi i-Miev 150km5
Mitsubishi Outlander 50km electric only with the back-up of a 45 litre petrol engine6

Please note: Not all of the above models are available in Australia at time of publishing (August 2015).


  1. Source – How far can electric cars travel as outlined by the Australian Electric Vehicles Association on website http://www.gumtree.com.au/scam-security-centre/buying-on-gumtree/the-ultimate-electric-cars-buying-guide/
  2. Source – Website http://www.drive.com.au/it-pro/electric-car-company-tesla-plans-16-supercharger-stations-between-melbourne-and-brisbane-20150111-12lw2a
  3. Source - Tritium plans Australia’s largest fast-charge EV network for Qld on website http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/tritium-plans-australias-largest-fast-charge-ev-network-for-qld-51842
  4. Source – RAC electric highway on website http://rac.com.au/news-community/environment/electric-highway-and-electric-vehicles?_afr.ts=1440373642895
  5. Source - www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au as outlined on our EV poster Electric Vehicles - the future is here (PDF 394.1 kb)
  6. Source – How far will a fully charged Outlander PHEV take me in EV mode on website http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/vehicles/outlander-phev/faqs
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