Longer Range EVs are Here NOW

Dory Larsen | September 18, 2017 | Energy Policy

When we think about electric vehicles (EVs) – range is an overarching theme. How far can they really go? According to the United States Department of Transportation, the average American travels just 36 miles per day. Although many of us have no idea how much we actually travel and aren’t in the habit of researching transportation statistics, the mere thought of only being able to go 100 miles in an electric car makes them unappealing to the masses.

2018 Nissan LEAF Photo Credit: David Massey

“Range anxiety” is the term that describes the fear drivers experience of not knowing if they have enough charge to get through their day. That fear of the unknown is cited as the biggest hesitation when considering the purchase of an EV even though a recent MIT study demonstrated that current, affordable EVs are able to replace 87% of personal transportation needs on a given day.

Automakers are beginning to respond and understand that for the electric revolution (and their business to adapt and grow) they need to offer products that meet consumers’ real and perceived needs. They’ve heard the call and several exciting second generation EVs are rolling off factory floors. Here are a few of the newer EV options offering longer ranges:

2018 Nissan LEAF

The redesigned 2018 model year Nissan LEAF (just released on September 5) and its 40 kilowatt hour battery is projected to get 150 miles of range. The starting price is $31K which gets it to $23.5K once the federal tax credit is applied. It also offers safety features usually associated with luxury cars like one pedal driving, ProPILOT Assist (which will keep you at a preset distance from the car in front of you among other things), and automatic emergency braking. Additionally, Nissan will be offering a 60 kWh battery model option that is expected to have 200 miles or more of range that will be released in 2019.

Chevy Bolt

Named Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year, the Chevy Bolt is roomy, safe, and one of the most inexpensive EVs. Right now you can purchase a Chevy Bolt with 238 miles of range for $38K before the $7,500 federal tax credit making it a value choice. It also features one pedal driving and goes from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. (Not your average soccer mom ride).

BMW i3
The BMW i3  is one of the only electric cars built electric from the ground up. It features a carbon fiber body making it the lightest EV on the market, and has a range of 114 miles on a full charge. It seats 4 passengers and with a price tag of $42K (without the federal tax credit) it falls between the higher end Teslas and Chevy Bolt and Leaf. Recently, BMW has committed to making electric cars a core of its business model. By 2025 they will offer 25 electrified vehicles 12 of which are 100%.

Tesla S, Tesla X, and Tesla Model 3

Tesla gets the gold star for paving the way for electric vehicles. Both the Tesla S and X achieve 250+ mile ranges, and with a “Long Range Battery” package option they can travel 335 and 295 miles, respectively. So when Tesla rolled out the Model 3 at a base price of $35K, it really changed the game. It has a range of 220 miles and is also offered with Long Range package which brings it to 310 miles of range. The Model 3 is Tesla’s first mass market car and with 1,800 new pre orders a day, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them on the roads. Familiarity will help to normalize and reduce the anxiety of the technology.

Here’s a snapshot of these models:









More Long Range EVs Are Coming

Other manufacturers are also getting on the long-range bandwagon. Hyundai has announced that it’s working on a 310-mile electric sedan under its high-end Genesis brand due after 2021. Ford has said it will spend $4.5 billion over the next five years to launch 13 electrified models including an all electric SUV. Honda, in a major shift, is set to launch two electric vehicles by 2018 and aims to have two-thirds of its vehicles electrified by 2030. Volvo, has committed all models launched from 2019 onward will be electrified in some manner. Jaguar Land Rover announced all of their models will be electrified in some fashion after 2020. Additionally, VW just promised to spend up to $84 billion in order to bring 300 electric vehicle models to market by 2030.

Let’s Move it Along

In addition to all the exciting new EVs that are in the works, it’s worth noting there are several other EVs available now but not available in markets outside of California or other states that have adopted Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) goals. So, while there are far more options globally and across the country, lack of policy and education is keeping them from being available nationwide. It’s important as stakeholders that we create an avenue for our voices to be heard in order to reach the masses and have an impact. Business leaders and policy makers need to hear from us collectively that that we want EVs that will reduce emissions, save money, and create a cleaner, healthier planet for all. Together, we can demonstrate that range anxiety is a relic and the time for EVs is NOW. To get involved and demonstrate your commitment and interest in EVs, we invite you to join the movement and take the NextCar Pledge, an exciting movement of enthusiasts who are making a promise to choose to make their next car an Electric Vehicle or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (EV).

Dory Larsen
Dory joined the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2017 and was named Senior Electric Transportation Program Manager in 2023. She is working to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles…
My Profile