Electric Cars

Today's Most Efficient Electric Cars

September 20, 2021

Discover Today's Most Efficient Electric Cars

Which are the most energy efficient electric cars on the market today? Well, to find out you must first set some parameters. For instance, for this article, we ranked combined energy economy. The low cost of driving an electric car over a gas-powered car is not simply because electricity costs less than gasoline. You have to account for the efficiency of the energy, too! Specifically, how much energy actually transfers to the wheels rather than being lost as heat.

Most internal combustion engines waste a lot of energy and operate at less than 40% thermal efficiency. Electric motors, on the other hand, can be over 90% efficient. One gallon of gas contains the equivalent of 33.7 kWh of electrical energy. So a gas-powered car that gets 24 miles per gallon will only go 72-102 miles whereas an electric car will travel over 300 miles on the same amount of energy.

Understanding EV Energy Efficiency Ratings

So, how do you find an EV’s energy efficiency rating? When converting miles per gallon for electric vehicles, the EPA uses an MPGe rating which stands for miles per gallon equivalent. A higher MPGe indicates a higher energy efficiency rating, while a lower MPGe indicates a lower rating. MPGe is independent of factors such as a vehicle’s charging range and battery life. Keep in mind that a very efficient vehicle with a high MPGe rating does not necessarily mean the vehicle will have a higher range per charge. Range depends on the size of the EV’s battery pack. Just like having a bigger gas tank, a larger battery pack generally means you can drive a longer distance.

To summarize, a higher efficiency rating indicates lower electricity costs per mile. You can check the fuel efficiency and range numbers for any vehicle sold in the United States by going to https://www.fueleconomy.gov.

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Top 10 Most Efficient Electric Cars

The vehicles listed here are all 2020 models with automatic transmissions, listed from least to most efficient. All the ratings are based on combined EPA figures with consumer ratings provided by Kelley Blue Book. To learn more, you can find all of these vehicles on the GreenCars Marketplace.

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

2020 Jaguar I-PACE

The 2020 Jaguar I-PACE is available in three trim levels (S, SE, HSE). All trim levels offer an all-wheel drive electric powertrain, equipped with a 90-kWh battery that offers up to 234 miles of range and boasts 394-horsepower.

  • 76 MPGe Combined
  • 80 City / 72 Highway
  • 4.9 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Tesla Model X

2020 Tesla Model X

The 2020 Tesla Model X is available in the Long Range and Performance trims. The Model X Long Range produces an estimated 328 miles of range, where the Model X Performance model is faster, but provides a reduced estimated battery range of 305 miles. These vehicles are packed full of features, including folding falcon-wing doors and full access to the Tesla Supercharger Network.

  • 96 MPGe Combined
  • 99 City / 93 Highway
  • 4.8 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Tesla Model S

2020 Tesla Model S

The 2020 Tesla Model S comes in two different primary trim variations: Long Range and Performance. Both models use the same 100-kWh battery pack and the standard all-wheel drivetrain. The Model S Long Range provides 373 miles of range and can travel from 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. It also comes equipped with adaptive air suspension, LED headlights, heated seats, adjustable steering and a power liftgate. The Model S Performance has a reduced range of 348 miles of driving on a full charge, but can sprint to 60mph in just 2.4 seconds. It also has all the bells and whistles found in the Long Range variation.

  • 111 MPGe Combined
  • 115 City / 107 Highway
  • 4.8 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Nisan LEAF

2020 Nissan Leaf

The 2020 Nissan Leaf is one of the most affordable electric vehicles around. In its base model, the 2020 LEAF offers an estimated 150 miles of range and 147-horsepower. This vehicle is perfect for city commuting, and can be upgraded to the 214-horsepower Leaf Plus which produces 226 miles of estimated range.

  • 111 MPGe Combined
  • 123 City / 99 Highway
  • 4.3 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Kia Niro EV

2020 Kia Niro EV

The 2020 Kia Niro EV is the fully electric version of the original Kia Niro. Now equipped with a 64-kWh battery that produces 201-horsepower, this front-wheel drive EV comes with an estimated 239 miles of electric range, rivaling the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control and heated front seats in the base EX model. If you're looking for more luxury items, like a larger touch screen or a sunroof, those perks can be made available in the EX Premium trim package.

  • 112 MPGe Combined
  • 123 City / 102 Highway
  • 4.3 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Chevy Bolt EV

2020 Chevy Bolt EV

The 2020 Chevy Bolt EV looks small on the outside, but offers surprising interior space that will provide comfort as you ride quiet, and without polluting the air. The Bolt has seen an increase in electric range over the previous model years, now boasting an impressive total range of 259 miles on a single charge.

  • 118 MPGe Combined
  • 127 City / 108 Highway
  • 4.6 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

The 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric is one of the best EVs on the market. Offering 258 miles of range on a single charge, with fast-charging capability as standard, this Kona is loaded with technology and safety features sure to excite those considering the switch to zero-emission driving.

  • 120 MPGe Combined
  • 132 City / 108 Highway
  • 4.6 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

The 2020 Tesla Model Y is a small, all-electric, all-wheel drive, luxury SUV that joined the Model X on Tesla's electric SUV lineup in 2020. Like other Tesla vehicles, the Model Y comes in two different primary trim levels: Long Range and Performance. You can expect to travel 316 miles on a single charge in the Long Range version taking you from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. The Performance trim level has an electric range of 315 miles and can take you from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.

  • 121 MPGe Combined
  • 129 City / 112 Highway
  • 5.0 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the all-electric version of the popular Hyundai Ioniq hatchback. This vehicle offers a driving range of 170 all-electric miles on a single charge and produces 134-horsepower. With fast-charging capability, this Hyundai will recharge from zero to 80% battery in just 54 minutes on a 100 kW fast-charging station.

  • 133 MPGe Combined
  • 145 City / 121 Highway
  • 4.3 Star Consumer Rating

2020 Tesla Model 3

2020 Tesla Model 3

The 2020 Tesla Model 3 comes in three primary trim level: Standard Range Plus, Long Range and Performance. The Standard Range Plus trim level packs 250 miles of electric range offering rear-wheel drive, power-adjustable front seats, a 15-in touchscreen, glass roof, a navigation system and Bluetooth. For a larger battery pack and all-wheel drive, the Long Range trim will get you 322 all-electric miles on a single charge. Some additional features are included with this trim level including a premium sound system. The Performance trim packs a punch using the same battery and dual motor as the Long Range version, but is tuned for performance. You can expect performance brakes, upgraded suspension and other perks with the Performance trim package.

  • 141 MPGe Combined
  • 148 City / 132 Highway
  • 4.8 Star consumer rating

Driving Tips to Maximize EV Efficiency

Driving Tips to Maximize EV Efficiency

How can you get the highest efficiency out of your electric vehicle? Like traditional cars, your driving style and habits can affect how far you can travel before recharging, and how efficiently your car uses its energy. Here are several recommendations for getting the most out of your electric car’s battery, as suggested by the U.S. Department of Energy. These tips will help to improve both range and MPGe.

Use Accessories Wisely

Using features of a car such as air conditioning and media systems impacts EV range greatly. Instead of using the cabin heater, try using seat warmers to maximize your efficiency.

Use Economy Mode

Electric cars commonly come with an “economy mode”, which will automatically try to save battery life by reducing energy use around the vehicle.

Avoid Hard Braking

Hard braking circumvents the EV’s regenerative braking system and wastes energy. By braking more gradually, you help to charge your car’s battery.

Follow the Speed Limit

Vehicle efficiency is known to decrease rapidly above speeds of 50 miles per hour. You can also improve your car’s efficiency by keeping your tires inflated properly.

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