You are currently viewing EV Range Tests: Real-World Vs EPA ...

EV Range Tests: Real-World Vs EPA ...


EV Range Tests: Real-World Vs EPA

                        InsideEVs tests EVs to find out how far they’ll go in the real world at a steady 70 mph.                   



By: Tom Moloughney
How far an electric vehicle goes on a single charge depends on a lot of factors, including speed, temperature, topography, and other traffic conditions. This is why government-backed range ratings like the EPA and WLTP use are really just an estimate of what an EV owner can expect in a combination of city and highway driving in mostly favorable, albeit not ideal, ambient temperatures. 
The real world is entirely different, though, which is why InsideEVs conducts its own EV range tests at a constant speed of 70 miles per hour.

About EV Range Tests Conducted By InsideEVs

We want to make it clear our range tests aren’t perfect. There are variables simply out of our control like wind, traffic, and weather. However, we do our best to control what we can. We always set the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, we crosscheck the speedometer with a GPS for accuracy, we charge up to 100 percent and enter the highway either immediately or within a couple of miles. Then we drive at a constant 70 mph and in long loops so we end up basically where we started. 
Whenever possible, we repeat the test with a second member of the team on a different course. When we do that, we average the results of the two tests. We also report the temperature and whether we used the heating or cooling during the test, and offer our opinions on how using the climate control system use may have impacted the results.  
We realize that a change in temperature as little as 10° F (5.5° C) can have a meaningful effect on an electric car’s range. However, these 70-mph range tests are useful because they provide another data point for potential customers who are looking for as much information on driving range as they can get.

EV Range Test Results

Real Range (Miles)
EPA Range (Miles)
Efficiency (mi/kWh)
2021 Tesla
Model 3 AWD
2021 Tesla
Model S Plaid w/21″ Arachnid wheels
2021 Porsche
Taycan RWD
2019 Tesla
Model 3 AWD
2021 Ford
Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 Edition
2021 Ford
Mustang Mach-E AWD Extended Range
2020 Porsche
Taycan 4S
2020 Tesla
Model Y AWD
2021 Porsche
Taycan 4 Cross Turismo
2021 Porsche 
Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo
2020 Hyundai
Kona EV
2021 Volkswagen
ID.4 First Edition
2021 Ford 
Mustang Mach-E AWD Standard Range
2020 Chevrolet
Bolt EV
2021 Polestar 
Polestar 2
2020 Nissan
2019 Audi  
2020 Hyundai
Ioniq EV
2019 BMW
i3s BEV
2020 BMW
i3s REx
2020 MINI 
Cooper SE
2015 Chevy 
Spark EV
2018 smart 
Electric Drive
*Including the 93.4 kWh Performance Plus battery option as used in the range test


Individual Model Test Results

2021 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor, Long Range



  • Real-world Highway Range: 310 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 353 miles
  • Difference: -12.2%
After a brief stint where the Porsche Taycan RWD claimed the InsideEVs range crown, Telsa is back on top with the 2021 Model 3 covering 310 miles in our 70-mph range test. The 2021 Model 3 was able to drive 20 more miles than our 2019 vehicle of the same spec did last year.
We finished up with the exact same driving efficiency (4.25 mi/kWh) as we did in our range test with the 2019 Model 3. The additional 20 miles may be attributed to the fact that this vehicle had only about 5,000 miles on it and the vehicle we used last year had about 15,000 miles so it had lost more capacity. Tesla may have also added a little more capacity to the 2021 Model 3s, although this vehicle didn’t have the 82 kWh battery pack that is shipping with the newer 2021 vehicles. 

2021 Porsche Taycan RWD



  • Real-world Highway Range: 293 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 225 miles
  • Difference: +30%
Porsche introduced a new base version of the Taycan in 2021 that is only offered in rear-wheel drive. Kyle was one of the first members of the media to get hold of one and performed the 70 mph range test. This new version comes standard with Porsche’s Performance battery with a gross capacity of 79.2 kWh. However, the car Kyle used had the 93.4 kWh Performance Plus battery option which costs $5,570.
The RWD Taycan became our new 70 mph range test king covering an amazing 293 miles (471 km) before the battery was completely exhausted. That’s a whopping 30% better than its EPA-range rating of only 225 miles (362 km) per charge. 

2019 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor, Long Range


  • Real-world Highway Range: 290 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 322 miles
  • Difference: -10.0%
The Tesla Model 3 dual motor, long-range is EPA-rated at 322 miles per charge and is one of the most efficient EVs available today. In our 70 mph highway range test, we were able to drive a total of 290 miles (467 km) with an average consumption rating of 4.25 mi/kWh (14.59 kWh/100 km). It finished up achieving 10% less range than its EPA-range rating. 

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 Edition



  • Real-world Highway Range: 287 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 305 miles
  • Difference: -6%
Kyle had the opportunity to get a loan of a 2021 Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 Edition and conduct the 70-mph range test in rural Colorado. The California Route 1 Edition is the longest-range version of the Mustang Mach-E available. It’s rear-wheel-drive and equipped with range-friendly 18″ wheels with aero covers. It has the 98.8 kWh extended-range battery pack and can go 0-60 in the mid-6 second range. 
The combined EPA range rating for the California route 1 Edition is 305 miles per charge, and its highway EPA range rating is 281.8 miles. Kyle just squeaked by the highway range rating by a little more than 5 miles but fell 18 miles short of the combined range rating, finishing up with an impressive 287 miles. 

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD Extended Range First Edition



  • Real-world Highway Range: 285 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 270 miles
  • Difference: +5.5%
The Mustang Mach-E is offered in a variety of configurations, many with different EPA range ratings. For our range test, we were able to secure a Launch Edition Mach-E, which comes in all-wheel drive and includes the 98.8 kWh extended range battery pack. The Standard Range battery pack is considerably smaller and has a total capacity of 75.7 kWh.
The combined EPA range rating for the version we tested is 270 miles per charge, and its highway range rating is 249.2 miles. We drove past the highway range rating, then past the combined range rating, and finished up with an impressive 285 miles and a 3.3 mi/kWh efficiency rating (18.78 kWh/100 km).  

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S



  • Real-world Highway Range: 277.9 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 203 miles
  • Difference: +36.9%
The Porsche Taycan 4S is the entry-level model in the Taycan family. It comes standard with a 79.2 kWh battery, which is smaller than the 93.4 kWh battery in the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S. However, buyers can order the larger battery called “Performance Battery Plus” for an additional $5,570.00. The car we tested had the larger battery option, so we were hoping for a good result.
In our range test, the Taycan crushed its EPA range rating of 203 miles (327 km) per charge; Kyle was able to squeeze out 277.9 miles (448 km) before the vehicle shut down. That’s an amazing 37 percent increase over its EPA-rated range. We’re still a little puzzled at how the Taycan continues to consistently beat its EPA range rating whenever an InsideEVs staff member gets behind the wheel of one.
It’s important to note that only two cars in our 70-mph range tests have ever matched their EPA range rating before this, those being the BMW i3 REx and the Hyundai Ioniq. But those cars just matched their ratings while the Taycan drove 75 miles further than its rating. 

2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range, Dual Motor


  • Real-world Highway Range: 276 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 316 miles
  • Difference: -12.7%
We were able to secure an early Tesla Model Y delivered to New Jersey and take it out on our highway range test course on the New Jersey Turnpike. We weren’t able to go quite as far as we did with the Model 3, but that was expected. The Model Y is EPA range-rated at 316 miles per charge. In our highway range test, we were able to squeeze out 276 miles (444 km) with an average consumption rate of 3.85 mi/kWh (16.2 kWh/100 km). 

2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo



  • Real-world Highway Range: 246 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: N/A
  • Difference: TBD
We got hold of one of the very few Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo in the US and put it to our 70-mph highway range test. It’s not yet EPA range rated so we can’t compare it to those figures yet. We’ll update the post once we get the official EPA range figures. 
The Taycan Cross Turismo clocked in at 246 miles, which is not bad at all, especially considering it had the optional 21″ sport wheels that aren’t the best choice for maximizing range. The Cross Turismo averaged 2.92 mi/kWh which is not nearly as good as the 3.32 mi/kWh we saw when we did the Taycan 4S highway range test.
However, the Cross Turismo is basically a station wagon version of the Taycan, so it isn’t expected to be nearly as efficient. Still, in our opinion,  246 miles is more than an acceptable accomplishment for this vehicle. 

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric


  • Real-world Highway Range: 238 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 258 miles
  • Difference: -7.8%
The 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric continues to be one of the longest-range EVs available today. With a 258-mile EPA range rating, the Kona Electric is a compelling offering at a reasonable starting price of $37,190 before federal and state incentives. Its EPA range rating is 258 miles per charge, and the little crossover comes with a 64 kWh (usable) battery pack. We were able to conduct two 70-mph range tests for the Kona Electric. Once in North Carolina, and then again a month later in New Jersey. The average of the two tests resulted in a 238-mile range (383 km) with a consumption rating of 3.9 mi/kWh (15.9 kWh/100 km).

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1St Edition



  • Real-world Highway Range: 234 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 250 miles
  • Difference: -6.4%
We tested a 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 First Edition with the 82 kWh battery (77 kWh usable) in New Jersey in March so the temperatures weren’t perfect for range. It was between 40° F and 48° F (4.5° C to 8.9° C). However, we did drive it for a while, and then DC fast charge it back up to 100% before starting out. So we believe that warmed up the battery a bit and contributed to the excellent results that we observed. 
The ID.4 was able to cover 230 miles (370 km) when we ended the range test at 2% state of charge and the vehicle was showing an estimate of 4 miles of range remaining. We averaged 3 mi/kWh which lines up nicely with the ID.4’s 77 kWh of usable energy. The ID.4 has an EPA-rated range of 250 miles (402 km), and we only came up 6.4% short of that at a constant 70 mph.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Standard Range AWD 



  • Real-world Highway Range: 226 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 211 miles
  • Difference: +7.1%
We tested a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E in standard range AWD trim and finished up with 226 miles. The standard range Mach-E has a 75.7 kWh battery, of which, 68 kWh is usable. During the range test, the vehicle had an average driving efficiency of 3.3 mi/kWh (18.8 kWh/100km).
We drove the Mach-E from 100% down to 0% state of charge, pulling into the Electrify America charging station parking lot about half of a mile after the SOC reached zero. The range estimator was still displaying 1 mile of remaining range when we ended the test. 
It was in the high 80’s Fahrenheit when we did the test so we needed to have the air conditioning on the entire time of the range test. The Mach-E’s infotainment display showed that the use of the climate control used 3% of the battery during our test, so we probably could have gone another 6-7 miles further if we didn’t need to use the A/C. 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV


  • Real-world Highway Range: 226 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 259 miles
  • Difference: -12.7%
Chevrolet increased the Bolt EV’s battery pack in 2020 from the previous year’s 60 kWh to 66 kWh. This gave the Bolt the longest EPA-rated range of any EV without a Tesla nameplate, edging out the Hyundai Kona Electric by a single mile – 259 miles for the Volt and 258 for the Kona Electric. But our range test shows that the Hyundai has the edge in the real world.
We were able to conduct two 70-mph range tests for the Bolt EV. In the first test, we drove the Bolt 228.7 miles until it wouldn’t go any further. On the second test, we drove it 218.1 miles but had to pull off the highway at 1% state of charge and plug in. After adding the miles we could have driven if we drove it down to zero, and averaging the results of the two tests, we came up with a range of 226 miles (364 km) and an average consumption rate of 3.4 mi/kWh (18.24 kWh/100 km).

2021 Polestar 2



Real-world Highway Range: 290 miles
EPA-estimated Range: 322 miles
Difference: -10.0%
The Polestar 2 came very close to matching its EPA range rating of 233 miles and finished up our 70-mph range test with 226 miles. We actually drove the vehicle exactly 233 miles in this test. However, the final 7 miles were at very low speeds, as the Polestar 2 was struggling to maintain 70-mph after 226 miles, so we exited the highway and drove to the charging station on back roads. 
The Polestar 2 has a 78-kWh battery pack, of which 75 kWh are usable. Our average consumption rating was 3.21 mi/kWh which isn’t particularly good when compared to the other vehicles in our highway range tests. 

2020 Nissan Leaf SL Plus


  • Real-world Highway Range: 190 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 215 miles
  • Difference: -11.6%
The 2020 Nissan Leaf SL Plus has a 62 kWh battery and is EPA range-rated at 215 miles per charge. It’s notable to point out that our test vehicle is not the longest-range Leaf that Nissan offers. That honor goes to the LEAF S Plus, which is EPA range-rated at 226 miles per charge. The LEAF S is a lower-trim than the LEAF SL and SV Plus. It has smaller wheels and weighs less than its higher trim siblings, which is why the range is slightly better. 
Once again, we were able to conduct our highway range tests twice; once in New Jersey, and then again a few months later in North Carolina. The average of our two tests gave the LEAF SL Plus a 190-mile (306 km) range at a constant 70 mph, with a consumption rating of 3.4 mi/kWh (18.24 kWh/100 km).

2019 Audi e-tron


  • Real-world Highway Range: 188.4 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 204 miles
  • Difference: -7.9%
The 2019 Audi e-tron is EPA range-rated at 204 miles (328 km) per charge and has a 95 kWh battery. Of that, only 83.6 kWh is accessible for use. For 2021, Audi is increasing the usable capacity of the e-tron’s battery to 86.5. That, plus some advances made in efficiency, will increase the e-tron’s EPA rated range up to 222 (357 km) miles. 
However, for our 70 mph highway range test, we used a 2019 e-tron, with 83.6 kWh usable capacity. We were able to squeeze out 188.4 miles (303 km) and averaged a consumption rating of 2.3 miles per kWh, (26.96 kWh/100 km) which is by far the least efficient EV we’ve tested on our highway range test.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric


  • Real-world Highway Range: 171 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 170 miles
  • Difference: +0.6%
The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric comes with a 38.3 kWh battery, a full 10 kWh more than the battery in the Ioniq Electric of previous years. The new larger battery combined with the Ioniq’s extreme efficiency gives the 2020 Ioniq a 170-mile EPA range rating, 36 more miles than before. 
The Ioniq Electric is one of only three EVs we’ve tested to drive as far or further than its EPA range rating during our 70 mph range test. It passed its rating by one mile and delivered a 171 mile (275 km) highway range. The Ioniq Electric was the most efficient EV we’ve tested to date in our 70 mph highway range test and averaged 4.5 mi/kWh (13.78 kWh/100 km).

2019 BMW i3s BEV



  • Real-world Highway Range: 141 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 153 miles
  • Difference: -7.8%
In 2019, the BMW i3 received a battery upgrade from 33.2 kWh in previous years to 44.2 kWh. That increase was good enough to give the 2019 i3 BEV a 153-mi EPA range rating. During our 70 mph highway range test, the baby Bimmer was able to go 141 miles (227 km) and delivered a consumption rating of 3.6 mi/kWh (17.22 kW/100km).

2020 BMW i3s with Range Extender



  • Real-world Highway Range: 126 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 126 miles
  • Difference: 0.0%
The 2020 BMW i3 REx has the same size 42.4 kWh battery as the all-electric BEV version, but the range-extending engine turns on when the battery drops below a 6.5-percent state of charge. Therefore, only about 93% of the battery capacity is accessible before gasoline starts burning. Additionally, since the range extender adds about 265 pounds (120 kg) to the weight of the vehicle, there’s some range penalty there also.
In our 2020 BMW i3 REx 70 mph range test, we were able to drive the vehicle 126 miles (203 km) – exactly matching its EPA range rating – and it delivered an average consumption rating of 3.5 miles per kWh (17.7 kWh/100km).

2020 MINI Cooper SE


  • Real-world Highway Range: 108 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 110 miles
  • Difference: -1.8%
The 2020 MINI Cooper SE has a 32.6 kWh battery, of which 28.9 kWh is usable. That’s good enough to give the car an EPA range rating of 110 miles per charge. In our MINI Cooper SE 70-mph highway range test, we came close to matching the EPA range rating and finished up with 108 miles (174 km) driven and a consumption rating of 3.7 mi/kWh (16.76 kWh/100 km).

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV



  • Real-world Highway Range: 63 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 82 miles
  • Difference: -23.2%
The 2015 Chevrolet Spark has a 19 kWh battery and an EPA range rating of 82 miles per charge. We fully charged the 2015 Spark EV owned by InsideEVs’ own Domenick Yoney and set out on the Florida highways to see how far it would go at a constant 70 mph. The vehicle was able to muster 63 miles (101 km) on a charge in the 97-degree (36°C) Florida heat. We’re estimating the consumption rating at 3.5 mi/kWh, based on the battery size.

2018 smart Electric Drive Cabriolet


  • Real-world Highway Range: 51 miles
  • EPA-estimated Range: 57 miles
  • Difference: -10.5%
The 2018 smart Electric Drive has a 17.6 kWh battery, of which only 16.7 kWh is usable. It’s a great little run-around car, but it’s not really meant for long-distance highway travel. So it was no surprise when the little guy only managed to 51 miles (82 km) at a constant 70 mph. 
It averaged 3.4 mi/kWh (18.28 kWh/ 100 km) and only delivered six fewer miles while driving at 70 mph than its 57-mile EPA range rating. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which electric car has the longest range?

The current range champion among electric cars you buy is the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus that has an official EPA-rated range of 402 miles. We’ve reported, however, that its range is likely to increase soon to 409 miles. There’s also a challenger on the horizon – the Lucid Air. Lucid’s EV will be EPA-rated to go up to 517 miles on a charge when it goes on sale and begins deliveries in the second quarter of 2021. Tesla, though, already has an answer in the form of the Model S Plaid. The automaker says the Plaid will go 520+ miles per charge, but that number hasn’t been submitted to the EPA for official approval yet. 

Do electric cars lose range over time?

Yes, but the amount is minimal over the lifespan of the car and varies depending on the car itself, type of battery, how the battery was charged during its lifetime, and other factors. You can expect a decrease in range, on average, of about 2.3% per year, though most of that occurs after the first 100,000 miles. Also, automakers are required by law to warranty the battery packs in their electric vehicles for a minimum of 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. 

What does MPGe mean?

Miles Per Gallon Equivalent. It’s a funny calculation the EPA came up with to help consumers compare the efficiency of electrified cars (both Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-In Hybrids) to gasoline-powered cars. We don’t like it much as a metric by which to judge electric vehicles, preferring instead range and efficiency in terms of kilowatts used per mile. 

How does EPA test EV range?

Check out what we’ve written regarding range and how the EPA calculates it.