How far will an EV go on a charge?

This depends on a number of factors:

  • battery capacity (in kWh)
  • temperature (outside vs. inside the car)
  • incline (uphill vs. downhill)
  • wind and general rolling resistance (headwind vs. tailwind)
  • driving patterns (acceleration ramp)

Mileage estimates for a given EV model are based on average energy use per distance (mile) traveled. For example, a Tesla Model 3 assumes an average of 250Wh (watt-hours) per mile, or 4 miles per kWh (kilowatt-hour). This means a full-charged Tesla Model 3 Long-Range battery with 80kWh would have an average range of 320 miles. However, going uphill, in very hot or cold temperatures, or into the wind, a Tesla could get lower mileage; going downhill, or with a tailwind, a Tesla could get more miles/kWh than the average. Going downhill, regenerative charging will often put *more miles* on your battery than were on it at the top of the incline!

Below are average EV mileage estimates for a number of EVs (add a link if possible).

The EPA has a standard EV range test. Electrek has photos and an EV range table here.

Can you take a long trip with it?

Yes, if the EV has a sufficient range compared to charging opportunities on your route.

First, look at the charging opportunities along the route you plan to take, relative to your EV’s range.

For general EVs, you can use primarily Level 3 (fast-DC charging stations) and Level 2 (240V AC-charging stations) for your trip. Level 1 (120V AC-charging) can be useful if you will be staying overnight or several days in one place. You can see all charging opportunities using the Plugshare app or website.

If you have a Tesla, you additionally can use the Tesla-specific superchargers (V2 and the even faster V3), visible on this map. You’ll want to plan your trip so you have some battery margin (typically 10-15%) as you arrive at each charger, accounting for conditions that affect range. A number of online tools are available to plan your trip, including EV Trip Planner, A Better Routeplanner or the Tesla trip planner.

Do EV’s perform well in Idaho’s winter weather?

EVs see their highest range at 70 F (21.5C) and lower range in very hot or cold weather, though cold weather typically results in more range loss than hot weather.

From Geotab:

Day-to-day range is affected by temperature primarily due to auxiliary heating and cooling. Energy from the battery not only powers the vehicle, but also the auxiliary systems, most notably:

  1. Heating and cooling the vehicle cabin
  2. Heating and cooling the battery

People often assume range loss in cold temperatures is due to reduced battery performance. 

While lithium-ion batteries are more sluggish in extreme temperatures (cold temperatures impact their ability to store and release energy), this has far less impact on range than auxiliary load. Additionally, automakers have designed battery thermal management systems to keep batteries within an optimal temperature range, further minimizing loss in battery performance (but costing us auxiliary load).

Impact for extremely cold (sub-zero F) temperatures has been estimated by various sources at up to about 40%, with about half of this due to cabin heating. One way to lower this is to briefly use seat heaters, then turn them off; body heat will keep the seat warm, though of course you may still want to heat the air.

This tool from Geotab helps you estimate range impact based on temperature. It doesn’t include Tesla M3 LR (long-range) and some other models, but provides a sense of how temperature affects range for a given make and model.

The newest Teslas (e.g., Model Y and 3) use heat pumps to heat the car, which use much less battery power, thus, extending their range over non-heat-pump versions in cold weather.


InsideEVs—Biggest Winter Range Test Ever

GeoTab—To what degree does temperature impact EV range?

EPA—Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charging (a bit outdated)

How fast do EV’s charge?

Charging options are summarized into three charging levels: Level 1 (regular household outlet, similar consumption as a microwave or hair dryer), Level 2 (240V household outlet, similar consumption as a clothes dryer or oven range), and Level 3 (dedicated, high-speed commercial station, usually located along freeways and urban centers).

Level 1 charges very slowly and may offer a compromised EV ownership experience. The EV only gains 2-5 miles of range per hour. Depending on your distance driven during the day, you may need to start charging as soon as you return home so the car has enough range to be driven the next day.

A Level 2 charger installed at one’s home or workplace provides the best ownership experience: the car is fully charged overnight while you sleep or by the end of an average workday. The charge rate is 30-50 miles per hour, depending on the outlet and charger’s amperage (24A to 48A are common).

Level 3 chargers enable long-distance road trips, and provide an option for city-dwellers or other EV owners without access to a Level 2 charger. The charge rate is between 150 to 1000 miles per hour. When charging via Level 3, a warm, nearly-empty battery provides ideal charge rate. To protect battery health, the charge rate is slowed if the battery is too hot or cold, and it gets progressively slower as the battery charge nears 100%.

How and where do you charge EV’s?

Most commonly, using Level 2 chargers at your home or work.

How do you find a charging station?

PlugShare.com and Chargehub.com (unaffiliated with ID-EV) provides community-maintained maps of most chargers by plug type and charge network. PlugShare community members post recent reviews and upload charger photos, which both make them easier to find and to know what to expect.

How much does it cost to charge an EV?

Approximately 2-3 cents per mile driven (assumes Idaho residential utility rates of approximately $0.079 to $0.085 per kWh, and 4 miles of range per kWh).

How much does a charger cost?

A Level 2 charger (sometimes called an “EVSE”) costs approximately $300-750. If you have an available 240-volt outlet near your parking space no additional electrical work may be required. Otherwise, consult an electrician for options to install a NEMA 14-50 outlet (common for household oven ranges) or whatever outlet type is required by your EVSE.

At time of publication, IRS Form 8911 provides a 30% federal tax credit of the amount of charging equipment and, if necessary, installation costs.

How long will the battery last before needing to be replaced?

Auto manufacturers selling EV’s in the US offer at least an 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on their batteries. Some of the factors that can limit a batteries lifespan are driving in hot climates and the use of Level 3 fast charging. Learn more here.

Common misconceptions about EV’s

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