What is the autonomy of an electric car? Maif, autonomy of electric cars: how many kilometers? TCS Switzerland

Autonomy of electric cars


What is the autonomy of an electric car ?

Autonomy D

The level of autonomy of the electric car is one of the main criteria put forward by the manufacturers to convince motorists. What are we talking about ? What is the autonomy of an electric car ? Why is it important ? And what are the factors that have the most influence on this autonomy ? Explanation.

What is the autonomy of electric vehicles and how do we measure ?

Autonomy, long considered as the Achilles heel of electric vehicles, corresponds to the total distance that the car is able to travel between two charges, at home or on a dedicated charging station. The car is powered over this period by the energy stored in its lithium-ion battery (this type of electrochemical accumulator, the most common today, uses lithium in ionic form).

Since 2018, autonomy must be measured before placing a vehicle in the European Union, through the WLTP procedure (for “Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure” in English). With this “global trial procedure harmonized for light vehicles”, a battery of tests (on energy consumption and emissions) is systematically carried out, under conditions close to the real conditions of use of vehicles ( Type of driving, climatic conditions, solicitation of vehicle’s electrical equipment, etc.) and on an urban or mixed harmonized WLTP cycle (57 % urban journeys, 25 % peri-urban journeys and 18 % of journeys on highway). The results obtained for each model (consumption level, autonomy with complete recharging. ) must be communicated by manufacturers and made available to potential buyers.

Currently, and according to WLTP criteria, electric cars display an average of between 150 and 600 kilometers of autonomy. Except to have to cross all of France, without recharging possibilities along the way (on a public charging station or business. ), there is therefore quite little risk of falling dry with most of these vehicles.

What factors have an impact on the autonomy of an electric vehicle ?

The autonomy of an electric vehicle, comparable to the size of the petrol tank of a petrol or diesel thermal car, depends on the capacity of the batteries, measured in kilowatture (kWh). The longer this capacity, the longer the autonomy of the vehicle. The autonomy of an electric car is also influenced by several variables, part of which are linked to the driver’s behavior:

  • The speed (the faster you drive and the more the amount of energy required for the speed maintenance is high),
  • driving style (eco-driving, sporting or fluid driving. )),
  • The load conveyed (important cargoes, transported in the trunk or on the roof, have a negative impact on autonomy),
  • The aerodynamics of the car (galleries of roofs and open windows notably raise consumption),
  • The type of road taken (rue de dété-ville, fast lane, highway. )),
  • The elevation of the tracks (consumption increases in the ribs, and decreases in the descents, thanks to the energy recovery system. )),
  • And the outside temperature (it implies, or not, to use heating or air conditioning, while an electric battery holds the load less in very cold than at room temperature).

Note that an electric car does not spend energy when it is stopped or turns in slow motion (except for air conditioning or heating), contrary to what is happening with a thermal car. The electric motor only consumes energy when stressed, in the acceleration phase. Only the use phases have an impact on autonomy.

What electric cars have the best autonomy in 2021 ?

Electric city cars that have the most autonomy

But what are the electric cars that have the most autonomy currently ? In the category of city cars, the finesse of the cabin is not always synonymous with a “small” battery. At the list of city cars displaying the largest autonomy, in 2021 we find the little Corsa-e of Opel (362 km of autonomy), the Peugeot E-208 (362 km), the Dacia Spring (230 km) and the ZOE models (370 km) from Renault, which were a great success in France 1 .
The performance of small 100 % electric city dwellers have increased, for several years, in terms of autonomy mileage.

The electric sedans that offer the greatest autonomy

In 2021, and apart from the SUVs and rechargeable hybrids, the EQS of Mercedes-Benz Caracole at the head of the sedans displaying the largest autonomies (with up to 784 km on the clock), in front of the 5-door tesla Model S sedan ( 637 km of autonomy estimated), the Tesla Model 3 (614 km), the ID-3 of Volkswagen (up to 548 km), the Taycan de Porsche (504 km, with the Performance Plus battery), the family sedan Nissan Leaf (385 km), and the Citroën E-C4 compact sedan (350 km) 2 . Their large rays of action, with a single load, are one of the keys to their success, alongside the silence of the engines and their fluidity of moving.

What level of autonomy corresponds to my use ?

What autonomy do you need ? It is essential to ask these questions to make a good comparison and find the electric car adapted to its needs. For exclusively urban use, over a few kilometers, it would be futile, and unnecessarily expensive, to choose one of the family sedans or one of the SUVs displaying the biggest autonomies. An electric sportsman or a serial city car, marketed at a lower price and with an autonomy of 200 to 400 km, will be enough for you. Ditto if it is for you an extra vehicle or intended for secondary use, which you will only use occasionally and on short distances: the number of km traveled per day does not justify investing in a high -end model.

But for regular use on long journeys, little provided with load infrastructure, the motorist has an interest in favoring a larger model, even a luxury sedan, with reinforced autonomy (up to 600 km). It is also recommended to choose an electric car with strong autonomy if you want to use it to go on vacation.

Whatever the need, it is always advisable to choose a car that displays a capacity for double kilometers traveled as a rule, between two recharges. On the one hand, manufacturers tend to be optimistic about the autonomy of electric vehicles they produce, compared to the real capacity of these models in real life and on diversified terrains. And on the other hand, the future driver has every interest in sparing a safety margin, in the event of a occasional increase in his consumption (and failing to be able to recharge his car on a suitable charging station). Not to mention that the battery of an electric car loses its capacity as recharges.

How to increase the autonomy of your electric car ?

Whether you use a Tesla sedan or a small electric car, the driving style is huge to obtain the best autonomy: it is advisable to pass, if it is not already the case, at eco-driving (low accelerations, Use of engine brake. ) to avoid overconsum energy. Some manufacturers offer an “eco” mode which automatically limits the acceleration power of the engine, and to optimize the power of heating or air conditioning. Added to this is the possibility of recovering a little energy during the deceleration and braking phases, using a recovery (or regenerative) braking system.

To avoid premature wear of the battery, and therefore a loss of autonomy, it is finally better to recharge it regularly and try not to go below the 20 % load mark. A battery that loads or unloads regularly to the end, wears out more quickly.

To help you get to the electricity safely, we offer a driving and handling course of an electric car, designed with the French driving school 3 .

1 manufacturers’ sites (Opel, Peugeot, Dacia, Renault).

2 manufacturers’ site (Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Volkswagen, Porsche, Nissan, Citroën).

3 The training of handling of your electric vehicle is carried out by one of the partners of the French driving school network (ECF), association law 1901, SIREN 305 275 711 – 4 place Sadi Carnot – CS 60649 – 13235 MARSEILLE CEDEX 02.
The ECF Association, or its commercial company ECF Services by delegation, organize and market awareness, information, continuing education training, not specifically governed by the Highway Code.

On the same topic

Advantages and disadvantages of the electric vehicle

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an electric car ?

More and more of you make the choice to acquire a clean car or very low polluting emissions. But why switch to electric ? What are the concrete benefits of new electric vehicles ? And what are their real impacts on the environment ? Explanation.

Terminals and recharge time for electric cars: what you need to know

There are more and more recharging points for vehicles at home, at service stations or on motorways. But their performances are variable, with charging times that range from 15 minutes to several hours. They depend on several parameters, such as the capacity and the load of the battery or the power of the cable and the charging station used. Here are some tips to see more clearly.

What are the costs of an electric car on a daily basis ?

Electric cars appeal, especially for their environmental advantages. But are daily within the reach of all budgets ? What is the cost of recharge, at home or outside ? And what about the maintenance of the vehicle and the possible replacement of its battery ? Here are the benchmarks and useful tips to enlighten your choices.

couple in front of an electric car

How to choose your electric car ?

You think of changing vehicles to switch to electric ? Whether to limit your carbon footprint or to save on fuel, the electric car is an option that is gaining popularity. But how to choose your model, while the options are so numerous ? Autonomy, charging station, ecological bonus, initial price, maintenance cost … so many elements that must hold your attention in the choice of vehicle. What are the advantages of an electric vehicle ? What options to assess before purchasing ? Does the state offer aid ?

Used electric car

Which used electric vehicle to choose ?

Over the years, the range of new electric vehicles offered by manufacturers has grown considerably. These vehicles are starting to feed the second -hand market and the number of second -hand electric cars will grow in the years to come. Which used electric vehicle to choose ? What are the main choice criteria ? The main advantages of an electric automobile ? The points of vigilance, in particular with regard to the batteries and the autonomy of these ? All the answers to the main questions you ask yourself before buying a used electric car.

hybrid car

Which hybrid car to choose ?

A range greater than a 100 % electric car. Consumption and reduced emissions provided you recharge it well and drive enough in electric mode. The advantages of technology and hybrid engines are numerous. The combination of electricity, sometimes rechargeable, and the heat engine can indeed be done in different ways. Minimum to more complete hybridization, several models of hybrid cars exist.

Autonomy of electric cars

Comparison of 31 electric cars in terms of autonomy, consumption and charging time

The TCS, in collaboration with the Norwegian NAF car club, compared 31 electric cars from different manufacturers during its summer autonomy test. This autonomy test realistically reproduces an interurban journey and ideally completes WLTP and RDE-TCS tests as well as the Greenncap program.

A direct comparison can be made thanks to the large number of vehicles tested. The evaluated categories were “Autonomy”, “the consumption” And “The charging time”, essential qualities for a car in order to be adapted to daily life as well as to travel. These parameters were determined during a test controlled during which 31 cars traveled the same route under the same conditions.

The results note the vast extent of the offer of electric cars from Europe, the United States, Korea and how high-performance cars have become efficient and adapted to daily life. The most powerful vehicles, as well as the weakest, show a radical evolution of technology and performance. These vehicles offer in terms of autonomy and charging power more than the best and most expensive electric cars could only offer a few years ago. All cars have obtained more than 55% of the points, three even obtained more than 80% of the points and, only six obtained less than 60% of points.

These three electric cars obtain the best results in the autonomy test

Korean crossover Kia Ev6rwd won the general classification in front of the 4×4 Tesla Model Y LR Dual Motor crossover and the Munich sedan with clean lines BMW i4 Edrive40. The three cars convinced their remarkable energy efficiency and their attractive autonomy, as well as by their load power sophisticated.


  • Autonomy: 500 km
  • Consumption: 15.2 kWh/100 km
  • Price: CHF 55‘000
  • Quick recharging: from 10 to 80% in 23 min.

You're here

  • Autonomy: 507 km
  • Consumption: 13.8 kWh/100 km
  • Price: CHF 65‘000
  • Quick recharging: from 10 to 80% in 30 min.

BMW i4 Edrive40

  • Autonomy: 583 km
  • Consumption: 14.8 kWh/100 km
  • Price: CHF 69‘000
  • Quick recharging: from 10 to 80% in 30 min.

The champion of autonomy, the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+, Follows the three leaders although it belongs to another price category and despite some small downsides in terms of efficiency and recharging time. Then come the Kia Ev6 (4WD), there BMW i4 m50, there Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD as well as the second MERCEDES-BENZ EQS 580 4MATIC, there Polestar 2 LR Single Motor and the SkOda Enyaq Cup RS.

What vehicles are ranked among the first ten ? The most autonomous and effective models are obviously in mind, but we also find the models equipped with 800V technology. In terms of price, the fork extends from a little less from CHF 50,000 to more than CHF 150,000.

For what is brands and platforms, three cars with the Hyundai e-GMP platform are placed in the top 10: the Kia Ev6 RWD, the Kia Ev6 4WD and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD. We also find the Skoda with the MEB platform as well as two Mercedes EQS, two BMWI4, one Tesla and a Polestar.

Autonomy of electric cars: Overview of the results of the 31 models tested (2022)

Electric car test table zoom

The five electric cars with the greatest autonomy come from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Tesla

There Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ with 620 km traveled and the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic with 596 km traveled are the autonomy champions. However, the distance reached is significantly lower than the WLTP value respectively 13% and 8%. The weakest autonomy of the test is that of Chinese Hongqua, which reaches only 371 km despite its 90 kWh battery. This value is also 20% lower than WLTP autonomy. The average of autonomies is 463 km, 4% less than the average WLTP values. Ten of the cars exceed the WLTP value during the test.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+


BMW i4 Edrive40


Tesla Model y LR Dual Motor

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+


BMW i4 Edrive40


Tesla Model y LR Dual Motor

The five electric cars with the lowest autonomy of the test


Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo


Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

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Consumption of electric cars: which electric car is the most efficient in terms of energy ?

The relationship between autonomy and battery capacity indicates energy efficiency. The more effective a vehicle, the less the battery capacity needs to reach a certain autonomy. The graph shows on the vertical axis the capacity of the battery and on the horizontal axis the autonomy traveled by the participants during the test.

Energieeffizienz Elektroautos Im übersicht zoom

Battery capacity and autonomy

  • The average of cars has between 70 and 80 kWh. Average battery capacity: 80 kWh.
  • Approximately 70% of cars reach autonomy between 370 and 470 km.
  • The two cars of Mercedes with the biggest batteries also have the greatest autonomy.
  • There Cupra Born, With the smallest battery of all participants, is penultimate of the test and ranks among the lowest autonomies. There Hongqi EHS-9, which ranks seventh in terms of battery size with 90 kWh, obtains the less good result.
  • The Tesla Model Y and the BMW i4 Edrive40 are distinguished by their great autonomy, their energy efficiency and their low consumption.

The five electric cars less consuming on the test

Tesla Model y LR Dual Motor

Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD

BMW i4 Edrive40

MG ZS Long Range

Tesla Model y LR Dual Motor

Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD

BMW i4 Edrive40

MG ZS Long Range

Which electric car recharges the fastest ?

The power and the recharge speed are important To quickly drive by electric car, even during a big trip. We have analyzed the parameters of a quick continuous current load from 10 % to 80 % of the capacity of the battery, as is the case on the highway. The maximum load power is only reached by most cars for a short period at the start of the load cycle. For this reason, it is the average load speed over the entire load up to 80% which is interesting, as well as the time required to continue to roll with a capacity of 80%.


Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD


Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD

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