Range anxiety: New testing finds electric vehicles fall short of EPA range estimates

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New testing shows that some popular electric vehicles fall short of their government-estimated driving ranges, underscoring anxiety Americans have about the range of electric vehicles.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency range estimates listed on electric vehicle window stickers and at fueleconomy.gov don’t have separate city and highway ranges, as they do with conventional cars and hybrids. Consumer Reports, the nonprofit research, testing, and consumer advocacy organization, put electric vehicles to the test.

To find out how much range EV models get in highway driving conditions, Consumer Reports put 22 of the most popular new EVs through a new highway-speed range test. The test involved driving fully-charged vehicles at a steady speed of 70 mph and only stopping when each vehicle’s battery was completely depleted and the vehicle was inoperable, according to the nonprofit.

Nearly half of the 22 vehicles tested failed to reach their EPA-estimated ranges, but some exceeded those estimates. The highway range of the tested vehicles ranged from 202 miles up to 380 miles.

“Most drivers travel relatively short distances on a daily basis and are highly unlikely to reach the range limits of most new EVs. But long road trips are a different story. We feel that consumers should have an idea of how far EVs can travel on a long highway-centric journey,” Alex Knizek, Consumer Report’s manager of auto testing and insights, said in a statement. “Range is much more important when you’re far from home and away from reliable charging.”

Vehicle range is a consideration for long-distance travel, as a man from the Chicago suburbs recently demonstrated on a Thanksgiving road trip to Detroit, as The Center Square previously reported.

Consumer Reports said going forward it will evaluate the highway range for every electric vehicle it tests. It also asked the EPA to add a highway-speed range test. Car and Driver and SAE International have made similar requests.

A 2022 Consumer Reports survey found range anxiety was a reason 54% of adults in a national-representative survey said would prevent them from buying an electric vehicle.

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