Low range as an argument against an electric car?

Are you thinking of buying an electric car but have doubts about whether the range of an electric car is sufficient for everyday use? Here you can find out what factors are used to measure the range, what range common car models have, and tips on how to increase the range of the electric car.
18. June 2020

How to measure the range of an electric car?

Many interested buyers decide against purchasing an electric car because they are convinced that the range of an electric car is not suitable for everyday use. These concerns may have been true a few years ago. However, nowadays, the advanced state of development is likely to ensure suitability for everyday use. The electric car battery is constantly optimized to achieve a longer range.

The range of an electric car indicates how many kilometers an electric car can drive after charging until it has to be recharged. It depends on energy consumption and battery capacity and is influenced by driving style, traffic conditions, weather conditions, and energy consumption of accessories such as heating.

The following calculation serves as a rough guideline:

Range = battery capacity / energy consumption (per 100 km) * 100.

For example, a vehicle with a 45 kWh battery and energy consumption of 16 kWh/100 km achieves a range of about 280 km according to the calculation (a range of 200 km is probably more realistic considering the individual driving style).

For more information about electric car batteries and their capacities, we recommend you to read our article: “How long does it take to charge an electric car?”.

Measurement method: Realistic range

Car manufacturers indicate the range in different units, sometimes in NEDC, sometimes in WLTP, or in NEDC and WLTP, but what do these abbreviations actually stand for? They are measurement procedures for determining the range of an electric car.


NEDC is the abbreviation for “New European Driving Cycle.” The NEDC is older and currently even more widespread than the WLTP measurement procedure and is carried out as follows: The range is determined in a 20-minute test in which the test vehicle is driven over a distance of 11 km at an average speed of 35 km/h. The radio, air conditioning, and heated seats are switched off during the test. The vehicle has a minimal load, is accelerated slowly, and the brakes are used carefully. This means that measuring the range based on the NEDC measurement method is very unrealistic.


WLTP stands for “Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Test Procedure” and is the new Europe-wide standard measurement method. The WLTP measurement procedure has been mandatory for new cars since September 2018. Older models that have been measured using the NLTP method are to be gradually converted to the WLTP method. As of 2021, the European Commission has stipulated that the range may no longer be determined and specified using the NEDC measurement method. The aim of the transition is to achieve a uniform and more realistic range specification from car manufacturers. The WLTP measurement procedure consists of a 30-minute test during which the test vehicle runs 23.25 km. Vehicle weight and power requirements are taken into account during the ride. The vehicle is also driven and accelerated more quickly and with greater variability. Another new requirement is that the car manufacturer must now carry out a WLTP measurement procedure for all configuration options.

Conclusion: WLTP instead of NEDC

Even though there will be a lot of confusion during the transition phase, the switch to the WLTP measurement procedure is promising and—most importantly—will only last a limited time. Compared to the NEDC measurement method, the WLTP measurement method provides a much more accurate and practical measurement value, although it can still vary depending on the traffic situation, weather conditions, and driving style.

Range development and comparison

The first electric cars on the streets around 1900 had a range of up to 100 km. Technology has developed considerably since then. Nowadays, electric car batteries are being built even larger and more powerful and can achieve a greater range. The 2007 Renault Zoe, for example, has a range of 400 km, while its predecessor model had a maximum range of 240 km. Today, electric cars can have a range of up to 600 km. Compared to the past, electric cars with a mid-range (200-400 km) are available at affordable prices.

Our article on “Electric mobility in Germany” provides an overview of the ranges of electric cars offered in 2019.

Thinking a step further, interested buyers are skeptical not only about the range itself but also about the charging options available.

If the charging processes were made more flexible, for example, by providing charging options in places where people spend time in their everyday lives, such as at their workplace or in front of shopping centers, the risk of an insufficient range would be circumvented. The expansion of the charging infrastructure in Germany is supported by the federal government. The greatest positive aspects of the funding program are that more and more public fast charging stations are being created and that it also supports the purchase of charging stations by companies and private individuals.

What range do Germans need in everyday life?

According to the mobility study “Mobility in Germany (MiD) 2017”, conducted by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and published in June 2018, a person travels an average of 39 km per day. Even the Renault Twizzy, with its comparatively short range of 50 km, could achieve this range, meaning it can be effortlessly achieved by any electric car.

Tips for increasing the range

Protection from extreme temperatures

Extreme temperatures discharge the battery of an electric car more quickly. The electric car must therefore be given special protection during the summer and winter, e.g., parked in the shade during the summer and in the garage during the winter. An advantage for the winter is a battery heating system, with which some electric cars are equipped.

Predictive driving

High acceleration, fast speeds, and heavy braking increase the rate at which the electric car battery discharges, reducing the range of the electric car more quickly. The more consistently you drive, the longer the battery charge lasts.


Recuperation is a technical process for energy recovery integrated in modern electric cars. The recovery of additional energy reduces the energy consumption of the electric car battery.

Switch off technical accessories

Technical accessories, such as air conditioning, lighting, and heating, consume a lot of energy, so it is advisable to turn them off whenever possible. If it is impossible to turn off the heating system, as in sub-zero temperatures, it is recommended to turn on the seat and steering wheel heaters instead of the interior heater because they are much more efficient.

Conclusion: Is the range an argument against buying an electric car?

As has been shown, the fear of insufficient range is unfounded—at least in everyday life. One reason for this is the increased range of an electric car.

With the current state of technology, it is easily possible to cover average everyday distances, and the range of electric cars is set to increase even further in the next few years. And secondly, the charging process is becoming increasingly flexible and time-saving so that it is no longer an obstacle when it comes to buying a car.

We suggest a home charging station to facilitate the everyday use of an electric car. Compared to a public charging station, it has the advantage of being available to the user at all times. An electric car battery also charges many times faster using a home charging station than it does using a conventional household socket. Charging can be done conveniently overnight when the electric car is not usually needed anyway.

We, at hesotec electrify, provide home charging stations with our eSat series. You can find more information in our product overview.


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