By Joe Bruzek on January 23, 2013
Finding the EPA's official combined city/highway range ratings for electric cars is not as easy as it should be. The EPA's website, FuelEconomy.gov, lists the rating in a comparison tool within its electric-car section, but not on the vehicle's main page alongside the prominently displayed miles per gallon equivalent rating. MPGe is not an estimate of how far a car can drive until it runs out of juice, like the EPA's estimated range.
The EPA defines combined range as "When the vehicle is fully charged, this value represents the approximate number of miles that can be traveled in combined city and highway driving before the vehicle must be recharged." In our testing, the EPA's estimated range has proved accurate with our long-term 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt. When driven until it was intentionally drained of power, our Leaf traveled 72 miles before calling it quits; that's a mile short of its 73-mile combined range rating.
Interested in an electric car but don't know which one suits your range needs? Check out the list below. We compiled the EPA's estimates of current and upcoming all-electric, plug-in hybrid and range-extending hybrid vehicles to make it easy to find range estimates. Not all of the electrics listed are available nationwide, however, so see the Cars.com's Green Car/Hybrid Buying Guide and KickingTires' Hybrids/Alternative Fuels section for information on availability and pricing.
Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe