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An Economical Electric Car In An Era Of Rising Fuel Costs

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) tend to be regarded as exclusive mobility options with outrageously large prices, but this is not always the case. If you are looking for an economical electric car that saves you money while riding it, there are several interesting options for you.

In this article, we will detail EVs as the main solution to the gas price crisis. Here you will learn about the cost difference between EVs vs. combustion vehicles, understand how efficiency for EVs is calculated and how it affects your driving experience, and learn about different economy electric cars available for you.

Electric and Gas Cars: Which Is More Economical In the End?

Electric vehicle fuel economy is one of the main advantages that makes EVs attractive to drivers since their first release in 2008. EVs are far more energy efficient than combustion vehicles, they convert around 77% of the electricity consumed from the grid into power for the wheels, while combustion vehicles barely convert 12% to 30% of the energy stored in gasoline.

Considering that gasoline prices have increased around 44% in 2022 compared to previous years, the economic difference between EVs and combustion vehicles is more contrasting. A study performed by the Michigan University showed that EV drivers spent around $485 per year to charge their vehicles, while combustion vehicle drivers spent $1,117 on average.

Other studies also backed this up by showing that gas-powered vehicle drivers spend 60% more money than EV drivers to charge their vehicles year-round. Considering this, an EV driver could save around $6,320 every 10 years.

And What Affects Efficiency?

Efficiency for an EV is highly important when searching to understand the fuel economy of electric cars since it will determine the driving range of an EV with a full battery. Several aspects might determine or even affect the efficiency of an EV as we can see in some examples below:

  • Battery temperature.
  • Interior temperature of the vehicle.
  • Operating conditions of the vehicle.
  • Driving habits.

Factoring these and taking precautions will extend the efficiency of an EV. An important consideration is avoiding using the HVAC system during extreme weather conditions since this reduces the driving range by up to 40%. Other recommendations while driving include:

  • Conserve momentum. This will help you expend less energy accelerating the EV.
  • Avoid breaking too fast. EVs are designed to regain 10 to 30% of the energy when breaking if the process is done relatively slowly.
  • Reduce your speed. EVs are more efficient at low speeds, ideally at 25 mph.
  • Use eco-driving features. These features increase your driving range by around 20%.

Measuring the Efficiency of Electric Vehicles

The simplest method to estimate efficiency for EVs is calculating the kilowatt-hours per one hundred miles. This efficiency measure is obtained by dividing the battery capacity by its driving range and multiplying it by 100 miles. The downside of this efficiency measure is that it can only be used to compare fuel economy between electric cars and not against combustion vehicles.

For instance, the Tesla Model 3 with a battery capacity of 62.3 kWh and a driving range of 263 miles, has an estimated efficiency of 23.68 kWh/100 mi. This is calculated as follows:

Efficiency for this and other EVs is listed at the Fuel Economy governmental site.

Consumption vs. Efficiency

Contrasting consumption vs. efficiency for EVs and combustion vehicles can help illustrate electric cars and the economy benefits they represent, alongside their limitations. Combustion vehicles have a direct relation between consumption vs. efficiency: you fill up a gas tank and drive the expected number of miles considering the Miles per Gallon (MPG) of the vehicle. This is not as simple for EVs.

EVs consume battery when playing music, using the HVAC, accelerating, or even while parked. According to Tesla, parked EVs consume 1% of their battery per day to power onboard electronics, if you additionally consider battery self-discharge losses due to extreme temperatures, the consumption vs. efficiency relation becomes even more complex. None of this is considered in the kWh/100 mi efficiency measure.

One solution to understand the true efficiency of EVs and compare fuel efficient electric cars against combustion vehicles is using the Miles per Gallon equivalent (MPGe). This is an alternative and better efficiency measurement defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that compares how far a vehicle can go with the equivalent energy of a gallon of gasoline. In the following section, we will be explaining how the EPA calculated this efficiency.

How Does The EPA Calculate Efficiency?

The MPGe represents a more realistic efficiency measure for fuel economy in electric cars. This measure considers 33.7 kWh as equivalent to a gasoline gallon.

The calculation is performed by using a dynamometer, which is like a giant treadmill for EVs. This equipment tests vehicles in driving conditions that simulate the city and highway. During the test, EVs are constantly accelerating, braking, and performing tasks that drivers regularly perform on the road.

Let’s Walk Through the Top 10 Efficient Electric Vehicles

The best way to acquire economy efficient electric vehicles is to choose among the most efficient options available. In this section, we list the Top 10 most efficient electric vehicles available in the market:

EV model MPGe kWh/100 miles
1 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus RWD (2021) 142 23.7
2 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (2020) 141 24
3 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD (2021) 134 25.1
4 Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2021) 133 25.4
5 Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2020) 133 25.4
6 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range (2020) 131 25.7
7 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (2020) 130 25.9
8 Tesla Model Y Standard Range RWD (2021) 129 26
9 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD (2021) 125 27
10 Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range (2020) 123 27.5

Table 1: Top 10 Most Efficient EVs – Source: Fuel Economy

The previous table shows the 10 most efficient EVs in the market. The table considers MPGe and energy usage per 100 miles. In the following section, we explain more about these vehicles.

What Are The Most Efficient Electric Cars (Energy Use Per 100 Miles)?

Tesla took the throne with the most efficient EVs in the market for different variations of the Model 3. These vehicles feature efficiencies of 23.7 to 25.1 kWh/100 miles for the 1st to 3rd place and 25.7 to 25.9 kWh/100 miles for the 6th and 7th place.

Hyundai also took two important in the 4th and 5th positions, with the 2020 and 2021 Hyundai Ioniq. This EV features a surprising efficiency of 25.4 kWh/100 miles for both models.

An important economy EV car mention goes to the Lightyear 0. This recently unveiled EV might threaten Tesla in the first place since it only requires 60 kWh to drive 441 miles, which places its efficiency at 13.7 kWh/100 miles. This feat was achieved thanks to the solar roof of the EV, which increases its autonomy.

Did You Know That More Electric Cars Are Sold Each Week than In All Of 2012

Popularity for EVs has been rising at a surprisingly rapid rate in the last 10 years, especially considering the benefits presented by the electric vehicle fuel economy. The number of EVs sold throughout the whole of 2012 reached 113,000, while during the first five months of 2022, around 3.2 million EVs were sold, or around 160,000 EVs per week.

This rising popularity of the economy electric vehicles is a result of the monetary benefits that EVs represent. As gasoline prices keep on rising and EVs increase their efficiency, sales numbers will only keep on growing for the current and following years.

Nick Zamanov
Head of Business Development | Website | Posts

Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.

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