A recent article on Cars.com shows us that the concern for efficiency is becoming widespread. While some new EVs (especially the electron-hogging Hummer EV) don’t get much range on a big battery, buyers seem to understand that low efficiency means a host of issues, like limited towing capacity , poor handling and a higher price. . So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Cars.com pays attention to the most energy-efficient electric vehicles. Its list of the top 10 most efficient electric vehicles shows that interest in efficiency is reaching the mainstream.
Who landed in the Top 10 most efficient electric vehicles?
It’s really not fair to copy their list verbatim (you should read the article to understand), but I wanted to mention a few notable entries that made the cut.
Among the 10 most efficient electric vehicles were three of Tesla’s four models. The Model X (Tesla’s current heaviest and largest vehicle as of March 2021) was not on the list, but the Model 3 is at the top of the list, and the Model Y and Model S also rank in the top ten. What this really shows us is that Tesla takes efficiency seriously. Given that the company was basically the only girl in town for people who wanted an EV, and is still the best EV automaker, it would be understandable for Tesla to slow down a bit and relax on efficiency. Instead, he’s been careful to stay alert and make sure he has some of the most efficient vehicles.
Another interesting thing was seeing the new Lucid Air on the list, second only to the Tesla Model 3. I haven’t had much experience with Lucid other than being kicked out by their security guards when I tried to ‘m getting pictures of their Arizona setup, but it looks like Lucid takes the scope pretty seriously and didn’t just shove a bunch of batteries into it to make it happen. This means that Tesla will be under serious pressure to keep improving!
What surprised me was that the Bolt EV, with its not so good drag coefficient, made #3. The stretched and lifted version of it, the Bolt EUV, came in at #7 . What they don’t do with a slippery body, they have to make up for effectively in other areas. The refreshed bumper and other minor changes for 2022 apparently wouldn’t have brought big changes in terms of efficiencyso that means they’ve done pretty well since 2017. It uses 3kWh more per 100 miles than the Model 3, so it’s not a giant difference.
Effectiveness doesn’t always equal reach
Looking at the list, it’s quite obvious that efficiency doesn’t always mean you have the highest range. For example, car #1 on the list travels 358 miles on a charge, while car #2 travels over 500 miles. Why? Because the battery size differs. The Lucid Air has a much larger battery than the Model 3 and the Bolt EV (which gets 259 miles).
I know many readers are aware that efficiency differs from battery size, but for those who are unfamiliar, I want to introduce a few units to keep in mind:
kW – kilowatts of power, such as horsepower
kWh – kilowatt hours, the capacity of the battery, like the gas tank of a gasoline car. More capacity = more autonomy.
kWh/100 miles – It’s like the MPG in a gasoline car, but in reverse. A lower number is better. There is also eMPG which attempts to state efficiency in terms of equivalent to MPG (The Cars.com the article gives these figures below).
So when comparing cars be sure to look at all of these things to get an idea of what the car can do for you. An efficient car with a tiny battery won’t get very far, and an inefficient car with a giant pack won’t get far either. These factors work together to produce the range of the vehicle.
Why Electric Vehicle Efficiency Matters
Batteries hold much less energy than a tank of gasoline, but electric vehicles get around this problem by not wasting energy like a gasoline or diesel car does. When you burn gasoline in an internal combustion engine, most of the energy becomes waste heat, with only about 25% actually moving the car. It’s not a deal breaker because you can fit a lot of gas in one tank and you can fill it up quickly.
The downside of electric vehicles comes in the form of weight. To hold the energy of a few gallons of gas, you need hundreds or thousands of pounds of battery cells. This makes the vehicle heavy, which means it is harder to move. Also, a moving object stays moving, so the heavy battery tries to go straight when you come to a turn, which hurts handling compared to something light like a Mazda Miata.
If you can make things efficient and keep the battery small, you can achieve curb weights close to comparable cars. For example, the Model 3 isn’t much different in weight from a BMW 3 Series. But GM didn’t aim for efficiency with the Hummer EV, and made up for it with the brute force of a big battery. giantess. This makes the vehicle weigh as much as more than two Model 3s. Ouch!
where is the industry going
The industry will likely go both ways for now.
On the efficiency side, you’ll see manufacturers like Aptera aim for extreme efficiency. The slippery, airplane-like vehicle will be two to three times more efficient than the best car on this year’s list. This results in a vehicle that will go 1,000 miles on one charge with a battery that is a bit smaller than the Model S. This will lead to more competition for efficiency, and everyone will benefit.
On the other hand, trucks are going their old ways in the world of electric vehicles. They must be optimized in terms of strength and towing capacity, which reduces their effectiveness. On top of that, you get buyers who want a traditionally shaped truck and don’t care how it happens at all, with the Hummer EV being probably the worst example. On the other hand, the F-150 Lightning is shaped like a normal F-150, so there’s a lot more to it than aerodynamics and looks.
As buyers, it’s important to make sure we put pressure on manufacturers to get it right. I’m not saying we should demand that every vehicle get the efficiency of the next Aptera, but at the same time, we shouldn’t let the industry go the other way without a bit of a chuckle either. Hopefully the 10 most efficient electric vehicles will be even more efficient next year!
Featured Image: A Model 3 and a Bolt EV, both cars on the 10 Most Efficient Electric Vehicles list. Photograph by Carolyn Fortuna/CleanTechnica.
Do you appreciate the originality of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a Member, supporter, technician or ambassador of CleanTechnica — or a patron on Patreon.