These days, you really have to hand it to Hyundai. Not only is it the real-life incarnation of the “Stop, stop, he’s already dead” meme from The Simpsons with how much it’s crushing every other automaker in the design department, it has very quickly and rather quietly emerged as a top contender in the electric vehicle world. It’s cliché as hell to remark how “far” Hyundai (and corporate cousin Kia, too) have come from the era of today’s Shitbox Showdown, but that doesn’t make it untrue. And one area where Hyundai keeps getting it right is EV range as well.
Last week, we got official EPA numbers for the new Hyundai Ioniq 6 and they are extremely impressive: 361 miles on a full tank of electrons. Even though it’s only by a few miles, that means Hyundai’s sedan can take down the Tesla Model 3 Long Range; that’s no easy feat. Say what you will about Elon Musk on any given day, but Tesla is still the electric automaker to beat. And at a time when many new EV offerings from so-called “legacy” automakers still feel tepid in the range department, Hyundai’s probably got a winner here.
But my mind keeps going back to what a good EV range 361 miles is. In fact, it’s excellent; much closer to the most recent median range for gasoline vehicles, which according to InsideEVs stands around 400 miles. (Remember, the greater selection of ICE vehicles out there, plus the fact that it’s a much more well-established technology, helps a lot there; on the flip side, most of us aren’t filling up our cars at home. Maybe you are if you live at an actual race track, or are an eccentric billionaire. You probably need the second thing to be true for the first thing to be, too.)
Anyway, this debate comes up all the time in the comments, but the Ioniq 6’s impressive-yet-pragmatic number makes me wonder this: What is the correct amount of EV range? I’d say 360 miles is pretty damn close to where you want to be without being excessive, and in fact, I think it could be held up as a kind of gold standard to aim for in the next few years.
Let’s assume a few things are true before we continue:
- EVs are meant to be charged at home, at the office or whenever they’re parked; they aren’t meant to be run down to near-zero before “filling up,” which will necessitate some behavior changes by drivers as EVs become more common.
- As noted above, you can’t fill up a gasoline car at your home, generally speaking.
- We’re talking about more or less conventional technology. Solid-state batteries promise better range, but they’re at least a decade away from being anything at all.
- It’s generally agreed that big, heavy, huge-range EV batteries aren’t great for the environment, both in terms of resources used for manufacturing and their overall electricity consumption.
- Smaller—or at least more reasonably sized—EVs are the ideal version of the future, both for the above reasons and for pedestrian safety reasons.
- The auto industry has spent years getting Americans in particular into bigger and heavier SUVs and trucks instead of cars, and reversing that trend will be difficult and potentially less lucrative for car companies.
- People generally don’t like being “told” what to drive, by anyone. Understandable!
- Having said that, Americans do have a tendency to buy cars for the worst day of the year—the road trip, the move across the country, the day the in-laws come to visit—and that means we often buy more cars than we need.
- The charging infrastructure isn’t where it needs to be yet, but it is getting better. And realistically, we probably won’t go “all-EV” by 2030 or whatever like governments and automakers expect; a more realistic scenario is a mix of drivetrains, including more hybrids, which means people who regularly drive very long distances will still have options.
- Nonetheless, very few of us seem to want low-range EVs like the 100-mile Mazda MX-30. Not in this country, anyway. Rational or not, getting people to mass-adopt low-range city cars will probably never happen.
I know that’s a lot to assume, but it feels like a realistic view of things from where we’re at now, in early 2023. So having said all of that, is the ideal electric range around 360 miles? I say hell yes, it absolutely is. They’re backed up by the Supercharger network, sure, but millions of Tesla Model 3 owners make that (or less) work pretty much all of the time. At 360 miles, you’d be able to get pretty far on most road trips. Daily driving won’t be a problem at all, either. Remember most Americans still drive about 35 miles a day at most. At 360 miles of range, you’re more than golden.
So while plenty of people are clamoring for EVs with 600 miles or more—and automakers are working to meet them there, albeit begrudgingly—what Hyundai has done is offer a car with a realistic and powerful amount of daily range that will meet pretty much all of your regular, daily needs. It’s enough to dissuade people away from their often irrational range anxieties, and coupled with the realities of regular charging at home and on the go, it’ll be plenty.
What do you think? I’m more interested in positing this as a realistic, good-faith question about driving needs, but if you need me to set up the “Change My Mind” table, I can go ahead and do it. What’s the ideal EV range to you?
I don’t know about ideal, but I concluded a while ago that my absolute minimum range for a pure EV is 250. That’s what it would take to get me to and from the places I drive regularly without charging on the way, accounting for the fact that I would lose a ton of range in the winter here. My longer trips would be pushing the range of almost any EV so charging is a must, but the more local stuff should be fine on 250.
360 miles at 75mph is nearly 5 hours. After that long in a car, Im ready to get out and stretch my legs anyway. Stretch for 30 minutes while taking a bio break at a rest stop and youre good to go for another leg of the trip. Works for me
I don’t mean this as an argument, and this is just how I like to do my road trips. I don’t stop to stretch my legs for any more time than it takes to fill up with gas. If I need a toilet break, I am in and out and back on the road in 5 minutes. Time wasted on the road is time wasted at my destinations. I routinely drive from CT to SC about once ever 6 weeks. This is one of the 2 problems I have with EV’s. The other problem is I can’t charge from home. On-street parking with no power near by.
You are somebody who has basically no use for an EV. Perhaps one day your circumstances will be different. Until then you need a gas car.
360 miles is good for California and Florida but it still has one major issue if you live up north – winter saps batteries.
I calculated based on this:
360 shrinks to 270.75 miles for a full charge in winter and using a typical 80% charge it goes all the way down to 216 miles. Running the same calculations, to reach the “optimal” near 400 miles in a northern winter you would need upwards of 530 miles of range from 0 to full charge, and upwards of 665 miles to have 400 miles on 80% of full charge!
This is of course unrealistic with current technology, which is why I am begrudgingly prepared to adopt a PHEV rather than a BEV in the near-term and wait for solid-state tech maturation post 2030. Now we just need some fun-to-drive PHEVs!
All you need for range is enough to make it to a more hospitable climate.
well I think 400 Km should be doable at 130km/h (that’s about 250 retard units at 80miles/h) and this should be done with about 85% maximum. Since you basically may not charge the EV more than 90%, otherwise damaging the battery. So total range should be 470km (about 300 miles). But not the artificial one, because my Tesla should have 610 km and it only has 350 actually. So probably the artificial cycle should be more like around 800-900km (560miles).
I was about to say probably near 400 somewhere but that’s close enough tbh
300 is the minimum for my money. 500 is a bit overkill but cool.
360 miles is perfect. That’s a round-trip from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. If I can do that without road charging, I’ll buy an EV.
How long is a piece of string?
I think for most consumers it would match the 400 mile average for gas fueled cars. Then you’re not having to charge every day or even every week for some, and then you don’t even need to rely on the home charger, opening the market to renters/apartment dwellers and such who can just go to a fast charger once a week or so and ‘fuel up’.
But again, need the infrastructure for people to be able to go and do that fairly effortlessly.
No thank you. I do not want to sit at a charger even once a month to charge up. That’s just one more thing I have to plan into an already busy week.