The 10 Most Efficient Electric Cars In The US

Back in the Golden Age of Cars in America (around 1967, by my calculation) the magic numbers everyone talked about were cubic inches and horsepower. In today’s world of electric cars, the most important metric is efficiency. An efficient EV can drive further on a given amount of electricity, which can translate into smaller, less expensive batteries, or longer range between charging session.

The reason efficiency is so important is because gasoline packs so much energy into every gallon, it matters little if some of it (or even a lot of it) gets wasted. In comparison, even the best batteries in electric cars today have a much lower energy density. Look at it this way. The 24 kWh battery in a first generation Nissan LEAF had the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline. The LEAF needed to be more efficient than a similar gas-powered car if it was going to be able to travel any significant distance.

There are various ways of measuring efficiency, but for drivers in America, the standard has become how many kilowatt-hours of electricity it takes to drive 100 miles. Cars.com Recently did a survey of the most efficient electric cars you can buy in the US based on that metric, and the results are listed below. If your favorite EV is not on the list, it’s because it didn’t make the cut.

Most Efficient Electric Cars In The US

1. 2022 Tesla Model 3 RWD — Energy use per 100 miles: 25 kWh. Combined efficiency: 132 mpg-e. Price: $46,190, including $1,200 destination.

2. 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring w/19-inch wheel — Energy use per 100 miles: 26 kWh. Combined efficiency: 131 mpg-e. Price: $139,000, not including destination.

3. 2022 Chevrolet Bolt — Energy use per 100 miles: 28 kWh. Combined efficiency: 120 mpg-e. Price: $32,495, including $995 destination.

4. 2022 Hyundai Kona EV — Energy use per 100 miles: 28 kWh. Combined efficiency: 120 mpg-e. Price: $35,245, including $1,245 destination.

5. 2022 Tesla Model S — Energy use per 100 miles: 28 kWh. Combined efficiency: 120 mpg-e. Price: $96,190, including $1,200 destination.

6. 2022 Tesla Model Y Long Range — Energy use per 100 miles: 28 kWh. Combined efficiency: 122 mpg-e. Price: $60,190, including $1,200 destination.

7. 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV — Energy use per 100 miles: 29 kW. Combined efficiency: 115 mpg-e. Price: $34,495, including $995 destination.

8. 2022 Kia EV6 RWD — Energy use per 100 miles: 29 kWh. Combined efficiency: 117 mpg-e. Price: $42,115, including $1,215 destination.

9. 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD — Energy use per 100 miles: 30 kWh. Combined efficiency: 114 mpg-e. Price: $44,895, including $1,245 destination.

10. 2022 Kia Niro EV — Energy use per 100 miles: 30 kWh. Combined efficiency: 112 mpg-e. Price: $41,205, including $1,215 destination.

The Takeaway

There are any number of factors that may make one electric car more suitable for a particular buyer than another. Styling is important; Electronic safety features, including driver assist technology, are a top priority for many. I just read online today about a couple who rejected a certain EV because he did not have elbow room for two adults in the rear seat when their child seat was installed.

Efficiency may not be at the top of the list for many who are considering buying an electric car, but it is an important metric for measuring the performance of one model against other models. And it correlates to how far you can drive on a full charge and how often you will need to stop at a charging plaza while on a trip.

If batteries had the same energy density as gasoline, none of this would matter. We could all drive 97 miles an hour in sub-freezing temperatures and never give a thought to how efficient our car is. But batteries aren’t there yet — not even close. And so driving electric cars requires some adjustments to our normal profligate ways. If you are fully onboard with the EV revolution, you are OK with that.


 

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