Electric cars have evolved at an extraordinary rate over the past decade or so, and there’s no better illustration of that progress than remembering the original Nissan Leaf from 2011 could cover just 109 miles before it ran out of juice. That meant you couldn’t drive it from London to Birmingham without desperately searching for a plug socket at least once. But these days the longest range electric cars can cross entire countries and still have battery charge to spare.
Most people don’t need a car with a 400 or even 300-mile range if they have a short commute or can charge up at home whenever they need to, but there’s no denying range anxiety will be a factor in some potential electric car buyers’ choice of EV. A long range means drivers can tackle long journeys without needing to stop, while for others it simply means they don’t have to remember to charge their car as regularly.
A long range can also just be a perk of having one of the very latest EVs in high-spec guise with a big battery, but we’d always advise buyers to think carefully about the amount of range they need rather than simply going for as much as they can afford. Generally speaking, big range means a big battery which bumps up the weight of the car and the price. If you can live quite comfortably with a cheaper, shorter range model you can save cash and may actually gain some efficiency thanks to the lower weight.
To help you understand just how much range you can get in modern EVs, we’ve compiled a list of the longest ranges offered by electric cars currently sold in the UK. The figures shown below are all derived from the official WLTP efficiency test, which is designed to be more representative of the range drivers will actually achieve in the real world than the old NEDC test.
The longest range electric cars on sale in the UK
Read on to find out more about the top 10 longest-range electric cars you can buy in the UK…
10. Ford Mustang Mach-E – 372 miles
Although a very different car from its V8-powered namesake, the Mustang Mach-E sets a standard in its own way. Not only does it offer a large amount of space for family use but the entire range offers over 270 miles of battery range, all the way up to 372 miles if you choose the rear-drive Extended Range model.
It might not be the fastest EV in a straight-line, but the Mustang Mach-E packs enough performance to keep things interesting and it’s far more engaging to drive than any other electric family SUV. Ford’s BlueCruise ‘hands-free’ adaptive cruise control is now available on the Mustang Mach-E as well, which will be appealing to those who spent lots of time traversing the UK’s motorway network.
Inside, the Mustang Mach-E feels a little more premium than some other Ford models, with standard kit including dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a 15.5-inch touchscreen and a 10.2-inch digital instrument display. Head and legroom are both good throughout the cabin, though boot space could be more generous in our opinion.
9. Lotus Eletre – 373 miles
A four-door, 2.5-tonne luxury SUV might not be the first image that comes to mind if we asked you to picture a Lotus, but the Eletre heralds a new era for the British brand and can give rivals from Porsche, Lamborghini and Aston Martin a run for their money. The Eletre is extraordinarily well made and features a high-quality, hi-tech cabin that’s complimented by a huge amount of rear cabin space and a sizable boot.
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Of course, it still needs to feel like a Lotus when you’re at the helm. Thankfully, the Eletre’s steering is great, the ride is well controlled, and ultimately the all-electric hyper-SUV delivers a level of interaction that makes it genuinely enjoyable to drive. The fire-breathing, tri-motor Eletre R goes like absolute stink, but the mid-range Eletre S that’s expected to be the big-seller of the range still packs a punch.
Lotus claims the base Eletre and Eletre S are also good for 373 miles on a charge thanks to the whooping 112kWh lithium-ion battery all models get, while recharging from 10-80 per cent takes just 20 minutes if you find a ultra-rapid chargepoint capable of 350kW charging speeds.
8. Tesla Model 3 – 374 miles
The Tesla Model 3 has been on sale in Britain since 2019, and although it finds itself with more rivals than ever, it’s pretty easy to figure out why so many EV advocates in the UK have bought or leased one.
The Model 3 is Tesla’s cheapest model to date, but there are no sacrifices when it comes to range as every version can cover over 300 miles on a single charge. The Model 3 has also proved itself to be extremely efficient during our own testing, so its range figures aren’t just theoretical. Access to all Tesla Superchargers is another perk of Model 3 ownership, and will be particularly appealing for those who cover lots of motorway miles.
There’s plenty of the brand’s signature tech to be found on-board, too. Standard equipment includes a 15-inch high-resolution infotainment system, a keyless entry system that can recognise your phone as a key, heated front seats with 12-way electric adjustability, four USB ports and wireless charging pads for two smartphones. Boot space is great as well, plus you get some handy extra storage under the bonnet should you need it.
7. Mercedes EQE – 376 miles
The little brother to Mercedes’ range-topping EQS limo, the EQE is an executive saloon that’s essentially the all-electric equivalent of the E-Class in the brand’s range. It uses the same EVA2 platform as the larger EQS, and its looks are just as uninspiring, but the EQE is highly aerodynamic and can accommodate a large 90kWh battery that allows for its 376-mile range.
If there’s one thing the EQE gets right it’s ride comfort, regardless of your speed, and refinement is excellent, too. However, the EQE does tend to bob around on its suspension just a little more than feels natural at higher speeds, and its high driving position and 2.3-tonne kerbweight make it feel more like an SUV to drive.
The EQE’s 170kW maximum charging speed isn’t exactly remarkable, either, especially compared to rivals from Porsche and Audi. The infotainment system and other tech onboard is excellent, though poor visibility and small boot count against the Mercedes.
6. Polestar 3 – 379 miles
Polestar’s first SUV is only its third model overall, but, if the Polestar 2 is anything to go by, the 3 should be cause for concern amongst its more established competition.
The Polestar 3 takes aim at the premium end of the electric SUV market, with rivals such as the Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX in its sights. Sharing a platform with the seven-seat Volvo EX90, the 3 is fitted with a notably large 107kWh battery pack. Polestar claims that this unit is good for up to 379 miles of range, while 250kW rapid charging capability means a 10-80 per cent charge time of just 30 minutes.
Inside, the Polestar 3 is equipped with a generous helping of luxurious creature comforts. These include a panoramic glass roof, ambient lighting, a 360-degree parking camera, soft-closing doors, cabin air filtration, heated rear seats, a 25-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo and the latest Android Automotive infotainment system. Prices currently start from less than £80,000, with first examples expected to arrive towards the end of 2023.
5. BMW iX – 382 miles
The iX is BMW’s flagship electric SUV, and it boasts a flagship-worthy range figure of up to 382 miles. Admittedly, the iX’s styling is rather divisive but there’s no cause for argument when it comes down to sheer capability. Every iX features a dual-motor setup for all-wheel drive, while inside the cabin is full of soft-touch materials and a high level of quality is evident throughout.
Two 14.5-inch curved screens feature BMW’s latest iDrive system, which is one of the slickest infotainment systems on the market, and few rivals come close to the iX’s level of refinement. The seats offer superb comfort and sooth you on long journeys, while each passenger has a generous amount of space to enjoy.
Even though the iX is a 2.4-tonne SUV, it’s great to dive and performance figures are exactly as you’d expect from a BMW. Even the least-powerful xDrive40 will accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, while the xDrive50 drops this time to 4.6 seconds. Alternatively, you can even inject the spirit of BMW’s legendary M cars into the all-electric iX by opting for the 611bhp M60 model that will do the 0-62mph run in a mere 3.8 seconds.
4. BMW i7 – 387 miles
For the first time, BMW’s flagship executive limousine is available with all-electric power. Unlike its biggest rivals, the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS, the new i7 shares its platform with a combustion-engined counterpart, the 7 Series. However, this doesn’t mean that any shortcuts have been taken with the i7’s powertrain.
The i7 features a large 101.7kWh battery that BMW claims is good for up to 387 miles of range. BMW has been clever with the battery pack’s design, too. It’s super-thin in order to prevent intrusion into the cabin space – a vital element of any luxury car – while 195kW maximum charging speeds make a 10-80 per cent top-up achievable in as little as 34 minutes.
A near-silent driving experience, superb refinement and high-quality materials mean that comfort can be found in abundance. The i7 has acres of space and a real sense of occasion, which certainly helped it secure our Luxury Car of the Year award for 2023.
If you are fortunate enough to be regularly chauffeured in your i7, it’s definitely worth taking a look at the options list. The Rear Comfort Pack will allow you to electronically recline and adjust the heated and ventilated seats, while the 31-inch 8K folding Theatre Screen will keep you thoroughly entertained.
3. Tesla Model S – 394 miles
As the competition continues to get better, the car that cemented Tesla’s place in the electric car market, the Model S, received a major update in 2021. It took a while for the facelifted flagship saloon to make it over here, but it finally hit UK roads in 2023 with a maximum range of 394 miles. Of course, the caveat is that the Model S is now available exclusively in left-hand drive form.
It’s easier than you might think to forget that though, once you consider the thoroughly impressive range, and the performance it offers. The dual-motor Long Range Model S will sprint form 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds, keeping it well in the sights of top supercars. If for whatever reason that isn’t fast enough for you, the Model S Plaid brings this time down to an astonishing 1.99 seconds with its three electric motors pumping out 1,006bhp and 1,420Nm of torque, all of which is available the instant you tap the accelerator – as we got to experience first hand.
Technology is as plentiful as ever and the Model S retains its somewhat minimalist interior styling, but the recent facelift brought with it a new 17-inch landscape touchscreen that’s as sharp and precise as an iPad or other tablet. Tesla’s Autopilot system and other kit helps take some of the stress out of long journeys, as does access to the Tesla Supercharger network if the battery starts to run low on charge.
2. Polestar 2 – 406 miles
Another model that shows the rapid progression of electric technology is the Tesla Model 3’s Scandinavian archrival: the Polestar 2. It previously had a maximum range of 341 miles, but thanks to a facelift and some significant updates under the skin, the Polestar 2 can now cover 406 miles before it runs out of juice, according to its maker. That’s an impressive feat in its own right, and even more so when you learn the Long Range Single Motor version with that headline-grabbing range figure costs less than £50k – about half as much as the Tesla Model S we just mentioned.
There’s more to the Polestar 2 than its new range stats, though. It feels better built than the Model 3, looks a lot better to our eyes, and its Google-powered infotainment is top-notch. The hatchback tailgate is another plus point, as is the 41-litre ‘frunk’ under the bonnet, so there’s plenty of room for four people and all their gear.
Our biggest gripe, and what holds the Polestar 2 back from being one of the best electric cars on sale, is its incredibly firm ride. In fact, it actually makes the ride uncomfortable on rougher UK roads, and when going up against rivals from Tesla, Hyundai and BMW not plagued by the same issue, that’s a real deathblow.
1. Mercedes EQS – 452 miles
The longest-range electric car currently on sale in the UK is the Mercedes EQS: the three-pointed star’s zero-emissions alternative to its own S-Class executive limousine. Its deeply impressive maximum range of 452 miles is offered by the entry-level EQS 450+ model.
This is thanks to a huge 107.8kWh battery pack and a very low coefficient of drag, so it’s slippery through the air and therefore efficient at speed. The high-performance Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 version trades range for speed – with a staggering amount of power on tap, 0-62mph takes less than four seconds, but range drops to 348 miles at best.
In our minds, however, the EQS should be all about luxury, and it feels as though Mercedes has held back in this area so it doesn’t step on the toes of the superb S-Class. The BMW i7 trumps the EQS when it comes to accommodation, tech and quality. The ‘Hyperscreen’ infotainment display that virtually covers the entire dashboard is admittedly quite impressive, and works fairly smoothly in practice, but you need to jack up the driver’s seat to an SUV-style height just to see over the high dashboard properly.
Considering a new electric car? Check out our sister site DrivingElectric’s ranking of the top 10 best luxury EVs…