If you're thinking about buying an electric vehicle, I'm sure you have a big question on your mind: how much range do I need? Will a less expensive model with a shorter range suffice, or should you spend the extra money on a vehicle with a longer range, such as 300-400km?

The problem is that there is no single correct answer because the ideal range for each driver is determined by a variety of factors.

But don't be discouraged. I'm here to walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Things to Consider When Buying an EV:

Your driving style

If you enjoy driving at high speeds, you should be aware that this will reduce the range of your electric vehicle. Because the electric motor has to do more work as you drive faster, the battery drains faster.

This is also true when you accelerate quickly. A slow acceleration followed by a constant speed rate, on the other hand, will allow your car to travel further on a single charge.

Here's another question to consider: how frequently do I use electric-powered features?

When you use the heating or cooling, for example, you reduce the battery's power, just as frequent use of such features causes the fuel gauge needle to approach "empty."

The cargo

Do you usually drive by yourself or do you frequently transport passengers? Is it normal for you to fill the trunk of your car on a daily basis?

The more passengers and cargo you load into the vehicle, the harder the motor has to work to compensate for the extra weight, consuming more battery power.

The temperature

Extreme temperatures are bad for EV batteries because they have to work harder to maintain a neutral temperature.

According to a study conducted by the American Automotive Association (AAA), driving range can be reduced by 17 percent when outside temperatures reach 35 degrees Celsius and air conditioning is used inside the vehicle.

Similarly, when the temperature drops to -6 degrees, an electric car's average driving range drops by 41%.

Your charging strategy

Will you be able to charge your vehicle at home or will you have to rely on public chargers? What’s the available infrastructure around you like? Are you comfortable stopping to charge while on the road?

You might want to consider a vehicle with a longer range if you don't want to charge as often or only have access to public chargers.

A lower-range vehicle, on the other hand, might be a good choice if you don't mind stopping or if you can fully charge your vehicle overnight at home.

How much driving do you do on a regular basis?

That's a fairly simple question. If you drive 250 kilometres per day, you'll need an extra 100 kilometres of range as a safety net. However, if you only use your car for short trips within the city, even a lower-range vehicle with 200-250km will suffice.

Final Thoughts

We'll use a reasonable example, with the average American driving 62 kilometres per day and the average European driving half that.

Assume you drive up to 160 kilometres per day. If you mostly travel within cities, a range of 250 kilometres should suffice.

If you're mostly driving in the suburbs and won't be exposed to extreme temperatures, the same range will suffice. If frostbite or heatstroke are common in your area, however, you should aim for a 320km range.

Keeping extreme temperatures in mind, if highway driving is your primary mode of transportation, you should consider adding a buffer by driving 400 kilometres — though I'd say 320 kilometres would suffice in mild climate conditions.

That's all there is to it. Write down your driving requirements, research the best charging plan for you, combine this information with the climate in your area, and you'll be able to select the range that's right for you!

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