While EVs usually get the spotlight for their range, the significance of factors, like charging speed, shouldn’t be overlooked. Bloomberg’s latest study on battery scores delved into 25 top EVs, highlighting crucial metrics that truly matter in guiding consumers toward informed decisions.
For EV drivers lucky enough to benefit from home charging, each day kicks off with a full ‘tank’ and minimal worry about running low on battery. However, for those without a dedicated charging spot and those covering longer distances, the game is all about minimising the time spent at public charging stations.
Until recently, Tesla held a monopoly on charging convenience in the US. The Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV not only boasted impressive range (330 miles for under $50,000), but Tesla’s charging network gave its owners the VIP treatment with exclusive access to two-thirds of America’s high-speed chargers. This dominance has left other EV brands in the dust for many potential buyers who needed widespread access to the charging infrastructure.
But a significant shift is on the horizon. Starting in 2024, most manufacturers will have access to over 12,000 Tesla Superchargers, expanding the options for EV shoppers. This development invites a fresh perspective on the 17 other EVs available in the US market which boast a range of over 300 miles. The landscape of electric mobility is evolving, offering consumers a more diverse array of choices.
Choosing an EV extends beyond the distance it can cover between charges. Equally crucial, yet frequently underestimated, is the speed at which a battery can recharge. The disparity is evident, with certain EVs capable of adding 100 miles of range in less than a quarter of the time it takes others, even when using the same charger. In this realm as well, Tesla’s once-unchallenged supremacy is no longer a given. The landscape is evolving, introducing new contenders to the forefront of EV technology.
In a recent assessment of charging speed, Edmunds analysts threw dozens of vehicles into the ring, powering them up from 10% to 80% on high-speed chargers. The showdown focused on the average time it takes to add 100 miles of real-world driving. Results showcased a broad spectrum, with the Hyundai Ioniq 6 impressively taking less than 7.5 minutes, while the Chevy Bolt EUV lagged behind at almost 35 minutes. Notably, Tesla’s Model 3 secured a sixth-place spot, clocking in at 10.6 minutes. The findings shed light on the diverse charging capabilities across different EV models.
Charging an EV battery isn’t a straightforward task like filling a tank with a hose. One complicating factor is that different vehicles can accept varying levels of power. For instance, the latest superchargers can deliver up to 350 kilowatts. However, numerous cars, including Ford’s Mustang Mach-E SUV and F-150 Lightning pickup, max out at less than half of that capacity. This discrepancy in power acceptance adds a layer of complexity to the charging landscape, requiring users to be aware of their vehicle’s charging capabilities and the specifications of the charging infrastructure.
It’s also a dynamic process. As the battery fills up, charging slows down due to the increasing difficulty for electrons to fill gaps. This slowdown is depicted on a charging curve, and the curve varies between different vehicles. The time spent at the charger isn’t solely about waiting; it’s also affected by how efficiently a vehicle uses its battery. In testing, it was found that Rivian’s R1S SUV consumes twice as much electricity per mile as Tesla’s Model 3, influencing the overall charging efficiency.
These variables become especially crucial for individuals who don’t have the convenience of charging at home.
To gauge the most efficient cars in minimising time spent at charging stations, Bloomberg Green introduced a straightforward benchmark known as the Total Battery Score. This metric is derived from the relative performance in two key areas: the time required to charge 100 miles and the ratio of vehicle price to total range. The formula was applied to all 25 vehicles assessed in the Edmunds speed test, with a focus on the most economical long-range version of each vehicle.
In the realm of affordable cars with impressive range, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 emerged as a clear champion. Priced at $43,565, including delivery fees, it offers a substantial range of 361 miles. The Ioniq 6 also demonstrated the fastest charging speed in Edmunds testing, requiring just 7.4 minutes to add 100 miles.
Hyundai and Kia, the automotive powerhouses from Korea, secured the top three positions on the Total Battery Score ranking. Following closely are Tesla’s Model 3, Model Y, and Model S, known for consistent high scores across key categories. Notably, the new Kia EV9, a full-sized SUV with three spacious rows of seating, earned a spot in the top 10, standing out in its category for a vehicle of its size.
Although the Total Battery Score offers a broad perspective for comparison, buyers with specific criteria may prefer delving into the details. Those with a generous budget might consider the $105,500 Mercedes EQS SUV, offering a commendable driving range and efficient charge speeds. Conversely, for those singularly focused on achieving maximum range on a single charge, the Lucid Air lineup stands out, reaching an impressive 516 miles.
As the electric vehicle landscape transforms, considerations beyond range, such as charging speed and efficiency, are taking the spotlight. The Total Battery Score highlights Hyundai and Kia’s rise, challenging Tesla’s stronghold. With expanding access to Tesla Superchargers, the EV market is diversifying. The era of nuanced details and diverse model considerations signals an electrifying future for consumers seeking their ideal EV.