Top 10 Most Efficient Electric Cars

When considering an electric vehicle, the spec that most shoppers fix on first is its EPA-rated range, as that number determines whether the EV can work for your driving needs and habits, the state of public charging in your area and maybe even your climate extremes. But beyond range, you should check the efficiency of the EV you might buy — that is, how many miles the car wrings out of the electricity stored in its battery. It’s worth comparing the efficiency of various EVs on your shopping list just the way you would the efficiency of conventional gasoline vehicles.

Related: Electric Cars With the Longest Range

The list below is ranked by the EPA combined city/highway ratings for kilowatt-hours per 100 miles used by the most efficient version of each vehicle (we have included their EPA mpg-equivalent and range ratings later). Note that with a flock of new EVs arriving for the 2024 model year and beyond, plus battery and efficiency technology advancing rapidly, it’s likely at least a few new ones will muscle their way into next year’s top 10.

Top 10 Most Efficient Electric Vehicles (Energy Use Per 100 Miles)

1. Hyundai Ioniq 6 Long Range RWD with 18-inch wheels: 24 kWh
= Lucid Air Pure AWD or Touring AWD (each with 19-inch wheels): 24 kWh
3. Tesla Model 3 RWD: 25 kWh
4. Hyundai Kona Electric: 27 kWh
5. Chevrolet Bolt EV: 28 kWh
= Toyota bZ4X FWD: 28 kWh
= Tesla Model Y AWD or Long Range AWD: 28 kWh
= Kia EV6 Long Range RWD or Standard Range RWD: 28 kWh
= Tesla Model S: 28 kWh
10. Chevrolet Bolt EUV: 29 kWh
= Kia Niro Electric: 29 kWh

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE Long Range RWD With 18-Inch Wheels

hyundai-ioniq-6-2023-02-exterior-front-angle 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 | photo by Christian Lantry

  • Energy use: 24 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 140 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 361 miles
  • Price: $46,615 (including $1,115 destination charge)

Hyundai’s newest EV, the Ioniq 6 sedan, has debuted at the top of the efficiency list with the long-range rear-wheel-drive version of the base SE trim with 18-inch wheels. Other models offer fancier trim and all-wheel drive, though with less efficiency and range. If 240 miles of range will do, the standard-range SE offers nearly equal efficiency of 25 kWh per 100 miles for nearly $4,000 less.

2023 Lucid Air Pure AWD or Touring AWD (Each With 19-Inch Wheels)

2022 Lucid Air | photo by Christian Lantry

  • Energy use: 24 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 140 mpg-e
  • Range for these versions: 410 or 425 miles
  • Price: $89,125 or $109,125 ($1,650 destination)

The Air is a big luxury sedan from startup EV brand Lucid that boasts impressive efficiency (improved slightly from its 2022 launch) that matches the smaller Ioniq 6, though at prices that would buy a couple of the Hyundai sedans. The Air also offers impressive range, including a Grand Touring version rated for up to 516 miles.

2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD

tesla-model-3-angle-blue-dynamic-exterior-front-oem Tesla Model 3 | Manufacturer image

  • Energy use: 25 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 132 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 272 miles
  • Price: $41,880 ($1,390 destination)

The standard-range Tesla Model 3 compact sedan with RWD is the most efficient and least expensive Model 3 — and it led the efficiency list for 2022 — but it also has the shortest range. The long-range Model 3 with AWD is nearly as efficient at 26 kWh per 100 miles and offers a range of 358 miles — but it also adds $7,000 to the sticker.

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Hyundai Kona EV | Manufacturer image

  • Energy use: 27 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 120 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 258 miles
  • Price: $34,885 ($1,335 destination)

The electric version of Hyundai’s subcompact SUV offers three FWD-only trim levels with the same ratings and currently is offered only in select markets. A redesigned Kona is coming for 2024 that Hyundai says was designed first as an EV and will improve on the 2023’s capabilities.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

chervrolet-bolt-ev-2023-01-exterior-front-angle 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV | photo by Chad Wu

  • Energy use: 28 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 120 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 259 miles
  • Price: $27,495 ($995 destination)

This cute subcompact hatchback is efficient, has a respectable range of 259 miles and is a relative bargain among EVs with either of its two trim levels. It’s also on the way out: GM says production will end for 2024 to make way for new GM EVs.

2023 Toyota bZ4X XLE FWD

toyota-bz4x-2023-01-exterior-front-angle-grey-suv 2023 Toyota bZ4X | photo by Melissa Klauda

  • Energy use: 28 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 119 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 252 miles
  • Price: $43,335 ($1,335 destination)

Toyota’s battery-electric vehicle has conventional SUV looks and interior design, an unusual name, and offers FWD or AWD. The bZ4X was developed jointly with Subaru, which sells an AWD-only version it calls the Solterra. But it’s the bZ4X’s FWD version in the base XLE trim level that is the efficiency leader of the bunch at 28 kWh per 100 miles; it’s also the model’s range leader at 252 miles.

2023 Tesla Model Y AWD or Long Range AWD

tesla-model-y-2021-09-exterior-dynamic-profile 2021 Tesla Model Y | photo by Christian Lantry

  • Energy use: 28 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 122 or 123 mpg-e
  • Range for these versions: 330 or 279 miles
  • Price: $52,130 or $49,130 ($1,390 destination)

Tesla’s bestselling Model Y compact luxury SUV comes standard with AWD. Two of its three versions, the Base and Long Range, deliver efficiency of 28 kWh per 100 miles along with ranges of 330 and 279 miles, respectively. The longer range version costs $3,000 more. In late 2021, purchased a 2021 Model Y Long Range, and you can find reports on our ownership here.

2023 Kia EV6 Long Range RWD or Standard Range RWD

kia-ev6-2022-02-exterior-front-angle-red-suv 2022 Kia EV6 | photo by Christian Lantry

  • Energy use: 28 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 117 mpg-e
  • Range for these versions: 310 or 232 miles
  • Price: $54,225 or $50,025 ($1,325 destination)

Rear-drive versions of the small Kia EV6 SUV offer 28 kWh per 100 miles of efficiency and batteries with up to 310 miles of range; efficiency drops to 31-34 kWh for AWD models. A sporty GT version illustrates EV efficiency trade-offs with its compelling AWD performance upgrades, decreased efficiency of 42 kWh per 100 miles and range of just 206 miles.

2023 Tesla Model S Base

tesla-model-s-2023-exterior-oem-01 2023 Tesla Model S | Manufacturer image

  • Energy use: 28 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 120 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 405 miles
  • Price: $90,130 ($1,390 destination)

Tesla’s Model S pioneered big luxury EV sedans back in 2012 and has had running improvements since then, such as a new interior in 2021 (featuring the controversial steering yoke instead of a wheel), an improved efficiency from 38 kWh at its debut to currently as low as 28 kWh for the two-motor AWD base model, and a range of up to 405 miles. The tri-motor Plaid performance trim drops efficiency to 29 kWh per 100 miles and range to 396 miles, but for the Plaid’s almost $20,000 higher price, you get what Tesla says is a blazing 1.99-second time from 0-60 mph.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

chevrolet-bolt-euv-2022-01-exterior-dynamic-front 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV | photo by Christian Lantry

  • Energy use: 29 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 115 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 247 miles
  • Price: $28,795 ($995 destination)

The Bolt EUV is a bigger, roomier version of the Bolt EV and is marketed as a subcompact SUV, though AWD is not an option. Like the hatchback, it’s efficient and has decent range at an affordable price — but also like the hatchback, it’s on the way out by the end of 2023 to make way for new GM EVs.

2023 Kia Niro Electric

kia-niro-ev-2023-02-exterior-front-angle-beach 2023 Kia Niro EV | photo by Christian Lantry

  • Energy use: 29 kWh/100 miles
  • Combined fuel economy rating: 115 mpg-e
  • Range for this version: 253 miles
  • Price: $40,875 ($1,325 destination)

Fully redesigned for 2023 with upgraded styling and a larger cabin, the efficient Niro EV is a companion model to hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of this small SUV, which does not offer AWD. Both EV trim levels offer the same efficiency and a respectable 253-mile range.

More From

  • Here Are the 11 Cheapest Electric Vehicles You Can Buy
  • What’s New With Electric Vehicles for 2023?
  • Here Are the New Electric Vehicles Planned by 2026
  • What Does the EV Tax Credit Overhaul Mean for Car Shoppers?
  • Which Electric Cars Are Still Eligible for the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit?
  • How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?
  • What to Know Before Purchasing an Electric Vehicle: A Buying Guide
  • Electric Vehicles: Understanding the Terminology
  • More Electric Car News and Reviews

Why EV Efficiency Matters

Just as with gasoline, an EV’s fuel efficiency determines how much you’ll spend to go a given distance. While the least efficient EV still is more fuel-efficient than a comparable gasoline vehicle, charging at home is not free, and charging on the road (particularly with DC fast charging) can be expensive. A more efficient EV also can have a smaller, lighter battery to go the same distance.

But unlike with gasoline refueling, an EV’s efficiency also matters in how long you must plug in to add miles of range to your battery — time that could be measured in hours depending on the charger and how many miles you need. While many variables can affect charging time, an EV that’s twice as efficient will add the same miles of range about twice as fast.

EVs do vary widely in efficiency. Just as you can get a gasoline vehicle rated for 20 mpg or 40 mpg, you can find an EV such as the Hyundai Ioniq 6 that uses 24 kWh of electricity to go 100 miles or a version of the Audi E-Tron S that needs 53 kWh to go the same 100 miles. Based on your needs and charging situation, better efficiency might even be worth accepting a little less maximum range. As with horsepower, folks often buy more range than they really need on the theory that you can’t have too much.

Why Kilowatt-Hours Per 100 Miles?

Kilowatt-hours per 100 miles is one measure of EV efficiency, or the amount of electricity consumed to drive a fixed distance, and it appears on the window sticker of new EVs (and on plug-in hybrids for their EV capability). The stickers of conventional vehicles and hybrids list a similar gallons-per-100-miles measure for their gasoline consumption. But both are in smaller type than the more prominent EPA ratings for mpg-e for EVs and mpg for conventional and hybrid cars.

Without getting too down in the weeds, the mpg-e for EVs is the EPA’s theoretical calculation (based on the energy content of gasoline) that attempts to show electric energy fuel economy in a way comparable to gasoline fuel economy for other vehicles. It’s the EPA’s effort to create a number for EVs that it believes more people will understand. The mpg-e rating can be useful to compare energy efficiency among EVs and for an approximate comparison (with variables) with other vehicles’ gasoline fuel economy.

But these numbers are not so useful in comparing what it will cost you to drive one EV versus another — or versus other types of vehicles — in your specific circumstances. Kilowatt-hours or gallons per 100 miles lets you make such calculations based on your driving needs and the prices where you live for electricity (which is billed to you in kWh) or gasoline.

Some More Cool Projects

Cart Menu Button Image0Left Menu Icon
Your Cart