Energy consumption and driving range of an electric vehicle

The driving range is the distance you can drive with a fully charged battery without having to stop to charge your vehicle. Read on to find out more.

Driving range

One of the key aspects of electric vehicles is often their driving range, i.e. the distance you can drive with a fully charged battery without having to stop to charge your vehicle.

As with fossil-fuel vehicles, the driving range of electric vehicles depends on two parameters:

  • The amount of energy stored in the battery pack or fuel tank
  • Actual consumption

This becomes clearer when we compare an electric vehicle with a petrol vehicle:

  Petrol vehicle Electric vehicle




litres per 100 km

kWh per 100 km

Suppose your petrol vehicle has a 54-litre fuel tank and consumes 6 litres per 100 km.

Theoretically, you will be able to drive 900 km (54 litres/6 litres per 100 km = 900 km). Of course, you won’t be driving until the last drop and you will need to fill up before then. This means your actual driving range will be slightly lower, at around 850 km. 

How do you calculate the driving range of an electric vehicle?

If you know how full your battery is and how much energy the vehicle consumes, it is easy to calculate the actual driving range:

usable battery capacity / actual consumption = actual driving range

A few examples

The range of a small city car with a battery capacity of 21 kWh and an actual consumption of 16 kWh per 100 km is approximately 130 km. 

(21 kWh) / (16 kWh per 100 km ) = ±130 km

The range of a spacious mid-range vehicle with a battery capacity of 89 kWh and an actual consumption of 18 kWh per 100 km is approximately 490 km. 

(89 kWh) / (18 kWh per 100 km ) = ±490 km

The driving range depends on the usable battery capacity and the actual consumption. This is clarified by the data in the table below:

  • The greater the battery’s energy capacity, the greater the driving range
  • The lower the consumption, the greater the driving range 

This is an excellent rule of thumb to keep in mind.

Make sure the actual driving range of your electric vehicle exceeds your daily mileage, multiplied by one and a half. 

driving range ≥ daily mileage × 1,5

You can now get around without stopping to charge on the way, even in winter when you’ve got the heating on or when you’re using the air-con during the summer.

  • If you drive 80 km every day, the range must be at least 120 km
  • If you drive 200 km every day, the range must be at least 300 km


What determines the amount of energy used?

In electric vehicles, the electric energy is stored in the battery.

It’s important to know that there could be a significant difference between the theoretical capacity advertised by the car manufacturer and the actual capacity or usable capacity. To protect your battery, it’s best not to keep driving until it’s empty, but instead to keep a safety buffer of between 5 and 10% of its total capacity.

You should take note of the battery’s actual or usable capacity.

A battery’s usable capacity may vary widely, ranging from 15 kWh for small city cars to more than 100 kWh for large mid-range vehicles

How much energy do electric vehicles use? 

Energy consumption for electric vehicles depends mainly on the vehicle’s weight and aerodynamics, as well as on the driver’s driving style and the overall driving conditions. The amount of electricity used by a fully loaded vehicle with two bicycles on a bike rack and the air conditioning turned up to 18°C, is significantly higher than its theoretical use, so you should factor in an actual consumption of between 15 kWh and 30 kWh per 100 km. 

Remember to plug in your car!

When you get home in the evening, simply plug in your car, so you can take off without any delay in the morning.

Additional information:  FAQ electric driving