We’ve all been hearing that EVs are better than gas vehicles in many ways, not least because they don’t require gasoline. Even so, people need a reliable way to measure energy consumption and efficiency, which is how we ended up with MPGe or miles per gallon equivalent to measure the most efficient EV models. Just like gas vehicles, EVs vary in efficiency, with some models guzzling electricity while others lightly sip the electrons.
If you’re looking for the most efficient EVs around, we’ve got you covered with this list. We’ve rounded up the five most efficient EVs on sale today and ranked them by their MPG ratings. These vehicles may not be the longest-range models in their respective segments, but they deliver when it comes to making the most of the charge they have.
Note: The Hummer EV is the opposite of what we’re talking about here.
What is MPGe?
Miles per gallon equivalent, or MPGe, calculates electric vehicles’ efficiency. The EPA created a formula to reach MPGe that assumes 33.7 kWh of electricity is equivalent to a gallon of gasoline. If it takes 33.7 kWh to drive 100 miles, an EV has an MPGe of 100. At the same time, the picture gets cloudy with plug-in hybrids, which offer a short electric range in addition to their electrified propulsion.
Electric vehicles with high MPGe don’t always the longest range estimates. MPGe is only a measure of efficiency, and the range will depend on several factors, including battery size and driving style. For example, the new Hummer EV can travel 329 miles on a charge, but it’s only rated at 51 MPGe. Its 9,000-plus-pound curb weight and brick wall shape make it terribly inefficient, despite offering a decent range. So, while owners may not charge often, recharging the 212 kWh battery pack is expensive and time-consuming.
The most efficient EV models for 2023
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV
This is a bittersweet mention for the Bolt EV, as Chevy has announced that it will be discontinued after the 2023 model year. That said, the car is a compelling, low-priced option with great range and stunning efficiency. Chevrolet priced the Bolt aggressively, at just $26,500 to start, and it’s also eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500.
The Bolt EV offers 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque from its electric motor and 65-kWh battery pack. It’s front-wheel drive-only but does a decent job of getting its modest power to the ground, and acceleration feels strong. The range reaches 259 miles per charge, which isn’t as strong as some EVs on this list, but the other models cost much more to start.
Chevy equips the Bolt with cloth upholstery, but leather is available. The car has a 10.2-inch touchscreen offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8-inch digital gauge cluster also comes standard, and the Bolt’s infotainment system is one of today’s easier-to-use systems.
2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD
The Model Y’s electric powertrain delivers a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds and a 135-mph top speed. The SUV has a range of 330 miles, far longer than the Model Y Performance at 303 miles or the base Model Y at 279 miles. Tesla doesn’t advertise powertrain specs like other automakers.
The Tesla Model Y is a compelling electric crossover with solid safety scores, good cargo space, and stunning acceleration. The Long Range AWD version is also exceedingly efficient, returning 122 MPGe. The SUV starts at $50,240 before destination and options, and it’s eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Though expensive, buyers can also add Tesla’s advanced driver aids, including Autopilot and the Full Self-Driving beta.
The Model Y Long Range AWD comes with a load of features, including a 15-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, HD radio, USB inputs, 14 speakers, and navigation. Though packed with tech, Tesla’s vehicles do not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, instead opting for the automaker’s proprietary software and direct streaming through music apps.
2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD
Tesla recently reintroduced the Model 3 Long Range AWD, but the cheaper RWD model offers better efficiency of 132 MPGe. The car is eligible for federal tax credits, but only up to $3,750 because of where its batteries are made. That’s not an awful thing, though, because the car’s modest $40,240 starting price makes it the automaker’s most affordable model.
Tesla doesn’t advertise specs but promises a 5.8-second 0-60 mph time and a top speed of 150 mph. The car can travel 272 miles between charges, and while that’s less than other Model 3 variants, it’s better than many EVs on the market today. Additionally, the Model 3 can use Tesla’s excellent Supercharger network, which provides a more seamless, faster charging experience.
The Model 3 comes standard with a long list of tech and safety features, including a 15-inch touchscreen, navigation, HD radio, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate controls, and more. Safety gear includes blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alerts, and more.
2023 Lucid Air Pure AWD
The Lucid Air delivers one of the longest range estimates of any EV on sale today, and its 140 MPGe efficiency rating means it makes more out of every electron than almost any other EV. The Pure AWD has two electric motors that make 480 horsepower. Though some configurations offer longer range estimates, the Pure AWD’s 410 miles range still makes it a seriously long-range EV.
All of that said, the Lucid Air is ridiculously expensive in all its forms. None of the currently available configurations are eligible for federal tax credits as a result, but Lucid has offered its own discounts to counter that issue in the past.
The five-seat Air has several great features, including a massive 34-inch display, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, ten speakers, wireless charging, USB inputs, Bluetooth, HD radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE Long Range RWD
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is one of the most interestingly styled vehicles around, and its serious efficiency should put it at the top of any shopper’s list. At 140 MPGe, the car matches the Lucid Air and does so with a price tag that starts in the mid-$40,000 range. It’s not yet eligible for federal tax credits, but it may become eligible when Hyundai moves production to the United States.
The Ioniq 6 SE Long Range RWD model has an electric motor with a 77.4-kWh battery. The duo combines for 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and while it’s not a performance sedan, the Ioniq 6 offers strong acceleration and good performance. With a range of 361 miles, the base SE trim also offers Tesla-rivaling distances, and for most trims, the price is right.
Hyundai equips a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with navigation, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate controls, and much more. The automaker’s infotainment interface isn’t as flashy or colorful as others, but it’s smooth in operation and easy to use while driving.
Frequently asked questions about the most efficient EV models
Are EVs more efficient than gas models?
There’s a ton of heat and energy loss when burning gasoline. EVs can convert up to 60 percent or more of energy into propulsion, while the average gas engine is around 20 percent or less.
Is it cheaper to charge EVs?
In most cases, yes. That said, it’s important to note that electricity and gas prices change constantly and can differ wildly from state to state.
How long do EV batteries last?
While many people worry about the longevity of their EV batteries, they last longer than some think. The federal government requires that new EVs come with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, and California requires ten years, so your new EV battery is covered for a long time.
How much are EV battery replacements?
We hope you’re ready for a shock because battery replacements can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Tesla battery replacements can cost as much as $35,000, so you’ll want to be sure you’re ready to shell out the cash.