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Cars: Most efficient electric cars revealed: BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3 top

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Electric vehicles are generally considered to have better environmental benefits than petrol and diesel cars - but which EVs are most efficient?

A new 'E-Rating' has been launched that ranks each model on sale in Britain for how efficiently they use electricity, claiming there is a £500 gulf in annual charging costs between the best and worst cars.

Of the 49 models already rated by, the BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3 have the highest A++ rating while bottom of the list is the Mercedes EQV MPV - the only car to score the lowest E rating.

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The website, which provides information and advice to electric car buyers and existing owners, says the aim of the E-Rating is to give consumers clarity about which EVs will be better to their bank accounts.

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While motorists understand the concept of miles per gallon for petrol and diesel motors, there is no industry-standard figure to help drivers to understand the overall efficiency of an electric car.

With the public well-versed on energy labels from all things from washing machines to EPC scores for properties, the E-Rating is a similar scaled system to inform buyers which cars are ahead of others.

Each EV's rating is calculated using an algorithm that incorporates a number of factors before providing an efficiency rating.

This includes how well electrical power is converted into miles on the road, the speed at which the battery can be recharged and features such as heat pumps, intelligent brake energy recuperation and climate control preconditioning that all help to minimise power use.

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So far, only the BMW i4 - priced from £51,905 and with a range of up to 365 miles - and Tesla Model 3 - priced from £42,990 and with a range of between 305 and 360 miles (depending on spec) - have been worthy of the maximum A++ ratings for EVs currently on sale in Britain.

The Mercedes EQS luxury saloon, dinky Citroen Ami and Renault Twizy quadricycles, and Seat's Mii city car are among 13 models to achieve A+ ratings, with a further 14 performing well enough to earn an A.

At the other end of the scale, the Mercedes EQV people carrier - which has a 213-mile range and £71,645 costs a whopping  is the only vehicle to obtain the lowest E rating, while the Audi e-tron (from £60,560) and Mercedes EQC (from £64,925) luxury SUVs were rated D.

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Based on miles per kilowatt hour alone, calculated the cost difference to cover 10,000 miles between the A++ rated BMW i4 and the E-graded Mercedes EQV to be £580.

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While the Mercedes people carrier and BMW family saloon are not competing in the same class, there are still big differences between electric cars that sit within the same segment.

For example, a Tesla Model Y (rated A+) will cost £176 less over 10,000 miles than a Volvo XC40 Recharge, based on the calculation.

Besides the extra cost, owners will find themselves waiting for a charge much longer in the least efficient cars – partly because they use more energy to move, but also because they can take charge at a slower rate.

E-Ratings for electric cars on sale in Britain

Tesla Model 3: A++

BMW i4: A++

Hyundai Ioniq: A+

Citroen e-C4: A+

Fiat 500e: A+

Hyundai Kona Electric: A+

Mercedes EQS: A+

Kia EV6: A+

Peugeot e208: A+

Seat Mii: A+

Tesla Model Y: A+

Vauxhall Corsa-e: A+

Citroen Ami: A+

Volkswagen ID.3: A+

Renault Twizy: A+

Hyundai Ioniq 5: A+

Audi Q4 e-tron: A

BMW iX3: A

DS3 Crossback: A

Ford Mustang Mach e: A

Kia e-Niro: A

Kia Soul: A

Peugeot e2008: A

Renault Zoe: A

Skoda Enyaq: A

Smart ForTwo EQ: A

Tesla Model S: A

Tesla Model X: A

Vauxhall Mokka: A

Volkswagen ID.4: A

Audi e-tron GT: B

BMW i3: B

Mercedes EQA: B

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Nissan Leaf: B

Polestar 2: B

Volvo XC40 Recharge: B

Honda e: C

Jaguar i-Pace: C

Lexus UX300e: C

Mazda MX-30: C

Porsche Taycan: C

Rimac Nevera: C

Citroen e-Spacetourer: C

Vauxhall Vivaro-e: C

Audi e-tron: D

Mercedes EQC: D

Mercedes EQV: E


A Vauxhall Mokka can take on power at twice the speed of a Mazda MX-30, for example, while the newest Hyundai and Kia models can add 60 miles of range in under five minutes.

With sales of EVs booming, the total number of electric vehicles on the road in the UK is set to top 300,000 before the end of 2021.

Extrapolated nationally, the difference in cost between charging the most and least efficient cars represents an estimated £155 million annually in electricity costs, claims.

The new efficiency rating has been backed by AA president Edmund King.

Commenting on its arrival, he said: 'Anything that helps consumers decide on the most efficient EV for their needs in simple terms can only be a positive thing.

'Drivers need to research a range of factors based on their individual needs before deciding on any type of vehicle, and efficiency is a major factor for many.'

Ginny Buckley, founder of the EV-dedicated website, said the rating is aimed at not only informing consumers about which electric models are most frugal but also push manufacturers to make improvement

'It amazes me that until now we haven’t had an effective efficiency standard for electric cars, as we do across other sectors; but we’ve looked to put this right.

'As electricity costs less than petrol or diesel, it is easy to dismiss the efficiency of electric cars and think it isn’t important. But the costs of a less efficient model can soon add up.

'Perhaps more importantly, an electric car that is more frugal will go further and spend less time charging, meaning greater convenience for consumers.'

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