- Teslas are the most-driven electric cars, with all four models ranking at the top of the list
- The average electric car is driven 9,059 miles a year, compared to 12,758 miles for gas-powered vehicles
- Electric cars cost 47 percent more than internal combustion cars, but are driven 29 percent less
- The strong relationship between an EV’s range and driving behavior confirms more range will increase use, but that’s not a realistic solution at today’s battery costs
The average 3-year-old electric car has been driven 9,059 miles per year, almost 29 percent less than the 12,758 miles per year 3-year-old gas-powered internal combustion vehicles drive. As a brand, Tesla tops the list for most-driven electric cars, with all four of its models beating the average for EVs. The Tesla Model X, a midsize family SUV with three rows of seating, is the most-driven electric car, averaging 10,378 miles a year.
iSeeCars analyzed the data of over 860,000 vehicles to determine which electric vehicles were driven the most and the least, and to compare the EV numbers with traditional 3-year-old cars powered by internal combustion engines.
“Tesla drivers come the closest to matching the driving behavior of traditional car owners,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Without Tesla, the average miles per year for EV drivers would drop from 9,059 to 6,719. It’s also interesting to see the Porsche Taycan, a direct competitor to the Model S, being the least-driven electric car. At 4,846 miles a year, it’s driven about half as much as the Model S at 9,340 miles per year.”
|The Most Driven 3-Year-Old Electric Vehicles – iSeeCars.com Study|
|Rank||Model||Avg. Miles Driven Per Year||Avg. EPA Battery Range (miles)||Avg. Price|
|1||Tesla Model X||10,378||341||$76,193|
|2||Tesla Model Y||10,199||316||$49,406|
|3||Tesla Model 3||9,960||279||$37,909|
|4||Tesla Model S||9,340||378||$66,105|
|3-year-old EV average||9,059||279||$45,147|
|5||Hyundai Kona Electric||8,260||258||$29,961|
|6||Chevrolet Bolt EV||7,753||259||$25,928|
|7||Audi e-tron Sportback||7,210||218||$53,602|
|9||Hyundai Ioniq Electric||6,803||170||$24,748|
|10||Kia Niro EV||6,630||239||$32,301|
Electric Cars vs. Internal Combustion: Pay More, Drive LessThree-year-old electric vehicles have an average price of $45,147, while 3-year-old internal combustion cars cost an average of $30,760. This means electric cars cost 47 percent more than conventional vehicles, but are driven 29 percent less (9,059 miles vs. 12,758 miles).
“Several factors contribute to EVs being driven less, including their common role as a second or third vehicle in a household, and being used less often for road trips,” said Brauer. “But the most powerful factor may be an EV’s battery range and the associated range anxiety.”
Range Anxiety: EV Driving Behavior as a Function of Battery RangeComparing an electric car’s range to how it’s driven shows a consistent and expected pattern: more range equals more use.
*Datapoint labels correspond to the model rankings in “The Most Driven 3-Year-Old Electric Vehicles” table.
“Range anxiety continues to impact how consumers utilize their EVs,” said Brauer. “Looking at 3-year-old electric cars, we see EV owners willing to drive an additional 23 miles per year for every additional mile of range their vehicle offers. That means EVs, on average, need an additional 161 miles of range to get them to the 12,578-mile annual driving distance we see from traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles.”
Adding 161 miles of range to the average 3-year-old electric car would increase its average range from 279 miles to 440 miles. This happens to be almost the exact range for 3-year-old gasoline cars, which average 24.7 miles per gallon and have an average fuel tank capacity of 18 gallons.
Excluding the Porsche Taycan because of its outlier pricing (at 2.6 times the average EV price), consumers are paying an additional $10,000 to get an additional 26.5 miles of battery range. This means to get those additional 161 miles, 3-year-old EVs would need to cost an additional $60,000, on average, to deliver 440 miles of range – assuming no changes in future used EV pricing. That would increase their average price to an unrealistic $105,147.
Range Anxiety vs. Real-World Use CasesBased on data from the Department of Transportation’s 2017 National Household Travel Survey, the average car trip is only 9.5 miles and 95 percent of car trips are 30.9 miles or less. Only 1 percent of car trips are more than 89.4 miles long. Even doubling that distance (179 miles) for a round trip means almost all 3-year-old EVs have more than enough range to cover all of these use cases.
Yet EV owners drive their cars less than traditional vehicles are driven, with range anxiety likely the key factor in this difference. The charging infrastructure continues to improve, reducing the likelihood of running out of energy. However, fully recharging an electric vehicle takes up to 30 minutes in a best-case scenario, and multiple hours in most instances.
MethodologyiSeeCars.com analyzed over 860,000 model year 2020 used cars from January to mid-May 2023. Battery-powered fully electric vehicles (EVs) were analyzed separately from gas-powered vehicles. The average mileage per year was calculated for each model and used to rank models by their driving behavior; the average price was also calculated. Low-volume models were excluded from further analysis. For EVs, the average EPA-rated battery range was also aggregated, and a simple mathematical model predicting miles driven as a function of battery range was fit to the data.