In marketing materials and press coverage of electric cars, the first spec cited is usually range – the distance a car can travel on a single charge. Now that a new generation of EVs offers enough range for most drivers’ daily needs, prospective buyers should also start looking at efficiency – the amount of energy a car consumes per mile.

The EPA rates efficiency in terms miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). This can be useful for comparing different models, but it doesn’t give a precise picture of efficiency, as the formula used to calculate it relies on average fuel cost figures. More analytically-minded consumers may prefer to look at a vehicle’s direct efficiency rating, which can be expressed in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles or in miles per kWh.

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