Even with the cost of energy soaring, electric cars continue to beat petrol and diesel cars when it comes to cost per mile.
However, for the most price-savvy of drivers, finding the most efficient electric car is a priority to make sure you make the most of your EV savings.
And the good news is: you can save hundreds of pounds a year on motoring costs if you choose the most efficient models on the market.
Of course, it’s not just cash savings you’ll see when choosing an efficient EV – the carbon savings are just as sweet.
Keep reading to learn about some of the most efficient EVs on the market, the benefits of choosing the best charger and energy tariff, and how you can save cash along the way.
⚡ Looking for the most efficient EV – and the most efficient use of your money? With our EV salary sacrifice benefit, you can get up to 60% off your monthly lease. Check out how it works here.
What does it mean that an EV is ‘efficient’?
We're all used to looking at how many miles per gallon a car can achieve when car shopping, but electric cars have a different metric to consider: miles per kiloWatt hour (kWh).
A big EV battery might have a 100kWh capacity, but just because you have more kWh does not necessarily mean you have the most efficient car.
Just like petrol and diesel cars, not all EVs are made alike – and the impact on your wallet can be huge depending on which electric car you choose. Just as a big fuel tank will be less efficient in a large, heavy car, so too will a large EV battery in a large, heavy car. This means that a vehicle with a 50kWh battery that does 5 miles per kWh could cover the same 250 miles as a car with a 100kWh battery that only does 2.5 miles per kWh. So when it comes to efficiency, it’s all about bang for your buck – and the miles per kWh measurement is king.
Not only does efficiency ensure that your EV will go the miles you need for less cash, but it also directly relates to your overall carbon footprint. While EVs do not create tailpipe emissions like their petrol and diesel counterparts, there is still some carbon to account for in electricity creation. It’s no secret that some of this energy creation comes from carbon-based resources. In Scotland, the electricity grid was 57% renewable in 2021, while England and Wales’ grid was 36.2%. Of course, this is still infinitely better than driving a petrol or diesel car powered by 100% fossil fuels.
Simply put: the less energy you use, the smaller your carbon footprint.
The final thing to consider when choosing an efficient EV is what you consider to be ‘efficient’. Your definition may be entirely different from the family down the street. While the standard definition of efficiency is directly related to energy consumption, efficiency rankings differ when we include other factors such as affordability, performance or charging infrastructure.
In our lineup of five of the most efficient EVs of 2023, we consider all of these additional factors and how they influence the car’s overall efficiency. That way, you can make sure you’re making the best decision for your wallet, requirements and the planet.
VW ID.4: The efficient all-rounder | 4.3 miles/kWh
Don’t take it from us: review superpower Which? chose the VW ID.4 as their best SUV buy in 2023.
And it’s easy to see why: with an enviable balance of efficiency, performance, range and available infrastructure, the VW ID.4 is the goldilocks of our efficient EVs.
The 2023 ID.4 sports some impressive stats that bring it to the top of our list. Zooming from 0-60mph in around 7.6 seconds, having access to the We Charge network (Volkswagen’s answer to Tesla’s Supercharger network) across the UK and Europe, and a decent range of up to 275 miles, the 2023 VW ID.4 is the pick for anyone who wants a balanced, light, efficient SUV.
Tesla Model 3: The most efficient EV for public charging | 4.9 miles/kWh
Tesla has been ahead of the game since the EV revival in the 2000s. The Model 3 stands above the rest on our efficiency list due to its excellent 4.9 miles/kWh rating.
Its impressive 374-mile range only adds to the fantastic efficiency, meaning you’ll really get bang for your buck when charging your new Tesla.
But why we love the Model 3’s efficiency so much is its fantastic connectivity to charging infrastructure across the country. You’ll always be in range of Tesla’s Supercharger network, meaning you can hit the road without a care in the world.
Better yet? Plug your Model 3 into a supercharger for just 15 minutes and get up to 171 miles of charge. That’s what we call efficient.
Kia Niro EV Estate: The most efficient high-range EV | 4.45 miles/kWh
Range and efficiency go hand in hand, and the Niro has got the balance juuuuust right.
As an SUV, one might be forgiven for not immediately considering the Niro efficient. But it is incredibly good at turning electricity into the maximum amount of miles. Best yet – you’ll get plenty of mileage. Get behind the wheel stress-free with a range of up to 282 miles on a single charge and an efficiency rating of 4.45 miles per kWh.
Hyundai Kona: The most efficient affordable EV | 4.8 miles/kWh
With a starting price of just £31,000 and an impressive efficiency rating, the Kona proves that you can easily balance affordability and efficiency.
Hyundai has been ahead of the game for quite some time, seemingly matching Tesla’s pace when it comes to popularising electric cars. And you can see why with the Kona: its impressive range and efficiency means that the affordable 39kWh model brings the Kona into one of our top efficiency spots.
BMW i4: The most efficient performance EV | 4.35 miles/kWh
When you’re looking for a punch when you hit the motorway, you’d be forgiven for not considering efficiency – but BMW has proved that performance and efficiency can go hand in hand with the i4!
Driving our roads since 2013, the BMW i3 was one of the first cars to offer performance electric transport with a decent range. And the i4 is set to be the next top choice: with an acceleration time of just 5.7 seconds from 0-60mph and an efficiency rating of 4.2 miles per kWh, the BMW i4 tops our chart when you love efficiency, but you’re not ready to sacrifice performance.
A final thought: choosing a smart charger and EV energy tariff
Choosing the right car can hugely impact your energy efficiency – but so too can choosing the right smart charger and EV energy tariffs.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Hypervolt to offer their beautiful at-home smart chargers through salary sacrifice. Our drivers can now roll a Hypervolt smart charger into their EV lease and take advantage of salary sacrifice tax savings: up to £500 off a fully-installed home charger.
Of course, you’ll also access Hypervolt’s app so you can schedule your EV charging sessions to access cheaper off-peak energy tariffs, integrate with solar and other smart home features, as well as track your energy usage and expenditure.
But if you really want to supercharge your at-home charging efficiency, choosing an EV tariff is the right way to go. OVO recently announced their new EV charging plan that will unlock a lower rate of 10p per kWh any time you charge your car from your home charging point. How efficient is that!
Where can I find more information about EV efficiency?
This quick overview about efficiency and our top picks is just that – quick. If you’re looking for more information about how efficiency is calculated and other resources, check out some of our top picks below.
Go Ultra Low is a joint government-industry initiative aimed at promoting electric vehicles in the UK. Their website offers a range of resources, including a car and van selector tool to help consumers find the right electric vehicle for their needs.
Zap-Map is a website and app that helps electric car owners find charging stations in the UK. They also offer a range of resources for consumers looking to learn more about electric cars, including reviews and guides. (Source: Zap-Map - )
The SMMT is the trade association for the UK automotive industry. They offer a range of resources for consumers, including a guide to electric vehicles and a directory of electric vehicle manufacturers.