Considering that a gallon of gas has the equivalent energy of 33.7 kWh of electricity, this makes it fairly easy to compare fuel economy of different vehicles, in spite of the fact they may use entirely different fuels.
Whereas convention vehicles have been, for decades, ranked their fuel economy in miles per gallon, it may be difficult to make the switch to electric vehicle fuel economy, measured in kWh/100mi. in comparing the fuel economy between different vehicles types, therefore, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on its fueleconomy.gov website, converts plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle fuel economy into MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). That way, it makes sense if we’re trying to compare, perhaps, how much money refueling the hybrid electric Toyota Prius c would compare to recharging the battery electric Scion eQ.
Which vehicles have the best fuel economy? Here’s a top ten list (• see note) (fuel economy listed in MPGe):
- 124 – BMW i3
- 119 – Chevy Spark EV
- 118 – Honda Fit EV
- 116 – Fiat 500e
- 114 – Nissan Leaf
- 112 – Mitsubishi i-MiEV
- 107 – Smart fortwo EV
- 105 – Ford Focus Electric
- 95 – Tesla Model S 60 kWh
- 95 – Toyota Prius Plug-In
That’s a nice list, and it’s clear that electric vehicles have the best fuel economy. Indeed, the first plug-in hybrid doesn’t appear until number ten, tied with the Tesla Model S 60 kWh, and has better fuel economy performance than head-of-the-class Tesla Model S 85 kWh. Of course, there’s not really a fair comparison between the Tesla and the Prius, just two totally different animals. Still, if fuel economy were the only consideration, would you go with the BMW i3 over any of the others? Considering that millions of Americans could make the switch to electric vehicles, even relatively low-range low-performance versions, such as the 62-mile i-MiEV or 68-mile fortwo, fall within the John Q Public’s daily drive.
• not sure why marketwatch didn’t have the BMW i3 listed.