2021 Tesla Model 3 Beats Hyundai Ioniq to Become EPA's Most Efficient EV

There were never that many remarkable things about the electric version of the Hyundai Ioniq, but the Korean fastback did hold a very enviable title: that of the most efficient electric vehicle according to EPA's ratings.
EPA EV efficiency ratings 21 photos
Photo: EPA website screenshot
According to the government agency, the Ioniq has a 133 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent, the efficiency measuring standard that makes comparing EVs and gas cars somewhat possible) rating combined. Individually, the Ioniq gets 145 MPGe for city driving and 121 MPGe for highway driving.

Now, though, the EPA is beginning to release its ratings for the new 2021 models, and even though the Ioniq hasn't had its update yet, it's hard to imagine it will manage to beat the improved Tesla Model 3. The Long Range AWD version of the Californian sedan went up from 130 MPGe for the 2020 model year to 134 for its 2021 incarnation scoring better results for both city and highway driving (138 and 124 compared to 141 and 127 for the new model).

Impressive as that is, it's actually the Standard Range Plus model that tops the chart with an overall rating of 141 MPGe. That shouldn't really come as a surprise and it actually explains why the Hyundai Ioniq did so well in this kind of test. The Standard Range+ gets a 54 kWh battery, which is a full 21 kWh less than the Long Range AWD. It also has just one motor, thus lowering the vehicle's weight significantly.

Despite its excellent efficiency, the Ioniq EV has an EPA-rated maximum range of just 170 miles (273.5 km) thanks to its 40 kWh battery, which makes its excellent consumption of just 25 kWh/100 miles (133 MPGe combined) practically irrelevant.

The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV, however, came with a 28 kWh and 124 miles of EPA-sanctioned range. It offered 136 MPGe, though, further emphasizing the importance of battery size and weight in achieving high efficiency. 

However, the aspect of efficiency should be talked about more when it comes to EVs. People tend to focus on the vehicles' maximum range, but that can be deceiving. Take the 2022 HUMMER GMC EV, for example. It's scheduled to have a maximum reach of 350 miles, which is about the same as that of the Model 3 Long Range (353).

However, the former uses a 200 kWh battery to get that, while the latter only needs a 75 kWh unit. That means the cost per mile to operate is going to be nearly three times as high for GM's electric pickup, while the effective miles gained per time spent charging will be three times smaller. Two very different vehicles who can do very different things, we know, but it's a good example to send the message across. Efficiency matters.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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