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Tesla Dominates New List of Electric Vehicles Owners Drive Most

A new study shows that Tesla owners drive their EV a lot more than EV owners of other brands. The biggest surprise may be the Tesla model which gets the most owner mileage.

Let’s face facts; Electric vehicles only help to reduce carbon emissions if they are driven. A fancy $150K EV model that very few people own and which is driven on weekends is basically useless in reducing our collective carbon footprint and may well do more harm than good. For the world to benefit from EVs, owners must drive them daily and over great distances. It turns out that only Tesla owners are really even close to doing so.

Chart by iSeeCars

A new study by our colleagues at iSeeCars looked at three-year-old vehicles to determine how many miles they are driven annually by their owners. It turns out that EV owners drive their vehicles on average about 30% fewer miles per year than do owners of conventionally-powered vehicles. That’s bad news for the environment. However, with increasing infrastructure to support longer drives, perhaps that may change. “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 iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “But the most powerful factor may be an EV’s battery range and the associated range anxiety.”

Related Story: 2023 Tesla Model Y Is the Best Limo

The study found that the average miles covered annually by all owners is about 12,758 miles for conventionally-powered vehicles and just 9,059 miles a year for EVs. All four of the five Tesla models that are now three years old exceed that average, according to the data. “Tesla drivers come the closest to matching the driving behavior of traditional car owners,” said Mr. 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 two of the most affordable EVs on the list come closest to the Teslas in terms of miles driven. The Hyundai Kona and the Chevrolet Bolt. By contrast, owners of the affordable Nissan Leaf barely drive them. They only cover approximately half the miles per year of a typical gas-powered vehicle.

Like many Porsche models, the pricey Taycan is barely driven at all by owners. With an average of under 5,000 annual miles, clearly, Taycan owners use them primarily for weekend jaunts (on average).

So which EV covers the most miles per year on average? Well, it is an EV that barely sells. The Tesla Model X. This is Tesla’s slowest-selling model of its history aside from the Roadster conversion EV, and the priciest one as well. The Tesla Model 3, the vehicle with the lowest entry price among Tesla models, is about 10% over the EV mileage EV average and, again, only covers about 70% of the miles typical gas-powered vehicles do per year (on average).

iSeeCars suggests that range anxiety, the fear of running out of charge without a practical way to charge back up, and the extremely high cost of EVs are contributing factors to why EV owners drive so fewer miles than those who drive conventional cars. You can read the group’s insights at the iSeeCars study summary page right here.

Do you think that one day EV owners’ miles covered will approach the average for all vehicles on the road?

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin

Image of Tesla Model Y limo by John Goreham