3 EV economy metrics you need to know

Welcome to SHIFT Basics, a collection of tips, explainers, guides, and advice to keep you up to speed with mobility tech.

Humans have measured the efficiency of gasoline cars using miles per gallon (MPG) and liters per 100 kilometers (L/100km), for as long as anyone that’s alive can remember.

Both these figures offer drivers a quick and understandable number that represents the efficiency of their vehicle. For MPG a higher number is better, and with L/100km a lower number is better. The more you drive and pay attention to these figures, the more you’ll understand what kind of efficiency your vehicle is capable of.

But what about electric vehicles? What numbers do we need to know about to understand their efficiency?

When it comes to EVs, we have a few metrics comparable to the above, MPGe, kWh/100km, and M/kWh. Let’s take a look at what the mean.


First off, let’s start with what kWh/100km. This stands for kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers.

Put simply, this is a measure of how much battery power is used to drive 100km. It’s not a retrospective number though, EVs will display this figure on the dashboard as an indicator of real-time efficiency.

Looking at typical EV range tests, anywhere between 13 and 20 kWh/100km can be considered pretty normal. Smaller and lighter EVs tend to come in at the lower end of this range, whilst bigger and heavier EVs tend to come in closer to the top.

Some cars present this figure in watt hours per km (Wh/km), which is just a slightly smaller denomination of the above, but it means the exact same thing.

Credit: Alexandru