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Tesla owners in the UK drive more miles per year than in any other brand

The UK’s RAC Foundation, a transport policy group, studied the mileage covered by motorists in Great Britain. RAC discovered that Tesla drivers cover more miles per year, on average, that owners of any other car.

In the first three years of owning a new car, Tesla drivers cover an average of 12,459 miles a year. Meanwhile, Mercedes owners clocked 12,100 miles each year, and Volvo owners averaged 11,578 miles.

According to the data, sourced from the Ministry of Transport (MOT), the newest cars in Great Britain do an average of 10,377 miles in each of the first three years after they are registered. That’s an average of 28 miles per day.

The study, which was based on MOT data from 516,936 vehicles, predated the steep decline in travel due to the pandemic.

What’s particularly fascinating is that Tesla EVs put on about the same number of miles as new diesel cars, which historically have been the long-distance, quasi-efficient model of choice for Europeans. (Emissions are an entirely different matter!) The RAC data showed new diesel vehicles averaging 12,496 miles in a year, just 37 more miles than a new Tesla.

Gas vehicles, on average, clocked 7,490 miles per year.

Few EVs have the same range capability as what Tesla offers. So as a category, pure battery-electric vehicles averaged 9,435 miles. The data reveals that owners of smaller EVs with lower range don’t nearly add the same distance in a year.

  • 1,026 Nissan Leafs averaged 8,241 miles per year
  • 394 Renault Zoe EVs averaged 5,736 miles per year

Here’s a brand-by-brand breakdown for miles per year:

  • Tesla – 12,459
  • Mercedes – 12,100
  • Volvo – 11,578
  • Ford – 11,488
  • Mitsubishi – 11,456
  • Volkswagen – 11,282
  • Citroen – 11,272
  • Renault – 10,924
  • BMW 10,859
  • Land Rover – 10,716

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

This study is evidence that battery-electric powered cars are not just trophy vehicles signaling their owners’ green credentials.

Tens of millions of people still drive petrol and diesel-powered cars, but this data suggests that owners of electric cars have found them to be a practical proposition, running up the sort of big annual mileages that many of us need to do, challenging preconceptions about their range and the ease of recharging.

Electrek’s Take

American drivers cover a lot more miles per year than motorists in the UK. So we perhaps can’t directly compare UK drivers to long-distance commuters in some spread-out regions of the US.

Nonetheless, the data from RAC is yet another indication that EV range, when offered with sufficient battery size, enable drivers to go as far or further than ICE drivers every year.

In the US, a long-distance capability is also the game-changer. We saw that last week in a study of 3,900 EVs driven in North America.

It’s fairly obvious but bears repeating: Electric cars with bigger batteries and faster charging get driven and charged more. Now we see from UK data that these capabilities provide as much use as internal-combustion vehicles.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.