What is MPGe and How is it Different From Expected Range?

Electric cars come with a slew of new and exciting technology and features, but they also come with a bit of apprehension-inducing stress for some buyers. Consumers who have purchased gasoline-powered vehicles may feel a bit nervous about making the switch as they truly are such a different ownership experience — mostly in way of maintenance and repairs, as there aren’t as many moving parts that require constant attention as gasoline-powered engines do. Hybrids and electric vehicles also come with some new terminology, like MPGe and range, that is easy to understand once you know what all of it actually means.

What is MPGe?

An electric car stands at a charging station to recharge for full range, which is not the same as mpge
An electric car stands at a charging station | Carsten Koall, picture alliance, Getty Images

When buying cars, many consumers are familiar with miles per gallon, mpg, but, as electric cars don’t use a liquid form of fuel, measuring consumption can’t be done quite the same. Nomenclature for electric vehicle purchase can be a bit confusing, leaving potential buyers feeling wary of their potential purchase or unclear of what each term genuinely means. To bridge the gap between mpg in gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars are often presented with mile per gallon equivalent, MPGe.

MPGe itself is a rather simple concept though it may not be obvious if you don’t realize what it stands for. It’s easy to mistake the acronym for miles per gallon-electric and confuse it with potential range, but if you notice with cars like the Chevrolet Bolt, expected range and MPGe are dramatically different numbers.

What does MPGe refer to?

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MPGe refers to something completely different from the expected range. The expected range is a ballpark number that tells you how much distance your electric vehicle is estimated to travel on a full charge. This number can vary greatly depending on each vehicle, with some ranging well over 250 miles of range and some sitting comfortably in the hundreds. The concept was created by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, to give buyers a sense of comparison between how much energy is consumed by the vehicle.

“When the EPA devised MPGe in the early 2000s, the government agency calculated that 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity is comparable to a gallon of fuel in terms of its energy content.”

Kelley Blue Book

How does it compare to range?

An electric vehicle, or hybrid vehicle, is required to have MPGe presented on the sales sticker for buyers, but what buyers are usually more concerned with is actually the vehicle’s electric range. Buyers who are new to electric car ownership might be plagued by the dreaded range anxiety — that is, constantly looking at the dashboard and being hyper-aware of how much of a charge you have remaining so you can frantically calculate if you’ll be able to make it home or to a charging station before your vehicle dies and you’re left stranded. For most daily drivers, an electric car will get you just about anywhere you need to go, and with electric vehicles becoming more common, charging stations are becoming more widely available.

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