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Tesla Model 3 is now the most efficient electric car sold

Previously it was the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, but a new battery and motors saw its efficiency slip.

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Just call it the king of efficiency.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Step aside, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, there's a new efficiency champ in town. EPA estimates have officially made the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range-Plus the most efficient electric car on sale in the US today.

This is an accolade that doesn't get nearly as much attention as electric range or power. The EPA uses a rating called miles per gallon equivalent to show how efficient electric cars and plug-in hybrids are, since they (obviously) don't drink fossil fuels, or drink them part time in a plug-in's case. It's the distance a car can travel electrically on the amount of energy contained in one gallon of gasoline.

In this area, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric has long been the king, with an EPA-estimated mpge rating of 136 mpge combinedHyundai, however, has dropped a bigger battery in the electric car for 2020. While that boosts range to 170 miles (up from 124 miles), it drops efficiency to 133 mpge combined, as new motors also increase power from 118 to 134 horsepower.

That's given the 2020 Model 3 a chance to scoop up the crown, and per the EPA website, it did just that with the latest snapshot of ratings from the electric car. The EPA estimates the Model 3 will return 141 mpge combined. Not only does that best the new Ioniq, but it still takes the title from the outgoing model, too.

If you're a little lost in the mpge talk, let me make it super simple: The Tesla Model 3 will go an estimated 141 miles on the amount of energy a single gallon of gas contains. Thats, quite frankly, incredible to think about as most sedans will do a few dozen miles per gallon.

Of course, the Ioniq Electric is still a fine choice for those looking to ease into the electric lifestyle -- and far more affordable than a Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which starts at just shy of $40,000. The Ioniq Electric starts at $31,245, though that's 2019 model year pricing. The 2020 model, aside from its battery upgrade and new motors, will get new equipment, too, so the price may increase. Whatever the cost, the car is eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit as well; Tesla's tax credits are nearly gone.

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