It’s 41 degrees F outside. Your electric car, rated for 100 miles, has been charging all night in the cold. Ahead of you lies a 80-mile drive.
How confident are you that you’ll make it to your destination? What if you want to set your climate control to a comfortable 70 degrees F?
Germany’s AutoBild wondered the same thing, so it gathered some of Europe’s most popular battery-electric cars for a test of range and efficiency in near-freezing temperatures.
In the forest around Delmenhorst, in Lower Saxony, Germany, AutoBild laid out the test: The route would take testers 143 kilometers (88 miles) in mixed city and highway conditions at speeds up to 130 km/h (80 mph).
All vehicles were given a full charge, had their cabins pre-heated with climate control and air conditioning left running at 21 degrees C (70 degrees F), and drivers would use seat heaters for 20 minutes if available.
Additionally, all cars would run with low beams on and be left in their default or “normal” driving modes.
In all, AutoBild tested eight EVs: the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Kia Soul EV, Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (the passenger-van version of the e-NV200 electric delivery van), Opel Ampera-e (nee Chevrolet Bolt EV), Renault Zoe, Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Volkswagen e-Up.
All those vehicles are rated for ranges of at least 160 km (100 miles) on the relatively optimistic NEDC test cycle.
Of the eight contenders, three did not finish.
The worst offender was the Volkswagen e-Up, which came up short with a range of just 79 km (50 miles) from its 18.7 kilowatt-hour battery.
It was also the second least efficient vehicle of the bunch at 23.7 kwh/100 km (2.62 miles/kwh).
Other non-finishers were the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (17.6 kwh) and the Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (24 kwh).
The Smart drove 5 km more than the e-Up—84 km (52 miles)—because it was more efficient with a score of 21.0 kwh/100 km (2.96 miles/kwh).
Perhaps not surprising, the largest vehicle was also the least efficient, as the Nissan drove 101 km (63 miles) for an efficiency rating of 23.8 kwh/100 km (2.61 miles/kwh).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was the 60-kilowatt-hour Opel Ampera-e (Europe’s version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV) that had the longest legs with a range of 273 km (170 miles).
However, it was the Hyundai Ioniq Electric with the best efficiency of the bunch, scoring 14.6 kwh/100 km (4.26 miles/kwh).
Notable absences from the test are mentioned by PushEVs.com—namely the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Tesla Model 3—which could have swung the results in this driving competition.
See the table below for full results:
Volkswagen e-up (18,7 kwh)
23.7 kwh/100 km
Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (17,6 kwh)
21.0 kwh/100 km
Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (24kwh)
23.8 kwh/100 km
Kia Soul EV (30 kwh)
18.0 kwh/100 km
Hyundai Ioniq Electric (28 kwh usable)
14.6 kwh/100 km
Volkswagen e-Golf (35,8 kwh)
17.2 kwh/100 km
Renault Zoe (41 kwh)
16.8 kwh/100 km
Opel Ampera-e (60 kwh)
22.0 kwh/100 km