Punishing Range Test Pushes Popular EVs Until the Battery Dies on the Side of the Road
The aim was to wring out every last drop of electricity from the modern crop of EVs on sale.
Norway has taken to electric cars like a moth to a flame in recent years. Sales are high and enthusiasm is too, and there are now more models on the market than ever. To put the latest crop of EVs through their paces, the Norwegian Automotive Federation (NAF) decided to run a punishing test—measuring the range of each vehicle by driving it until it died, reports InsideEVs.
The test intended to compare actual electric range in real world conditions versus official figures. These numbers come from the World Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP, which specifies a driving cycle which is used to estimate the approximate range of an EV. 21 cars were tested in total, with each driven until it ran out of battery power and shut down. Each car was driven on the same route on the same day, with the same climate control settings to try and limit potential variances in testing conditions. The test course contained a mixture of city, country, and highway driving, as well as a mountain pass to add some elevation changes.
In terms of besting their WLTP estimates, the BMW iX3 came out ahead, beating its rated range by an additional 66 miles—traveling 345 miles for a full 20% gain. Overall longest range went to the Tesla Model 3 Long Range, running for 406.9 miles, plenty more than its 380 mile WLTP rating. The Ford Mustang Mach E came a healthy second in total range, running 383.9 miles, squeezing out just a little more than its official range of 379 miles.
Only three vehicles failed to reach their WLTP estimates, with the Polestar 2, Citroen e-C4, and Xpeng G3 each falling short by 1.9, 3.1, and 7.4 miles respectively. It's close enough that in the real world, it's likely few customers would find too much fault with the cars for doing so. Also worth noting is that just like traditional cars, the electric vehicles kept running well beyond the estimated range display reaching zero. In particular, the Model 3 traveled over 30 miles after the screens indicated there was no range left.
The full rundown of the test is available on the NAF site; those of you that aren't fluent in Norwegian may want to engage Google Translate to help. NAF have been running these tests for some time now in both summer and winter conditions on an annual basis. Last year's winter test showed contrasting results, with the cold temperatures significantly hurting the range of each EV tested. NAF also regularly test EV charging rates in similar conditions in order to provide useful information to prospective owners about how an EV might perform for them, given the sometimes harsh local conditions.
Range is still a hot button issue when it comes to electric vehicles; we've seen portable generators touted as solutions for those caught short, and even the premier electric motorsport series having cars stop dead on track. It's something that panics buyers, who claim range anxiety and cost as their biggest reasons not to buy an EV, regardless of the fact that few drive over 100 miles on any given day of the week.
NAF's test should do a lot to build confidence in electric vehicles, in that they can indeed do what the manufacturers claim. Obviously, variance will always exist, with driving styles, temperature, and other conditions, so you'd still be poorly advised to plan a non-stop trip right at the extent of your vehicle's range. It should add to consumer confidence, though, both in electric vehicles and the WLTP test cycle. As a bonus, tests like these help dispel much of the bluster from those against the onward march of automotive technology.
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